UFC: Paige VanZant And Husband Have COVID-19 In Strange Turn Of Events

Paige VanZant

Paige VanZant is one of the more recognizable faces in the female divisions of the UFC, but despite that fame, she can’t catch a break career wise. She was submitted in the first round in her last fight after recovering from her third career fractured arm, and now, it looks like she’s been hit with another ailment: COVID-19.

That might keep her out of her scheduled debut for the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. It’s set for November, so there is still time for her to recover, but it doesn’t look like VanZant is doing the best right now at this moment in time.

She’s not the only one in her household to have the disease. Her husband, Austin Vanderford, was set to fight in Bellator but was removed from the Bellator 246 card because of testing positive. According to VanZant, Vanderford is the one that caused her to pick up the disease herself, and she spoke on Instagram about her condition.

Vanderford may have passed the virus to VanZant

VanZant took to Instagram recently and in the post, she makes the claim that the virus came from her husband, Bellator fighter Austin Vanderford. She also went to YouTube about it and uploaded a video called “MY HUSBAND GAVE ME COVID!!” which covers the same thing.

Interestingly enough, this is the second time that Vanderford has had a positive diagnosis.

“I’ve taken like 12 Advil today, because I have a migraine so bad that I feel like my head’s going to explode,” VanZant said in the video.

Fortunately for her career however, the virus seems to run its course in most people quickly enough that it may not pull her away from her debut fight with BKFC which is still set for November. With that being said, it looks like VanZant’s symptoms are pretty strong at the moment, so one can only hope the situation doesn’t get more serious than it is right now.

New York Yankees get crushed by Blue Jays, drop first game of series

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

What should have been a close game between two good slugging teams, the Toronto Blue Jays capitalized on a ten-run inning to beat the New York Yankees to take game one of a three-game series.

The Yankees took an early lead against left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu when Luke Voit and Aaron Hicks hit back-to-back bombs in the first inning. Hicks’ homer went 401 feet and Voit’s went 387 feet.

This lead would be short-lived for the Yankees as in the bottom of the first inning, first basemen Rowdy Tellez would double to right field which knocked in Cavan Biggio. The following inning, Santiago Espinal singled to center field which knocked in Travis Shaw to tie the game.

The Yankees would win the next three innings, with a Miguel Andujar home run, a Clint Frazier double which would score two, and a walk by Aaron Hicks that would knock in a run.

It would all go downhill from there for the Yankees.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Blue Jays would score 10 runs to take a 12-6 lead. Catcher Danny Jansen would top off the inning with a grand slam that pretty much shut the door.

A Yankee rally was unsuccessful except for a lone run scored by Miguel Andujar in the top of the ninth inning.

The New York Yankees would drop to 21-20 and sit at third place in the AL East standings. The Toronto Blue Jays improve their record to 23-18 and sit 2.5 games ahead of the Yanks at second place for the AL East.

There weren’t many positive things for the Bombers in this game except to see that Luke Voit is still swinging it well and Clarke Schmidt looked good on the mound. The Yankees are going to need to turn things around soon if they want to get out of the hole they’re currently in. If the playoffs started today, they would have the eight seed and would have to play the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round.

New York Mets: Segura Haunts the Mets Again in 9-8 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets made a miraculous comeback from 6-0 against the Philadelphia Phillies to earn a 7-6 lead. Unfortunately, they could not keep the lead, and a Jean Segura two-run home run in the tenth inning spoiled a must-win game for the Mets.

Miguel Castro continued to make general manager Brodie Van Wagenen look like a clueless mess. His prized acquisition gave up the home run to Segura, and it was confusing for Castro to be in the game. Edwin Diaz threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning on only 12 pitches, but manager Luis Rojas opted to go with Castro instead.

Ramirez Saves Bullpen

David Peterson struggled through two innings and allowed five runs. He needed 70 pitches to get through the start and had no command of anything he was throwing. Peterson’s shaky control has shown during his previous starts, but this was his worst.

Erasmo Ramirez made his Mets debut in long relief of Peterson. He gave the Mets a fighting chance and saved the bullpen by throwing five innings and his only run coming off a J.T. Realmuto home run. Ramirez only needed 54 pitches, and the outing certainly gives the Mets another starting rotation option.

Offense Clicks Again

The Mets offense did all they could after Zack Wheeler shut them down in the first four innings. They bunched together three runs in the fifth coming on RBI doubles from Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith. When Wheeler surprisingly came out after six innings and 84 pitches, the Mets jumped all over the Phillies bullpen in a four-run seventh.

A Didi Gregorius error got the Mets within two runs at 6-4 and allowed the Jeff McNeil to bat with two runners on base. McNeil channeled his power for the second consecutive game as his three-run home run gave the Mets a 7-6 lead and completed their comeback. The lead did not stick as Jeurys Familia gave up the lead in the following half-inning.

Despite the loss, the Mets showed their resiliency once again. After scoring a run in the 10th with a Brandon Nimmo single, J.D. Davis came within five feet of a walk-off home run. They split the four-game series with the Phillies, but they played great baseball for the final three games.

Andres Gimenez also continued to shine on both sides of the game. He recorded two more hits and played sparkling defense at shortstop. With a lefty on the mound for their first game against the Baltimore Orioles, it will be interesting to see if Luis Rojas continues to run Gimenez out there.

