Monday, September 26, 2005

The Weekend in Sports: September 23 – September 25, 2005

There’s no real news to report, except that the Nationals are now in last place in the National League East and the “big announcement” at the Capitals fan fest, as I predicted, was naming Jeff Halpern captain.

The Ravens, Redskins and D.C. United all had the weekend off, so it was just college football, Major League Baseball and preseason hockey this weekend.

NCAA Football: Maryland won at Wake Forest, 22-12, to show that they plan to be in the hunt for a bowl bid this season. The defense asserted itself after many questions about its ability to handle the run heading into the game. Wake Forest went into the game with the eighth-ranked rushing attack in the country, and the Terps held them 111 rushing yards, less than half their average of 270. The defense also added a touchdown when Josh Wilson returned a fumble 20 yards for a score.

Ray Lewis’ half-brother, Keon Lattimore, ran for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead the Terps offense.

Maryland is now 2-2 (1-1 in the ACC).

The Terps face rival Virginia on Saturday, October 1 at Byrd Stadium in College Park. Game time is noon.

MLB: The Nationals were swept by the (previously last place) Mets to fall to 78-78 and last place in the National League East, just where everyone expected them to be going into the season. Wow. Who would have thought two months ago that we would be talking about the “last-place Nationals”?

The Nats lost 5-2, 5-2 and 6-5 in the three-game set with the Mets. The last game included two-homers from has-been Mike Piazza.

The Nationals now head to Florida for a three-game series beginning tonight at 7:05. Hector Carrasco (4-3, 1.86 ERA, RHP) will look to build on a great start in his last outing when he faces Jason Vargas (5-4, 4.39 ERA, LHP).

MLB: The Orioles were swept by Boston over the weekend. Big freaking surprise. The O’s lost games by scores of 6-3, 4-3 and 9-3 to fall to 70-85. Last year’s team finished 78-84.

The Orioles have now lost what feels like 65 games in a row. OK, so it’s only eight, but when the last seven of those come to the Yankees and Red Sox, it feels like more.

Miguel Tejada added a pair of RBIs in the series, so he is now at 95 with seven games left. Jay Gibbons didn’t homer, so he’s still sitting on 99 for his career.

The misery continues tonight at 7:05 as the O’s begin yet another four-game set with the Yankees, this time at Camden Yards. Rodrigo Lopez (14-11, 4.79 ERA, RHP) will face still-undefeated and still-undeserving-of-all-the-praise-he’s-received Aaron Small (9-0, 3.25 ERA, RHP).

NHL Preseason: The Capitals won a game! And against Pittsburgh no less! After losing, 5-2, to Philadelphia on Saturday night, the Capitals headed to Hershey for an exhibition game where the team’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, play their home games. Maybe it was meant as a message to the young players on the Capitals roster: “This is where you’ll be in two weeks.” Who knows?

What I do know is that Brian Willsie scored a pair of power-play goals and newly-named captain Jeff Halpern scored the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the hated Penguins. The Capitals are now 1-3-1 in preseason action ... not that anyone cares.

Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby didn’t play for the Pens.

The Caps and Penguins play again on Friday night at 7:00 at the MCI Center, and the game will be televised on Comcast Sportsnet.

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