New York Giants: Shaun O’Hara Believes Current Scenario Is Best For Jones

New York Giants, Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, Alex Tanney

The New York Giants have had a quarterback debate in the making ever since Daniel Jones showed up looking good in his first preseason game, throwing for one touchdown and completing all of his passes. It remains to be seen how Jones will play in the future but at least right now it’s generated a bit of urgency for Eli Manning, the team’s starter who not everyone is entirely happy with.

There’s plenty of people who would be happy to see the Giants give Jones a chance in his rookie season, but one high profile player disagrees with that assessment of the QB battle. That player would be Super Bowl winning center Shaun O’Hara, who of course has a pretty decent knowledge of the quarterback position at this point after serving as the center for Eli Manning for many years.

“I think that’s perfect case scenario. When they drafted Daniel Jones, it wasn’t to help them win Week 1, it was for the future,” O’Hara said on NFL Network, on the subject of keeping Jones on the bench for the entire year and sticking with Eli Manning.

“You hear John Mara talking about that. What that tells me is, inside that locker room, inside that building, they believe in Eli and the best thing for the Giants right now is the fact that Eli’s having a great camp — it’s the one thing that nobody’s talking about. Every single time I’ve been at camp, he’s been lighting it up,” O’Hara added.

The Giants have confirmed Manning as the starter a number of times but it doesn’t stop speculation about the team making a switch during the season, especially if they don’t play well.

“Yes, I’ve seen with my own eyes and I’ve also heard it from Pat Shurmur when I talk to him and Dave Gettleman when I talk to him. Both of them directly unsolicited said ‘Eli looks great and he’s playing great.’ If he wasn’t, this is a different conversation.”

Manning hasn’t had a chance to play in the regular season, and there’s a chance, however, that the first four games are somewhat rough with Golden Tate suspended and Sterling Shepard attempting to bounce back from a fractured thumb. It’s unknown how these factors will affect the team or how they’ll play in the early weeks, and as Giants fans saw firsthand in 2018, all it takes is a string of bad weeks for the pressure to rise greatly on a quarterback that’s had a hard time winning in recent years.

For now, we’ll just have to see how the team continues to play in the preseason – if Jones continues putting together performances like his one against the Jets, that pressure on Manning will increase… Rightfully or not, and whether the team management wants it to or not.

New York Mets: Mickey Callaway’s Mismanagement of the Pitching Staff

New York Mets, Mets

There comes a time in a manager’s career where it is better to simply do nothing instead of over manage. Mets manager Mickey Callaway did not get that memo when he pulled Steven Matz out of the game with only 79 pitches after letting him hit for himself.

Callaway’s trademark is his extremely questionable moves during his tenure as manager. Throughout the Mets hot streak he did not make many tough decisions as the starting pitching went deep into games, making it automatic to use Seth Lugo. Callaway did not even have a tough decision to make with Matz. He could have fell asleep and done nothing, which he should think about doing more often.

100 Times Out of 100?

Callaway’s defense of his move is the same idiotic thinking that will push him out of a job next season. Matz cruised through 14 straight batters prior to his departure. He even started the two out rally which gave the Mets a 2-1 lead at the time. Allowing Matz to hit when they were down one was a good move. Partly because he had settled in nicely and partly because he is a better hitter than anyone on the Mets bench.

Callaway was also unprepared heading into the seventh inning. He should have warmed up Lugo before the rally even started, if he had ideas of bringing him in. He waited until Pete Alonso, who was the last hitter of the inning, came up to hit. Callaway has been very hypocritical throughout his time in New York and proved it once again. He claimed he wanted his “best pitchers to carry us” then only needed a week to prove he lied.

Remember the “Pitching Guru”?

To Callaway, it made sense to push Marcus Stroman to 115 pitches in 6+ innings when he did not need to, but not to stick with the 79-pitch Matz. Even if everything worked out, Callaway did not have a real plan following Lugo. Granted, Lugo has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last month, but most of that happened because they did not overuse him.

