Bellator 243 Recap: Michael Chandler KO’s Benson Henderson in the first

Bellator returned this evening for their second event since opening back up after the pandemic shut things down earlier this year. In the main event of the evening, Benson Henderson (28-8) took on Michael Chandler (20-5). A very solid night of fights from Bellator.

Michael Chandler KO’s Henderson in the First

The main event of the evening was a rematch a few years in the making as the two former lightweight world champions squared off. Chandler entered this fight in the last fight of his current deal with Bellator.

As the main event kicked off, Chandler immediately charged over to Henderson. Henderson started with a big body kick. Chandler countered with a big body kick of his own.

Henderson continued his steady onslaught of body work early on. Big body kicks and solid hooks. Chandler kept pushing forward, but Henderson looked very crisp early on.

Out of no where, Chandler landed a massive left hook which floored Henderson. Chandler followed up with some massive shots and the fight was over. Massive win for Michael Chandler as he heads into free agency.

Accidental headbutt leads to TKO for Tim Johnson

The co-main event of the evening featured Bellator heavyweights Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) and Tim Johnson (13-6) going head-to-head.

As the fight started, Mitrione refused to touch gloves as he circled around the outside of the cage. A brief exchange led to an accidental headbutt which dropped Mitrione and gave Johnson top position.

Johnson was able to work his way to side control a couple of minutes into the round. Mitrione tried to scramble, but Johnson was doing a good job of holding top position. Mitrione tried another scramble, but took a couple of big shots from Johnson.

Johnson started pouring on big shots and Mitrione looked really hurt. After Mitrione showed nothing in terms of defense, the referee called a stop to the action. A big TKO win for Johnson, but it won’t come without an asterisk due to that headbutt.

Myles Jury edges Georgi Karakhanyan

The second fight on the main card featured a lightweight contest between Myles Jury (18-5) and Georgi Karakhanyan (29-10-1). Both of these guys were looking to make it two in a row inside the Bellator cage after coming off multiple fight losing streaks.

As the first round started, Karakhanyan threw a big looping right hand that clipped Jury. Didn’t land flush, but it got Jury’s attention. Jury landed a couple of good shots before getting turned around by a powerful leg kick.

Karakhanyan was looking very powerful early on. Halfway through the round, Karakhanyan drove Jury to the cage and started delivering knees the thighs. Jury was able to separate with about two minutes left.

Jury landed a couple of good shots before Karakhanyan drove him right back to the cage. He was able to cut Karakhanyan late in the round.

Upon another separation, Jury landed a couple of good shots, but Karakhanyan countered with a power shot. Close round, but I lean Karakhanyan.

Jury immediately started the third with more power shots, but couldn’t land much. The pace was really being picked up by Jury to start the second. Karakhanyan seemed a lot slower to start.

After taking the first minute off, Karakhanyan did throw a couple of looping shots that didn’t land. Jury was doing a much better job in the second at working his strikes from distance.

Myles Jury was starting to really touch Karakhanyan constantly halfway through the round. Good jabs, solid combinations and a steady diet of kicks to the body. Karakhanyan tried for a desperate takedown but couldn’t get Jury down.

Karakhanyan landed a massive right hand as Jury tried to get away. He used the right to transition to another takedown. After being down for a second, Jury worked his way up and pushed Karakhanyan against the cage.

Karakhanyan was able to reverse and get another brief takedown late in the round. Very close second round, but due to the clean shots, I would give it to Jury.

Jury started the third round trying to work his jab again. A weird moment occured about thirty seconds in. Jury was poked in the eye, but the action didn’t stop. After the action didn’t stop Karakhanyan stopped then Jury pushed forward.

Fortunately nothing significant landed. Jury landed a solid elbow before looking for a takedown. Karakhanyan reversed the position and was able to secure a brief takedown. Jury immediately got up and separated.

Jury was able to land a couple of solid shots pushing forward. Karakhanyan pulled Jury into a guillotine, but couldn’t lock it in. Jury secured top position after the failed submission.

