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Nationals Will Have To Live Without Strasburg and Ramos in the NLDS

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Injuries have plagued the Washington Nationals at the wrong time. As the team prepares for their upcoming matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series, they received some bad news about two important players.

On Tuesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters that Stephen Strasburg will most likely not pitch in the NLDS. He has not pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass in his right arm. Before the injury, Strasburg was having a very good season. He had 15 wins and a 3.60 ERA. Not having him available to pitch in the postseason is a huge loss for Washington.

To make matters worse, the team suffered another huge blow earlier in the week when catcher Wilson Ramos tore his ACL in Monday night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The injury happened when Ramos jumped up as he was trying to catch a high relay throw from first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He landed on the ground holding his right knee. On the same day that Rizzo handed down the news about Strasburg, Nationals manager Dusty Baker confirmed that Ramos was out for the season. It wasn’t a very good day for Nationals fans.

It’s hard to decide which loss is worse for the Nationals. Ramos was extremely important to their team this season. He made 122 starts behind the dish for them before getting hurt, batting .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs in 482 at-bats. Ramos was an All-Star for the first time in his career this year. During the postseason, the Nationals will miss his steady presence behind the plate.

Overcoming these two major injuries is certainly not going to be easy. Backup catcher Jose Lobaton and rookie Pedro Severino will now have to assume the catching duties for the Nationals. Without Strasburg, the NLDS rotation for the team will include Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. If they decide to go with a fourth starter, Joe Ross could step in. The other option would be to pitch Scherzer on short rest. It’s still a relatively solid group of pitchers but having Strasburg in their arsenal would make the Nationals rotation more dangerous.

The Nationals are dealing with a few other injuries. Bryce Haprer has missed four straight games because of a thumb injury. Daniel Murphy has not played since September 17 due to a strained buttocks.  Murphy is a legitimate NL MVP candidate this season. He’s batting .347 with 25 homers and 104 RBIs. Both Harper and Murphy are expected to be ready for the NLDS.

There’s no doubt that the Nationals have had a solid season. After they underachieved and missed the playoffs in 2015, they bounced back this year and won the NL East. Unfortunately, they’re entering the 2016 playoffs without two key players. If Dusty Baker’s team wants to win the World Series, it’s going to take a lot of perseverance.

 

Aspring sports broadcaster/writer. Freshman Television-Radio major at Ithaca College. Die-hard Mets, Giants, Nets, and Devils fan.

MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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