Garcia young, but with playoff experience


Garcia young, but with playoff experience

The Nationals were able to escape Game 1 with the win on Sunday despite one of Adam Wainwrights best starts since returning this season from Tommy John surgery. In Game 2 they will face left-hander Jaime Garcia, a younger pitcher who happens to have more experience in the postseason.

Garcia will be making his sixth career postseason start after starting five different games in the Cardinals 2011 World Series run. But despite being part of their championship team, St. Louis got mixed results from Garcia throughout the playoffs.

In the NLDS last season, Garcia was good in his first career postseason start. He took the ball in Game 3 of a tied series with the Philadelphia Phillies and kept them scoreless into the seventh inning. In the top of the seventh Ben Francisco hit a three-run homer with two outs, it gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead and they ended up winning 3-2.

In the 2011 NLCS, Garcia struggled against the Milwaukee Brewers. In Game 1 the 26-year-old allowed six earned runs in just four innings of work. He took the loss as Milwaukee ended up dropping nine runs in total for a 9-6 win. In Game 2 Garcia was better, he pitched 4 23 innings and allowed one earned run on seven hits. Tony La Russa turned to his bullpen early and the Cardinals kept Milwaukee at one run in a 7-1 win.

Garcias performance in the World Series was also up-and-down. He pitched masterfully in Game 2 by keeping the Texas Rangers scoreless through seven innings. The Cardinals ended up losing in a ninth inning rally after he had left the game. Garcia also started the memorable Game 6 and lasted just three innings after allowing two runs early. The Cardinals were able to come back several times that night to get the win.

Garcias 2012 season started and ended well, and included a near two-month absence due to a shoulder injury. Garcia went 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA in April before struggling in May. He made just one start in June before going on the disabled list.

Garcia returned in August with a rough stretch that included his only matchup this season with the Nationals. On August 30 Garcia lasted 5 13 innings at Nationals Park, but allowed six earned runs in total including two homers. Bryce Harper hit one of them, a two-run shot in the first, and then Jayson Werth added a solo homer in the fifth. The six earned runs allowed tied Garcias season high.

After facing the Nationals Garcia really hit his stride in September. He made six starts in September and went 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings pitched. He lasted at least six innings with three earned runs or less in five of those six outings. Garcias final start of the season was on October 1, he went 6 23 innings with two earned runs allowed at home against Cincinnati.

When the Nationals face Garcia it will be at Busch Stadium where Garcia has pitched his best games. At home this season he went 4-2 with a 2.82 ERA in nine starts. Compare that to his 5.02 ERA in 11 starts on the road and there is a clear difference.

Some of the data suggests Garcia should have an advantage in Mondays game, but the Nationals were able to give him one of his worst outings back in August. If they can get to the lefty early in the game, Garcia could be treated with a short leash as it worked for St. Louis in last years postseason.

It looks like Santana Moss is getting his Master's Degree Thursday


It looks like Santana Moss is getting his Master's Degree Thursday

Santana Moss' resume — one that includes more than 10,000 receiving yards in the NFL to go along with 66 touchdowns through the air — is definitely different than an average business student. While most people pursuing an MBA spend their summers taking on internships or learning the ins-and-outs of accounting and marketing, Moss spent the majority of his since 2001 in training camps with the Jets and Redskins, learning new offenses and route combinations.

Despite those differences, though, the 14-year veteran will look like any other regular guy on Thursday, when he graduates from a University of Miami business program, according to his Instagram. At 36 years old, it'll be the second time he wears a cap and gown at "The U" — he earned his bachelor's degree in 2001 after four years there, where he also set the school record for receiving yards on the field for the Hurricanes.

Here is the full post from Moss detailing the accomplishment:

Last July, explained Moss' decision to go back to school. The wideout told, "One day there is going to be a time when you are done with the NFL, and it’s like, 'What else?'" That's why he enrolled in a specialized class designed for artists and athletes, and it looks like he's passed it just like he used to pass first down markers during his days in Washington.

The perils of post-football life are well-known, as stories of ex-players running into financial hardships are told on a seemingly daily basis. Judging by Moss' decision to pick up his MBA, however, he figures to be in solid shape to avoid those troubles. So, while he developed a reputation as a big-play guy with the Redskins, one capable of ripping off a 70-yard score at any time, all of his long catches will probably be outweighed in importance by the handful of steps he takes across the stage Thursday.

His NFL career was a prolific one. But now, he's setting himself up for another profession — and this one won't just matter on Sundays. 


Redskins building a long-term core of star players


Redskins building a long-term core of star players

The Redskins are starting to build a core of star players who will be with them for the long haul. They now have the following key players signed through at least the 2017 season:

  • TE Jordan Reed (signed through 2021)
  • OT Trent Williams (2020)
  • OLB Ryan Kerrigan (2020)
  • CB Josh Norman (2020)
  • P Tress Way (2020)
  • OL Brandon Scherff (2017 plus fifth-year team option)
  • OLB Preston Smith (2017)
  • WR Jamison Crowder (2017)

The Redskins will have their 2016 draft class signed through 2018 when they agree to deals. The team will have a fifth-year option on first-round pick Josh Doctson so he could be under contract through 2019.  


Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick Alex Lewis


Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick Alex Lewis

Here are three things you should know about Ravens fourth-round pick (130), offensive tackle Alex Lewis.

1. Lewis overcame a bad off-the-field incident in college.

After an altercation with an Air Force cadet that left the cadet unconscious, Lewis was sentenced to 45 days in jail for third-degree assault. Afterward, he transferred from Colorado to Nebraska. After researching Lewis thoroughly, the Ravens felt comfortable enough to take a chance on him.

“In terms of the incident, we vet all of our guys,” said Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz. “It’s out there, people know about it, and we’ve discussed it. Our scouts do a great job of not only talking to the coaches there, but following up with the staff at Colorado as well. And we felt very comfortable after discussing with the staffs at both schools and finding out information from different reports, and then as well as talking to the kid about the incident.”

2. Lewis will compete for a backup tackle spot.

Whether the Ravens keep Eugene Monroe or not, Lewis has a chance to be the backup left tackle if he can beat out James Hurst. Lewis could also become the backup right tackle behind Rick Wagner.

3. Lewis was selected a team captain at Nebraska.

That speaks highly of what teammates and coaches thought of him, and how he rebounded from his past troubles.