Any thoughts of the month-long Olympic break being a panacea for all that ailed the Washington Mystics during the first half of the season is quickly evaporating. Perhaps returning to their home turf changes the momentum for the Eastern Conferences last place team; it certainly cannot hurt.Dealt back-to-back road games against likely playoff teams opening the second half of the season, the Mystics (4-16) fanned the flames in consecutive. Washington committed 34 turnovers in the two games, and the lowest scoring team in the WNBA failed to crack the 70-point plateau in either contest. Fridays 98-69 drubbing against Minnesota was Washington second-largest margin of defeat this season.None of the players participated in the London games. The time off was used for plenty of practice sessions. The extra work is not showing through just yet."It was tough, but you know we had our whole team here, forward Crystal Langhorne said of the back-to-back scenario. We didn't really have anybody at the Olympics so we had a lot of practice time. We still don't have any excuses for the way we played."One sort of excuse the playing on the road thing goes away Sunday when the Mystics host the Chicago Sky (4 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). Thats a good thing because there is plenty to correct elsewhere."We turned the ball over too much here, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said following the loss to the Lynx. We had 19 turnovers and they scored 32 points off our turnovers. So that's an obvious area we need improvement on, and really our interior defense and transition defense. I mean, they scored 54 points in the paint, a lot of that came off our turnovers.Washington stands 0-2 against the Chicago this season, including a 69-57 season-opening loss at the Verizon Center.The Mystics roster underwent a major overhaul this offseason with seven newcomers doting the opening night lineup. With so many changes and a small pre-season window with which to mesh, the Mystics used the midseason break as an on-court gelling opportunity, or so they hoped."We worked on our different defenses. We worked on taking care of the ball, and today it didn't show at all what we've been working on as a team, said Langhorne, who scored 12 points against Minnesota, matching Monique Currie and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton for team-high honors.The blowout loss against Minnesota provided Lacey an opportunity to keep her younger and lesser-used players in the lineup. Second-year guard Jasmine Thomas started and scored six points, but missed seven of nine shots and committed three turnovers. First-round pick Natalie Novosel played 21 minutes and doled out a team-best four assists. Wisdom-Hylton sank 5 of 6 field goal attempts and grabbed five rebounds.We used this opportunity to play a lot of our young players and give them some game experience, Lacey said. So we think that will help us down the road."Despite Gold Medalists Sylvia Fowles and Swin Cash on the roster, the Sky (8-10) are enduring their own struggles, having lost five straight and nine of 10 games. The latest setback, 82-76 at home on Friday against Atlanta despite 13 points and six rebounds from Fowles, the leagues leading rebounder with 12 boards per game.In two games against Washington, the 6-foot-6 Fowles averaged 21 points, 14 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.Monique Currie topped the Mystics scorers with 15 points ina 65-63 loss in Chicago on June 1.
Orioles 4, Blue Jays 0
Winner: Jimenez (8-12)
Loser: Stroman (9-10)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Ubaldo Jimenez allowed just one hit in 6 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out five.
The only hit was to leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera.
Jimenez, who recorded just one out and allowed five first-inning runs on June 12 in his last start at Rogers Centre, retired 11 straight at one point.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Cleveland and Detroit were rained out, possibly complicating the Orioles logistical plans. That game will be made up on Monday if it has a bearing on the wild-card or playoff seeding.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Orioles and Blue Jays are tied for the top wild-card spot. They hold a 1 ½ game lead over the Tigers. If the Orioles win their final three games, they’re guaranteed a playoff spot.
If Toronto and Baltimore tie, the Blue Jays host Tuesday’s wild-card game because they won the season series, 10-9.
BRACH ENDS IT: Donnie Hart recorded one out, and Brad Brach pitched two shutout innings.
PRODUCTIVE OUTS: The Orioles’ first two runs scored on outs. Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly in the first inning scored J.J. Hardy.
Chris Davis scored the second run when Michael Bourn hit into a fielder’s choice.
KIM AGAIN: A night after hitting a two-run, ninth-inning home run, Hyun Soo Kim drove in the Orioles’ third run in the seventh inning.
RARE STEAL: Michael Bourn stole a base for the second straight game. Bourn is now tied for second on the club with two steals. The club leader, Joey Rickard, has four, and hasn’t played in more than two months.
Bourn’s steal was important because he scored on Kim’s single.
TRUMBO STRETCHES: Mark Trumbo stretched a single into a double in the eighth, and he scored the fourth run on a single by Matt Wieters.
BAUTISTA CAN’T SOLVE JIMENEZ: Jose Bautista was 0-for-3 against Jimenez, and in his career, he’s 3-for-38 against him.
WHAT’S NEXT? The Orioles travel to Yankee Stadium for the final three games of the regular season. Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.63) faces Michael Pineda (6-11, 4.68).
Ryan Kerrigan joined CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay on Thursday evening to take your questions on Facebook Live, presented by Paisano's Pizza.
What did they get to? Here's a sampling of the questions:
- Does some deep-down part of him wish Robert Griffin III were playing this week when Cleveland comes to town?
- If the Redskins defense were a pizza topping, which would they be?
- Who is the hardest running back to take down?
- How did he get the idea for his sack dance?
That, plus many more, were answered in the nearly 25-minute conversation. Watch it all in the video player below: