One massive takeaway from the New York Yankees’ victory over Atlanta

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees secured the series sweep against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday evening, despite only playing two contests. After a 9-6 victory on Tuesday evening, the Yankees backed it up with a 6-3 result.

While sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge both missed the contest due to injury, the Yankees managed to supplement their loss with stellar offensive performances by DJ LeMahieu and Clint Frazier. I would be remiss not to mention Aaron Hicks recording a double and two walks on the night. Gary Sanchez also contributed with a solo homer in the second inning.

DJ LeMahieu finish the game with four hits over five at-bats, earning a .431 batting average on the season with a .479 on-base percentage, the best on the team with a minimum of 20 at-bats.

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The New York Yankees watched Red Thunder strike:

However, the big news of the night revolves around Clint, who went 3-for-4 with a home run, single, and double.

Manager Aaron Boone was hesitant to give Frazier a chance with the starting team, deciding to call upon Miguel Andujar for the first 14 games of the season. Andujar through 14 at-bats was unable to get anything going. He posted a .071 average and just one hit. Frazier quadrupled his production in 10 fewer at-bats.

Frazier is known for his offensive capabilities, but his defense has been the primary deterrent. In 2019, he posted a .269 average with 12 homers and 38 RBIs. Defensively, he logged a .963 fielding percentage with three homers over 53 games. His increased maturity and mentality toward the game seem to be positively affecting him. His eyes are dialed in, and a change in hitting technique has allowed him to gain more anchorage.

By twisting his left leg in the dirt, he has more leverage when swinging the bat. In his first game with the Yankees this season, he undoubtedly looks like a better player and mentioned before the game that he feels he the best player version of himself today.

“I feel like I’m ready. I think there’s a lot of people that feel that way too,” Frazier said. “There’s a lot of guys in front of me and it’s been frustrating. I’m hoping that I can make the most of an opportunity if it comes. It’s hard to make the most of something if you’re not given that chance. I would like that chance.”

Chance=secured!

New York Mets: Bullpen, Offense Comes Together in 11-6 Win

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

Wednesday’s 11-6 victory for the New York Mets started they way their losses usually have. Juan Soto tormented the Mets with another three-run home run that landed 466 feet away, above the Coca-Cola corner. The Mets offense responded with four runs in the bottom of the first inning and the Mets did not look back from there.

Brandon Nimmo led off with a home run which got the Mets going quickly. Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith recorded RBI doubles and Andres Gimenez looped a single into left field to tally the fourth Mets run. Surprisingly, in the 10 run effort two and three hitters, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis were the only Mets who failed to record a hit.

Alonso and Smith also hit back to back homers in the sixth gave the Mets a comfortable lead. The key stats for the Mets came in the areas they consistently struggled in. They went 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 9 of their 11 runs came with two men out. The Mets sat at the bottom of the league in those categories despite hitting well in the rest of the categories.

Alonso’s three extra-base hits were exactly what the Mets have searched for out of him. He was on the brink of breaking out of his season-long slump but a game like tonight eluded him. It was also the first time he batted fifth all season, which seemed to make a big difference.

Bullpen Game

Despite Robert Gsellman receiving the start, it was more of a bullpen game since he only threw two innings. He settled down following the Soto homer in the first inning and the bullpen limited the damage to solo homers. The bullpen allowed three runs in the following seven innings. Of course, Soto got them again for another homer and Starlin Castro along with Kurt Suzuki added “garbage time” home runs.

Dellin Betances had the most impressive outing of all the relievers. He struck out the side in order and looked to be in mid-season form. Brad Brach also made his first appearance after battling COVID-19, throwing the ninth inning. He worked around a home run but looked well. Brach fired plenty of strikes, which is a good sign after spending time on the sidelines.

The Mets attempt a split of the series when David Peterson takes the mound for a 1:10 p.m. ET start. He will be opposed by Austin Voth in Thursday afternoon’s matchup from Citi Field.

New York Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka lacks length in no decision against Atlanta

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

Much like his first two outings of the season, Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka lacked length as he pitched four innings in a no decision against Atlanta.

Tanaka pitched just 7 and 2/3 combined innings in his first two starts of the season. He pitched 2 and 2/3 innings against Boston on July 1st, and five shutout innings against Tampa this past Friday.

