Verlander terrific as Tigers shut out Orioles


Verlander terrific as Tigers shut out Orioles

Maybe the Orioles were watching Justin Verlander in the All-Star Game. If they were, they saw a much different pitcher on Sunday than the National League did.Verlander allowed just three hits in eight innings as he won his seventh game in as many decisions against the Oriolesthe best record he has against any team.Sundays 4-0 Orioles loss to the Detroit Tigers before 30,439 at Oriole Park wasnt terribly disheartening because they know how difficult Verlander is to beat.He may not be the American League MVP again this year, and he likely wont equal his 24-5 record, but he looked nearly unhittable .After the All-Star Game, I thought were going to have a good shot of lighting him up, but I think he was just setting us up, Chris Davis said.Joking aside, Davis was hitless in three at-bats and is just 1-for-9 against Verlander.I felt like at times he was just toying with us, Davis said.Jim Thome had a first-inning single and a third-inning double, and those were the only hits against Verlander until Mark Reynolds singled in the seventh. Thome is 14-for-52 with seven home runs against Verlander (10-5). When he had some struggles in the All-Star Game, I wasnt too excited about it, manager Buck Showalter said.I kind of had an idea he was going to be on top of his game today. We shouldnt feel like hes picking on us. Hes been doing that to a lot of hitters.Detroit (46-43) scored a run against Miguel Gonzalez in the firstor was that Gonzales? The Mexican-born right-hander making his second career start wore a jersey with his last name spelled incorrectly in the first inning. Austin Jackson hit a home run on Gonzalezs second pitch, his 10th of the season.In the second with Gonzalez wearing a proper jersey, the Tigers made it 2-0. Brennan Boesch led off with a double, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Jhonny Peraltas single.I had two jerseys here, but I didnt know which to wear, so I just grabbed the first one I saw, and they just told me it was wrong. So I just changed it after that, Gonzalez said.Gonzalez (1-1) worked into the sixth inning with a 3-0 deficit and the bases loaded after 100 pitches. Alex Avilas RBI single gave Detroit a three-run lead in the sixth.Robert Andino injured his left shoulder diving in an attempt to stop Avilas hit. He left the field and was replaced by Ryan Flaherty.Showalter said Andino would stay in Baltimore and receive an MRI. Roberts as tough as they come. For him to come out of a game, it gives you some concern, Showalter said.The Orioles have to make room for Zach Britton, wholl start Tuesdays game, and they hope that moving Andino to the disabled list isnt the move theyll have to make.I dont think Ill go on the DL, Andino said. It should be like a few days, hopefully. For me to come out of the game, its got to be something.If the Orioles have to place Andino on the disabled list, Flaherty and Steve Tolleson can both play second base.
Gonzalez gave up six hits and three runs in 5 23 innings. He walked five and struck out three.I kept the team in the game. Thats what Im trying to do, Gonzalez said.Verlander struck out eight and walked two. After he fanned J.J. Hardy to end the eighth, Verlander walked off the mound, shaking hands in the dugout, his hot day done.After his disastrous All-Star Game start on Tuesday, Verlander had a much easier time with the Orioles (46-42).I just needed to tell myself that thats not the pitcher that I am. I think everybody that has watched me or follows the Tigers or myself knows that thats not me; thats not the way I normally pitch, Verlander said.Steve Johnson, recalled earlier in the day, made his major league debut, walking the first two batters he faced in the eighth. He retired the last three and was allowed to pitch the ninth.With one out, Miguel Cabrera hit a long home-run to right-center, his 20th of the season for a 4-0 lead. After the game, Johnson was returned to Norfolk, making room for Chris Tillman, wholl start Monday.Jose Valverde pitched the ninth, allowing a hit, preserving the shutout.NOTES-The Orioles were shut out for the seventh time this season, all in the last 38 games.-The Orioles begin a four-game series in Minneapolis on Monday. Tillman (1-0, 0.00) faces Scott Diamond (7-3, 2.62).

Quick Links

Dwight Howard shares his first health update since back surgery

Dwight Howard shares his first health update since back surgery

Three weeks removed from back surgery to take care of his nagging gluteal injury, Dwight Howard rejoined the Washington Wizards for their Tuesday night contest with the Atlanta Hawks inside State Farm Arena. 

"Physically, I'm a lot better than I was before the surgery. The nine games I played, I basically played on one leg. So, you know, I'm just happy that that's out the way and I can rehab and get ready for the second half of the season," Howard told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. 

During those nine games, the 33-year-old averaged 12.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, while shooting over 62% from the floor. 

Howard is no stranger to back surgery. In 2012, the then Orlando Magic center underwent a procedure to repair a herniated disk which ended his season and took him out of Summer Olympics (London) participation. 