Was Edwin Diaz actually expected to close out a potential one run lead against the Atlanta Braves? If that was the case, Callaway should never be allowed to manage again. You do not need to be Gil Hodges to figure out what the best move was.

Making Matters Worse

Once it was clear Lugo was no where near his best, Callaway decided to leave him out there long enough where he becomes unavailable for Thursday’s game. Then he used Jeurys Familia for the bottom of the eighth, which likely made him unavailable for Thursday since he threw in back to back days.

Familia did keep the Mets in the game but now they have to rely on the combo of Brad Brach and Edwin Diaz to close out a win. The Mets have the talent on their team to make a deep playoff run, but it is a shame their manager is not fit to run a little league team.

New York Knicks to rely on two impactful rotational players next season

New York Knicks, Damyean Dotson

While the New York Knicks headlines have been crowded with names like RJ Barrett and Julius Randle, some of the younger, rotational players have gotten lost in the shuffle.

The Knicks signed a flurry of veterans this offseason to help supplement their lack of experience and average age being below the drinking limit. However, the leadership and knowledge they gained from bringing in options like Randle and Marcus Morris will prove to be beneficial, especially for the youth foundation the Knicks are keen on building through.

Rotational players like Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson might benefit the most, though, as they will not hold the pressures of being a starter. Barrett, Kevin Knox, and Mitchell Robinson will all bear that responsibility, and it could be overwhelming for the trio.

What do the New York Knicks have in Trier and Dotson?

Trier and Dotson, two of the more promising young players for New York, will develop behind the scenes and play specific roles next season under head coach David Fizdale. The competition that has been built throughout the roster will ultimately help the progression of the team and expedite the process of their refinement.

Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, and Barrett will all compete for playing time along with Trier and Dotson. The guard position will be packed full of capable players, some more talented than others, but it’s who can produce the most that will see more time on the court.

Trier, one of the young offensive studs for the Knicks, is developing his three-point shot, a factor of his game that can be influential and important moving forward. He shot .394 percent from beyond the arch last year on 2.1 attempts per game. His success has convinced the coaching staff that he should be taking more shots from three. His offensive qualities should see him earn more playing time, but his defense needs work.

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Dotson, on the other hand, is more of a utility player, capable of playing offensive and defense at an average level. It’s essential to have rotational players that can be utilized in different scenarios and help at any moment.

Dotson elevated his offense last season, seeing a jump from 4.1 points to 10.7 per game from 2017-to-2018. He is an ‘okay’ on-ball defender, but he developed into a decent shooter, knocking down 36.8% of his 342 attempts last season. The reality is, both Trier and Dotson can be good players for the Knicks, but they’re facing an uphill battle for minutes.

New York Giants: Chicago’s Defense Will Be A Real Test For Daniel Jones

The New York Giants played their first preseason game last Thursday against the New York Jets. The Giants won the battle of New Jersey 31-22. The game featured solid performances from three Giants quarterbacks, including sixth overall pick Daniel Jones.

Jones had a strong outing versus the Jets despite playing only one drive. The rookie completed all five of his passes for 67 yards and 1 touchdown. Despite this, Daniel Jones still received a lot of criticism from obnoxious media personalities.

Daniel Jones made his first step towards proving doubters wrong in his first preseason game. Jones will get his second opportunity Friday night versus the Chicago Bears. But this game will be even more important for the Giants’ heir apparent.

The Chicago Bears Defense

The Chicago Bears have always been known for their stout, legendary defenses. Their defense in 2018 was the best in the league and they kept most of their talent together this offseason. The Bears’ defense features numerous playmakers that will make it tough on the Giants’ quarterbacks.

It is highly unlikely that Daniel Jones will face the Bears’ full first-team defense. Eli Manning is the team’s starting quarterback and Daniel Jones will come in with the second-string. Manning will have to briefly line up across from the tenacious Khalil Mack and try to thread passes between the likes of Eddie Jackson and Kendall Fuller.

Daniel Jones will not have to face all of that. But he will have to face some of it. The Bears defense did allow only 17.7 points per game in 2018 (best in the NFL), so they must have some serious depth behind their starters. Second-team players like Aaron Lynch and Buster Skrine would certainly be able to find starting jobs with other teams.