Karakhanyan tried to work his way up, but Jury did a good job of holding the top. Jury briefly took Karakhanyan’s back before a scramble found him back in guard. Jury landed a couple of really nice elbows late.

Karakhanyan did get back up, but it was a little too late. Close fight overall, but I give the third round to Jury which gives him the fight on my scorecard 29-28.

The judges were split on this one scoring the fight (30-27, 27-30, 29-28). Odd scores, but Jury wins his second Bellator fight.

Homasi survives Millender’s late rally

Opening up Bellator 243 was a catchweight contest between Curtis Millender (18-5) and Sabah Homasi (13-8). Both of these men were coming off of wins in their return to Bellator.

When the first round started both men exchanged leg kicks before throwing haymakers at each other. Homasi continued to look for a giant overhand right early on.

Millender appeared to be stalking Homasi just looking for his shots. A couple of stiff jabs were landing from Millender while Homasi continued to look to land a bomb. With two minutes left in the round, Homasi was able to shoot in and land a takedown.

Once he had top position, Homasi was able to land some solid elbows. Close round early on, but the takedown seals the first for Homasi.

Millender opened the second round landing a massive jab that backed up Homasi. Homasi was getting backed up by Millender, but he threw a few body kicks to keep the distance. Homasi tried for a takedown about a minute into the round.

Millender was able to defend for a bit, but eventually Homasi was able to get Millender to the ground. Homasi was able to hold solid top position for the majority of the round.

With about a minute left in the round, Homasi was able to take Millender’s back. However, he got a little high in the position and Millender was able to secure top position. Millender tried for a d’arce choke but he ended up back on his back. Another clear round for Homasi.

Millender pressed forward to start round three, but he pressured Homasi right into a clinch. The two men broke from the clinch, and Millender continued to press forward. Homasi seemed fatigued to start the final round.

As soon as Millender started to gain some momentum on the feet, he tried again for a d’arce choke. He couldn’t lock it up and ended up on his back again. Millender worked his way back up to his feet halfway through the round.

After landing a couple of solid shots, Millender just laid against Homasi against the cage. Millender was clearly gassed himself. Homasi landed another easy takedown. Millender did reverse position to gain top position before the end of the round.

I would give the last round to Millender, but the fight to Homasi 29-28. The judges ended up scoring the fight unanimously for Homasi (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Final Takeaways from Bellator 243

Bellator successfully hosted it’s second event tonight and there were some solid fights up and down the card. The promotion will be back in a couple of weeks when light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader defends his title.

Michael Chandler could not have asked for a better performance heading into free agency. A dominant knockout of a former UFC champion. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains with Bellator or moves on to another promotion.

 

New York Mets: Late Comeback Wasn’t Enough in 4-3 Loss

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

If there were a baseball version of the movie “The Replacements,” the Miami Marlins would be perfect for the role. After COVID-19 ran rampant through their entire roster, they went deep into their 60-man player pool to move to 7-1 with their 4-3 win against the New York Mets. 

The Mets’ inability to capitalize on their biggest scoring opportunity is the biggest reason why they fell to 5-9 on the season. After a run-scoring error and a J.D. Davis RBI single, the Mets had the bases loaded with only one out.

Dominic Smith had a solo-homer on the night but failed to hit a deep enough fly ball to get the tying run across. Wilson Ramos followed him with a lined shot up the middle, but Eddy Alvarez was able to knock it down. Ramos moves similarly to the average NFL offensive lineman, and it was an easy out for Ramirez to make.

An overlooked play in the game came during the third inning when Michael Conforto blooped a double into left field. Brandon Nimmo was the runner on first and did not notice when the ball trickled past left fielder Corey Dickerson. Instead of keeping his eyes on the ball, he assumed Dickerson would field the ball cleanly and slid into third instead of easily scoring. The mistake ended up being part of the difference in the loss.

