Home-and-home means more Mystics, Storm

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Home-and-home means more Mystics, Storm

For the second time in 48 hours, the Mystics face the Seattle Storm. For the first time in four games, Washington will play on its Verizon Center court. Based on how the locals played on their just completed three-game road trip including a loss Sunday in the Pacific Northwest, the Mystics will take any advantage they can get. Games in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle ended the way all five-road games have gone for the Mystics (2-8) this season: with a loss. On this venture, the trio of setbacks came by an average margin of 17 points, the exact difference in the 72-55 loss to the Storm (5-7).Now the Mystics seek revenge as they open a four-game home stand on Tuesday night.
Washington lost for the seventh time in eight games despite Crystal Langhorne scoring 21 points on 9 of 15 field goal attempts. Her teammates in the same game, 13 of 48 (27.1 percent). Combined with scoring only nine points in the second quarter and the Storm shooting 56 percent from the floor, Washington lost its third straight to Seattle and its seventh straight in Seattle.Adding to the frustration, the loss came in a game where the often-miscuing Mystics only turned the ball over 12 timesand helda 13-2 offensive rebounding advantage. We did take care of the ball and took 15 more shots than them, but we just struggled to put the ball in the hole, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said.The struggles offensively were indeed a team effort.Michelle Snow and Monique Currie combined for 41 points in the one tight game on the road swing, a 3-point loss at Phoenix. Four days later, the frontcourt duo failed to score a single point.Snows four-game tear since entering the starting lineup ended with a thud as the center missed her only field goal attempt in 17 minutes of play. After making of half of her 16 shots en route to a 20 point outing against the Mercury on Wednesday, Currie missed all six of her attempts and was scoreless on Sunday.The starting backcourt of Matee Ajavon and Jasmine Thomas finished with only one turnover compared to five assists, but they also missed 14 of 19 field goal attempts. Tough game for us, said Langhorne. I felt like they controlled the pace the entire game. Our offense really wasnt clicking and things just didnt go our way. The struggles offensively have also been a constant throughout the season. The Mystics are averaging a league-low 68.6 points, just below the Storm's 68.66.Sue Bird and Ann Wauters led the surging Storm, winners of four straight, with 14 points each. Former Mystics forward Katie Smith scored nine points and had a game-high plusminus of 20.I think were playing better, but I think there is still more to go, said Bird, a member of the U.S. womens Olympic basketball team headed to London this summer.Rather than face the Storm earlier in the season when they lost six of seven games, the Mystics get a team finding its stride. At least now, Langhorne and company know what is coming up.Yes, its always nice to go back home so hopefully we can pull out some wins, Langhorne said. We know what to expect (on Tuesday) so well be ready. The Mystics only two wins this season came at home including a victory in their last game at the Verizon Center, 67-66 over Indiana on June 15. With a victory Tuesday, the Mystics will have won conseutive home games for the first time since winning five straight closingthe 2010 season regular season.

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Miley hopes he can get Orioles even closer to postseason

Miley hopes he can get Orioles even closer to postseason

Tonight's Game:

Baltimore Orioles (88-72) vs. New York Yankees (83-77), Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y., 4:05 p.m. 

Starting pitchers:

Wade Miley (9-13, 5.40) vs. Luis Severino (3-8, 5.75)

Keys to the Game:

Can Miley follow up on his magnificent start of a week ago, when he allowed one run in 8 2/3 innings? 

Can the Orioles secure a wild-card berth today? With a win and loss by Toronto or Detroit, they're in. 

News and Notes:

Miley is 0-3 with a 5.77 ERA in six starts against the Yankees. 

Miley was away from the team during the Toronto series for the birth of a son. 

Current Orioles are batting .174 against Severino.

Orioles pitchers allowed three hits or fewer four times in September after recording only one game in the first five months of the season.

According to Elias, Jonathan Schoop is the first Orioles player to break a RBI-less streak of 15 or more games with five RBIs since Chico Salmon drove in six after 19 games without an RBI on Aug. 16, 1969.

RELATED: One step closer for Orioles

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Nats weight home field advantage against staying healthy as playoffs near

Nats weight home field advantage against staying healthy as playoffs near

Though they’re still fighting for home field advantage in next week’s division series, the Nationals understand they’re in a strange part of their season.  

Sure, playoff seeding is plenty important. These last regular season games count, et cetera et cetera. But Washington already clinched the NL East title, and already knows its playoff opponent is going to be the Los Angeles Dodgers. So it’s not a surprise that players are willing to admit how difficult it can be to keep their foot on the gas pedal these days.

“Once you win the division, there’s that exhale, that sigh of relief,” said Jayson Werth after Friday night’s 7-4 loss to the Miami Marlins.”..You kind of let off the throttle a little bit.”

And when a team takes that approach, health becomes the top priority. It’s a mindset that was on full display Friday night when Werth was removed from the game in the seventh inning as a precaution due to back and side tightness.

 “We can't afford to lose anybody else,” manager Dusty Baker said. “So we decided that, it was wet, on the chilly side, and I decided I couldn't take a chance on him being injured too.”

Werth said that team trainers ruled out a strain or a pull, and that he’d be surprised if he wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday afternoon.  

Still, any injury the Nats suffer this time of the year feels magnified, especially given the last week: Bryce Harper jammed his left thumb, Wilson Ramos tore his ACL and Daniel Murphy was shut down until the playoffs with a glute strain. Not to mention that Stephen Strasburg will likely miss the club’s entire October run.

“The biggest thing is right now is to get everybody healthy for the postseason,” Stephen Drew said. “I think that's key. We got some guys out and hopefully we'll be ready for the playoffs.”

So while every team says it’d like to head into the postseason firing on all cylinders, the Nats’ case shows that it’s not always realistic. Bottling up momentum and carrying into the biggest games of the year is the ideal, of course. But sometimes heading into the tournament with all your horses in tact works too — seeding be damned.

“Obviously home field advantage is important to us, and we want that,” Werth said. “But at the same time, we also feel like we’ve done our job a little bit. So there’s a balance there.....you don’t want to do something where you can put yourself in jeopardy, where you can really get hurt.”