Happy Monday, all. Hope you enjoyed a restful weekend.

Let's get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to...

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The WNBA regular season is over, and the final day came with plenty of drama.

We'll start in New York, where the Liberty clinched a playoff spot with an 87-83 win over the Dream. Marine Johannes came to the rescue with 18 points off the bench. Natasha Howard also had 18 while Stefanie Dolson had 15. While they're only the 7 seed and will take on the 2 seed Sky, the Liberty are "capable of competing with anyone," notes WNBA expert Jack Maloney.

Elsewhere, the Aces are the No. 1 overall seed after Chelsea Gray's career-high 33 points propelled them to a 109-100 win over the Storm.

That means the first-round matchups are set:

  • 1. Aces vs. 8. Mercury
  • 4. Storm vs. 5. Mystics
  • 2. Sky vs. 7. Liberty
  • 3. Sun vs 6. Wings

All first-round series are best-of-three. You can see the entire schedule here.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...


Fernando Tatis Jr.'s latest misstep has his own general manager -- and even a teammate -- questioning his trustworthiness. Tatis Jr. received an 80-game suspension on Friday after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clostebol. He claims the positive test was a result of a medicine he took to treat ringworm.

  • Tatis Jr. has not played this season due to a wrist injury suffered in an offseason motorcycle accident.
  • Last season -- his first after signing a 14-year, $340-million extension -- Tatis Jr. finished third in NL MVP voting but missed significant time with shoulder injuries.
  • Not only will Tatis Jr. miss the final 48 games of this season, but he'll miss the first 32 games of 2023.

The timing couldn't be much worse: It comes about a week after the Padres acquired Juan Soto and Josh Bell at the trade deadline, and Tatis Jr. was supposed to be just days from returning. Things were looking up in San Diego.

Now, general manager A.J. Preller says that the team needs to get to "a point in time where we trust [him]," and Padres pitcher Mike Clevinger said he hopes Tatis Jr. "grows up."

Still, not all is lost for the Padres, writes our MLB reporter Matt Snyder. They just need to look at the reigning champs.

  • Snyder: "Ronald Acuña Jr. might have been en route to an MVP last season, too, but he tore his ACL on July 10. ... The 2021 Braves doesn't mean the 2022 Padres are going to win the World Series. ... It doesn't hurt for the team to look at a situation and believe they can pull off something similar, though. Plus, as we established here at the top, the Padres didn't technically lose Tatis this season, as he never played a game. They also had a better record through July than those Braves did. The Braves didn't add a player the caliber of Soto at the trade deadline."

For more on the suspension, be sure to read...

Not so honorable mentions

Will Zalatoris earns first PGA Tour win at FedEx St. Jude Championship ⛳

FedEx St. Jude Championship - Final Round
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The breakthrough has arrived for Will Zalatoris. The tears are finally of joy, not heartbreak.

It came via one of the wildest finishes in recent memory. Zalatoris bogeyed -- yes, bogeyed -- the third playoff hole of the FedEx St. Jude Championship to beat Sepp Straka in the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It's Zalatoris' first career PGA Tour win, and he moves to first in the FedEx Cup Playoff standings.

  • On the third playoff hole -- the par-3 11th -- Zalatoris' ball came to rest on the rocks just beyond the water. Straka, with the door wide open, proceeded to put his ball in the water.
  • Straka found the bunker after his drop and then chipped to a few feet for a look at double-bogey.
  • After much consideration, Zalatoris decided to drop as well (instead of hitting off the rocks) and hit his shot to 7 feet before nailing the bogey putt.

Zalatoris made several massive putts down the stretch, including a 10-footer for par on the 72nd hole to help force a playoff and a 14-footer for par on the second playoff hole. There were many times when Zalatoris could have felt the all-too-familiar feeling of coming up short. This season alone, he lost to Luke List in a playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, lost to Justin Thomas in a playoff at the PGA Championship in May and finished tied for second at the U.S. Open in June, one stroke behind Matt Fitzpatrick

He also had a solo second at last year's Masters Tournament. But as they say, the 56th career start is the charm, and this one was so well-deserved, writes golf expert Patrick McDonald.

NFL Preseason Week 1 winners, losers: Rookie QBs shine, Watson struggles 🏈


The first full weekend of NFL action is in the books, and if your favorite team came out victorious, it's surely a team of destiny. If your favorite team lost, just remember the result doesn't actually matter. All kidding aside, no matter how you view the preseason, there were some clear winners and losers from Week 1, writes our NFL guru Tyler Sullivan.

Among the winners were the rookie quarterbacks. It's not a decorated class -- Kenny Pickett was the only first-round pick -- but in general, they posted strong debuts. Here are a few notable performances:

  • Kenny Pickett (Steelers, 1st round): 13/15, 95 pass yds, 2 pass TD; 16 rush yds
  • Desmond Ridder (Falcons, 3rd round): 10/22, 103 pass yds, 2 pass TD; 59 rush yds
  • Malik Willis (Titans, 3rd round): 6/11, 107 pass yds; 38 rush yds, rush TD
  • Sam Howell (Commanders, 5th round): 9/16, 145 pass yds; 19 rush yds, 2 rush TD
  • Skylar Thompson (Dolphins, 7th round): 20/28, 218 pass yds, 1 pass TD, 25 rush yds

Here's a ranking of all of the rookie QBs in preseason Week 1.

As for another quarterback, Deshaun Watson made his Browns debut under uncertain circumstances. The NFL is currently appealing Watson's six-game suspension, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thinks there's enough evidence for a year-long ban. Still, Watson played Friday in Jacksonville but looked rusty, completing just one of five passes.

Ahead of the game, Watson said he's "truly sorry" for his off-field actions. It's a change in tone from him: Sue L. Robinson, who issued the initial six-game ban, specifically noted Watson's lack of remorse.

Drew Rasmussen just shy of MLB's first perfect game since 2012 ⚾


Félix Hernández can breathe easy again, but only after Drew Rasmussen made him sweat. The Rays righty was perfect through eight innings before a double by Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo to lead off the ninth inning ended his bid to throw the first perfect game since Hernández's exactly 10 years ago today. The Rays held on for a 4-1 win.

  • Rasmussen had never thrown more than seven innings in a game entering Sunday. He needed just 79 pitches to get through eight before Mateo hit his first offering of the ninth down the left-field line.
  • Rasmussen's final line: 8 1/3 innings, 1 earned run, 1 hit, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks, 87 pitches
  • The Rays still have no perfect games and just one no-hitter (Matt Garza, 2010) in franchise history.

Lost in the shuffle is that this was a big win for the Rays: They took two of three from the Orioles and now lead Baltimore by 1.5 games for the final AL Wild Card spot.

What we're watching Monday 📺

Juventus vs. Sassuolo, 2:30 p.m. on Paramount+
Astros at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. on FS1