One-Bad Inning

Michael Wacha wishes he could make the second inning of his start disappear. After striking out the side in the first inning, he allowed all four runs of the game in that second inning. There was a noticeable dip in velocity from in his fastball, which contributed to the poor second inning. Wacha was around 96-97 in the first but dropped a couple of miles per hour after.

Wacha adjusted after that and had a high strikeout game, recording nine of them on the night. He even struck out four in a row at one point, giving the Mets a bright ending to what looked like a poor start.

One of the Marlins replacements was their starter, Humberto Mejia. The rookie never pitched an inning above high-A but held his own in a bullpen game for the Marlins. Six of the seven outs he recorded were strikeouts, and despite sitting around 92-93 with his fastball, the Mets could not touch it.

A couple of positive for the Mets came from Chasen Shreve and Pete Alonso. Shreve gave the Mets 2.1 innings following Wacha, only allowing one walk and striking out five. His ERA is 2.84 an impressive 14.21 K/9 in 6.1 innings this season.

Alonso is slowly getting himself out of his season-long slump. He continued trending upwards, lining a double off the center-field fence, and recording a single to the opposite field. Most importantly is Alonso making use of the whole field and letting his power come naturally.

The Marlins have not announced a starter for Saturday’s matchup, but whoever it is will be facing David Peterson. The rookie is making his home debut and looks to continue his strong start to the season. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m ET.

New York Liberty earn first win of the season vs. defending WNBA champions (Highlights)

Amanda Zahui B’s double-double helped the New York Liberty to earn their first win in the WNBA bubble, topping the defending champion Mystics.

New York Liberty head coach Walt Hopkins has repeatedly stated that growth in this unusual season won’t be measured by wins. Having said that, he’s certainly not turning down any visits to the victory column.

Veterans took over the New York cause on Friday night, as Amanda Zahui B’s matching double-double (14 points, career-best 14 rebounds) guided the Liberty to an upset victory in the Bradenton bubble. The Liberty went on to take down the defending champion Washington Mystics by a 74-66 final. Kia Nurse led Liberty scorers with 17 points while fellow veteran Layshia Clarendon put in 14 more.

It’s the first win of the season for the Liberty (1-5) and the first career win for the rookie head coach Hopkins.

“I’m glad my face stayed neutral. I remember when I was a kid, my dad told me, when you hit a home run act like you’ve been there before. I’m just proud of (the team). I wanted to close it out,” Hopkins said of the final seconds over a postgame Zoom call. “Our bench came in, took a big punch, didn’t surrender the lead.”

New York faced a tall task in their third full game without top overall pick Sabrina Ionescu. Washington (3-3) was missing several key contributors from last season’s championship squad (in addition to newly acquired Liberty legend Tina Charles, who opted out of the bubble proceedings) but still came in armed with the firepower of Myisha Hines-Allen, Ariel Atkins, and Aerial Powers, each of whom entered with averages of at least 15 points per game. Also in tow was defending WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meeseman (13.6 PPG).

But the Liberty took control early at the end of a sloppy first quarter. Leading 16-14 in the final minute, Megan Walker rebounded a Leilani Mitchell miss and threw it upcourt to a streaking Joyner Holes. The rookie free agent’s layup fell through with just under two seconds remaining, allowing the Liberty to carry an 18-14 lead into the next frame.

That score kicked off a 16-5 run that put the Liberty up 11 just past the midway point of the second. A Zahui B triple, the last of four on the evening, converted with five seconds left built a 40-31 halftime lead. The 31 Washington points were good for the Mystics lowest tally over a half thus far this season.

“I’m very proud of my teammates,” Zahui B said in her own Zoom call. “We stepped up, all of us.”

“I think Zahui’s one of our vocal leaders. We ask her to do a lot on the court and off the court,” Nurse said of her fellow veteran. “I think today she just found a way to get it done. Zahui’s a great basketball player. When she’s loud and she’s talking, she does some great things.”

