New York Mets: Cespedes Powers the Mets to a 1-0 Victory

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

The New York Mets’ first win of the season could not have been written better and was a day for a couple of crucial Mets to get chips off their shoulders. Yoenis Cespedes returns to the lineup in fashion as his majestic solo home run was all the Mets needed to defeat the Atlanta Braves. Also, Jacob deGrom and the bullpen combined on a shutout of the defending NL East champions.

Cespedes looked rusty at the plate during his first two at-bats. His pop up and a groundball to third base barely reached the infield dirt. It was the first time for Cespedes to test his legs, but he ran at 80 percent as advised by the Mets medical staff. During Cespedes’s third at-bat, he took a belt-high fastball and deposited deep into the empty left-field stands. He did not have to worry about his legs during his light jog around the bases.

Pitching Dominance

deGrom shut down any question on the effect of his back injury and long layoff. He only allowed two baserunners and struck out eight on only 74 pitches. deGrom consistently threw 99-100 mph with his fastball and has thrown 28 straight scoreless innings.

Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson worked through trouble to keep the Braves scoreless and get the game to Edwin Diaz in the ninth. Of course, watching Diaz is going to frighten Mets fans, but he also calms down fans for now. He worked around a walk and struck out two to get his first save of the 2020 season.

Diaz looked electric with his fastball in the high 90s, a slider that looked like it did during his time in Seattle, and he even threw a changeup as well. Diaz struck out Matt Adams on a perfect slider to end the game, which was a huge confidence boost. He struggled mightily with his signature pitch last season, but those struggles seem no more.

Mike Soroka also pitched great for the Braves. He went six innings and allowed four hits without walking a batter. Mets pitching held the Braves to three hits and struck them out 15 times, which handed Soroka a no-decision.

The top of the Mets order, Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil provided three of the six Mets hits. McNeil easily could have added two more if it was not for the Braves defense.

The Mets and Braves play game two of the season at 4:10 p.m. on Saturday. A couple of lefties tow the rubber as Steven Matz gets the start against the 17-game winner, Max Fried.

New York Giants: DeAndre Baker and Aldrick Rosas To Report To Training Camp

The New York Giants have had two key players on their roster dealing with legal trouble this offseason. The first of the two, cornerback DeAndre Baker, was arrested earlier this offseason after being accused of committing armed robbery. The case has had numerous developments arise since it began in May but Baker has not yet been found guilty or innocent.

Kicker Aldrick Rosas also found himself in legal trouble after a hit-and-run car accident in California last month. Rosas was charged with three misdemeanors – reckless driving on the highway, hit and run property damage, and driving with a license suspended for DUI. Contradictory to earliest reports, Rosas was not tested for driving under the influence.

Upon hearing the news of Baker’s accusations, the Giants asked him to distance himself from the team’s virtual meetings. Baker has been training on his own since then and has not been given permission to join virtual meetings for the entirety of the offseason.

Rosas And Baker To Report To Camp

According to a new report by the New York Post, Rosas and Baker’s time away from the team is about to end. Paul Schwartz and Ryan Dunleavy report that the Giants have not told DeAndre Baker or Aldrick Rosas to stay away from training camp, so they are both planning on attending. Training camp begins on Tuesday for the Giants.

Neither DeAndre Baker nor Aldrick Rosas has had their legal situations resolved yet. Baker’s attorney Patrick Patel is “hopeful of a dismissal soon” and stated that the case is “pending.” The NY Post also reports that Rosas “has an arraignment hearing Sept. 4 that does not require an in-person appearance” which allows him to be with the team at training camp until the case is resolved.

In the United States of America, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Giants are doing the right thing by allowing their players to participate in training camp, despite their pending legal situations.

Both players struggled in the 2019 regular season. With no preseason in 2020, this summer’s training camp could be crucial for each player’s future in the league. Luckily for Baker and Rosas, they are officially receiving the opportunity to prove themselves on the field, starting next week.