The veteran now deals with a slow recovery process before returning to basketball activities. 

Right now, the only I can do for rehab is just walk. Anybody who has had back surgery, they understand that. You know, for the first month and a half, you can't lift weights. You can't run. You can't do anything but basically walk. 

Howard plans to remain in Atlanta for rehab. Three weeks ago, Washington said it would re-evaluate Howard after two or three months. 

"Every day I try to sit down, and you know, spend at least an hour visualizing, you know, getting healthy, but also returning to the court."


Quick Links

Wizards fold late, fall to Trae Young and Hawks in Trevor Ariza's debut

Wizards fold late, fall to Trae Young and Hawks in Trevor Ariza's debut

The Washington Wizards lost to the Atlanta Hawks 118-110 on Tuesday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. When the Wizards smashed the Lakers on Sunday night and John Wall dropped 40 points, the team's social media naysayers collectively yawned, 'Let's see them do the same against Atlanta on Tuesday.' Sure enough, those people were right.

Wall and the Wizards did not bring anything close to the same energy against Atlanta that they had vs. L.A. Because the Hawks are terrible, the Wizards were able to hang around until the fourth quarter, but Atlanta pulled away with 36 points in the final frame.

There was plenty not to like about this game from the Wizards' side of things. They shot just 33.3 percent from three (13-for-39) and missed 11 of their 36 free throw attempts.

Wall had one of his worst games. He shot just 33.3 percent from the field and went 3-for-11 from three to the tune of 15 points and six assists. He played only 26 minutes due to foul trouble.

It wasn't as lopsided as their worst defeats this season, but this ranks up there with some of the Wizards' most inexcusable losses of the year so far. Even after making trades to shuffle their bench and team chemistry, the results remain the same. They let a bad team sneak up on them once again.

2. Trevor Ariza made his debut and essentially picked up right where he left off in 2014. He ended up with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and six steals, making a noticeable impact on both ends of the floor. His six steals tied a career-high.

Ariza went 4-for-11 from three with just about all of them on wide-open looks. Ariza was excellent  in his last tenure in D.C. at drifting away from the defense and making them pay from beyond the arc. Wall and Bradley Beal seemed to remember that, as they consistently found him for outside shots. 

The Wizards' overall defensive effort was up-and-down, as they allowed 35 points in the first quarter and 118 for the game. But Ariza was mostly not to blame, as he played smart and measured defense. With the exception of an early play where Kent Bazemore hit an open three, he did a good job closing out on perimeter shots.

The trade of Kelly Oubre Jr. for Ariza may ultimately prove short-sighted, and many fans seem to strongly disagree with the decision. But those are the things we should see over the course of the season that show why Ariza could be an upgrade in the short-term. He will play solid, structured defense with few mistakes or lapses in focus.

3. The fans who paid the price of admission in Atlanta to watch the referees go to work got their money's worth. It was hard to hear Steve Buckhantz with all the whistles.

Seriously, there were so many fouls. The two teams combined for 61 of them. Four Hawks players had four fouls or more and four Wizards players had five or more. That included Markieff Morris, who fouled out in only 17 minutes.

Even clean plays were fouls, like this one. Jeff Green got way up to deny Alex Len, only to have a foul called.

4. Otto Porter Jr. remains out with a right knee contusion, making this the fourth straight game he has missed. He hasn't missed five consecutive games since his rookie year.

With Porter out, head coach Scott Brooks rolled with Jeff Green to start alongside Ariza. Ariza is slated to be in the lineup moving forward, so that pushed out Satoransky, who had made eight straight starts.

Satoransky ended up playing mostly as a backup shooting guard with Sam Dekker at small forward. Chasson Randle, who was recently brought back on a non-guaranteed contract, backed up Wall at point guard. Though that may have had something to do with his defensive matchup on Trae Young, it was surprising.

Ian Mahinmi also got some burn after three straight DNP-CDs. That may have been due to the presence of Len, who is a lot to handle for small-ball fives.

Speaking of big men, Dwight Howard made an appearance on Tuesday. He didn't play, but sat on the bench with the team for the first time since his back surgery.

5. All of those lineup mentions should highlight one notable exclusion. That is Troy Brown Jr., who continues to be on the outside of the rotation looking in. Even with Porter out and Oubre now gone, Brown isn't in the mix.

Brown's inability to get playing time remains a head-scratcher. Yeah, he can't shoot, but he can do so many other things, things that the Wizards need. Whenever he gets spot minutes, he contributes with his passing, rebounding and defense. 

The fact he isn't playing a lot could be expected, as he was drafted outside the lottery by a deep, veteran team. But to not play at all, even when injuries pave the way? That's tough to understand.