Wednesday’s start against the Braves saw Tanaka allow two runs off five hits. He walked two and struck out three. In terms of pitches, it was his longest start at 66 tosses. His first two starts saw him throw 51 and 59 pitches, respectively.

Tanaka sat in the low-90s with his fastball like he usually does, but rarely threw it as he went splitter and slider heavy.

The only real flaw of the night was allowing a two-run home run to Johan Camargo. After a Nick Markakis single with one out, Camargo launched one deep down the right field line, into the seats.

On July 4th, Tanaka was hit in the head by a come-backer off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton. It seems that the Yankees are still trying to ease Tanaka back in as he hasn’t thrown more than 70 pitches in an outing. He could have pitched longer if needed on Wednesday, and certainly could have gone longer on Friday against Tampa.

Hopefully, Tanaka can continue to build on these last few starts and get stretched out a bit. With the circumstances of the season, the team needs length out of starters to avoid stress on the bullpen. They don’t need the bullpen to get burned out early on.

Tanaka’s pitches have been sharp all year, and it needs to stay that way for the Yankees to keep having success.

New York Islanders: Analysis of the Game 1 Win vs the Capitals

New York Islanders, Islanders

Game 1 to the Island, as the immortal Brennan Burke call goes. The New York Islanders defeat the Washington Capitals with a score of 4-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Capitals played a solid 40 minutes of Hockey, but the Islanders played an excellent final 20 minutes to take the game. The Islanders looked sloppy most of the night. There were a bunch of bad penalties, mishandled passes, bad breakout attempts, and more. Despite this, it all came down to who wanted the win more. This is how the Islanders won.

More Shots

The Islanders are notorious for taking minimal shots on goal during games. This seemed to be the case during today’s game, as they only had two shots in the first period. The Islanders started to pick up the pace after TJ Oshie’s second powerplay goal. This would ultimately lead to a Jordan Eberle wrister that would somehow sneak in over Braden Holtby’s left shoulder. As the 3rd period started, Islanders fans saw a spark in their team’s play. The Islanders began to dictate the pace of the game, and make it an all Islanders period. The Islanders would end up scoring three more goals during the 3rd period and seal the win. You can’t score without shooting.

A Quicker Pace

The Islanders have some of the fastest players in the league, like Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. If a game breaks down into a fastbreak opportunity galore, the Islanders will win that game. The Capitals are a good team, but they’re not fast enough to keep up with the Islanders’ young guns. The Islanders kept the pressure on in the 3rd period, and it led them to many great high percentage scoring chances. The Islanders would make the best of those chances and score three goals, as previously stated.

5v5 Play

I don’t know what it is about Barry Trotz’s system, but it is insanely hard to outplay the Islanders when they’re at full strength. Especially recently, the New York Islanders haven’t been outplayed 5v5. If the Capitals weren’t gifted seven powerplays, there could’ve been a shutout in the works. The Islanders look very strong in all facets of the game and didn’t let up any easy chances.

Conclusion

Winning game 1 of any series is a huge victory. It takes the pressure of off game 2, and it allows you to be more aggressive in your approach. Islanders fans certainly feel relief with a 1-0 series lead.

MUST WATCH: Yankees’ Clint Frazier crushes homer in first at-bat of season

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees faced off against the Atlanta Braves in the final game of a two-game series on Wednesday evening. Before the game began, manager Aaron Boone dropped star slugger Aaron Judge from the lineup. Clint Frazier supplemented his loss, representing his first opportunity of the 2020 season.

Boone stated several weeks ago when picking the active roster that Frazier would be a starter on any other team. However, with a bevy of talent in the outfield, Boone elected to give Miguel Andujar the first crack.

Subsequently, due to a lack of offensive production, Andujar was sent to the alternate training site. Several days later, starting player Giancarlo Stanton went down with a hamstring injury. On Tuesday evening, Judge experienced lower body tightness, which will likely keep them out a few days.

Frazier was called upon to replace Judge in right field, and he did more than just that, holding up his end of the bargain and producing a home run in his very first at-bat of the season. Frazier has been waiting patiently for an opportunity, and he didn’t let his first one pass him by.

