y evening.Well, I expect a desperate team, Ruff said of th

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WASHINGTON -- With Stephen Strasburg not expected to pitch in the National League Division Series and Joe Ross not yet fully stretched out after a two-month layoff, the Washington Nationals are counting on Gio Gonzalez to come through in the playoffs.But in his final start of the regular season, Gonzalez struggled with his command and quickly built a high-pitch count in a 3-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a rain-shortened game Wednesday.The start of the game was delayed 33 minutes by rain and was later called with one out in the top of the sixth inning after a second delay of 70 minutes.It wasnt that good, but we didnt score any runs either, manager Dusty Baker said of Gonzalezs outing. He had a lot of pitches in a short period of time. He was 0-2 on a couple guys, then went to 3-2. Most of the night he pitched behind.The NL East-champion Nationals have lost two of three to the last-place Diamondbacks and seven of their last 11 games overall.Shelby Miller threw five shutout innings for Arizona and Jean Segura had three hits to reach 200 for the season.Miller (3-12) capped an otherwise forgetful season with one of his best outings of the year, allowing five hits with one walk and striking out five. In his previous start, Sept.23 in Baltimore, Miller threw six scoreless innings in a no decision.I wish maybe I would have done this earlier on but the way I just finished these past couple games is huge and just something to build off going into 2017, Miller said after earning his first win since June 20.I just feel good where Im at. I know where Im at mechanically and stuff so I can go forward into 2017 with more confidence and knowing that Im feeling good.Segura joined Luis Gonzalez as the only players in Diamondbacks history with 200 hits in a season.Just a great feeling, Segura said. Its amazing especially since Ive been bouncing around the couple last years. Im impressed, Im not going to lie to you guys, Im impressed with the way Ive been swinging the bat this season. I dont think nobody expect Id have the season Im having right now.Gonzalez (11-11), Washingtons projected No. 3 starter in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, tossed 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs with four walks and four strikeouts.Baker noted that while the Diamondbacks had a first-ball hitting approach against Max Scherzer on Tuesday, they had a different game plan against the inconsistent Gonzalez Wednesday.Tonight, they were taking, getting deep in the count, Baker said. They ran his pitch count up. They didnt swing at very many balls and it looked like they were trying to wait on his fastball.The lefty threw 100 pitches, but just 56 for strikes.I had some 0-2s that ended up getting soft hits through the hole so its just a tough situation, Gonzalez said. Just cant do nothing about it. Learn to pitch ahead of the count.In his final five starts of the season, Gonzalez allowed 19 earned runs in 23 innings (7.43 ERA) with a 1.78 WHIP.You start the postseason with a zero ERA, he said. Its a new series. New way to look at it.PITCHING FOR A FALLEN FRIEND:Before taking the mound for his final start of the season, Gonzalez said a prayer and pointed to the sky as a tribute to his friend Jose Fernandez, who died Sunday in a boating accident. Gonzalez, a Cuban-American, will leave the Nationals on Thursday to attend Fernandezs funeral in South Florida.TRAINERS ROOMDiamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke did not accompany the Diamondbacks on their final road trip of the season due to right shoulder soreness. Manager Chip Hale said Wednesday that Greinke is not throwing and he is not expected to pitch again this season.Nationals: Outfielder Bryce Harper was not in the Nationals starting lineup for a third straight game because of an injured left thumb. Harper is considered day to day, but manager Dusty Baker said that he did not want to risk the NL MVP in a wet outfield.UP NEXTNationals RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.48 ERA) is scheduled to make his third start since returning from the disabled list Sept.18 against Diamondbacks LHP Robby Ray (8-14, 4.77). Jaguars Jersesys Outlet . 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Perhaps Carroll was so prepared for a break because he believes there is very little the Seattle Seahawks need heading into the off-season. "I dont see anything that we need to add. We just have to get better," Carroll said. DALLAS -- When the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars meet Thursday night at American Airlines Center, both teams hope to have important contributors back on the ice.Colorado, which beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Tuesday, is starting a three-game road trip. The Avalanche (7-8-0) might see the return of forward Matt Duchene, who leads the team with six goals and 11 points.Duchene missed the past two games with concussion symptoms.Meanwhile, the Stars (6-6-5) could get back center Cody Eakin, who has yet to play this season due to a knee injury he sustained during preseason.Duchene said after practice Wednesday, I feel good right now. Well see what (Wednesday) brings. I feel better every day. Today I felt like I could be myself out there.Avalanche coach Jared Bednar shares Duchenes optimism that the veteran could be back in the mix against Colorados Central Division rivals.As long as he feels good ... then he should be a player for us, Bednar said.Two Colorado players who scored in the win against the Kings, captain Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, missed practice Wednesday, absences which Bednar termed as maintenance days.I think they both got dinged up just a little bit (Tuesday) night, Bednar said. I think theyre going to be fine, but were just going to keep them off the ice (Wednesday).One decision Bednar already made about Thursday is that Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 32 of 33 shots against the Kings, will start between the pipes.Hes played three really strong games here for us, Bednar said. We like what (Varlamov) has done lately, so were going to go with him again.Dallas started its three-game homestand with a 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, the Stars ninth consecutive OT defeat.Stars coach Lindy Ruff didnt like the energy level he saw from his team against the Devils, so he made both Wednesdays praactice and Thursdays morning skate optional.ddddddddddddThis is a physical grind, its a mental grind, Ruff said Wednesday. We had a team that lacked energy (Tuesday) night. Im going to try to switch things up maybe from game to game. I think it mentally freshens up our personnel.One player who was on the ice at the Stars practice facility in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday was Eakin. He was a key faceoff man who centered Dallas top line for a good part of last season.Feeling pretty good, getting back to where I want to be, Eakin said after practice Wednesday.Ruff makes no secret of his love for Eakins game and what he brings to the ice for Dallas, qualities the Stars missed so far this season.Well, he is our guy that typically goes head to head with the other teams top player, Ruff said of Eakin. Hes probably our best down-low centerman. He brings some speed down the middle, which is important for our game.At some point this week, Dallas also figures to get back veteran forward Patrick Sharp, who missed the past 13 games due to a concussion he sustained Oct. 20 against the Kings.However, instead of seeing Sharp back on the ice against Colorado, it sounds like a more realistic scenario that his return would be Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers, according to Ruff.No matter whether Duchene returns for the Avalanche or Eakin is back on the ice for the Stars, the man behind the Dallas bench knows what sort of game is in store for both teams on Thursday evening.Well, I expect a desperate team, Ruff said of the Avalanche. Its a team that got off to a real good start, struggled a little bit, and now they seem to be going a little bit better. Theyve got good speed up front. I want to see our energy up. I want to see our puck possession up. 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