Is Yankees’ Tyler Wade finally reaching his potential after dominant Opening Day performance?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

The New York Yankees started off the season with the right foot, winning 4-1 in a rain-shortened game against the Washington Nationals, the reigning World Series champions.

Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton took nearly all the headlines, and with good reason. The former won by twirling five innings of one-run ball, while the latter uncorked a 459-foot home run off Max Scherzer, no less.

However, lost amid all the hoopla of Cole’s winning start was Tyler Wade’s performance. Let’s remember that Wade was supposed to be a utilityman, but the New York Yankees’ starting second baseman, DJ LeMahieu, went down with COVID-19 a few weeks ago. And while he was already activated from the injured list, he isn’t quite ready to start yet.

That’s why the Yankees decided to go with Wade, who won the competition to be LeMahieu’s short-term replacement during summer camp. The team had another worthy candidate in Thairo Estrada, but they decided to give Wade a shot, and boy, did he impress.

He made an impact on the Yankees victory

The game was called in the sixth inning, but that was enough time for Wade to make an impact. In two plate appearances, he had one hit and one walk, and the hit was a perfectly placed bunt single.

He showed off his impressive wheels by racing from first base to home on an Aaron Judge’s double. He was also very good defensively, and as he showed in 2019, he improved in second base. Is Tyler Wade’s time finally coming? For the New York Yankees, it would be an excellent problem to have: too many good players and few positions to put them.

Wade is only 25 years old despite having seemingly been around forever. He is a career .201/.274/.301 in 243 plate appearances in the majors, but with lots of reps, he could blossom into a 10 home runs, 30+ steals threat with a good OBP and lots of defensive versatility.

Will the 2020 season be the one in which he finally realizes his potential? Granted, lots of things would need to happen for him to get an extended look, but it remains within the realm of possibilities.

Jason Kidd the frontrunner to be the New York Knicks head coach

New York Knicks, Jason Kidd

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Jason Kidd is the new frontrunner to be the New York Knicks’ next head coach.

Bondy says Kidd “is viewed by the Knicks as a conduit to attracting free agents” but adds “there are also people in the organization who are skeptical of his coaching ability following underwhelming stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee.”

Kidd is an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers under head coach Frank Vogel. After retiring from the NBA in 2013 (Kidd’s last season was with the Knicks in the 2012-13 season) Kidd was named the Brooklyn Nets head coach. After a supposed power-play move within the organization, Brooklyn traded Kidd to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014.

Kidd coached the Bucks for three and a half seasons, getting fired in 2018. During Kidd’s time in Milwaukee, he coached Giannis Antetokounmpo, a free agent in 2021. The 2019 NBA Most Valuable Player Award recipient reportedly had a sound relationship with Kidd. It has been reported that some NBA teams feel Kidd could be the “link” to Antetokounmpo.

Bondy says that potential assistants under Kidd include Kenny Payne, Rod Strickland and Mike Woodson, the Knicks head coach from 2012-14, and a reported candidate for the current coaching vacancy.

The New York Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019 after going 4-18. They promoted assistant Mike Miller to interim head coach. The Knicks went 17-27 under Miller.

The team fired president Steve Mills in February, replacing him with former agent Leon Rose. Under Rose, the Knicks have retained Scott Perry as general manager, hired Walt Perrin as assistant general manager, and hired William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor, among other moves.

Tom Thibodeau has been the long-standing favorite to be named the Knicks head coach given his relationship with Rose and Wesley by means of Creative Artists Agency. A source tells Bondy that owner James Dolan has been “unwilling” to meet Thibodeau’s contract requests and any deal between the two sides at this point would require a “concession.”

New York Yankees: Yankees add a left hand pitcher to their arsenal

The New York Yankees never stop trying to improve their baseball team, no matter what season it is.  In this short 60 game season, they have only played one game that they won against the Washington Nationals.  It may be a coincidence, but the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, the Yankees have come to a deal with the Nationals left-hander, Fernando Abad.

