Nats set to face inconsistent Wainwright

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Nats set to face inconsistent Wainwright

With 2012 Cy Young candidate Kyle Lohse having pitched in the N.L. Wild Card game, the St. Louis Cardinals will trot out right-hander Adam Wainwright against the Nationals in Game 1 of the NLDS. Wainwright was once one of the games best young pitchers, but returned this season from Tommy John surgery and has yet to regain his form as an ace.

Wainwright missed all of the 2011 season due to the surgery and watched from the dugout as the Cardinals won the World Series without him. He had finished in the top three of National League Cy Young voting in the previous two seasons and their victory without him was a testament to their organizational depth.

Wainwright finished 2012 with a winning record and a sub-4.00 ERA despite struggling for much of the year. The Cardinals showed great patience in sticking with him after a terrible start to the season. Wainwright allowed at least four earned runs in four of his first seven starts and sat 2-4 with a 6.16 ERA on May 12.

The 31-year-old saved his season by going 7-3 with a 2.75 ERA through July and August. Still, over the course of this season he has shown he isnt the same dominant pitcher he once was.

The differences in the old Wainwright and the new one lie in pitch selection. Wainwright has adjusted to throw more off-speed pitches after a slight dip in velocity with a career low fastball usage at 41.8.

Wainwright uses a cut fastball now much more than he did in the past, throwing it 14.2 of the time. His primary breaking ball is the curveball, which he uses for almost a quarter of pitches.

In 2012, when Wainwright won he was dominant and when he lost it was at times ugly. In losses this season Wainwright allowed 56 earned runs in 69.0 innings, good for a 7.30 ERA. In games he won Wainwright held a 1.94 ERA with just 13 walks in 97.2 innings pitched.

Wainwrights two starts against the Nationals in many ways exemplified his season as one was great and one was quite the opposite.

On August 31 the Nationals handed Wainwright one of his worst starts of the season and it came in the middle of perhaps his hottest stretch. Wainwright had allowed two runs or less in eight consecutive starts before a complete disaster in Washington. The Nationals dropped six runs in 2 23 innings before Wainwright was yanked as he earned his 11th loss of the season in a 10-0 blowout at Nationals Park.

Wainwright rebounded nicely against the Nationals at Busch Stadium in his final start of the season. He worked six innings of one run ball and set the Cardinals up for an eventual 12-2 victory. The right-hander allowed just six men on base in his 14th win of the season.

His solid showing against the Nationals was a nice close to his regular season after a rough month of September overall. Wainwright had allowed at least four earned runs in three of his previous five starts.

The Nationals will face Wainwright where he had his best start against them and where he fared better for much of the season. Wainwright went 10-6 with a 3.73 ERA in St. Louis, markedly better than his 4-7, 4.20 line on the road.

One thing that may work in the Nationals favor is the fact that Wainwright hasnt pitched since seeing them on the 28th. He was much better this season on four or five days of rest as with at least six days off between starts he posted a 5.21 ERA in three games.

Wainwright missed the postseason last year, but has appeared in ten playoff games in his career. He has one career postseason start, an eight-inning outing against the Dodgers in the 2009 NLDS. Wainwright allowed just one earned run on a homer to Andre Ethier in the game, but the Dodgers ended up winning in the second game of their three game sweep.

The Nationals have had mixed results against Wainwright this year, but the pitcher may have the advantage at home if his 2012 stats hold up. But looking at how inconsistent he has been overall, they may know early which Wainwright has shown up for Game 1.

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AFC North: Terrelle Pryor says Browns can win out, DeAngelo Williams shuts him down

AFC North: Terrelle Pryor says Browns can win out, DeAngelo Williams shuts him down

BY ERIC GARLAND, CSNMidatlantic.com 

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor’s Week 3 performance, where he racked up 144 receiving yards and one rushing touchdown, might have gotten him a little too excited for the rest of the season. 

Why, you might ask? According to an NFL.com article, he claimed the Browns can win out the rest of the season.

That’s a pretty tough task, and Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams didn’t hesitate to rib Pryor for the claim. 

“Maybe he was talking about Ohio State,” Williams tweeted. 

Ouch, burn. 

Pryor, of course, played quarterback for a dominant Ohio State team before converting to wide receiver in the NFL. During his time as a Buckeye, he lead the team to two Big Ten championships and a Rose Bowl championship in 2010. 