The Bears did force 27 total interceptions in 2018. Daniel Jones played a clean game and did not turn the ball over against the Jets. It will be interesting to see if he can keep the ball away from Chicago’s defense.

Daniel Jones Facing Defensive Talent

That was one criticism of Daniel Jones after the Jets game. Arrogant sports talk-show hosts pointed out that Jones did not play against a starter-level defense, so therefore those passes he threw cannot be judged (imagine thinking this way).

Daniel Jones did not exactly play with or against elite talent in college at Duke. The ACC does not produce NFL talent like the SEC or the Big Ten. But Jones is an NFL quarterback now and he will have to face NFL talent. His next test will come Friday night against the Chicago Bears.

Daniel Jones needs to ball out against the Bears just like he did against the Jets to keep the media quiet. Or, actually get the media to praise him for once. The Bears’ defense is no joke. It is time for Daniel Jones to prove that he is not a joke either.

New York Yankees Weekly Recap + ESM Yankee Players of the Week 8/5-8/11

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

Weekly Recap:

After coming off a four-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees made short work of the Baltimore Orioles with a sweep at Camden Yards. The bombers outscored the last-place Orioles 32-12 in three games, now sitting at 13-2 against their division rivals. This also includes a perfect 10-0 record at Camden Yards. The last time the Yankees lost to the Orioles was on March 31, the third game of 2019 for both squads.

From Baltimore, they traveled to Toronto, though did not fare as well against the Blue Jays. Despite winning the opener 12-6, they would drop the next two by scores of 8-2 and 5-4. In the finale, the Yankees would take the lead in the fifth on a Brett Gardner ground-rule double but had to endure a 13-pitch battle between closer Aroldis Chapman and Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to scrape away a 1-0 victory.

On the week, the New York Yankees finished 5-2 as they continue to lock down the A.L. East and look towards October. Here are the division standings entering Monday:

A.L East Standings (As of 8/12):

New York (A.L.): 77-41

Tampa Bay: 69-50, 8.5 Games Back

Boston: 62-58, 16 Games Back

Toronto: 49-72, 29.5 Games Back

Baltimore: 39-78, 37.5 Games Back

Gary Sanchez returns from I.L.:

The New York Yankees’ lineup received reinforcements on Saturday when catcher Gary Sanchez was activated from the 10-day I.L. Sanchez had been on the I.L. since July 24 with a Grade 1 Groin Strain, his third groin injury in the past two seasons. In his two games back last week, Sanchez went 1-for-7, his one hit being a 426-foot solo home run in Toronto.

Injury Updates on Severino, Betances:

Sanchez isn’t the reinforcements the New York Yankees will receive, as both Luis Severino and Dellin Betances are making significant progress in hopes of making their 2019 debuts. While in Toronto, Severino threw a 29-pitch bullpen, reporting that the session was “better than I expected.”

Severino’s session was the first time he has been on a pitcher’s mound since March when he went down with right shoulder inflammation, followed by a Grade 2 Lat Strain. This comes after signing a four-year, $40 million extension that has him under team control until 2022.

Betances meanwhile threw a 20-pitch session, reporting similar results. The four-time all-star went on the I.L. in March with right shoulder impingement. He had initially resumed throwing in early June but soon was shut down again after an MRI revealed a low-level lat strain. Betances was set to be a free agent at the end of the year, but his absence may result in a short term extension.

And now, it is once again time for…

Empire Sports Media’s Yankee Players of the Week:

Gio Urshela:

5 games, 9-20 (.450), 5 HR, 10 RBI, 8 Runs Scored, 1.300 SLG %

Mike Tauchman:

7 games, 10-24 (.417), 5 HR, 10 RBI, 5 BB, 7 Runs Scored, 1.125 SLG %

For the second straight week, ESM presents your CO-Yankees of the Week! This time, the honor goes to Mike “the Sockman” Tauchman, as well as Mean (Woo!) Gio Urshela.