The Yankees don’t have a lot of left-hand arms on the team.  At the moment, they only have Aroldis Chapman, who is on the COVID-19 IL. That leaves Zack Britton as his likely replacement and Luis Avilan as the lone lefty setup option. Tyler Lyons had been the only left-handed reliever at the Yankees’ Scranton site, so bringing Abad into the mix addresses a depth need in a rather straightforward fashion.

The 34-year-old Abad is a veteran of nine Major League seasons who carries a lifetime 3.67 ERA at the big league level. He’s pitched for six clubs, most recently the Giants in 2019, and averaged 7.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 1.14 HR/9 with a 41.5 percent ground-ball rate. He’s held lefties to a .234/.283/.378 slash and yielded a .257/.338/.412 slash to righties. Obviously, the latter isn’t particularly encouraging, but Abad’s splits aren’t quite as glaring as is the case with many traditional, pure lefty specialists.

The Yankees had some space in their 60-man player pool as it is, so they needn’t make a corresponding move once Abad’s deal becomes official. I believe they have two extra spaces. Upon the signing, the Yankees will most likely send him down to Scranton Wilkes/Barre to train with fellow lefty Tyler Lyons.

The Nationals acquired Abad from the San Francisco Giants in the offseason. Abad was let loose by the Nationals after not attending summer camp.  Abad was quarantining after a positive Covid-19 diagnosis. Now that he’s been cleared to return to action, he will take his place with the New York Yankees.

The Dominican pitcher has pitched for the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, and, most recently, the Nationals. In 2018 he received an 80 game suspension for using Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance. Upon the news, he was relieved of a minor league contract from the New York Mets.

See the New York Mets’ Opening Day lineup: Cespedes is fifth and Cano sixth

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

The New York Mets are set to host the Atlanta Braves in the first series of their MLB season at Citi Field. Play ball is scheduled for this afternoon at 4:05 p.m. ET, and Jacob deGrom will be tasked to keep the Braves offense at bay, squaring off against young phenom Mike Soroka.

Mets manager Luis Rojas has already published the lineup for today’s game. It is as follows:

  • Brandon Nimmo, CF
  • Jeff McNeil, 3B
  • Pete Alonso, 1B
  • Michael Conforto, RF
  • Yoenis Cespedes, DH
  • Robinson Cano, 2B
  • JD Davis, LF
  • Wilson Ramos, C
  • Amed Rosario, SS

The Braves are countering with this lineup:

  • Ronald Acuna Jr, RF
  • Ozzie Albies, 2B
  • Freddie Freeman, 1B
  • Marcell Ozuna, LF
  • Matt Adams, DH
  • Austin Riley, 3B
  • Dansby Swanson, SS
  • Ender Inciarte, CF
  • Alex Jackson, C

The Braves are extremely short in the catcher position, as both Travis D’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers are presenting COVID-19 symptoms even though they tested negative for the disease.

Soroka was a road warrior last season, his rookie year, after having a shiny 1.55 ERA in 16 starts out of his home stadium. He will try to keep up that performance level against a very tough Mets lineup that is virtually at full strength.

The Mets are thin at the rotation, but loaded with bats

The New York Mets, meanwhile, are decimated in their starting rotation. They lost Noah Syndergaard months ago to Tommy John surgery, and Marcus Stroman to a calf issue.

DeGrom will likely be limited to around 85 pitches as a maximum, as he had to deal with a back thing that is now in the rearview mirror.

Yoenis Cespedes will make his first appearance for the Mets since July 2018, after losing the last season while dealing with heels and ankle surgery. He will be the team’s primary designated hitter, but could eventually see some starts in left field as he gets he gets close to 100 percent form.

New York Giants: Should Nate Solder start the season at left tackle?

