Record: 56-75 (Last in the NL East)
Last Two Weeks: 5-8
The impossible-to-miss, off-field story involves none other than his Royal Strasburg. Late last week, the team announced that a tear in Strasburg’s pitching elbow will require reconstructive surgery of the Tommy John type. The Nats enter the last month of the season looking towards next year, but it is also safe to say that many already think even next season could be a lost cause. Still, in the “looking forward” department, there is still at least one bright spot: Bryce Harper was on the scene at Nationals Park, putting on a Nats jersey and launching bombs during batting practice.
On the field, things have been up and down. Last week, the Nationals got swept at home by the lowly Cubs, but managed to take three out of four from a Cardinals squad that is very much in contention in the Central to conclude the homestand. For a team that’s been fairly lifeless in the past month, maybe the Strasburg news is a reminder that no one man makes a club. In the next two weeks, the Nats will play the majority of their games against NL East rivals, save one trip to Pittsburgh next weekend.
Record: 2-1 Preseason
Last Two Weeks: 1-1
Since we last checked in on the state of the ‘Skins in the preseason, they got handled very easily by the Ravens and actually pulled out a tough win against the Jets in the Meadowlands. The biggest concern seems to be sustaining drives through the end zone, with many sustained attempts fizzling out and turning into field goals by Graham Gano. That result could also be an issue of starting quarterback Donovan McNabb sitting out for the tune-up against the Jets.
With the regular season a few weeks away, the biggest question facing Mike Shanahan will be what will happen if Donovan McNabb’s ankle doesn’t heal in time for the September 12th opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The likely choice under center would be Rex Grossman, and even though the Cowboys’ offense has not gotten going yet this preseason, if the Redskins also have to get points at the premium, it could be a rough way to start division play. Perhaps a sign about who gets the nod for the Week 1 game: Grossman will also sit alongside McNabb in Thursday’s last preseason game in Phoenix against the Arizona Cardinals. That kind of precaution in the last preseason game is often left for the starter-to-be, and even though Grossman’s preseason hasn’t been terrible (33-55, 446 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 fumble lost), his health is more important with an injured McNabb than a few extra snaps.
At least it sounds like the Haynesworth story is going away. You know, kind of.
Record: 4-15-3 (Last in the Eastern Conference)
Last Two Weeks: 1-1
Only two months are left in the MLS season, and United’s offensive woes have continued throughout much of the summer. United was able to gain a few points by beating Philadelphia 2-nil a weekend ago before falling late last night to Chivas USA in Los Angeles by a single goal. Dating back to the beginning of July, United have only put the ball across the goal line five times in league play.
While the MLS season is all but over for DCU, they are very much alive in the U.S. Open Cup. The Columbus Crew will actually be taking up residence for the week here in DC, first as the semifinal match for the Cup, and then for another match in RFK on Saturday evening. The league game has little implication for the season, but if United win the semifinal, they will have the opportunity to play for their third U.S. Open Cup in the first week of October. Tickets for both games are still available at DCUnited.com.
The Mystics, after winning the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 22-12 regular season record, were swept out of the first round of the WNBA playoffs by the Atlanta Dream…the NCAA football season kicks-off this week, and two local teams open with out-of-conference games on Labor Day: the University of Maryland will travel to Baltimore where they will be likely underdogs to in-state “rival” Navy, while Boise State squares off against Virginia Tech at FedEx Field in a prime time game with national title implications…the Capitals are just weeks away from preseason, with the first contest on September 22nd in Columbus…Yi Jianlian, an offseason acquisition for the Wizards, has been playing well with the Chinese National team during the FIBA World Basketball Championships, including posting 26 points in China’s win over the Ivory Coast on Sunday.