Mystics come up short at the lottery

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Mystics come up short at the lottery

In a WNBA draft that many experts believe to have three game-changing players, the Washington Mystics will draft fourth.

The Mystics ended the year with the worst record in the WNBA at 5-29, and as a result, had the best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft lottery. But when the ping pong balls were pulled, the black cloud that seems to hang over the Mystics struck again.

Brittney Griner, the imposing center out of Baylor, is the consensus best player in the draft, and many Mystics fans hoped she would land in Washington. Behind Griner, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Delaware's Elena Della Donne are also considered elite players. But with the fourth overall pick, it is unlikely any of the three top talents land in D.C.

Talent remains at the fourth pick, and some of it has a local flavor.

Mystics analyst Christy Winters Scott identified three potential players the Mystics might take at No. 4: Georgetown's Sugar Rogers, Maryland's TiannaHawkins, or Ohio State's Taylar Hill.

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Redskins Playbook: Lots of moving parts with injuries on O-line, secondary

Redskins Playbook: Lots of moving parts with injuries on O-line, secondary

Significant injuries to the Redskins offensive line and defensive secondary will cause a number of position changes for the Redskins. When Washington gets on the practice field Wednesday at 1 p.m., and rain or shine, the team will look different after losing Kory Lichtensteiger, Shawn Lauvao, DeAngelo Hall and Bashaud Breeland. Here's what we'll be watching:

  1. Who's at left guard - Injuries to Lauvao and Lichtensteiger have a serious domino effect on the Redskins offensive line. Spencer Long is the backup to both men, and with the former Cornhusker at center, means left guard doesn't have a natural backup. Arie Kouandjio has been working for more than a year to be ready to play guard for Washington, and he might get the chance. The 'Skins also signed center John Sullivan, last of the Vikings, to the team on Tuesday. If and when Sullivan can get ready, he could allow Jay Gruden to move Long to guard.
  2. Corner store - Breeland's injury is not as severe as the offensive linemen's, and perhaps more important to the team, there is better depth at corner. Rookie Kendall Fuller is likely to see his first game action this Sunday against Cleveland, and the 'Skins can count on Greg Toler and Quinton Dunbar to have increased roles with Breeland out. Watching Fuller work in with the defense will be very interesting to see, as he's been working with the scout team for much of the early season.
  3. Safety button - D-Hall out for the year is a blow for Washington — no way around it. But expect lots more Will Blackmon at that spot. And Duke Ihenacho and even Deshazor Everett can provide increased snaps.

For live updates check out @JPFinlayCSN from the practice fields. 

MORE REDSKINS: WASHINGTON RAN ITS WAY TO VICTORY OVER GIANTS

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Stock Watch: Scherzer nearing the 20 win mark

Stock Watch: Scherzer nearing the 20 win mark

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see which player's stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 4-2

Team slash: .269/.339/.426

Team ERA: 5.17

Runs per game: 6.2

 

STOCK UP 

Max Scherzer, SP: 2-0, 12.2 IP, 18 K

Another start, another win for Scherzer, who continues to make his case for the NL Cy Young Award. In fact, the Nats have won the last nine starts he’s made, while he’s posted a 2.87 ERA and 69-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio over that span. In Sunday’s season finale, the 31-year-old right hander will get a shot to earn his 20th win, a feat that would put the finishing touch on a stellar second season in D.C.

Reynaldo Lopez, RP:  1-0, 5.1 IP, 6 K, 0 ER

Given the circumstances, Saturday’s outing by Lopez might have been the finest of his rookie season. Coming in relief of Joe Ross in the third inning, the 24-year-old flamethrower tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings against the Pirates on the night that clinched the NL East title for the Nats. The performance was so impressive that Dusty Baker said after he’d consider adding Lopez to the playoff roster as a long man.

STOCK DOWN

Yusmeiro Petit, RP: 2 GP, 0-1, 2.0 IP, 5 ER

The Nats have a little over a week to configure their 25-man playoff roster, and the hardest part of the process might be putting together the bullpen. As mentioned earlier, Baker is considering adding Lopez as a potential long man. If that’s the case, would it come at Petit’s expense?

Lucas Giolito, RP:  1 GP, 2.0 IP, 4 ER   

The Nats starting rotation — especially when healthy — was obviously one of the driving forces of the team’s NL East title. That said, one of the more disappointing developments of 2016 was Giolito not emerging like the club hoped he would this year. Whether it was in a starting role or out of the bullpen, the 22-year-old prospect never quite showed the elite fastball he was said to have in the minors. Instead, he's throwing his heater in the low 90s, not fooling anyone in The Show. Of course, there's plenty of time for Giolito to progress and become the top-line starter the Nats expect him to be someday. But for now, there seems to be a larger-than-expected gap between what he is and what he could be. 

[MORE: DODGERS SET ROTATION FOR PLAYOFF SERIES AGAINST NATIONALS]