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Verlander terrific as Tigers shut out Orioles

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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.
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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).

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No Redskins receiver broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skillset was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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Jeff Green hopes recent playoff success can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green hopes recent playoff success can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green's basketball résumé got a significant boost this spring and summer as his Cleveland Cavaliers marched all the way to the NBA Finals before they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. It was Green's first time going past the second round of the playoffs and the experience, he says, was invaluable.

Green has come about as close to winning a championship without actually winning one and he certainly hopes to get back in that position. Green believes his new team, the Washington Wizards, have the tools to make a deep playoff run and it's one of the reasons why he signed a free agent deal to join them.

"Being there last year myself with Cleveland, I know it takes a lot. It takes a lot of pieces. I feel like this team has them," he said. "We can get back to that point. When I got the call, I felt like it was the best opportunity for myself to get there."

The Wizards' franchise has not been past the second round of the playoffs since 1979, when they were known as the Bullets. That was before anyone on their roster was born.

But Green pointed to the open Eastern Conference and the talent on the roster as reasons to believe they can accomplish some things that they haven't in decades. They may be capable, but putting it all together is easier said than done.

Green hopes to be one of the glue guys necessary for the Wizards to reach their potential, in part by sharing the lessons he learned.

"Never take it for granted. There are a lot of greats that have never been there," he said. "Getting to the Finals and being part of that was beyond amazing. With the experience and seeing what it took, I can bring that here and get everybody on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point."

Green over and over mentioned how it takes a collective effort to go to the conference finals and beyond, but he did show some self-awareness and a sense of humor about his own experience in Cleveland. All teams are different and the one he just left was a unique situation.

"You can’t get there individually. I mean, you can, we did last year. I mean, LeBron [James] carried us all the way there," he joked. "But there’s only one LeBron, but to get there you have to have team unity. You all have to be on the same page and sacrifice to make sure you’re doing what it takes to get the team there. I think that’s the biggest key. It’s not an individual thing… unless you’re LeBron."

If the Wizards are to reach their goals and go to the conference finals or the NBA Finals, they will have to do it differently than the Cavaliers did. They do not have a player on the level of James who can do much of it by himself. But Green said the process of imparting his wisdom has already started.

"I talked to John [Wall]," Green said. "Knowing that he wants to get to the Finals, I was just picking his brain and what he thinks is needed to get there. And me sharing my experience of getting to the Finals and what it takes."

The Wizards have reached a point as an organization where they have urgency to reach new heights. Green believes he can help them get there.

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