Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Smorgasbord 8-27

  • Nats drop two of three to Atlanta. The Nats lost those last two games to Atlanta by a combined score of 23-7. Now at 55-75, the Nats are 25 games back of the Mets in the NL East. With 32 games remaining, the Nats elimination number in the NL East is 9, so the Nationals could be eliminated from the NL East race this week. They are 11.5 games behind the Reds in the Wild Card chase and their elimination number from the playoffs is 21. Only the Royals, Pirates, Devil Rays, and Cubs (who are currently playing the Cardinals) have a worse record than the Nats.
  • I know I've been saying "it's only preseason" and while the most important part of the preseason to keep your valuable starters from getting hurt, you also don't want to embarrass yourself. Now we can go into how the third preseason game is the most important, but I really don't think it is a sign that the Skins are overrated or won't be any good. No, I don't think Joe Gibbs is going to win his fourth Super Bowl this year. Gibbs has always been a coach more concerned with Week 1 than whatever preseason game may be up next, so while Redskins fans have a right to be concerned, there's no reason to hit the panic button or write this team off. On the injury front, it doesn't look like anybody was seriously hurt last night other than a few bruised egos.
  • Equally ugly last night was D.C. United's blow up against the Galaxy. There are 32 soccer games and teams will often come out flat. Though a case could be made that D.C. has done that more and more recently as they have failed to win their last 5 league games (2 loses, 3 ties since beating Columbus at RFK on July 15th). D.C. is clearly showing signs of fatigue and it isn't going to get any better by playing in the U.S. Open Cup Semi-final vs. Chicago as a result of their 3-1 over the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night.
  • A few other thoughts on last night's game though, first I hope that Landon Donovan gets fined by MLS for his taunting of the D.C. United crowd. Alecko Eskandarian was fined for his spit-take. I can't see how actually taunting the crowd goes unpunished. And speaking of Landon Donovan, where was that type of play over in Germany? I might have refrained from that type of rhetorical cheap shot had Landon not said that he's content with being a big frog on a very small lily pad. Whoever the next U.S. National Team head coach is will have to either light a fire under Landon or cut him loose. Finally, could somebody please explain to me why D.C. United still insists on bringing the ball up the middle of the field? And when they actually use the flanks to advance the ball deep, why isn't anybody filling the center looking for the crossing passes? D.C. United right now is playing like the Caps did in the late 1990's early 2000's. They're a collection of players who play like they've never played together before in their lives. It is rather frustrating to watch.
  • All that being said though, D.C. United is now 13-3-8 with 47 points. With 8 MLS games remaining, D.C. United's magic number for a playoff spot is actually 4 points with Kansas City's 1-0 win over Dallas earlier tonight. (I apologize for the mathematical goof last week.) Their magic number for the Eastern Conference Title is still 11 points. And the magic number to lock up the MLS Supporter's Shield is now 19 points because of the Dallas loss tonight.
  • Darren Dreger of reports that the NHL will ratify Malkin's contract with the Penguins. Should this be true, the NHL is making a big mistake here. First of all, by ignoring RSL contracts the NHL puts in danger future IIHF transfer agreements. Secondly, the NHL is standing on shaky ground domestically as well. Metallurg has vowed to sue and it is tough to see howMalkin can show that he has fulfilled his obligation. Remember, a two week notice means you actually work the last two weeks before leaving. You don't hand in your notice and then bolt. But further complicating matters is Metallurg allowing a different player under contract to come to the NHL. Is this a peace offering or just nobody of any importance? Who knows, but the NHL is making a bed I don't think they will like laying in.
  • On a lighter note, all this talk of two week's notice reminds me of something from my job in college. A colleague of mine decided one night that he had enough and just decided to quit once his shift that night was over. Needless to say his supervisor wasn't too happy about his decision and told him he needed to provide a two week's notice. To this he replied, "for the next two weeks, just notice that I am not around and then forget about me."
  • And on that note, the Nats have tomorrow off to lick their wounds before returning to RFK to start a nine game home stand. They start with the Phillies on Tuesday for a three game set and then welcome back old buddy Livan Hernandez and his new team, the Arizona Diamondbacks next weekend. The Redskins have a short time to lick their wounds and get things going in the right direction as they play their last preseason game on Thursday night at home vs. the Ratbirds from up north. The Terps are the first football team in the area to play a football game that means something this Saturday night when they overmatch William and Mary at the newly renamed Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium. D.C. United is likely to punt their friendly (as opposed to a hostile) with minor-league Richmond on Wednesday night before heading to L.A. to face Chivas USA next Sunday night.
  • Finally, as always, please send all comments, questions, criticisms, complaints, suggestions, and high-fives to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. If I can find any free time in my schedule, I might waste it reading your message. And if ever get around to it before deleting it, I just might respond.



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