- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday’s Best Bet on Television

Rachel Alexandra finally makes her bid to become the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness. 6 p.m., Chs. 4, 11

Taking stock of the District’s title chances

With the Capitals’ playoff run over, it’s an ideal time for one of the rituals common in any major pro sports city — gauging how close each team is to winning a league championship.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being championship caliber, here’s how each team rates:



Capitals

It’s pretty clear where the Caps are — a couple of shrewd moves away from the Eastern Conference finals. They have Alex Ovechkin, one of the best players in the world, but they need to upgrade on defense and hope young Simeon Varlamov is really as good as he looked (before Game 7). That much is obvious. Score: 8.5

Redskins

Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo will upgrade a defense that was already fourth-best in the league in 2008. But the front office doesn’t have much faith in quarterback Jason Campbell, evidenced by its spending the offseason trying to get rid of him. Success starts with trusting the quarterback. Score: 6.5

Nationals

The good news: a capable offense (entering Friday, the team batting average was the third-highest in the National League). The bad news: everything else… especially pitching — the rotation has gaping holes, and the bullpen should be declared a Superfund site. Score: 2.5

Wizards

Even if they’re healthy (which they haven’t been the past two seasons) they don’t have the talent at each position to match up with the Cavaliers, Celtics and Magic. Winning the draft lottery and selecting Blake Griffin would boost their score significantly. Score: 3

D.C. United

A year after allowing the second-most goals in MLS, United is back on top of the Eastern Conference with 15 points, and the schedule is much lighter this season. But a big question is in net — can United win with a rotating trio of goalkeepers? Score: 7

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