This could be fun, even if it’s somewhat vexing: MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Tigers have discussed trading Rick Porcello to the Cubs, with the Orioles involved as a possible third party. The Orioles’ piece: J.J. Hardy, who Kubatko says the Tigers really want. Which, given that Jhonny Peralta is already under contract with the Tigers…
The Redskins boast more players in the NFL Players Association’s ‘Rising 50’ than any other team, the union announced Thursday.
Five Redskins, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, made the cut on the 2016 list. The Rams are second with four players, and the Cardinals, Texans, Jaguars and Seahawks each have three.
Joining Cousins, who ranks second behind Rams running back Todd Gurley, are All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman (8th), tight end Jordan Reed (24th), running back Matt Jones (35th) and rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson (36th).
Cousins is one of four quarterbacks ranked among the top 10. Norman, meantime, is the highest ranking defensive player, while Doctson is one of 10 players who were selected in this year's draft.
What is the Rising 50? According to the NFLPA, the second annual list identifies "players best positioned to rank among the top-sellers of all officially licensed merchandise and become future retail stars." The union says it takes into account on-field performance, fantasy league popularity and early demand from current sponsors and licensees.
(To be considered for the Rising 50 players must not have appeared in previous NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales quarterly lists. Last year, 11 players from the Rising 50 ascended to the Top 50 Player Sales list during the 2015 season.)
While leading the league in players in the Rising 50 doesn’t guarantee success on the field, it does underscore the fact that second-year GM Scot McCloughan is assembling a group of talented and popular players in Washington.
Here’s the full Rising 50 list:
- Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
- Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
- Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
- Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
- Josh Norman, DB, Washington Redskins
- Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
- David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
- Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
- Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
- Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Arizona Cardinals
- Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
- Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos
- Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
- Tyler Lockett, WR/KR, Seattle Seahawks
- Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
- Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
- Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
- Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
- Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston Texans
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
- Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns
- Patrick Peterson, DB, Arizona Cardinals
- Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers
- Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets
- Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
- Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
- Buck Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens
- Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins
- Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
- Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
- Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
- Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
- Tavon Austin, WR/KR, Los Angeles Rams
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
- Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
- Malcolm Butler, CB, New England Patriots
- Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
- Myles Jack, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
- DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
- Blaine Gabbert, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Tonight's Game: Oakland Athletics (13-16) vs. Baltimore Orioles (16-11), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.
Starting pitchers: Rich Hill (3-3, 2.53) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3, 5.20)
Keys to the Game:
Can the Orioles Jimenez give the Orioles a solid start to match Kevin Gausman's on Thursday night?
Can the Orioles hit Hill? In his last start against them, Hill pitched a two-hit shutout last Sept. 25, striking out 10 when pitching for Boston.
News and Notes:
Hill is trying for his fourth win, which would be his most since 2007.
Current Orioles are batting .174 (4-for-23) against Hill.
Jimenez is 3-1 with a 5.28 ERA in six starts against Oakland.
Billy Butler is batting .345 (10-for-29) with a home run against Jimenez.
Postgame analysis of the Nats' 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field:
How it happened: Ben Zobrist came to play. The highly prized free agent signed during the offseason to round out the Cubs infield started things off early, driving in Tommy La Stella and Kris Bryant in the fourth inning on a single to put the Cubs.
Four innings later, with the Nationals unable to make good contact off Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO), Zobrist tacked on two more thanks to a big, two-out home run to left field off reliever Felipe Rivero.
Two batters later, Addison Russell drove in Ryan Kallish on a double off Joe Kelley to put the Cubs up 5-0.
Bryce Harper reached on a walk in the top of the ninth and Jayson Werth cleared the bases on a home run off Travis Wood, but Carlos Rodon shut the door on Wilson Ramos and the Nats, procuring the final out.
What it means: The 5-1 win moves the Cubs' run differential to an absurd +96. It's still an early-season series, but four games in Chicago will help fuel the narrative heading toward the All-Star break. The Nats' bats were cold, but Bryce Harper reaching base four times is a good sign that maybe brief slump is coming to an end.
Ross' standout start: Despite suffering his first loss of the year, Joe Ross tossed perhaps his best game of the 2016 campaign. Although he gave up a season-high two runs, he also recorded a season-high nine strikeouts and allowed just five hits and two balls.
His slider was working early, recording his first three punchouts using his go-to pitch. The 22-year-old hurler continues to dazzle early in the year and his been a pleasant surprise.
He faced his biggest test to date and while he took the loss, his performance certainly wasn't anything to scoff at.
With a 1.23 ERA, he ranks behind just Gio Gonzalez and Jake Arrieta for the league lead. That's good company to keep.
Murphy comes up empty: Daniel Murphy did not record a hit. That may sound a bit odd and with good reason. Thursday night was just the fourth time all season Murphy has failed to get a hit this season. His two strikeouts was also a rareity, just the second-time he's been sent down twice in one outing in 2016. But fear not. Each of Murphy's hitless games have been followed up by multi-hit games with at least one RBI. Friday will be different for sure.
Revere waits again: There was speculation that Ben Revere would make his return to the lineup on Thursday after spending a month on the DL due to a strained oblique he suffered during the first week of the season. But after giving it a go in pregame warmups it was determined that one more day of rest would get Revere back to 100%, and he is expected to be back on the field on Friday,
What's next: Max Scherzer (3-1, 3.31 ERA) takes on John Lackey (3-1, 4.32 ERA) on Friday afternoon with Lackey needing just six strikeouts to become the fifth active starter with at least 2,000 Ks, joining the likes of Bartolo Colon, Felix Hernandez, Jake Peavy and CC Sabathia.