The New York Yankees Are Taking Risks That Aren’t Paying Off

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankees started the 2nd half with a surprise, overnight our #5 starter (German) transformed into #1, which completely caught me off base. Supposedly, the rearrangement was made to match our top pitchers with the top teams in up coming series. I could be wrong…Strategies are calculated tactics made prior to, or during a game, or season. Some are low risk/minimum reward-yet a high percentage; others are high risk/high reward  (but a low average).

Where does this risk rank for the New York Yankees?

I’m going to rate this one on the high side, like all decisions..if they work you’re a genius; if not, a bum! Only time will tell.

I’m not saying it is bad, because i can see the logic, and it’s good; just maybe a little pre mature.

Presently, the Yankees are six games behind the best team in baseball (which show no signs of weakening). To catch Boston and possibly overtake them could depend on our ability to acquire a quality starter. Otherwise the same crew takes the mound every five days. Granted German or Gray are quite capable of beating any team on any given day, but here enter the analytics. The only potential problem i can see, if things stay the same, is the rotation, as it turns over the rest of the way out—the bottom half could start more games than our top starters (wich is not necessarily true, must do the math). However, saving the best for last is definitely a gamble.

The toughest job for a manager, everyday, is finding a way to keep 25 guys happy—operating smoothly within their comfort zone. Trouble can occur when removed from this space.

For instance, Gardner moves to clean-up and Stanton becomes the new lead-off hitter…players say they understand and are behind you 100%, but we must remember they are human. Soon, a bad game comes, where Brett leaves 8 runners stranded and Giancarlo is caught stealing…

A happy camper is emotionally stable, winds can change, calm sea becomes choppy and suddenly.. we’re off course.

After the first game of the second half, the strategy had a set-back—German was sent down to AAA. Was he out of his element trying to be something he’s not (#1 starter) Or was this planned anyway, due to his struggles? Either way, the timing was not good. Will he bounce back, like Severino during his birth pains? Or is he down for the count?

The Yankees must continue winning, and let the chips fall where they fall, nothing beats winning! It’s the one ingredient that sustains confidence, wheter you play well or not. The opposite applies for losing, a sub-par team can get hot and ride the wave to a championship. Just as well as a top team goes cold for no apparent reason at all.

That’s the nature of sports, you can’t take winning for granted, so when you have it…hold on to it!

There could be a number of unseen factors.. we, the fans, are unaware of, which management take into account. Here are some possibilities:

  • Extra time for Tanaka’s preparation
  • A breather for CC
  • A much needed rest for Severino, who has labored in his last 3 starts
  • All of the above
  • Something entirely different

Only they know the answer, I don’t. But one thing i do know is that it was a surprise!


An Overview Of How The New York Giants Can Be A Playoff Contending Team

Expectations are low for the New York Giants heading into the 2018 season. A year ago, the team was being called “Championship Caliber” and they were the “sexy” pick among many prognosticators to be the NFC representative in the NFL’s Big Game.

But Big Blue came up small last season for a variety of reasons and finished with a dismal 3-13 record. In 2018, they appear to face long odds and numerous challenges as they begin their quest to go from worst to first in the NFC East.

What will it take for the New York Giants to be in the playoff mix in the year ahead?

One thing is certain, there are plenty of hurdles they will need to overcome in order to be part of the NFL’s final 12 when the regular season comes to an end.

Above and beyond everything else, for the Giants to have any chance of success in 2018 they will need to avoid injuries at key positions. Last year the Giants suffered catastrophic injuries that derailed their offense and sent an already struggling team spiraling out of control.

The defense didn’t go unscathed, but when high-profile players and expected key contributors like Odell Beckham, Jr. (season ending), Brandon Marshall (season ending), Dwayne Harris (season ending) and Sterling Shepard all go down to injury in the same week, it’s difficult to set expectations very high the rest of the way. Add to that injuries across an already inconsistent offensive line, and the Giants were doomed to struggle mightily on offense for much of 2017. If the team is to make any legitimate run at the playoffs this year, staying healthy is absolutely imperative.

Running the football has been an exercise in futility for the Giants since the days of Ahmad Bradshaw and continues to be one of the biggest hurdles the Giants will need to overcome as they head into the 2018 season. A lack of consistent run blocking and a limited talent pool at the position has been a major roadblock in opening up the offense for Big Blue ever since their last Super Bowl appearance.

Number two overall draft pick Saquon Barkley is an immensely talented back out of Penn State who is being touted as a potential Hall of Famer by General Manager Dave Gettleman. His ability to make defenders miss both as a runner and receiver out of the backfield should provide the Giants with the sorely missed run game the team hasn’t had in years.

Barkley will need to deliver in his first year for the Giants to have any chance of success. His skills should impact the offense in a range of ways, as his presence in the backfield will require attention by defensive coordinators and will presumably open more space for the Giants talented receiving trio of Beckham, Shepard and tight-end Evan Engram.

