Nationals

Turner downplays expected last week as Bolts coach

Turner downplays expected last week as Bolts coach

SAN DIEGO (AP) Norv Turner's tenure as coach of the Washington Redskins ended just shy of seven full seasons when he was fired with three games left in the 2000 season.

The Oakland Raiders gave him the heave-ho after he coached them from 2004-05.

So maybe that's why Turner says he hasn't given much thought to what's expected to be his last week as coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Turner is expected to get fired as soon as the season's over because the Chargers will miss the playoffs for the third straight year.

General manager A.J. Smith, who's let the roster disintegrate from one that had been packed with Pro Bowlers to one that gets pushed around a lot, is expected to get the boot along with Turner.

``I'm not really giving it a lot of thought,'' Turner said Monday, a day after the Chargers beat a team even more dysfunctional than they are, the New York Jets, 27-17.

``Obviously there's a lot of speculation that way and I know people assume that. As I said to our team, probably four or five weeks ago, this is really an outstanding group of people, aside from what they are as football players. I enjoy being around these guys a great deal. I think they enjoy each other. I think that's why they've stayed together and continue to play hard and prepare at the level they have.

``I'm going to enjoy the week in terms of we come back in Wednesday morning and start preparing,'' Turner said. ``Obviously we're playing a divisional rival. You're playing the Raiders, so we're just getting everything we can out of this week, enjoy each other, then we'll see what happens.''

Turner was Smith's signature hire after the authoritarian GM won a power struggle with old-school coach Marty Schottenheimer following the 2006 season.

Turner, who was 24 games under .500 as a head coach following his stints at Washington and Oakland, was seen by many outsiders as someone who would do whatever Smith wanted.

Turner's regular-season record as a head coach is 113-122-1. He was 49-59-1 in Washington, 9-23 with Oakland and is 55-40 with the Chargers.

Overall, he's 4-4 in the playoffs.

San Diego reached the AFC championship game in his first season, 2007, and then went 1-1 in the playoffs the following season.

As the AFC's No. 2 seed with a 13-3 record in 2009, the Chargers were embarrassed at home in the playoffs by the wild-card Jets, 17-14.

They haven't been back to the playoffs, and are only 23-24 since then.

Turner and Smith were given a reprieve by team president Dean Spanos after the Chargers missed the playoffs last year.

Spanos isn't expected to be benevolent this year, especially after seeing four games blacked out due to fan anger and apathy, including the last three in a row.

Spanos has said he'll decide on Turner and Smith's fates after the season.

However, Turner said Monday: ``I don't think you sit down after the season and make your mind up. I think there's a process that's going on as you go through a period of time.''

Asked how he thinks it'll turn out, Turner said: ``I don't think it matters what I think.''

The Chargers (6-9) finish at home against the Raiders (4-11) on Sunday. That game is expected to sell out, thanks largely to Raiders fans.

In recent comments, Turner seems to have second-guessed decisions by Smith.

During Sunday's TV broadcast, the commentators mentioned that Turner said that of the 18 offensive linemen used the past three years, maybe five were capable of being starters in the NFL.

Asked about that Monday, Turner said: ``Again, when you get into those quotes, I didn't hear the different things people said. I know we've had a lot of different offensive linemen play. And a lot of them who have played for us have not been starters before or after they played here. So that's kind of what I would go by. But I certainly would not get into that deal of evaluating because when you start having injuries you do the best you can in terms of putting people in there.''

Last week, when discussing the various reasons why the Chargers missed the playoffs the past three years, he mentioned that ``we've lost really good players to free agency.''

Among the many players who've left in recent seasons were Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson.

Asked Monday if he was happy with the rosters he's been given by Smith, Turner said: ``I think everyone here has worked hard to do the best we can and make it work. Sometimes you make moves that work out and sometimes they don't.''

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Around the NL East: All teams are leaving wins on the table

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Around the NL East: All teams are leaving wins on the table

After a week that gave several teams the opportunity to prove themselves in the National League East, the only team that did so was the Miami Marlins.

They aren’t as bad as we thought they were.

As for everyone else, each fan base should be disappointed.

The Atlanta Braves missed a golden opportunity to pull away from both the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies. Instead, they actually lost ground to BOTH teams that were playing each other.

Philadelphia did leapfrog the Nationals in the standings, but they continue to leave wins on the table due to their bullpen. This is all while Washington went 4-4 on an eight-game homstand.

And if you’re the Mets, I need to say no more in regards to disappointment. Look out because the Marlins are now on your tail.

Atlanta Braves

Record: 44-32
Last 10: 6-4
Upcoming Series: vs. Cincinnati (3), @ St. Louis (3)

It is hard to take a team seriously when they lose two out of three to the Baltimore Orioles in their home park.

Both were in demoralizing ways. First, Sean Newcomb went seven innings allowing only a single run, then two relievers gave up a combined six runs in the ninth. Despite a comeback in the ninth, they wouldn’t eventually fall in the 15th (!) inning.

And yes… we can attest, this sucks…

Second was Julio Teheran allowing four to score before Atlanta even got an at-bat. There was a wistful rally for the rest of the game, but ultimately they came up two runs short.

