Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal receives threats after tweeting in support of Cardinals

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Bradley Beal, the No. 3 overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, was born in St. Louis, grew up there, and became the best high school basketball player in the city’s recent history at Chaminade College Prep.

Like most St. Louisans, his love for the Cardinals runs deep. Even while at the University of Florida for his one-and-done freshman campaign, Beal could often be spotted wearing a red fitted Cardinals hat.

But he now lives and works in Washington, D.C. and will head up a promising young Wizards backcourt this season alongside former University of Kentucky star John Wall. You can probably guess where this story is headed…

Beal sent out a congratulatory tweet — “STL turnupppp !!!” — after the Cardinals pulled off their stunning ninth-inning comeback Friday in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. It swiftly brought on negative reaction from sports fans in and around the nation’s capital, including threats and requests that he be traded.

“People forget I’m from St. Louis!” Beal, who turned 19 years old on draft night, tried to explain in a follow-up tweet. “It was a great comeback for my home team, am I wrong for cheering them on?”

Beal spoke with Michael Lee of the Washington Post on Saturday about the reaction:

“I was hearing threats and everything, like, ‘Watch your back,’” Beal said. “People were like, ‘I’m not going to cheer for you.’ I was like, whatever. It was probably moreso the timing, but at the same time, it’s my city. It’s not going to affect the way I play. I got to do something to redeem myself, I guess. … Every time I stopped watching the game, they started [coming back]. They did it last year, and they came back and won. That’s how it is.”

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.