There is hope, too, that the revamped offensive line will create more consistency in both run blocking and pass protection. The addition of a talented road-grader, rookie Will Hernandez, at guard is evidence of the team’s efforts toward improving the rushing attack.

Besides Hernandez, the Giants may feature a new offensive lineman at every position heading into 2018. A new left tackle (Nate Solder), two new guards (Hernandez and Patrick Omameh), Ereck Flowers with a new position at right tackle, and the possibility of Jon Halapio unseating Brett Jones at center would give the team new starters at all five offensive line positions. There are hurdles to overcome anytime a new offensive line comes together. With so many changes, this could be the most daunting task the team will face in 2018.

Not only is it vital that this new line gels and improves collectively as run blockers, but equally important is the need for the unit to overcome the next hurdle: improving pass protection for the quarterback. Eli Manning is, of course, the uncontested starting quarterback for the New York Giants heading into 2018.  At 37 years old, keeping him upright and injury-free must be the top priority if this team has any hopes or aspirations of being a playoff contender this year. The new look offensive line will be faced with a number of challenges, not the least of which will be protecting their two-time Super Bowl MVP.

The performance of Eli Manning, the addition of Saquon Barkley, and the new offense being implemented by headcoach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Mike Shula will directly influence the Giants ability to overcome what has been an embarrassing lack of offensive production over the team’s past two season.

Despite having one of the most dynamic and talented wide receivers in the league, the Giants have consistently fielded an anemic offensive, even during their 2016 playoff year.  Alarmingly, this team has a current streak of failing to score 30 points or more that spans 33 consecutive games (including the playoff loss in Green Bay to end the 2016 season). Simply finding ways to score more points is yet another hurdle the team must overcome to be successful in 2018.

This season, the offense figures to be very different in terms of personnel, scheme and philosophy from the recent years of Ben McAdoo as both Shurmur and Shula will work together to inject new life, creativity and diversification into what had become a largely predictable and one-dimensional system as put into place by the previous regime.

With the addition of Barkley, the new offensive line, the return to health of OBJ and the influences of the new headcoach and offensive coordinator, this team would appear to have the tools at hand to end this marathon streak of offensive disappointment. Doing so will be necessary if the Giants want to have a shot at returning to the postseason.

In addition to diversification of personnel groupings and being more creative in terms of play calling, other ways the Giants can improve offensive production is by making better use of the play-action pass (one of Eli’s biggest strengths) and by throwing downfield more (another strength of Eli, historically speaking).

Whether the aging veteran is currently “in decline” or not can be argued and debated.  There’s certainly evidence to support the idea that age may be catching up with him. But the addition of a high-caliber rusher, the expectation of a bit more time in the pocket courtesy of the new look offensive line, and the ability to craft an offense that caters more to some of the quarterback’s biggest strengths may just be what is needed to generate a career resurgence for Eli Manning.

Of course, offense isn’t the only unit of the team that needs to overcome hurdles. Two of the biggest challenges the defense will face in 2018 under the guidance of new defensive coordinator James Bettcher will be limiting/stopping opposing tight-ends and also finding ways to generate sacks and pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Predicted to be stout upfront, the Giants should be superior at stopping the run in 2018 with Damon “Snacks” Harrison, second year player Dalvin Tomlinson and rookie defensive lineman BJ Hill doing the heavy lifting. The hope is that a newly revamped linebacking corps led by the addition of Alec Ogletree will go a long way toward providing improved coverage against most tight-ends across the middle of the field.

Still unsettled at safety alongside Pro Bowler Landon Collins, together with the linebackers, this unit will be key to stopping what had been a free-for-all by tight-ends around the league who feasted on the Giants porous interior defense in 2018.

For now, it appears that generating sacks and pressure will largely have to come by way of scheme, as the big men upfront are well known for their run stuffing prowess but not as much for their pass rushing ability. With the departure of longtime Giant Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay and the shifting of Olivier Vernon over from defensive end to linebacker, the team seems to be entering the season with the biggest question marks in terms of pass rush in recent memory. The addition of free agent linebacker Connor Barwin does add experience and another respected veteran locker room presence, which should help.

But Bettcher uses motion and alignments to trick opposing quarterbacks into making incorrect reads. Sometimes showing blitzes where defenders drop back into coverage, other times sending five, six or even seven pass rushers. The new defensive coordinator will have to be especially creative if the Giants are to overcome this particular hurdle. Failure to bring pressure will create long days for the team’s already questionable defensive backfield, which struggled mightily throughout most of 2017 – both on and off the field.

Finally, the Giants will need to straighten out (and frankly, figure out) their special teams. A competition will get underway to decide the new team punter once camp begins, while current placekicker Aldrick Rosas will have to demonstrate significant improvement or else risk losing his job to what will likely be a veteran journeyman kicker not yet on the roster.

