Photo by Todd Dybas for The Sports Capitol
TSC Daily Newsletter: Not this again
BY TODD DYBAS | APRIL 16, 2018
Barry Trotz made a declaration at the end of his press conference Sunday night: “We’re not going away.”
What they are is down 0-2 following two overtime losses at home as the favored team. Stop us if you’ve heard this before about the Capitals.
Feels like we went over this just the other day, but let’s do it again: The Capitals twice led by two goals Sunday. They, of course, gave back those leads — despite changing from Philipp Grubauer to Braden Holtby to start the third period — before losing in overtime. This is the playoffs, they are down 0-2 and going on the road, but you knew that because you have been paying attention the last five years or so and assumed something like this would happen.
Brian wrote about the all-too-familiar predicament. The Capitals are staggering in the playoffs again, this time even earlier than usual. Speaking of familiarity, Todd wrote about Alex Ovechkin’s return to being a goal-scoring and physical force. Trouble is, that play just put him and the Capitals in the same situation as years past.
The Nationals boarded a train going north Sunday after the homestand finished going south. They were 3-7 over the course of a 10-game stretch at Nationals Park where a variety of things went wrong. The Mets pulled off a sweep. Adam Eaton was injured. Anthony Rendon was injured. Davey Martinez was ejected and made several strange decisions. Then, to cap the doldrums Sunday, closer Sean Doolittle gave up a ninth-inning home run to Ian Desmond, of all people. The week was ugly.
“Something is missing right now,” Stephen Strasburg said. “You can sit there and just let it keep going or grind. I think that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s all we really can do. We’re too good of a team to not be winning games. It’s going to change. I think it’s just a matter of sticking together, playing good baseball and playing at the level that we know we’re capable of playing.”
Todd wrote about where the Nationals stand as they roll to Flushing to face the Mets. They are two games under .500, six back in the division and unable to get all parts moving in the same direction. Also, they have Jeremy Hellickson starting the first game of the series against the Mets. The A.J. Cole experiment is over — for now. A corresponding roster move will have to be made to make room on the 25-man roster for Hellickson. Expect a reliever, likely Trevor Gott, to be sent to the minors and Cole to the bullpen.
The Wizards are further north than the Nats. They stayed in Toronto for their first off-day since losing Game 1 to the Raptors in their first-round playoff series. John Wall was just 1-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter. Bradley Beal was 1-for-3. The Wizards scored 21 points. The end-game dip maintained an issue for the Wizards, and Wall and Beal, in particular. Ben explains what happens when Wall and Beal play heavy minutes. Spoiler: bad things. Game 2 is Tuesday night. We have some second-screen experiences we’re kicking around so you can watch along with us. Stay tuned for those.
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Ben, Brian and Todd