Despite starting the week recovering from a pair of pitches fouled off of both legs in the series finale against Boston, Urshela made up for lost time with back-to-back multi-homer games against Baltimore and Toronto. Entering Monday’s doubleheader against Baltimore, Mean Gio is hitting .323 with 17 home runs, 61 RBI, and a .940 OPS.

The Sockman had a very similar week in terms of production, also hitting five dingers and driving in 10. Entering Monday, Tauchman is batting .300 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI, and a .960 OPS.

Honorable Mentions (Not In Order):

Brett Gardner:

6 games, 9-23 (.391), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 Runs Scored, 1.243 OPS, 1 Interesting Ejection

Another solid week is in the books for the longest-tenured Yankee, though it came with some fireworks. During game two of the four-game series with Toronto, many in the Yankees dugout were chirping at home plate umpire Chris Segal over questionable strike calls. The result was Segal throwing out a player who wasn’t involved, namely Gardner.

Upon realizing what had happened, the veteran outfielder stormed out of the dugout and had to be restrained by Aaron Boone as he ripped the young umpire.  Gardner did hit his bat into the dugout ceiling but never said a word to Segal before the ejection.

But the ejection itself was not the source of Gardner’s anger, but rather what came of it. After his ejection, Aaron Judge, who was in the midst of a slump, was brought in as a defensive replacement.

“The whole thing is Judgey finally getting a much needed day off,” Gardner said after the Yankees lost 8-2 that day, “He has to go into the game in the fourth inning because of what happened. That makes me madder than anything. The last thing I would do is intentionally get thrown out and him having to come off the bench like that.”

Two days later, Gardner got his revenge thanks to an RBI ground-rule double in the fifth, the only offense for either side in a 1-0 bomber victory.

Masahiro Tanaka:

Vs. Baltimore (8/5): ND, 5.1 Innings, 10 Hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO

Vs. Toronto (8/11): W, 8.0 Innings, 3 Hits, 4 SO

Despite giving up five earned runs in his previous start against Baltimore, Tanaka Time in Toronto was a good time Yankee fans. Through eight shutout innings, he allowed only three hits and struck out four. For his career, Tanaka is now 13-5 with a 2.69 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 123.2 Innings against Toronto.

James Paxton:

Vs. Baltimore (8/7): W, 6.2 Innings, 5 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

Typically when James Paxton had a quality start this year, the offense couldn’t back him up. That wasn’t the case last Wednesday in Baltimore, as the bombers put up 14 runs in a 14-2 victory. That was more than enough for the Big Maple, who would allow only one run and strike out seven through six and two-thirds innings. This start ended up being Paxton’s second straight quality start.

D.J. LeMahieu:

7 games, 9-28 (.321), 1 HR, 5 RBI

Cameron Maybin:

5 games, 8-22 (.364), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6 Runs Scored, 1.119 OPS

New York Yankees: What Pitcher will make the Biggest Impact in the Playoffs?

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The biggest concern for the Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees has to be deciding the three or four starters in the postseason.

Most of the Yankees’ starting pitching has been average at best. It will most certainly be tough building a playoff rotation against the top offenses in the league. The top candidate for getting the nod in game 1 of the American League Division Series is Domingo German. Unless, the former ace, Luis Severino, can come back strong from his injury, German has to be the favorite.

German is leading Major League Baseball with 16 wins. If he continues to get run support, he should continue to dominate in the postseason with his 3.96 earned-run average (MLB At Bat). Being only 27 years old, Yankee fans hope to see German become a superstar for a long time. He started most of his career in the bullpen and had a few spots starts the last couple of years.  No one saw this coming from German, but he has really helped stabilize the rotation this year.

What has been the key to German’s success this year?

German’s ability to expand the strike zone with his curveball has led to a lot of swings and misses this year. This league now demands an upper 90s fastball and a high spin rate on a breaking pitch. Severino is the only one in the rotation that fits those standards. However, German has a fastball ranging from 93 to 95 miles per hour and curveball with a lot of dive. An underrated stat for pitchers: spin rate. German has an average spin rate of 2,565 rotations per minute on his curveball. Masahiro Tanaka tries to accomplish the same with his splitter and slider with an average of 2,387 rotations per minute (MLB At Bat).