Primarily fueled by efforts from Powers and Meeseman, the Mystics got as close as five points in the third quarter, but Zahui B’s buzzer-beater to close the stage permanently shifted momentum into the New York side. A season-best dozen three-pointers on the New York end (led by four from Clarendon and Zahui B) helped seal the deal, as did the Liberty’s constant visits to the foul line. Nurse and Jocelyn Willoughby united to sink 14-of-17 chances. Powers led Washington with 20, but it wasn’t enough to quell the victorious New York effort. 

Friday marked the Liberty’s first win over the Mystics since August 2017. The two will square off on September 12, the last day of the regular season.

The Liberty return to action on Sunday late afternoon, as they’ll take on Las Vegas Aces (5 p.m. ET, YES).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

New York Yankees: Good news and bad news following embarrassing loss to Rays

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

After splitting a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies this week, the New York Yankees traveled to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays. With a strong pitching unit, the Yankees undoubtedly had a tough challenge ahead of them. After Tampa’s top pitcher, Blake Snell stated that beating the Yankees is a bit more enjoyable than other teams, they backed up their confidence and swagger in game one of the series.

Snell pitched 3.0 innings, not allowing a hit and striking out five batters. The Rays’ bullpen dominated the Yankees’ batting order all night, allowing just two hits and striking out nine batters. Aside from DJ LeMahieu and Mike Tauchman recording the only hits, slugger’s Aaron Judge and Luke Voit struck out a collective five times.

Losing 1-0 was a tough result for the Bombers, who have been smashing home runs at an astronomical rate.

Let’s take a look at the good and bad news following the loss for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

There wasn’t much good news offensively for the Bombers, but pitcher Masahiro Tanaka returned for just his second outing this year, eclipsing Tampa Bay at every turn. Allowing just one hit through five innings, Tanaka threw just 59 pitches and recorded five strikeouts. If it wasn’t for an Adam Ottavino eighth inning, Tanaka’s performance would’ve been even more prevalent.

Tanaka currently hosts a 1.17 ERA, but another Yankee also had a fantastic outing on the mound. Luis. Cessa, who was recently activated after a bout with COVID-19, pitched two innings and recorded two strikeouts. This is a very positive sign for a team that has had some issues with their relief arms. Adding Cessa to the rotation will certainly help them get through the middle innings in the future.

BAD NEWS:

The bad news was purely offensive, with the Yankees striking out nine total times and watching some of their best hitters go down with ease. It seemed as if the entire team was off Friday night, and having traveled the past few weeks consistently, fatigue could be setting in early on in the 2020 season.

This was a primary concern with such a condensed schedule, and utilizing a taxi squad will likely be a more prioritized factor for a manager Aaron Boone. While he did sit Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu in the final game against the Phillies, breaking their rhythm might have been a negative move.

Nonetheless, the Yankees are a much better team than the Rays currently and will endure a doubleheader on Saturday. Luckily, they have Gerrit Cole taking the mound in the first game at 2:10 PM.

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (8/7-8/9)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets return to Citi Field after an off day to play the first-place Miami Marlins. At 6-1, the Marlins have had plenty of games postponed due to their COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the hot start, the quarantine period for some of their players will be a lot to overcome.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (8/7) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Humberto Mejia (MLB Debut) vs. Michael Wacha (1-1, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday, (8/8) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. David Peterson (1-1, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday (8/9) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 2.12 ERA)

The Mets get Jeff McNeil back into the lineup after sitting out the last couple of games dealing with an intercostal strain. Even more interesting for the Mets is the switch of J.D. Davis to third base and McNeil to the outfield. Davis shined with the glove at third in his one start on Wednesday, and McNeil has been a liability to start the season.