Williams’ tweet is only added insult, as the Browns are currently winless heading into Week 4 and have suffered an array of injuries to key players, including Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown and Corey Coleman.

Pryor’s positivity is certainly the attitude needed to start getting some wins in Cleveland, but Williams certainly isn’t buying it. 

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Fantasy Football: Week 4 position rankings

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USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 4 position rankings

Week 4 of the fantasy football season is here as are my positional rankings. Check back later in the week for updates as news shifts some players up, down or out.

For those seeking free agent help, check out the Week 4 Waiver Wire column, which includes options for those dealing with running back injuries and bye weeks.

Quarterbacks

1. Philip Rivers, SD
 
2.  Cam Newton, CAR
 
3.  Drew Brees, NO
 
4.  Andrew Luck, IND
 
5.  Matthew Stafford, DET
 
6.  Kirk Cousins, WAS
 
7.  Andy Dalton, CIN
 
8.  Carson Palmer, ARI
 
9.  Blake Bortles, JAC
 
10.  Derek Carr, OAK
 
11.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
 
12.  Joe Flacco, BAL
 
13.  Matt Ryan, ATL
 
14.  Russell Wilson, SEA
 
15.  Dak Prescott, DAL
 
16.  Trevor Siemian, DEN
 
17.  Eli Manning, NYG
 
18.  Tyrod Taylor, BUF
 
19.  Sam Bradford, MIN
 
20.  Ryan Tannehill, MIA
 
21.  Jameis Winston, TB
 
22.  Jimmy Garoppolo, NE
 
23.  Brian Hoyer, CHI
 
24.  Alex Smith, KC
 
25.  Brock Osweiler, HOU

Running Backs

1.  David Johnson, ARI
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT
 
3.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
 
4.  C.J. Anderson, DEN
 
5.  Melvin Gordon, SD
 
6.  Lamar Miller, HOU
 
7.  LeGarrette Blount, NE
 
8.  Mark Ingram, NO
 
9.  LeSean McCoy, BUF
 
10.  Todd Gurley, LA
 
11.  Carlos Hyde, SF
 
12.  DeMarco Murray, TEN
 
13.  Christine Michael, SEA
 
14.  Jeremy Hill, CIN
 
15.  Frank Gore, IND
 
16.  Spencer Ware, KC
 
17.  Charles Sims, TB
 
18.  Devonta Freeman, ATL
 
19.  Matt Jones, WAS
 
20.  Jordan Howard, CHI
 
21.  Latavius Murray, OAK
 
22.  Isaiah Crowell, CLE
 
23.  Matt Forte, NYJ
 
24.  Theo Riddick, DET
 
25.  Jerick McKinnon, MIN
 
26.  Tevin Coleman, ATL
 
27.  Giovani Bernard, CIN
 
28.  Orleans Darkwa, NYG
 
29.  Dwayne Washington, DET
 
30.  Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR
 
31.  Chris Ivory, JAC
 
32.  Terrance West, BAL
 
33.  T.J. Yeldon, JAC
 
34.  Kenyan Drake, MIA
 
35.  Duke Johnson, CLE
 
36.  Justin Forsett, BAL
 
37.  Matt Asiata, MIN
 
38.  Fozzy Whittaker, CAR
 
39.  DeAngelo Williams, PIT
 
40.  Derrick Henry, TEN
 
41.  Jay Ajayi, MIA
 
42.  Jamaal Charles, KC
 
43.  James White, NE
 
44.  Travaris Cadet, NO
 
45.  Chris Thompson, WAS
 
46.  Alfred Morris, DAL
 
47.  Robert Kelley, WAS
 
48.  Bilal Powell, NYJ
 
49.  Charcandrick West, KC
 
50.  Rashad Jennings, NYG

Wide Receivers

1.  Antonio Brown, PIT
 
2.  A.J. Green, CIN
 
3.  Julio Jones, ATL
 
4.  Odell Beckham Jr., NYG
 
5.  Allen Robinson, JAC
 
