From Comcast SportsNetPHOENIX (AP) -- Johnny Cueto leads the majors in wins and has his sights set even higher.Cueto scattered four hits over seven innings for his 17th victory and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Tuesday night."All I can promise is to try and keep going because I want to win 20 games," Cueto said through a translator. "I felt better as the game went on. I was able to gather more strength and continue."Cueto (17-4) gave up two runs, struck out one and walked five for his eighth victory in nine decisions. The right-hander lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.48."He's feeling it every time he goes out there," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run single and Todd Frazier added a two-run triple for the Reds, who won for the third time in four games and stretched their lead in the NL Central to seven games over St. Louis.Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and Aroldis Chapman closed it out for his 33rd save and 25th straight, tied with Texas reliever Joe Nathan for the longest active streak in the majors.Wade Miley (14-9) allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five straight and seven of nine."The first couple of innings everything was up," Miley said. "I was able to make the adjustment, but it didn't work out."Arizona opened a 1-0 lead in the first when Gerardo Parra doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kubel.But the Reds rallied in the second and flipped the momentum with a long at-bat.Frazier led off the inning with a single and Miley got ahead of Scott Rolen 1-2. Rolen then fouled off two pitches, took a ball, fouled off two more, took a third ball and fouled off five pitches in a row before drawing a 15-pitch walk."I'd have rather singled on the first pitch," Rolen said.Baker thought the battle affected Arizona's rookie left-hander."That took a whole inning out of him," Baker said. "Foul off a pitch, foul off a pitch -- he was trying everything. That takes a lot out of a pitcher."Chris Heisey singled to load the bases and Frazier scored on a wild pitch before Hanigan lined a two-run single to center for a 3-1 lead.John McDonald reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a double to left by Parra in the fifth to pull the Diamondbacks to 3-2.Frazier tripled home Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick in the eighth against Matt Lindstrom, who was making his Arizona debut after being traded from Baltimore for Joe Saunders on Sunday."We were just up the one run so that little cushion was helpful," Frazier said.NOTES:Phillips stole second in the eighth, his 11th stolen base in 12 attempts. ... Miley needed 54 pitches to get through the first two innings but threw only 53 over his final five. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos (10-4) will look to bounce back from a rough outing when he pitches Wednesday against LHP Patrick Corbin (5-5). Latos allowed seven runs and nine hits Friday against St. Louis for his first loss since July 18. Corbin will be the third straight rookie the Diamondbacks send to the mound.
Gruden is looking for Cousins to become a Redskins coach on the field
While it’s still possible for the Redskins to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins, team president Bruce Allen has said that no talks have taken place and coach Jay Gruden is looking forward to having Cousins at the helm for the third straight year.
“He’s getting ready, he’s excited about the season, been in contact about what he wants to work on,” said Gruden on Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “We’ve addressed that so when OTAs hit we can hit hard. It’s great to have a guy who’s been in the system for two years now can just jump right in to hard core situational work, just really fine tune the other things like cadence, just the little things you want to fine tune without starting from scratch. He can be a big part in the teaching process also with the young players.”
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Actually, Cousins has been “in the system” for all three years that Gruden has been the head coach in Washington. He started five game in 2014 before turnover problems sent him to the bench. The following seasons Gruden named Cousins the starter at the end of August and he has played every meaningful snap since then.
Cousins has played well, passing for over 9,000 yards and leading the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1997-1997. Gruden will be looking for more out of his quarterback, who will be making $24 million this year if he plays on the franchise tag.
“In a perfect world, you want your quarterback to be an extension of the coaching staff,” said Gruden. “I think that’s why you look at the great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, they’re extensions of the coaching staff. The coach doesn’t have to go out and tell everybody what to do all the time. Sometimes the quarterback can just go right out and whisper it to them. It helps that we’re saying the same thing and speaking the same language and that takes time.
“It’s not perfect yet but being in the third year of the system I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable in that role. I hope he does because we can’t see everything out there on the field all the time and it’s good to have the corrections come within the team and not just from the coaches all the time.”
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Although Cousins’ future with the team is very uncertain—even if he is around this year there is a good chance he will be able to leave as a free agent in 2018—the quarterback and Gruden will do the only thing that they can do. The will get ready for the coming season and let the chips fall where they may after that.
Gruden pointed out that Cousins is not the only player on the roster with just one year left on his deal. Indeed, WR Terrelle Pryor, OT Morgan Moses, CB Bashaud Breeland, and C Spencer Long are all set to be free agents a year from now.
“We’re going to have a number of guys on one-year contracts and I fully anticipate them coming in and working their tails off and being prepared and doing everything they can to win a championship,” said Gruden. That’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the year we’ll come back to the negotiating table to try to get something done. But ideally, you’d like to have everybody under long-term contracts and that’s obviously not possible.”
Gruden confirmed that Cousins was in Tampa yesterday along with some of his receivers including Pryor, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder getting in some work with Gruden’s brother Jon. It looks like it will be business as usual unless and until something happens change things.
John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 10:30 p.m.
TV: CSN+ (coverage begins at 10 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
Fight to the finish
The Wizards locked up their first division title in 38 years on Tuesday night by beating the Lakers, but more important in the short-term is the fact they held off the Raptors for yet another day. The Wizards are third in the East and just one game ahead of Toronto, the hottest team in the conference with a six-game winning streak. The Wizards have won four straight to maintain their standing.
The Wizards' road is also about to get a lot tougher. They play at the Clippers, then at the Jazz and Warriors. All three teams rank in the top five in the West by record. If they can keep rolling, they could put some pressure on the Cavs who are 1 1/2 games ahead in second.
Rematch of one of year's best games
If Wednesday night plays out anything like the first time these two teams met this season, then we're all in for a treat. It was Dec. 18 at the Verizon Center when the Wizards edged the Clippers 117-110 behind Bradley Beal's 41 points, just one off his career-high. The Wizards shot 53.1 percent that day and went 10-of-19 (52.6%) from three. Markieff Morris had one of his best games of the season with 23 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Morris will be key in the rematch on Wednesday because of his defense against Blake Griffin in the first meeting. Griffin had 26 points in the game, but none in the fourth quarter as Morris effectively shut him down.
That win was arguably one of the best of the Wizards' entire season, and at the time it was certainly their best of the year so far. The Wizards were 11-14 before that matchup and since have gone 35-14. The Clippers at the time were one of the best teams in the NBA at 20-7. They are exactly 24-24 since.
Clippers battling inconsistency
The Clippers have won four of their last six games and currently hold the fifth spot in the Western Conference, but they have experienced some mixed results lately. Two of those four wins have come against the Cavaliers and Jazz, which are among the very best teams in the NBA. But their two losses have been at the hands of the Mavs and Kings, two of basketball's worst teams.
Defense hasn't been the issue lately for the Clips, who have held opponents to just 97 points per game in their last six contests. But in three of their last four losses, they have failed to eclipse the 100-point mark on offense.
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