Missing on a golden opportunity to emerge as the frontrunner in the NL East, the Braves dropped the ball. Once excited for a finalized rotation to be back together, there are still some gaps to fill. The team averaged 6.8 runs this week and managed only two wins.

And still no Robert Acuna Jr.

Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 41-34
Last 10: 7-3
Upcoming Series: vs. New York Yankees (3), vs. Washington Nationals (4)

Winning series will get you in the postseason. Taking two-out-of-three over the St. Louis Cardinals and the Nationals gives them four straight series wins.

None of those series victories were bigger than taking two at Nats Park.

In those six games Odùbel Herrera had 12 hits, four home runs, nine RBIs for a .444 average. He is leading the charge for a team that scored 39 runs in only six games.

Their starters are giving them quality outings as well. With each starting pitcher this week having a 1.40 WHIP or lower, there has been no downtick from them. However, all of their losses are attributed to their bullpen, including three blown saves.

On June 18, they optioned their closer Héctor Neris to Triple A after giving up four runs in two-thirds of an inning. While he did have a 6.00 ERA, and a 9.45 ERA in June, he did get the job done in the final innings of games. On 13 save opportunities this year, he got 10 saves.

They hope Seranthony Domínguez (four saves) can turn around the bullpen as they make a push to the All-Star Game.

Washington Nationals

Record: 41-35
Last 10: 3-7
Upcoming Series: @ Tampa Bay Rays (2), @ Philadelphia Phillies (4)

All things considered it wasn’t the worst week for the Nationals. Despite losing a series to Philadelphia and dropping a Gio Gonzalez start to Baltimore, Washington gained a half game on the Braves.

But, you have to demand better on an eight-game homestand. These games may be the ones that could haunt the Nats come late-August and September.

Yet there are a lot of highlights this week.

-Juan Soto retroactively hit a HR on his first-ever MLB at-bat
-The Nats pick up reliever Kelvin Herrera in a career-year
-Despite trailing by four, and a rain delay, the Nats came back

Most importantly though Bryce Harper is out of his funk.

…and the fire is back, which may be the most important headline this week.

New York Mets

Record: 31-44
Last 10: 3-7
Upcoming Series: vs. Pirates (3), @ Marlins (3)

Finishing up a 10 game road trip with a 3-7 record, all the Mets needed was a return home.

Wrong, New York followed that up by getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field.

And one of those losses, just one, featured seven Dodger home runs.

Also another of the few productive players for the Mets could be heading to the DL. Centerfielder Brandon Nimmo (.283, 12 HR) took a pitch off of his hand this past weekend.

Miami Marlins

Record: 31-47
Last 10: 5-5
Upcoming Series: vs. Diamondbacks (4), vs. Mets (3)

A 3-3 West Coast road trip is not too shabby for the Marlins who are playing .500 ball in the month of June (11-10).

It gave the opportunity for Kyle Barraclough to pick up two more saves, bringing his total up to seven this season. His stellar relief performances will likely garner him the honor as the Marlins’ lone representative in the All-Star Game next month.

He’s pitched 11.2 straight innings of hitless baseball. Barraclough has also not allowed a run since May 8 (19 appearances).

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2018 MLB All-Star Game Voting Results: Adams out, Harper down one spot after this week's voting

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2018 MLB All-Star Game Voting Results: Adams out, Harper down one spot after this week's voting

The countdown to the MLB All-Star game in Washington ticks on, but the stars of its host city struggled this week in the voting.

Last week, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Matt Adams dropped one position from the first week's ballot. This week, the downward trend continues, perhaps a sign of the ambivalence among Nationals fans following a mixed record since week two's update.

The Nats won three of their seven games last week with a blowout 2-12 loss to the Phillies on Friday. Maybe they're feeling bogged down by the incessant rain delays in the DC-Maryland area

Regardless, Bryce Harper dropped another spot on the fan voting ballot this week to settle in the No. 3 spot among outfielders with 1,403,335 votes. Leading him are No. 1 Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis with 1,829,276 votes and No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Matt Kemp with 1,498,827 votes. It's worth noting that Harper trails Kemp by less than 100,000 votes, a very reasonable gap to recover from, and leads No. 4 Colorado Rockies centerfielder Matt Blackmon by over 400,000 votes, a somewhat safe separation. 

Matt Adams, however, was not so lucky. After dropping from No. 14 to No. 15 last week, he fell out of the top 15 in this week's voting. In this week's results, only 8,000 votes separate Nos. 14 and 15, so it's okay to be hopeful that your vote will make a difference. 

Trea Turner is still holding onto the No. 5 spot in the shortstop category, with an over 100,000 vote increase from last week's voting update pushing him up to 380,331 votes. The shortstops' rankings haven't changed since last week, so the San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford, Braves' Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs' Addison Russell and Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story remain in the top four spots.

Nats fans, now's the time to keep casting those votes to keep your favorites on this year's National League roster. You can keep voting until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET, up to five times every 24 hours. Read more about how to vote for your favorite players in the MLB All-Star Game HERE

The 2018 National League - American League matchup is in Washington, D.C. on July 17.

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