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Old 10-10-2018, 07:06 AM   #1
officialsbaseball

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Jul 2018
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Default Redskins prepare better than years past.
Jake Arrieta and Gio Gonzalez should be happy to see the calendar flip to July.

They’ll hope to put a rough June behind them when they face off Sunday in the finale of a four-game set between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals. The Phillies will try to win the series in the 1:35 p.m. matinee.

Arrieta (5-6 Kyle Okposo Jersey , 3.54 ERA) had a 6.66 ERA in five June starts. Opponents hit .305 with a .907 OPS against him in the month, and the veteran right-hander allowed at least three earned runs in each outing.

In his last start, Arrieta gave up six runs (three earned) in five innings against the New York Yankees on nine hits, two of which were homers.

“The ball is getting hit, that’s it. Making mistakes, too many mistakes,” Arrieta told MLB.com after the start. “I was throwing quality breaking balls early in the count and then when I needed to go back to a similar spot or a little bit lower in the strike zone or out of the strike zone, I just put it too much in the zone and they hit it. It’s a pretty simple explanation.”

Arrieta had a 0.90 ERA in five starts during May, and he gave up just one run and two hits in six innings against the Nationals on May 6. Arrieta is 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals.

Gonzalez (6-5, 3.68) had an even worse June. The 32-year-old lefty had an 8.44 ERA in five starts during the month. In three of those outings Brady Skjei Jersey , Gonzalez gave up at least four earned runs and failed to pitch more than four innings.

Gonzalez had his worst start of 2018 the last time he took the mound. He gave up six runs and walked five batters in one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

“It wasn’t my night. I couldn’t get a strike,” Gonzalez, who missed the strike zone with 33 of his 62 pitches, told reporters after the outing. “Sometimes it happens. It’s part of the game.”

Gonzalez will be facing the Phillies for the 25th time in his 11-year big league career. He is 11-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP against the Nationals’ divisional rival. Gonzalez threw five scoreless innings against Philadelphia on May 4.

The Phillies, who are 5-4 against the Nationals this season, have won two of the first three games against their divisional foe in the series. At 44-37, they are two games ahead of Washington for second place in the National League East. The Phillies were 28-53 through 81 games a season ago.

The Phillies hope Odubel Herrera’s bat heats up. The center fielder homered in Saturday’s 3-2 victory after going 2-for-28 in his previous seven games. Herrera is hitting .286 on the season with 14 homers and 46 RBIs.

The Nationals, meanwhile, went 9-16 in June and are 42-39 at the halfway mark of the season.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-9)

OPEN CAMP: July 26, Richmond Authentic Marcus Davenport Jersey Elite Womens Youth Big&Tall Nike New Orleans Saints NFL Shop Free Shipping , Virginia

LAST YEAR: Injuries, ineffective running game and porous run defense derailed playoff hopes. Nine starters were on injured reserve by end of season, including left tackle Trent Williams, tight end Jordan Reed, and linebacker Mason Foster. Quarterback Kirk Cousins surpassed 4,000 yards for third straight year, threw for 27 touchdowns and ran for four, but had three interceptions in season finale that turned out to be final game with team. Blowing 31-16 lead at New Orleans in November ended realistic postseason hopes before Thanksgiving. Receiver Josh Doctson showed hope for future with 35 catches for 502 yards and team-high six TDs. First-round pick Jonathan Allen flashed elite ability on defensive line before foot injury halted season five games in. Defense allowed 348 yards and 24 points per game. Offense couldn't keep up while down several key weapons.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: QB Alex Smith, WR Paul Richardson, LB Pernell McPhee Authentic Paul Worrilow Jersey Elite Womens Youth Big&Tall Nike Philadelphia Eagles NFL Shop Free Shipping , CB Orlando Scandrick, rookie RB Derrius Guice, rookie DL Daron Payne.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: Cousins, WR Terrelle Pryor, WR Ryan Grant, TE Niles Paul, C Spencer Long, LB Will Compton, CB Kendall Fuller, CB Bashaud Breeland.

CAMP NEEDS: Sort out crowded field of running backs that includes Guice Brett Favre Jersey , previous starter Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson, and 2017 fourth-round pick Samaje Perine. Guice has talent and pedigree to emerge as feature back. Smith must get on same page with coach Jay Gruden and develop chemistry with Reed, Doctson, Jamison Crowder and rest of targets after years of them working with Cousins. Williams will get opportunity to show he's healthy after surgery to repair torn tendon in right knee. On defense, Scandrick will compete with Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar for starting spot along with Josh Norman. Three days of joint workouts with Jets after two camps without outside competition should help Redskins prepare better than years past.

EXPECTATIONS: Winning season is realistic if Smith is as good as or better than Cousins and running game gets on track. Defense should be better with Alabama products Allen and Payne and return of Brown. Best case is competition for playoff spot behind NFC East favorite Philadelphia, while worst case is significant step back that endangers Gruden's long-term job security.

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