Jacob deGrom gets to pitch another day game, which is a specialty for the Mets ace. He has an ERA under two during the day time starts. With a lineup as weak as the Marlins currently is, it should be easy pickings for the two-time Cy Young winner.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Lewis Brinson: 4-for-20 (.200), Double, 8 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Jon Berti: 5-for-12 (.417), 3 Doubles, 2 Strikeouts

New York Islanders: Onto the Real Round 1

New York Islanders, Barry Trotz

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers today with a score of 5-1 and win the series 3-1. This is was not an unexpected outcome for NHL fans, but it was for “analysts.” The Panthers are not a playoff team right now and will have to rebuild a tad bit of their lineup to make that jump.

The Islanders dominated most of the periods during this series. The only thing the Islanders didn’t execute well on was the powerplay kill. This will be a focus of head coach Barry Trotz in the upcoming practices. Now that the Islanders won and will move on, what’s next for the team from the Island?

Scenarios

If the Montreal Canadiens win today’s game vs the Pittsburgh Penguins, they will win the series 3-1 and decide the Islander’s fate. The Islanders would play the winner of Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals if the Canadiens win. If the Penguins win the series, the Islanders would play the loser of the Philadelphia Flyers vs the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders can only play the 2nd or 3rd seed, but luckily for the Isles, they can play anyone.

Matchup Preference

I imagine that Barry Trotz is hoping to play the Capitals in round 1. It’s a familiar face, as Trotz was the former head coach of the Caps. Not only will it bring a second round birth for either team, but it will also bring bragging rights. If the Islanders win, the narrative is, “Trotz can beat any team with any team.”

If the Capitals win, the narrative is, “The Capitals didn’t need Trotz as much as we think they did.” The Islanders most likely don’t want to play the Bruins. The Bruins are the hardest team to beat in the league, even though they’ve lost their last two games. The Bruins have a superstar line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pasternak, with defenseman Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy backing them up. Along with Tukka Rask in net, the Bruins are not a team you want to run into in the playoffs.

Conclusion

The Islanders have clinched the playoffs for the second year in a row, and that’s something to be proud of. They lost their franchise center John Tavares and still found a way to win. Islanders’ fans can go to bed at night knowing that they finished farther than the Maple Leafs for the second year in a row.

Houston Astros pitcher suspended 80-games, more cheating?

Kent Emanuel, Houston Astros

The Houston Astros simply can’t get out of the spotlight after being thrown at by Dodgers‘ pitcher Joe Kelly and their primary hitters struggling at the plate. It seems as if the lack of cheating has made them mortal after all, which attests to the more harsh suspension that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should’ve imposed.

Kelly received an eight-game suspension for his transgressions, representing the ridiculousness that occurred regarding the Astros’ suspensions.

Not a single player was forced to miss games during the 2020 season, but Kelly, who threw two wild pitches on purpose, was banned.

Nonetheless, one Houston Astros pitcher was recently suspended 80 games for testing positive for steroids. Kent Emanuel, who was on the Astro’s 40-man roster, tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.

Emanuel stated regarding the positive test:

“I do not know how 7 picograms of the long-term metabolite of DHCMT got into my system, but I know I have never knowingly or intentionally taken oral turinabol,” he wrote.

Take this as you will, but Houston just can’t play the game of baseball the right way. While Kent might disagree with the test and have an alternate explanation, the reality is, somehow and some way, the illegal substance got into a system.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard, Leonard Williams, and Saquon Barkley Speak With Media

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

Training camp is here for the New York Giants and with that comes the first official player interviews of the 2020 NFL season. New head coach Joe Judge was the first to speak with the media, doing so on Wednesday. You can read those quotes here.

Yesterday, Daniel Jones, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Blake Martinez spoke with the media. Today, it was Sterling Shepard, Leonard Williams, and Saquon Barkley’s turns to speak. The three players each completed ten-minute interviews via Zoom today. Here are the highlights:

Sterling Shepard:

Sterling Shepard is the longest-tenured player on the New York Giants’ roster. Sterling was drafted by the Giants in 2016 and has played a prominent role in the team’s offense ever since. Could 2020 be the year the Shepard gets himself a Captain’s Badge? Shepard said he “be happy to wear that badge and take that role” if the team votes him a captain but whether he gets it or not, he will “find a way to lead” in “whichever role” they have him in.