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Andrew Thomas

Despite allowing 11 sacks in 2019 at left tackle, the New York Giants hold Nate Solder in high regard. He’s a hard worker and has dealt with some of the most strenuous personal issues one can imagine, but he still showed up for work every day, even if he was inconsistent.

There is no question that Solder has persevered the past two seasons as his child battles cancer. However, he is prepared to take the necessary steps forward to protect young quarterback Daniel Jones.

That brings up the question, do the Giants start Solder in 2020, or do they rely on fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas?

The consensus would agree that Thomas should be the starting left tackle, or at least have the advantage considering how high the Giants picked him. Coming out of Georgia, Thomas had the highest floor of all the offensive tackle prospects.

His strengths entering the NFL are his lower body power and absolute nasty mentality in the trenches. Thomas is always looking for work to do, whether it’s hitting somebody or making a devastating block. While he can be a bit slow to get to the second level, he can anchor down well in pass protection and hold his own against premium pass rushers. He projects as a day one starter at the next level and has been coined a people mover. The Giants brought in new offensive line coach Mark Colombo, who’s known for his physcial style. He should mesh well with Thomas.

Thomas ultimately fits the mold perfectly, and a team that will let him play nasty and downhill will ultimately see the best of his physical traits.

The Ideal Fit

With that being said, the ideal move would be to start Thomas at left tackle immediately. While Solder has more experience and has shown he can play at a high-level in the past, his dead cap hit in 2021 is $6.5 million. If the Giants cut him next off-season, they will save $14 million in cap space, which they can allocate toward a pass rusher or bolstering another position.

Considering they have Nick Gates, developmental pick Matt Peart, and Cameron Fleming available, keeping Solder on that contract, at that price point, would be malpractice. With the expectation that he will be gone, the Giants shouldn’t wait to install Thomas at left tackle and initiate his development with Jones at quarterback. However, management is keen on creating position battles at every spot, so Thomas will have to earn his way to the starting position, but I believe he is the better player.

Solder should be moved over to the right side and given the opportunity to play there. In reality, both Thomas and Solder will probably play on both ends during training camp, giving the coaches a better idea of what the line should look like during the regular season.

New York Yankees: 3 secret weapons the Bombers can unleash during 2020 season

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

The New York Yankees secured their first win of the regular season on Thursday evening against the Washington Nationals. Despite the rain prematurely ending the contest after the fifth inning, ace Gerrit Cole walked away with his first win in pinstripes.

The Yankees unrolled an interesting batting order to start this strange season, leading off with Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner filling in the fifth spot. Then you have Tyler Wade, who hit in the nine hole.

While this wasn’t the ideal Yankee lineup, they still manage to put four runs on the board before the game ended.

It also gave us an interesting look into some of the secret weapons the Yankees have on the roster and how they might utilize them.

Let’s take a look at three players New York Yankees could call on throughout the season:

1.) Tyler Wade

It was between Tyler Wade and Estrada to fill in for DJ LeMahieu, who is still returning from testing positive with COVID-19 several weeks ago. Wade was given the starting job at second base in the meantime over Estrada, and he did not disappoint.

Wade enjoyed two at-bats, walking his first time and hitting an infield single on a bunt the second time. However, as anticipated, his elite speed on the bases extended the Yankees‘ early lead. After a Giancarlo Stanton homer, Wade scored from first base on an Aaron Judge double.

He also made an impressive catch at second base, further proving manager Aaron Boone’s decision to utilize him.

2.) Miguel Andujar

Andujar is one of the Yankees’ bright young players. A torn labrum in 2019 allowed incumbent Gio Urshela to cement himself at third base, ultimately moving Andujar to the outfield. The offensive weapon has been working in left field and spent some time in right to help diversify his defensive offerings. However, the probability moving forward is that he will earn reps as the DH. Giving Giancarlo Stanton some time to mitigate fatigue will likely be the course of action and Andujar will be the not-so-secret weapon in the batting order.

