Padres nearly had their first ever no-hitter

821893.jpg

Padres nearly had their first ever no-hitter

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Edinson Volquez has only his glove to blame for falling just short of the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history. Volquez threw a one-hitter -- an infield single in the fourth inning that bounced off his glove -- for the first complete game and shutout of his career as the Padres beat the Houston Astros 1-0 on Thursday night. Alexi Amarista doubled and Logan Forsythe singled in the first inning for the Padres, who won three of the four games in the series and have won five of six overall. "I had a few in the minor leagues, but right now that doesn't count," Volquez said of complete games. "To do it in the major leagues, complete game, one-hit shutout, that was good." Volquez shut down the Astros except for the infield single by Matt Downs, who hit a comebacker to the left side of the mound. Third baseman Chase Headley and Volquez converged on the ball but Volquez opted to attempt to snare the ball but dropped it. Volquez did not attempt to throw out Downs at first base. "I've got to work on my backhand," Volquez said. "I was supposed to catch that ball. I've got fielding practice tomorrow, I've got to work on that. He hit it in the right spot." Downs was just glad to avoid history. "You look back and you're glad he didn't no-hit you," Downs said. In becoming the first Padres pitcher to throw a one-hitter at Petco Park, Volquez struck out five and walked three, throwing 118 pitches, 76 for strikes. It was the Padres' second complete game of the season and sixth shutout. "He's been pretty good lately," Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "Sometimes the walks kill him, but that was one thing he didn't do tonight was walk too many guys. It seemed like every time he fell behind he came back, so that's something he needs to keep doing. He's a really good pitcher when he allows himself to be." Volquez is the third Padrer to throw a shutout at Petco Park. Jake Peavy did so on Aug. 23, 2005 also against Houston, and Ismael Valdez did on June 5, 2004, against Milwaukee. "A couple of hiccups with maybe a couple of walks, but his stuff was good," Padres manager Bud Black said. "They didn't hit many balls hard. He was in command of the game. Those are tough games, because when the score is 1-0, every pitch is critical." The win improved Volquez's career record against the Astros to 6-0. "I think we had four or five well-hit balls, right on the button -- and that happens," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "At the same time, you would like to get something started against him." Rookie Lucas Harrell (7-7), who threw a shutout against San Diego on June 27 in Houston, gave up four hits and struck out six while walking one in seven innings. "With our offense, I feel like we can score enough runs if I can keep it close," Harrell said. Amarista, playing in center field for the injured Cameron Maybin, has hit safely in 16 of 17 games, batting .387 over that stretch. Forsythe nearly started a triple play in the second inning. Scott Maxwell hit a line drive that the second baseman leaped to catch. He threw to Everth Cabrera to double up J.D. Martinez at second and Cabrera threw to first but Downs dived to beat the ball to the base and prevent the triple play. Houston is batting .197 over the past 15 games and the club has had five hits or fewer 10 times in its last 18 games. The Astros were the victim when Matt Cain threw a perfect game on July 13 in San Francisco. "It's going to turn here, and it's going to turn here quick," Mills said. "We're looking forward to it turning tomorrow night in Arizona." This game marked the last non-interleague meeting between the Astros and Padres as Houston will move to the American League West in 2013. NOTES: Mills said C Jason Castro, who is on the DL, had "really good range of motion" after his swollen knee was drained Wednesday. ... Maybin was out of the lineup for the second straight game because of a sore wrist. Black said he doubts Maybin will be a candidate for the DL ... Bud Norris will pitch for Houston when they open a three-game series in Arizona on Friday against Trevor Cahill (7-8, 3.71). San Diego's Jason Marquis (2-5, 3.62) will pitch in the opener of a three-game series against Colorado's Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 3.79).

Quick Links

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!