UP NEXT Capitals: Visit St. Louis on Monday. Washington beat the Blues 4-3 on Jan. 7.
UP NEXT Capitals: Visit St. Louis on Monday. Washington beat the Blues 4-3 on Jan. 7.in Deutsch in Medien und Literatur 08.10.2018 05:53
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HOUSTON — Heralded outfield prospect Kyle Tucker made his big-league debut Saturday for the Astros Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey , a move that not only has implications for Tucker but two other outfielders.
With Tucker, who finished 1-for-4 with a bases-loaded walk and three strikeouts in the Astros’ 12-6 win, in the fold, outfielder Tony Kemp will see a reduction in his playing time despite providing a spark for the Astros (60-31) since his mid-May recall. Kemp has a slash line of .295/.385/.410 over 40 games.
Outfielder Jake Marisnick, meanwhile, was optioned to Triple-A Fresno for a second time on the same night he delivered another sparkling play in center field.
Marisnick was batting .190 with 69 strikeouts in 163 plate appearances.
“It was hard for Jake, and it should be,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s had a roller-coaster season going up and down. The first go-round he was really needing to go correct some things. The second go-around he was doing a lot better and things were out of his control a little bit as to him going down to Triple-A. There are still some offensive adjustments we want him to make.
“(Kemp) came up and won the right to stay in the big leagues. When a transaction happens, we talk a lot about the guy we sent down but the guy that we kept earned the right to be here. I’m very proud of what Tony has contributed to this team Youth Luke Kuechly Jersey , and it hasn’t always been fair to him the last couple of years.”
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (5-8, 4.12 ERA) will start the series finale against the White Sox. He has posted three quality starts in his last four outings, going 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA and 21 strikeouts across 24 1/3 innings during that stretch.
Keuchel is 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA over eight career starts against the White Sox including a 10-1 win on April 21 when he worked six innings and allowed one run on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-7, 6.93 ERA) gets the starting nod for Chicago (30-59). He is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last eight starts, allowing five runs or more four times.
Giolito will make his third career start against the Astros, against whom he is 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA. He was charged with nine runs on five hits and seven walks opposite Keuchel on April 21 and suffered the loss in his previous appearance at Minute Maid Park on Sept. 19, 2017, when he allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of a 3-1 loss.
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was back in the starting lineup Saturday and finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts after sitting out the previous game to manage the soreness in his left forearm. Anderson was hit by a pitch in Thursday’s series opener.
Anderson has become a fixture in the eight-hole when Chicago faces a right-handed starter, a move designed to help amplify the depth of the White Sox lineup and provide additional opportunities atop the batting order for fellow infielders Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez.
“If you look at the lineup it just lengthens out (and) allows us to put him and keep him there Kailer Yamamoto Jersey ,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Anderson. “As long as he stays comfortable there he helps us there quite a bit. Picks up the back end of the lineup and I think we’ve gotten some benefits out of it.”
There was no dogpile in the dressing room. No champagne celebration. Not even a beer. Nothing.
The Washington Capitals have been here before. Many times, actually. It’s not that they don’t appreciate winning Metropolitan Division title after Metropolitan Division title like the one they wrapped up with a 3-1 victory over rival Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
It’s just that they’re tired of division banners being the only ones raised to the rafters.
Still, star Alex Ovechkin knows not all playoff runs are created equal. The group that skated off the ice at PPG Paints Arena after keeping the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions in check for three taut and occasionally chippy periods is not the juggernaut that rolled into postseason in 2016 and 2017 only to be sent home in the second round by Pittsburgh.
”We lost lots of players,” Ovechkin said after playing in his 1,000th career regular season game. ”Guys in the locker room, experience guys. But different guys step up and they play different. … We play as a team.”
One that hopes following a familiar script will lead – at last – to an unfamiliar ending.
Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves to continue his push to supplant Braden Holtby as Washington’s top goaltender as the Capitals won for the 10th time in 12 games to assure themselves of home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
”We had a challenge there from the beginning (of the season) on,” Grubauer said. ”We lost a couple experienced guys. We learned from our mistakes and we’re still learning. It’s nice to wrap that up, for sure.”
T.J. Oshie, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson scored for Washington and Grubauer did the rest Bennie Fowler III Jersey , including a spectacular glove save on Penguins star Sidney Crosby in the third period that served as an exclamation point on the kind of performance that would fit right in over the next two months.
”Last couple games we played in here weren’t too good, so it’s a momentum builder for us,” Grubauer said. ”We have to make sure we play the right way next couple games. It’s going to be huge.”
The Penguins have the top power play in the league but went 0 for 5 with the man advantage. Patric Hornqvist picked up his 27th of the season late in the third period to avoid a shutout. Matt Murray stopped 31 shots but couldn’t quite match Grubauer.
”I thought that’s probably as good as our power play has looked the last month, we just didn’t score,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.
A night after earning a playoff berth for a franchise-record 12th straight year, the Penguins lost at home in regulation for just the second time since Jan. 4 to end a late push for a division crown. Not that it matters much to Pittsburgh. The Penguins have ended each of the last two regular seasons as the division runner-up to Washington. And each time the Penguins have used a second-round playoff series victory over the Capitals as a springboard to the Stanley Cup.
”We never win division,” Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin said. ”It’s not first time. It’s not surprise. We’re fine.”
Ovechkin called becoming just the 57th player in NHL history to play at least 1,000 games for one team ”a milestone” but didn’t exactly get caught up in the moment. The 32-year-old knows his career has been equally defined by his 603 goals and his team’s inability to make a deep playoff run.
Despite seven division titles and nine playoff appearances since he made his debut in 2005, Ovechkin has never played on a team that reached the Eastern Conference finals. Postseason success is the only thing that’s eluded him Zach Hyman Jersey , but Washington appears to be peaking behind Grubauer.
Washington coach Barry Trotz opted to give Grubauer his first career start against Pittsburgh and Grubauer responded brilliantly. He was at his best in the second period, when the Penguins’ lethal power play had four chances to draw even and came up empty each time, including an extended two-man advantage in which Grubauer received a little help from the crossbar when a shot from Malkin clanged off the crossbar.
The lucky bounce preserved a 1-0 lead. Orlov pumped in his career-high 10th just after a Pittsburgh power-play expired later in the period, firing a shot from the slot that went between the legs of Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta and over Murray’s right arm.
When Tom Wilson redirected Matt Niskanen’s shot from the point by Murray 23 seconds into the third period the Capitals had another division title wrapped up but not bragging rights. That will have to come later.
NOTES: Washington went 0 for 4 on the power play. … Malkin was given a 10-minute misconduct with 1:01 left in regulation after mixing it up with Oshie. … Penguins C Derick Brassard missed his third consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … Pittsburgh is 9-7-2 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.
Capitals: Visit St. Louis on Monday. Washington beat the Blues 4-3 on Jan. 7.
Penguins: Get three days off before finishing regular season with a back-to-back starting on Thursday in Columbus.
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