In 2018, Andujar posted a .297 batting average was 27 homers and 92 RBIs. He played in just 12 games last season before getting the injured list. He has looked good at the plate during intrasquad an exhibition games, and the New York Yankees could surely use his bad when called upon.

3.) Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier has been an entirely different player this off-season. After being sent down in 2019 after ignoring the media following a tough defensive performance against the Boston Red Sox, his mentality has shifted. He’s a more mature player and has taken to wearing a mask during his play, which hasn’t seemed to limit him despite the heat.

With Brett Gardner striking out three consecutive times against Max Scherzer on Thursday, the Yankees could look to Frazier to start in left field if Gardner’s experiences any sort of cold-streak. Clint has the offensive capabilities to offer consistently, his defense has just been a bit shaky the past few seasons. However, it seems as if he’s taken a significant step forward and could be ready to supplement Gardner at any moment.

Report: New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets keeping tabs on Zach LaVine

New York Knicks, Zach Lavine

According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets “have been monitoring” Zach LaVine’s situation with the Chicago Bulls.

And it’s worth noting that both the Knicks and the Nets are among the teams who have been monitoring LaVine’s situation in Chicago. Per SNY sources, both teams have done background work on LaVine to be prepared for the possibility that Chicago ends up listening to trade offers on the 25-year-old guard.

The Bulls finished the 2019-20 NBA season as the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference (22-43), missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season. LaVine has two seasons remaining on a four-year, $78 million deal, initially signed with the Sacramento Kings and matched by the Bulls in the summer of 2018.

LaVine has been Chicago’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons. Last season the 25-year-old averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Knicks could potentially offer the Bulls some combination of Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and their two first-round draft selections in both the 2020 and 2021 NBA Draft for LaVine. New York has also been linked to Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

New York finished the regular season as the 12th seed in the East (21-45), missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. They’re looking to name a head coach for next season.

The Nets could potentially offer the Bulls some combination of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Spencer Dinwiddie and their first-round draft selections in both the 2020 and 2021 NBA Draft for LaVine. Brooklyn has also been linked to Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Brooklyn is the seventh seed in the East (30-34), preparing for the NBA restart in Walt Disney World next week under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, who took over for Kenny Atkinson in March.

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets Series Preview

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Almost four months late, we finally have Opening Day and our first series preview of the year. The New York Mets welcome in the defending NL East champion Atlanta Braves. Both teams start the series shorthanded but important games will finally begin the 60-game sprint of a season.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday, 7/24, 4:10 p.m.: Mike Soroka vs. Jacob deGrom

Saturday, 7/25, 4:10 p.m.: Max Fried vs. Steven Matz

Sunday, 7/26, 7:08 p.m.: Sean Newcomb vs. Rick Porcello

The biggest question the Mets fans had about their lineup was Robinson Cano‘s place in the batting order. Not quite the offensive force he once was, Cano is in the six spot for Opening Day. The lineup looks extremely deep with Wilson Ramos, who hit over .300 w/RISP batting eighth in the order.

The Mets are 38-20 on Opening Day, and deGrom dominates day game with a 1.78 ERA. It at least puts the Mets in an excellent position to take the first game against a team they struggled against in 2019. They were 8-11 against the Braves, and taking the final three games of the season saved the record from plummeting even more.

Shorthanded Squads

The Mets had to flip around their rotation when they learned Marcus Stroman would not pitch the second game of the season. His calf injury is not a huge setback for Stroman but Matz and Porcello as pitching earlier than expected to start the season.

The Braves are extremely shorthanded in the catching department. Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Arnaud are on the IL due to COVID-19 symptoms. While both tested negative, neither traveled to New York with the Braves. Alex Jackson and William Contreras will take their place during the series. They also placed Cole Hamels on the 45-day IL to open up roster spots.

The Braves will also start Austin Riley at third over the injured Johan Camargo. Though both teams are not at full strength, it is finally time for America’s Pastime to return even if it includes empty stadiums.