New York Knicks: Kevin Knox, Julius Randle react to Kenny Payne hire

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox

The New York Knicks are assembling a coaching staff for their new head coach, Tom Thibodeau. Tuesday morning the team announced it hired Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne to join Thibodeau’s staff. Payne is the first official hire for Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

Payne was an assistant for the Oregon Ducks under head coach Ernie Kent from 2004-09. He joined John Calipari’s coaching staff at Kentucky in 2010, where he spent 10 seasons. Payne coached a plethora of lottery selections at Kentucky who panned out to be reliable NBA starters and/or All-Stars.

Some players who worked with Payne include but aren’t limited to: Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyler Herro. Meanwhile, the Knicks have two players who played at Kentucky under Payne: Kevin Knox and Julius Randle.

Knox and Randle tweeted positively about Payne in the wake of him joining the organization on Tuesday.

Knox played for the Wildcats in the 2017-18 college basketball season. He averaged 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, which helped him get selected ninth by the Knicks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The forward is two years into his NBA career. Last season he averaged 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

Randle played for the Wildcats in the 2013-14 college basketball season. He averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, which helped him get selected seventh by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The big man is entering the second season of a three-year, $62 million deal with the Knicks. Last season he averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and 2020 interim head coach Mike Miller are reported candidates to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

The Knicks own two first-round draft picks and their own second rounder in the upcoming NBA Draft and could carry as much as $60 million in cap space into free agency.

New York Giants: Is Evan Engram One Of The Best Tight Ends In The NFL?

New York Giants, Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants had an offense loaded with playmakers who struggled to stay healthy in 2019. New York saw Daniel Jones, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram all miss time with injury at one point or another. But the most polarizing player of that group has a history of missing games with injuries, despite being extremely talented. Evan Engram has all the talent imaginable at the tight end position, but fans have yet to see him hit his full potential as he has had his career held back by injuries.

In 2019, Evan Engram played in only 8 games, missing half of the season with a foot injury. Prior to going down with an injury, Engram looked like one of the best tight ends on the field. But too often has this been the case for the Ole Miss product. Now, entering his fourth season, Engram needs to stay healthy in a contract year to earn an extension with the Giants. If he manages to stay healthy, he could receive a lucrative contract paying him as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. But is that what he is? Pro Football Focus seems to think so.

Evan Engram – Top 15 Tight End?

Pro Football Focus released their list of the top fifteen tight ends in the NFL. Towards the top of the list are all players you would expect to see: Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Zach Ertz, and other proven stars. But placing on the lower portion of the list is New York Giants tight end Evan Engram. According to PFF, Engram is the twelfth-best tight end in the NFL.

You don’t see too many players listed at 230-plus pounds running 4.42-second 40-yard dashes. That has helped him become one of the top tight ends in the NFL with the ball in his hands after the catch, averaging 6.2 yards after the catch per reception across his first three NFL seasons. – Pro Football Focus on Evan Engram

It is undeniable that Evan Engram possesses rare athletic traits for a tight end- he moves like a wide receiver. But, as PFF acknowledges in their first sentence, “the biggest thing with Engram is health.” Evan Engram has missed fourteen games in three years. Engram has also struggled with drops in the past. The versatile playmaker has yet to put everything together, but could he do that in 2020?

Greg Anthony talks how his son, Cole, would fare with the New York Knicks

Cole Anthony, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have a top-10 selection in October’s NBA Draft; they’ll find out where they pick on Aug. 20, when the NBA Draft lottery takes place. One player who could find himself in the orange and blue next season is UNC point guard Cole Anthony.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported in May that the Knicks have “extensively” scouted Anthony. Cole’s father, Greg, was a point guard for the Knicks from 1991-95.

In an interview with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Anthony said his son would “embrace” playing in New York City, where he grew up.

“I think he would embrace (the Knicks), I think it would be a really good situation for him,” Greg Anthony said. “He’s going to be fine. He had a rough year last year. A lot of stuff that happened, it shook the system a little bit. But he handled it really well, he dealt with his adversity and he got better. And so, he’s going to be fine. He’s going to be a much better pro than the impact he had in college.

