Nats-Cards: Who's done well, who hasn't


Nats-Cards: Who's done well, who hasn't

Game 1 of the NLDS today between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals will be the eighth meeting of the teams this season. The Nationals won the regular season series 4-3, but it was a matchup that featured several blowouts and a lot of high scoring games.

Because of the high scoring between the two teams, the split stats for individual players vary based on position. Offensive players tend to have done well while pitchers werent as lucky.

Here are a few Nationals hitters that stood out in the season series:

1B Adam LaRoche

23 AB .348 BA - 7 R 1 HR 7 RBI 4 BB - .950 OPS

OF Bryce Harper

28 AB - .429 BA 7 R 2 HR 6 RBI 4 BB 1.234 OPS

2B Danny Espinosa

27 AB - .296 BA 5 R 2 HR 5 RBI - .863 OPS

Here are some Cardinals hitters that had big games against Washington:

SS Peter Kozma

17 AB - .471 BA - 4 R - 6 RBI - 1.033 OPS

RF Carlos Beltran

21 AB - .286 BA - 3 R - 2 HR - 7 RBI - 5 BB - .995 OPS

CF Jon Jay

28 AB - .393 BA - 7 R - 3 RBI - 2 BB - .919 OPS

With all the runs scored, pitching stats conversely suffered. Here are some Nationals pitchers that will look to do better this time around:

RHP Edwin Jackson

2 G 7.71 ERA 8 ER 10 H 1.714 WHIP 9.1 IP

LHP Sean Burnett

3 G 16.20 ERA 3 ER 6 H 4.200 WHIP 1.2 IP

LHP Ross Detwiler

1 G 11.57 ERA 3 ER 4 H 3.857 WHIP 2.1 IP

Now lets look at some Cardinals pitchers who struggled against the Nats:

RHP Lance Lynn

3 G 9.82 ERA 8 ER 12 H 2.045 WHIP 7.1 IP

LHP Jaime Garcia

1 G 10.13 ERA 6 ER 9 H 2.063 WHIP 5.1 IP

RHP Adam Wainwright

2 G 7.27 ERA 7 ER 14 H 2.077 WHIP 8.2 IP

Michael Huberman contributed to this story.

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Sidney Crosby makes season debut, scores in Penguins win

Sidney Crosby makes season debut, scores in Penguins win

After missing the first six games with a concussion, Sidney Crosby made his season debut Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Florida Panthers. Crosby scored in the second period to help the Penguins to a 3-2 win.

Down 2-0 in the second period, Evgeni Malkin fed a wide open Crosby in the high slot who fired a wrist shot past goalie James Reimer for the goal. The power play tally sparked the Penguins' comeback as Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr added goals in the third period for the win.

Pittsburgh could soon get another boost as goalie Matt Murray suited up as the backup to Marc-Andre Fleury on Tuesday. Murray has not yet played this season after breaking his right hand in the World Cup of Hockey. If the team feels comfortable enough to use him as the backup, his first start can't be far behind.

After Tuesday's win, the Penguins currently sit in first place of the Metropolitan Division with nine points, two ahead of the Washington Capitals though the Caps have two games in hand.


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Morning tip: Emphasis on spacing should enhance Otto Porter's output

Morning tip: Emphasis on spacing should enhance Otto Porter's output

The bigget emphasis on the offensive end under coach Scott Brooks, since training camp and through seven preseason games, is spacing. Whether Bradley Beal is running the offense or John Wall has them flow into pick-and-rolls before calling a set, the ball doesn't move so effortlessly if the floor is congested.

That's where Otto Porter comes in. Going into his fourth season, and second as the starter at small foward, this is where he should flourish. Porter doesn't thrive standing still in the corner for catch-and-shoot three-pointers. He prefers to be moving to the ball, and the off-ball movement and spacing that creates the avenues for the passes from the guards allows him to maximize his skill-set.

"We can get anything we want as long as everybody keep moving, everybody keep sharing the ball," said Porter, who had the tendency to disappear during long stretches of games or multiple games under Randy Wittman. 

Center Marcin Gortat is optimistic by what he sees overall. In the Wizards' last preseason game, a win over the Toronto Raptors, they had 33 assists on 49 field goals. Beal had nine assists and no turnovers.

"We’re moving the ball much better than we’ve been moving the last few years," Gortat said. "We run completely different drills in practice. … We have a lot of options."

[RELATED: No love lost for Wizards with new-look Hawks]

Gortat is one of the top five screening big men in the NBA, and Brooks has his guards doing more screening as well. Taking advantage of defenses watching the ball when Wall has it with backdoor cuts for slip passes is more common. 

"The perimeter guys are doing a good job of finding open cuts to the basket. Otto was one of the best at doing it," Brooks said. "We have to continue to work on our spacing. Sometimes we don’t want you to cut. You have to space out."

The change is welcomed for Wall who doesn't have to do everything all the time with defenses loading to him on the ball. Porter can be a more effective third scorer. With more players touching the ball it will keep them engaged and in theory make them more productive. 

"With our offense, he just wants movement," Wall said of Brooks' philosophy. "I talk to guys about cutting at certain times. I think Otto, he’s one of the best cutters in the league when he has the opportunity to do it. When we’re penetrating and driving there’s so much attention on us we have guys like (Markieff Morris) that can pass and (Gortat) who can knock down shots. It’s about cutting and getting the timing down pat. Our starting five is a free-flowing offense.”

[RELATED: Brooks, Beal impressed with Wizards' passing this preseason]