Final second proving worst second for Mystics

782184.png

Final second proving worst second for Mystics

Analysis of the Washington Mystics last six quarters indicates theoverhauled roster is starting to gel, the overall play improved.However, their last second defensive execution as in literally, the finalsecond - needs some work.The Mystics (1-3) enter Sundays road contest against the Connecticut Sun(3-1) having lost two straight games just before the game clock ran out. On Friday night, Washington led Chicago by eight points with less than threeminutes remaining and 63-58 with 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Two turnoversand a missed shot later the lead was no more. With the game tied, Sky centerSylvia Fowles scored the game-winning layup with 0.2 seconds as the Mysticsfell 65-63. That stomach-punch of a setback came after Wednesday's similarly ill-fatedresult against reigning WNBA champion Minnesota. The Mystics rallied from 24points down at home and led twice in the closing minutes before allowing theLynx a put back with one second remaining.There is a positive spin to offer, especially after opening the season withtwo subpar outings even though one came in a win. The ferocious second halfrally against the Lynx nearly turned epic and the effort carried over forstretches against the Sky. Of course, so did the losing."We're getting better. We just had some breakdowns at the end of thegame, Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne told reporters following the loss tothe Sky. We were up six, eight points. We just needed to close the game atthat point but we didn't."After starting the season with a week gap between their first two games,Sundays tilt will be the Mystics third in five days. Getting Langhorne, theMystics leading scorer last season, more involved in the offense would go along way toward getting a win against the potent Sun. Last season Washington lost all four games to itsEastern Conference rival.The all-star forward scored 12 points against the Sky and has reached doublefigures in all four games this season. However, Langhornes 13.5 points pergame average is nearly five points below her 2011 average and ranks third onthe team this season.Even though the former University of Maryland star didnt pass the buckregarding her down production -things aren't going well for me Langhornesfield goal and free throw percentages are in line with her career numbers.Instead, look to her number of shots as an indicator. Last season, Langhorneaveraged 13.7 field goal attempts per game. This season, 9.5. The Sun are having no problem getting the ball to their top three scorers,all former University of Connecticut stars. Center Tina Charles averages adouble-double with 20.5 points and 11 rebounds while guard Renee Montgomery(16.3) and forward Asjha Jones (14.0) handle the perimeter production. Despite receiving 20 and 12 from Charles on Friday, the Sun fell to 85-72 athome game to the undefeated Lynx.Monique Currie, out most of the 2011 season with a knee injury, scored ateam-high 15 points against Chicago and leads Washington in scoring this seasonwith 14.3 points.

Quick Links

Harper honors Ledecky in post-game celebration

Harper honors Ledecky in post-game celebration

Bryce Harper always talks about loving Washington, D.C. and after winning another NL East crown, he honored one of the local legends from the Rio games.

Ledecky was one of the stars of the Olympics and the Bethesda resident appears to have given Harper a swimcap to celebrate clinching the NL East.

Quick Links

Miley is magnificent as Orioles move up in playoff hunt

Miley is magnificent as Orioles move up in playoff hunt

BALTIMORE—Wade Miley wanted that complete game. He walked off the mound one out short of it, but with the satisfaction that he’d showed the Orioles why they traded for him nearly two months ago. 

In Miley’s first nine Orioles starts, there was only one win. Not only did he get a solid one on Saturday night, but his performance helped push the Orioles back into the second wild-card spot.

Miley allowed one run on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings, matching his career high with 11 strikeouts and not walking a batter in the Orioles’ 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks before 40,610 at Oriole Park.

Combined with the Detroit Tigers’ 7-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon, the Orioles moved past Detroit and lead them by a half-game. 

Recently, Miley talked with Orioles pitching great Scott McGregor, and McGregor, who is still in the organization had some advice. 

“We just talked about if there is such a thing as trying too hard. ‘Try easy’ is what he told me. That kind of just stuck,” Miley said. “Rather than trying to be max effort out there every time, just got to relax and execute pitches,” Miley said. 

Miley (9-13) was rolling until Brandon Drury’s double scored Paul Goldschmidt with two outs in the ninth. 

After Miley received his warm ovation, the former Diamondback looked over at Goldschmidt and showed him his middle finger, which was caught on television. 

Miley began his post-game remarks by apologizing and expressing his admiration for Goldschmidt, who had three of the seven hits against him.

Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t pleased to take Miley out, and replace him with Tyler Wilson, who recorded the final out. The fans loudly booed the decision.

“They certainly weren’t cheering me. I was thinking about flipping it to Tyler about halfway across the outfield and walk off with him. I didn’t think I had enough arm to reach Tyler,” Showalter said. 

Miley’s wife is due to give birth to their first child within the next two weeks, and he appreciated the fan support.

“That’s kind of what we play for. That’s the reaction you want. Yu obviously want to go out there and do good and do your job and it worked out tonight,” Miley said. 

Mark Trumbo, whose 45th home run in the fifth inning gave the Orioles a 6-0 lead, played with Miley in Arizona, and empathized with his former teammate, pointing out a few starts back that it’s difficult to be traded during the season. 

“I’ve seen him a lot. I’ve seen him a lot more than most people in this room. I know what he’s capable of,” Trumbo said. “I’ve seen when he was going well. This is what you can expect for him. Tremendous tempo, he was working in and out. He had all his pitches going. That was just a great job tonight.”

The Orioles (84-71) scored a run in the first off Robbie Ray (8-14) when Manny Machado’s single scored Adam Jones. 

Matt Wieters led off the second with a drive to right that Yasmany Tomas couldn’t handle, and Wieters was on third with a double and the error. He scored on J.J. Hardy’s fly ball. 

Trey Mancini became the third player in major league history to homer in his first three starts in the fourth inning, and the Orioles lead stretched to 5-0 on Chris Davis’ two-run single. 

The Diamondbacks’ Carlos Quentin (2006) and Colorado’s Trevor Story (2016) are the other players to homer in their first three at-bats. 

“It’s been incredible, you know? I could never imagine it happening this way, and it’s still hard to believe. A week ago, I was down in Florida prepared for this, but it’s cool, a week later, with everything that’s happened, to be here in Baltimore and to contribute to it, to a postseason run,” Mancini said. 

A night before, Showalter used nearly all of his top-tier relievers: Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Mychal Givens and O’Day in the 12-inning win. 

Miley’s deep start enabled Showalter to rest his core as well as Oliver Drake and Tommy Hunter, who also pitched Friday night, and Donnie Hart, who didn’t. 

We got to the point where three guys, maybe four, three for sure we were not going to push the envelope on tonight. Not that one day is going make that much difference, but with the day game tomorrow, if we had to push the envelope on them we’d really be short tomorrow,” Showalter said. 

NOTES: The Orioles have 13 wins in interleague play, the most in club history. … Jones walked twice. His 38 walks set a career-high. … Braden Shipley (4-4, 5.49) faces Dylan Bundy (9-6, 4.13) on Sunday afternoon in the final home game of the regular season.