“(I will) just set a good example for the young guys and kind of teach them about some of the different rivalries that we have and how important those games are to the New York Giants as an organization.” – Sterling Shepard via Giants.com

Shepard also expressed excitement for the Giants’ new offensive scheme, coached by Jason Garrett. Sterling noted that “it’s an offense that utilizes everyone’s skill set.” The fifth-year slot receiver also gave some insight into Joe Judge’s virtual offseason program: “When we were going through the OTA period on the Zoom calls, the coaches would have some trivia questions for us, so we did this Kahoot! challenge to kind of get guys going and understanding the history of the organization.”

Saquon Barkley:

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley spoke with the media today and gave some insight to his offseason. Barkley considers the Giants’ current regime and roster to be “a fresh new start,” explaining that this is a team of young players who “are learning every single day, on the offensive side, and on the defensive side. Learning a new scheme and system and trying to focus on the little things to get better every single day.”

Saquon made it clear that head coach Joe Judge is instilling a new culture for the Giants:

“The Giants are known for being tough, physical and doing the little things right. That’s something that coach Judge and all the coaches have made a focal point for us in the short time that we have been here. That’s what we try to attack every single day and try to get better every single day.” – Saquon Barkley via Giants.com

Barkley also discussed his teammate and quarterback, Daniel Jones, stating that he is “definitely excited for DJ.” Barkley said that they have grown closer and that they have been hanging out and working together.

Certainly, the most exciting part of Saquon Barkley’s media session came when he discussed his expectations for himself in the upcoming season. Barkley is only focused on improving, despite being one of the best running backs in the league already:

“What I want to seem from myself is just growth,” he said. “I feel like I have been saying this answer so much in my first two years. I’m really focused on trying to get better in every area of my game. I feel like I have so much more room to continue to grow and there is so much I can continue to add to my game. I would say some big focal points are pass pro(tection), in between the tackles, outside the tackles, catching the ball, ball security. Every single day try to focus and try to get better in every area of my game. I am a big stickler when it comes to stuff like that. Definitely when our coaches sat down, they really have us focused on the details and all the little things matter. That’s the focus and where I want to improve my game, which I guess you could say is everything.” – Saquon Barkley via Giants.com

Leonard Williams:

The Giants’ newly acquired defensive lineman, Leonard Williams, also spoke to the media today. Williams was acquired in the middle of the 2019 season via trade in what has been a controversial and polarizing move amongst the fanbase. The Giants placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams this offseason after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.

Williams discussed this, saying he thinks “it’s always in the player’s interest to get a long-term deal, but that’s something that worked itself out between my agents and the organization.” Leonard said he is not disappointed that there was no deal agreed upon, he is simply “looking at it as an opportunity.”

But Williams also made it clear that he is ” just happy to be here, play with this team again, and learn about the guys that I’ve been with since last year.”

The media asked Leonard Williams about his injury. The disruptive defensive lineman showed up to training camp with a hamstring injury and was placed on the non-football injury list. When asked about it, here is what Leonard Williams had to say:

We can’t really talk about injuries. If somebody wants to get more information on that, you might have to bring it up with Coach (Joe) Judge or someone else on the team. I’m definitely making strides on it and doing the best that I can to get out there with my teammates. – Leonard Williams via Giants.com

When asked about learning that new defensive scheme that Saquon Barkley mentioned earlier, Leonard Williams referred to new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham as a “genius.” Williams said he loves the new scheme and that he loves working with the team’s new defensive line coach, Sean Spencer.

Overall, the Giants’ three young stars sound excited about the upcoming 2020 NFL season. The players are optimistic about their new coaching staff and seem focused on improving after a disappointing 2019 season.

New York Giants veteran Zak DeOssie announces his retirement

The veteran New York Giants long snapper announced his retirement on Friday. He already has a second career lined up.