Chase rate has also appeared to become an advantage for “finesse” pitchers that do not throw in the upper 90s. Larry Rothschild, the pitching coach of the New York Yankees, has to receive a lot of credit teaching the pitchers to have their breaking pitches “drop off the table.” The Yankees’ pitchers have excelled at making their breaking pitches look like a strike then, with a high spin rate, dropping off the corners of the plate. This formula has seemed to be the key for pitchers with an average or below-average velocity on their fastball. Hopefully, German can continue to use this recipe to his advantage for his starts in the postseason.

The New York Yankees Absolutely Dominated the Orioles

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

With Wednesday’s win, the New York Yankees have won 16 straight games against the Baltimore Orioles this season. They finish 17-2 against them this season, where the two losses came from the first series of the season.

The New York Yankees set a new record of their best series against any team since they went 21-1 vs. the Saint Louis Browns in 1927, per stat guru Katie Sharp.

Following Tuesday’s 15th straight win, manager Aaron Boone said this about the impressive feat: “It’s been crazy. It’s not easy to do by any means, I just think our guys have had a really good mindset no matter who we’re playing. The guys just daily focus hunger, coming in ready to compete.”

Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez both individually owned the Orioles this season. Torres hit 13 total home runs and Sachez hit a total 10 home runs.

Didi Gregorius led off Wednesday’s win with a single to right field that knocked in Aaron Judge. Later that inning, Gary Sanchez hit a bomb to center field for 422 feet that scored Gio Urshela and Didi Gregorius. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Mike Ford hit his first career based loaded RBI which scored Gleyber Torres.

J.A. Happ had a quality start where he pitched five full frames while allowing just two runs on six hits. He fanned six while walking three. Happ’s ERA decreased slightly but remained inflated at 5.40.  Luis Cessa allowed the three runs to let the O’s get back in the game, but Aroldis Chapman sealed the win in the ninth with two strikeouts.

New York Giants: How Will John Mara Handle the Manning to Jones Change?

The New York Giants are embarking on an inevitable QB controversy whether they like it or not. John Mara is going to have the final say on the transfer of guard from Manning to Jones and he must get it right this time around.

Let’s flashback to the 2017 NFL Season when the Giants ended Eli Manning’s 13 seasons, 210 consecutive start streak in favor of Geno Smith. The team was eliminated from the playoffs and were playing a meaningless game against a sub-par .500 raiders team.

Heading towards a high draft pick with a 2-9 record, it made sense for the team to see what they had in rookie QB Davis Webb, right? Wrong. The team is a classless move decided its best action was to bench the best QB in franchise history for a player that already had shown he is nothing more than a backup in the NFL.

Fast forward to today and a similar situation is developing in John Mara’s hands. The difference is the newly drafted QB is a #6th overall pick who begs the question of not if but when he will take over the reins from Eli Manning?

Pat Shurmur has reiterated throughout the offseason on playing the best QB and making sure Daniel Jones is ready to play week 1. John Mara came out on Tuesday and similarly talked to reporters reassuring everyone who the Giants starting QB is.

“I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field,” Mara told reporters at the Giants training facility (CBS Sports).

Here is the question the Giants coaching staff along with ownership must ask themselves during the regular season:

Is Eli Manning holding back the Giant’s offense?

Regardless of the New York Giants record, the team has to play the QB that gives them the best chance to win. This motto has been what Pat Shurmur has told the media over and over again foreshadowing a potential change if needed.

Teams in the past have been able to move on from their franchise QB leaving emotion out of the decision. Look at Brett Favre and the Packers, Peyton Manning with the Colts. Not to mention these two players were statistically better with their first teams than Eli Manning has been in his career with the Giants. The Giants cannot hesitate to make a change if Manning starts to struggle with the future of their franchise sitting on the bench.