The Giants hope to see improvement in return and coverage areas, as well, with the addition of special teams ace and safety Michael Thomas and the return to health of longtime backup linebacker and special teamer Mark Herzlich. Games are won and lost in three phases, it often has been said: offense, defense and special teams. For the Giants to succeed in 2018, special teams can no longer continue to be a liability.

Clearly, the New York Giants enter the 2018 season with many problems to correct and hurdles to overcome. A team doesn’t earn a 3-13 record without having its fair share of challenges. Overcoming these and other hurdles will set the team on a path back toward respectability and – maybe – even a trip back to the postseason.


New York Giants: Two New Additions To Watch During Training Camp

New York Giants, Cody Latimer

Training camp officially begins today for the New York Giants, with the players that have made it this far reporting in for the earliest stages of activities, and the roster will soon be trimmed to the one that will take the field at the start of the season. It’s also a chance for fans to get a look at how the new additions to the team are fitting into the system.

Who are the ones worth paying the most attention to? Here’s two that are outside of the obvious names such as Saquon Barkley. One for the defense, and one for the offense.

Connor Barwin, OLB

Connor Barwin agreeing to a two year deal with the Giants is big for the team. The pass rusher brings something much needed to the Giants defense, and can be a veteran presence to aid rookie linebacker Lorenzo Carter. However, the clock isn’t on Barwin’s side. At least, it shouldn’t be when you look at the numbers on paper.

The Eagles released Barwin in 2017 and he was picked up on a one year deal by the Rams, who didn’t sign him to another contract. There’s a reason why both teams moved on from him, despite having five sacks and decent tackling numbers in both of his last two seasons. Barwin is 31, and this training camp will be big for him.

It’s a chance for the team to see whether he still has the skill and athleticism at 31 to play a big role in the pass rush, and Barwin’s training camp will surely have an effect on the position battles at outside linebacker. Giants fans have been optimistic so far after the team picked Barwin up, but it’s time for Barwin to prove that their confidence is well placed.

Cody Latimer, WR

Cody Latimer is another newly signed player, who joined the Giants back in March. The receiver played his entire career for the Broncos before his move to New York, but didn’t have a notable season until last year. That was when he recorded more than three times more yards than he did the previous season, and scored two touchdowns while increasing his average yards per catch from 9.5 to 15.1

Can Latimer keep improving and play a bigger role with the Giants than he did with the Broncos? That’s the big question going into training camp. Latimer faces a lot of competition. Obviously, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard are the team’s main receivers. The fact that their status is already clearly defined just makes the competition even fiercer between the others at the position.

Latimer could be the third wide receiver on the depth chart, but that assumes that he fends off efforts from Roger Lewis and Amba Etta-Tawo. If Latimer does put up good performances in training camp, the help in the passing game will be very useful to quarterback Eli Manning, who was let down by his receivers once Beckham Jr. was injured last season.


New York Jets: What We Can Expect From Jamal Adams And Marcus Maye In 2018

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Although the 2017 season for the New York Jets was subpar for most, one of the bright spots was the emergence of their rookie safeties; Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

Even though many fans weren’t as excited in the organization selecting back to back safeties in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, the majority were silenced by the growth and maturity each player showed as the season progressed.

With Jamal Adams, the Jets have a safety that is impactful near the line of scrimmage and has the ability to drop back in coverage and defend opposing tight ends. On the flip side, Marcus Maye offers a disciplined last line of defense that has outstanding vision and instincts to clean up blown coverages from his fellow defensive teammates. The combination of the two has the makings of becoming one of the top safety tandems in the league.

How can they improve on the New York Jets’ defense?

Last fall, Adams and Maye became the first rookie safety tandem to start Week 1 since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. As expected, both players had their struggles adjusting to the speed and physicality of the game. Jamal Adams ended the year with 83 tackles,2 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble and 6 pass breakups, which is quite impressive for any safety.

The only downside was his inability to create turnovers, in which he didn’t record a single interception in the year. Marcus Maye finished his first year with 79 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and 2 pass breakups. Overall, Marcus Maye proved to be reliable at the back end of the Jets defense. His only downside was his stamina diminishing towards the end of the season leading to big plays down field.

With a year under their belt, both safeties have taken the off-season to study game film and make the strides together in communicating with one another in becoming an elite tandem in the Jets secondary. Adams has been flawless in camp thus far, improving on his positioning during plays preventing Quarterbacks from attempting throws.

Maye went under ankle surgery after last season commenced and is expected to be ready for training camp. He has focused on his time off to become more of a ball hawk at the backend of the Jets. Both players have provided vocal leadership on the field and as well as curing the toxic locker room environment that hindered the Jets back in 2016.

They have allowed Todd Bowles to dial up plays that showcase their strengths while learning from their mistakes to conceal their weaknesses.  With improvements in the secondary in the signing of Trumaine Johnson and the resigning of Morris Claiborne, the safeties are in position to take a major leap into stardom and making Gang Green a perennial threat in the league.