“Would it be awesome if he goes to New York? He’s from there, he’s raised there, he lives there. He would embrace it and love it. But if he’s somewhere else, he’d feel the same way. He’s just about basketball. He just wants to play and be a great player.”

Anthony was a potential top-five NBA draft pick in the early stages of the 2019-20 college basketball season, but a midseason knee injury sidelined him for seven weeks.

His father feels that despite the “horrible” year, Anthony “learned a lot” and is “going to be a great player.”

“He had a horrible year. Probably couldn’t have had a worse year, and he still put up 19 (points per game), 6 (rebounds) and 4 (assists). He didn’t shoot it well, but he didn’t have the opportunities he would’ve liked. He learned a lot, had a great experience there, and where he ends up — I know how he’s wired, he’s going to be a great player. So I’m not really worried concerned.”

Anthony played one season at UNC. Across 22 games, 20 of which were starts, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, four assists and 1.3 steals per game. Anthony shot 38.0 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The Knicks have two first-round draft selections and their own second rounder (38) in the 2020 NBA Draft after going 21-45 this season.

Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman will throw another sim game Friday

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

It looks like the New York Yankees are about to get their All-Star closer back very soon. Aroldis Chapman, who tested positive for COVID-19 in July, is scheduled for another simulated appearance on Friday, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News.

The simulated games should be the last step before Chapman is finally cleared to rejoin the Yankees’ bullpen, one that needs him after Tommy Kahnle was lost for a significant amount of time due to injury.

Chapman had been throwing off a mound as the Yankees bring him along slowly following a long layoff. He had been recovering from the virus but is ready to roll now and he should rejoin the team in a matter of days.

The Yankees will likely give him his closer gig right away

Left-handed reliever Zack Britton had been serving as the New York Yankees’ closer during Chapman’s absence. The ground-ball specialist leads the league in saves with six but Chapman is expected to reclaim his ninth-inning role immediately upon his return.

Chapman followed a rigurous training routine during the offseason and the extended break and now looks ripped.

Provided he doesn’t have any lingering effects from the COVID-19 infection, he should once again be among the top closers in the American League.

The 32-year-old is coming off a nice season in 2019. In 57.0 frames, he had a 2.21 ERA and a 2.28 FIP, with 13.42 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.95 bases on balls per each nine frames.

He made the last pitch of the New York Yankees’ season last year: a hanging slider that Jose Altuve sent into the stands as the Houston Astros eliminated the Bombers in six games in the American League Championship Series. However, Chapman is trying to put those memories behind him and start over this year, seeking a championship.

New York Yankees leave star slugger out of lineup, injury concern rising

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees put up nine runs against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday evening, despite a tough effort by their opponent. The Yankees lead 8-0 at one point, but the Braves put six runs on the board, despite losing 9-6.

In the fifth inning of the contest, star slugger Aaron Judge hit a solo home run. As he rounded second base, he grimaced a bit, indicating slight pain.

Immediately after the inning, Judge was pulled from the game and spent some time watching from the dugout. However, they eventually moved him to the clubhouse, where he likely received treatment. The Yankees tried to keep this issue under wraps, but with Judge being dropped from the lineup on Wednesday evening, things are becoming more skeptical.

Boone mentioned “lower body tightness” as the reason for leaving Judge out of the lineup.

The New York Yankees need Aaron Judge to be healthy:

Judge has been on fire with the Yankees through 16 games, posting a .290 batting average with an insane .758 slugging percentage. Overall, he has been on fire and a catalyst for the Yankees on offense. Of course, his defense is one of the most premier aspects of his game, ranking at the top of the league in arm strength and fielding efficiency at the position.

Losing him will be devastating, but luckily the Yankees have a stacked taxi squad. They recently pulled up outfielder Clint Frazier, who will start in place of Judge in right field.

Frazier has been waiting patiently for his opportunity to start with the first team. Manager Aaron Boone called upon Miguel Andujar to start in left field several times this season, but poor at-bats and an inability to produce on offense has forced him to make a move.

Frazier will now get the start in the absence of Judge, who Boone hopes will be available on Friday against the Boston Red Sox.

Boone specifically said: “I hope so, but that’s a long way from now.”