New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie has announced his retirement after 13 NFL seasons. DeOssie made his declaration on Twitter and it was later posted on the Giants’ website. He acknowledged he had come to the decision to retire months prior, but wanted to make an official announcement to properly say farewell to the Big Blue community.

“I am retiring from football,” DeOssie says in his opener. “I wanted to make a formal announcement to acknowledge those who have made this experience so awesome – and this milestone so bittersweet.”

The North Andover, NJ native goes on to thank the Giants, their fans, his family, his alma mater of Brown University, and many others. The 36-year-old also reveals that he has already found a post-football calling, as he is set to take a role in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs.

“Head down, hands steady, produce results. I learned from my time with the Giants that hard work pays off,” De Ossie concludes. “As I walk away from the game as a player, I thankfully get to keep that mentality – and I’m excited to bring it to my new role in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs. I have had the tremendous opportunity to work and learn at GS in my off-seasons, and am thrilled to be re-joining my team to deliver championship-level energy, effort, consistency, and results.”

“Thank you all. Go Giants!”

With the retirements of DeOssie and Eli Manning, the Giants have no more members leftover from their Super Bowl XLVI team, their last championship squad. DeOssie was also the second-longest-tenured member of the team behind Manning, having joined the team as a fourth-round pick (116th overall) in the 2007 Draft. His father Steve previously played for the Giants from 1989 through 1993 and was part of their championship team in Super Bowl XXV. When Zak won Super Bowl XLII, the pair became the first father-son pairing to win a Super Bowl with the same team.

Zak DeOssie earned 94 tackles in his NFL career and reached two Pro Bowls (2008, 2010). He played a major role in the Giants’ last Super Bowl titles, successfully enacting the snaps that led to New York’s game-winning field goals against Green Bay and San Francisco in 2008 and 2012 respectively. DeOssie took part in 199 regular season Giants games, good for fifth-most in franchise history.

Casey Kreiter, formerly of the Denver Broncos, is set to take over DeOssie’s snapper spot.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The rotation is a problematic area for the New York Yankees

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

The New York Yankees have one of the league’s premier offenses, a solid bullpen and their team defense is probably better than the average fan realizes. The club actually leads the AL East and is among the best organizations in MLB. The starting pitching? Well, that’s a problem area. Maybe the only one right now.

Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ ace that signed a mammoth deal last winter, has been fine, even if he still isn’t his usual filthy, dominant self (2.55 ERA, but 4.28 FIP). Give him time and he will probably reach that kind of form. However, behind him, the club has had lots of issues.

Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton screaming line drive (he is lucky to be back pitching so fast, to be honest) and didn’t start the season on the active roster. He is a ways from his top form. J.A. Happ (10.29 ERA, 11.17 FIP and a putrid 8.3 K% in 7.0 innings) has been plain bad for the Yankees, while James Paxton (13.50 ERA, 4.53 FIP) seems hurt and is showing diminished velocity.

The Yankees’ rotation depth is being tested

Jordan Montgomery is inconsistent and just lost on Thursday, allowing five earned runs in four frames against the Phillies. Luis Severino is out for the year with Tommy John surgery, and Domingo German is still serving his suspension for the rest of the year. He won’t be an option for the 2020 shortened season.

Jonathan Loaisiga has failed to develop pin-point command or a successful, reliable arsenal that includes a third pitch. Mike King, another top young option, has a 7.71 ERA and a 6.89 FIP. As you can see, not everything is pink and roses around the New York Yankees, especially in the starting pitching department.

All in all, you can say without fear that the Yankees’ rotation is in shambles. Thankfully, they still have two top young prospects waiting in the wings, in Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt. Will they play those cards so early in the season? Or will they keep them down to play the service time game?

The Yankees need to find solutions with Paxton, and determine whether he is hurt or if his mechanics are just off. That would facilitate some decisions. Montgomery requires patience, as does Tanaka. They will probably be fine.

Happ is another story. Will the Yankees replace him? Let’s see how the next few weeks play out.