6.  DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
 
7.  Marvin Jones, DET
 
8.  Alshon Jeffery, CHI
 
9.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
 
10.  Travis Benjamin, SD
 
11.  T.Y. Hilton, IND
 
12.  Amari Cooper, OAK
 
13.  Kelvin Benjamin, CAR
 
14.  Dez Bryant, DAL
 
15.  Brandin Cooks, NO
 
16.  Mike Evans, TB
 
17.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN
 
18.  Jarvis Landry, MIAQ
 
19.  DeSean Jackson, WAS
 
20.  Julian Edelman, NE
 
21.  Stefon Diggs, MIN
 
22.  Doug Baldwin, SEA
 
23.  Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
 
24.  Jeremy Maclin, KC
 
25.  Michael Crabtree, OAK
 
26.  Willie Snead, NO
 
27.  Tyrell Williams, SD
 
28.  Sterling Shepard, NYG
 
29.  Eric Decker, NYJ
 
30.  Brandon Marshall, NYJ
 
31.  Terrelle Pryor, CLE
 
32.  Steve Smith, BAL
 
33.  Devante Parker, MIAQ
 
34.  Will Fuller, HOU
 
35.  Mike Wallace, BAL
 
36.  Michael Floyd, ARI
 
37.  Allen Hurns, JAC
 
38.  Jamison Crowder, WAS
 
39.  Sammy Watkins, BUF
 
40.  Golden Tate, DET
 
41.  Tavon Austin, LA
 
42.  Tajae Sharpe, TEN
 
43.  Tyler Lockett, SEA
 
44.  Cole Beasley, DAL
 
45.  Phillip Dorsett, IND
 
46.  Michael Thomas, NO
 
47.  Torrey Smith, SF
 
48.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL
 
49.  Victor Cruz, NYG
 
50.  Pierre Garcon, WAS

Tight Ends

1.  Greg Olsen, CAR
 
2.  Jordan Reed, WAS
 
3.  Rob Gronkowski, NE
 
4.  Travis Kelce, KC
 
5.  Eric Ebron, DET
 
6.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN
 
7.  Coby Fleener, NO
 
8.  Dennis Pitta, BAL
 
9.  Jason Witten, DAL
 
10.  Zach Miller, CHI
 
11.  Delanie Walker, TEN
 
12.  Dwayne Allen, IND
 
13.  Julius Thomas, JAC
 
14.  Jimmy Graham, SEA
 
15.  Gary Barnidge, CLE
 
16.  Jacob Tamme, ATL
 
17.  Hunter Henry, SD
 
18.  Martellus Bennett, NE
 
19.  Jack Doyle, IND
 
20.  Antonio Gates, SD
 
21.  Charles Clay, BUF
 
22.  Cameron Brate, TB
 
23.  Clive Walford, OAK
 
24.  Tyler Eifert, CIND
 
25.  Jesse James, PIT

Kickers

1.  Stephen Gostkowski, NE
 
2.  Adam Vinatieri, IND
 
3.  Chandler Catanzaro, ARI
 
4.  Justin Tucker, BAL
 
5.  Dan Bailey, DAL
 
6.  Steven Hauschka, SEA
 
7.  Graham Gano, CAR
 
8.  Josh Lambo, SD
 
9.  Brandon McManus, DEN
 
10.  Dustin Hopkins, WAS
 
11.  Matt Prater, DET
 
12.  Will Lutz, NO
 
13.  Chris Boswell, PIT
 
14.  Nick Novak, HOU
 
15.  Josh Brown, NYG
 
16.  Blair Walsh, MIN
 
17.  Matt Bryant, ATL
 
18.  Cairo Santos, KC
 
19.  Mike Nugent, CINQ
 
20.  Sebastian Janikowski, OAK

Defenses

1.  Arizona Cardinals, ARI
 
2.  Denver Broncos, DEN
 
3.  Seattle Seahawks, SEA
 
4.  Houston Texans, HOU
 
5.  New England Patriots, NE
 
6.  Minnesota Vikings, MIN
 
7.  Carolina Panthers, CAR
 
8.  Cincinnati Bengals, CIN
 
9.  New York Jets, NYJ
 
10.  Washington Redskins, WAS
 
11.  Kansas City Chiefs, KC
 
12.  Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
 
13.  Los Angeles Rams, LA
 
14.  New York Giants, NYG
 
15.  Buffalo Bills, BUF
 
16.  Detroit Lions, DET
 
17.  Baltimore Ravens, BAL
 
18.  Miami Dolphins, MIA
 
19.  Indianapolis Colts, IND
 
20.  Dallas Cowboys, DAL