John Mara understands all that Eli Manning has done for the Giants. A two time Super Bowl champion is hard to move on from. However, when the time is right he must sign off on a QB change.

For Eli’s sake, hopefully, he plays 16 games and Jones doesn’t see the field.

New York Giants: Why we should have faith in GM Dave Gettleman

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants elected to hire general manager Dave Gettleman one year ago after the reign of Jerry Reese came to an end.

Two Super Bowl’s later and a flurry of terrible drafts, the Giants decided it was time to move on towards bigger and better things. However, most were concerned about Gettleman and his past relationships with players. He is all business and no sympathy, but he has done a fantastic job piecing together a Giants team that has been lost for a decade.

Second drafts a charm for the New York Giants:

Drafting running back Saquon Barkley might have been the easiest decision in Dave’s career, and we shouldn’t give him the credit for selecting a player that was guaranteed to be a perennial Pro Bowler. Where Gettleman success comes into play is in the later rounds of the draft. Between rounds, 3-7 is where the new general manager has really shined.

Last season, the Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter and BJ Hill in the third round. Both will be starters in 2019. In the fifth round, they selected RJ McIntosh who will be a rotational player after dealing with a thyroid issue in 2018 that kept him out the entire season.

In the most recent draft, Gettleman selected DE Oshane Ximines in the third round, CB Julian Love in the fourth round, LB Ryan Connelly/WR Darius Slayton in the fifth round, and CB Corey Ballentine in the sixth round. In the seventh round, he selected OT George Asiago-Adjei, and DL Chris Slayton, defense of lineman from Syracuse.

Out of his seven picks between rounds 3-7, he has five potential starting players. The two outliers being the seventh-round picks who haven’t shown much this off-season so far. However, Love is competing for the slot corner position and Ximines will be a featured player on the defensive front.

Ryan Connelly has already been earning first-team reps over veteran BJ Goodson and Darius Slayton has been slotted in with the first team on numerous occasions. Corey Ballentine, division II cornerback, has looked fantastic at times, even recording an interception and two assisted tackles in the victory over the Jets in the first preseason game.

All in all, the Giants could have seven new starters by the end of the 2019 season who have less than two years of experience. Those are only players from rounds 3-7, which shows the quality of depth Dave Gettleman is building and how well he is drafting.

One other essential point I would like to make is that Dave does not hold on to his own pride. When it comes to free-agent signing’s, he has no problem releasing a player that simply isn’t panning out, which is something Jerry Reese failed to do over the years. Take Patrick Omameh for example, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal and was cut by week five last season.

The no-nonsense approach Gettleman and the Giants have adopted needed to be prioritized after Reese was fired. There were too many distractions and far too many wasted draft picks to anticipate success for the future. Gettleman has done a fantastic job piecing the team together thus far and we are already seeing the benefits of his decisions.


New York Yankees: Luke Voit is Nearing Return

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

After New York Yankees’ slugger, Luke Voit was diagnosed with a Sports Hernia, many believed that he would miss a big part of the season heading into October. However, recent news shows that there is positive progress and he could be back in pinstripes sooner than later.

Early Monday morning, Voit was at Yankee stadium running through some agility and conditioning drills. Following the workout, he said he felt the hernia mostly when sprinting and during the drills, he had no pain. Voit is extremely optimistic on a healthy return with no surgery.

Before the doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles, Voit said, “I’m optimistic with how I’m feeling. Obviously, this week will be a big week with all the baseball activities and stuff. But I’m pretty excited by how I feel.”

More baseball activities were reported to occur following the workout. He’ll most likely be getting cage work and fieldwork before preparing for a triple-A rehab game. Manager Aaron Boone mentioned that when the club takes their West Coast trip, Voit will either go to Tampa or Scranton. He’ll first complete full workouts before heading into a real game.

This season Voit is batting .278 with 19 home runs and 54 runs batted in. He’s been one of the biggest contributors offensively this season. With Voit and teammate Edwin Encarnacion sidelined, Mike Ford from triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders has taken the first base role. Voit will most likely return late August or early September. The Yankees will definitely need his offensive help during the postseason.