That lefty for the O’s is John Means, and for the Mets, they send the struggling Michael Wacha. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

New York Giants Release First Unofficial Depth Chart For 2020 Season

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have released their first unofficial depth chart for the 2020 NFL season. With the Giants’ first regular season game taking place in just a week from today, the team has set its starting lineup, unofficially. This lineup could change, depending on the next week of practice. But, for now, this is the depth chart:

The Depth Chart:

Offense:

QB: Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy

RB: Saquon Barkley, Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman

FB: Eli Penny

WR: Darius Slayton, CJ Board

WR: Golden Tate, Damion Ratley

WR: Sterling Shepard, Damion Ratley

TE: Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Eric Tomlinson

LT: Andrew Thomas, Jackson Barton

LG: Will Hernandez, Shane Lemieux

C: Nick Gates, Spencer Pulley

RG: Kevin Zeitler, Shane Lemieux

RT: Cam Fleming, Matt Peart

Defense:

SLB: Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Carter Coughlin

DE: Dexter Lawrence, RJ McIntosh

MLB: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder

NT: Dalvin Tomlinson, Austin Johnson

WIL: DeVante Downs, TJ Brunson

DT: Leonard Williams, BJ Hill

OLB: Oshane Ximines, Kyler Fackrell, Cam Brown

LCB: James Bradberry, Darnay Holmes, Brandon Williams

SS: Jabrill Peppers, Nate Ebner

FS: Julian Love, Logan Ryan, Adrian Colbert

RCB: Corey Ballentine, Isaac Yiadom

Specialists:

LS: Casey Kreiter

H: Riley Dixon

P: Riley Dixon

PR: Golden Tate, Jabrill Peppers, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton

KOR: Darnay Holmes, Darius Slayton, Corey Ballentine, CJ Board, Dion Lewis

K: Graham Gano

Notable Positions:

The biggest weakness for the Giants heading into the 2020 offseason was at center. New York’s centers, Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley, struggled immensely in 2019. The Giants did not acquire a new center this offseason. Instead, they moved Nick Gates in to compete for the position. Now, Nick Gates is listed as the starting center, indicating that he has won the positional battle with Spencer Pulley.

Newly-signed defensive back Logan Ryan is technically not listed as a starter. Ryan is listed as the backup free safety behind Julian Love. Many expected to see Logan Ryan start at RCB, but that position is currently held by Corey Ballentine.

Darnay Holmes did not earn a starting role on defense, but he did earn a starting role on special teams as the kick-off returner. An additional thing to note is that slot cornerback is technically not a starting defensive position. This depth chart is about the base defense, 3-4 formation. Nickel is not the base defense, but the starting nickel cornerback very well could be Darnay Holmes or Logan Ryan. So, while they are not listed as starters in the base defense, they will likely both see plenty of playing time in the nickel and dime formations.

After the surprising cut of Ryan Connelly this week, Devenate Downs has been given the unofficial starting WIL job. He will start opposite of Blake Martinez at MLB.

Kyler Fackrell, signed this offseason after a 10.5 sack 2018 campaign with the Packers, is not a starter in this first depth chart. Fackrell is the second-string OLB, behind Oshane Ximines. Markus Golden is also not listed as a starter after earning 10 sacks in 2019 with the Giants. Lorenzo Carter is ahead of Golden as the team’s first-string SLB.

This first unofficial depth chart gives a good idea as to which Giants players will be seen on the field most often in 2020. But much of this lineup is subject to change, as there is still another week of practice to get through. On top of that, the Giants are not likely to sit in their base defense all game. There will be plenty of nickel looks and other creative defensive formations schemed up by Patrick Graham. The Giants also have two key players, David Mayo and Xavier McKinney, on injured reserve. They will enter the lineup, likely both as starters, later on this season.

Leon Edwards wants to welcome Nick Diaz back to the UFC

Leon Edwards

You had to imagine that as soon as Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) announced that he was coming back to the UFC, the callouts would start. Today has already seen a couple of high level fighters call out the Stockton native. The first callout came from Darren Till.

After the callout from Till, one of the best welterweights in the world called out Diaz. Leon “Rocky” Edwards (18-3) is struggling to find himself an opponent in the UFC‘s welterweight division. He sees Diaz as the perfect opponent.

Would the UFC make it happen?

Edwards is currently ranked third in the welterweight division, and he’s on an eight fight winning streak. Despite his credentials, the UFC is having a difficult time getting Leon Edwards a fight. With all the top contenders booked, he’s been left on the sidelines.

A fight with Diaz could make sense for both parties. For Edwards, it would be a massive fight that could gain in more popularity in the UFC. Edwards desperately needs a sexy fight that would get the fans more invested in him. A fight with Nick Diaz should do the trick.

For Nick Diaz, a fight with Edwards would be a great way to get right back into the mix. If Diaz could come in and defeat Leon Edwards in his first UFC fight back, it would tell everyone that Nick Diaz is ready to battle for the title. However, I’m not sure the UFC will make this fight right away.

It will all come down to what the UFC wants to do with Diaz. If they want to slowly work him back in, I would expect a lower ranked opponent. However, if they want to fast-track him, a fight with Edwards would make perfect sense.

 

 

Giants Parting Ways With DeAndre Baker Per Report

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

The New York Giants will be releasing 2019 first round selection DeAndre Baker this week as per a report by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

Giants’ co-owner John Mara hinted last week that the team was ready to move on from Baker “sooner rather than later” in his remarks to the media and here it is. The Giants have already reassigned Baker’s uniform number (27) to recently acquired cornerback Isaac Yiadom and appear to be ready to put the whole sordid Baker affair behind them.

Baker’s case in Florida will not be heard until January, meaning he’s going to be on the Commissioner’s Exempt List all season unless the case against him is dropped. That isn’t likely to happen, even though there are inconsistencies in the evidence and the testimony of witnesses. Another NFL player, Seahawks defensive back Quinton Dunbar, was originally implicated in the alleged crime, but no case was brought forward against him.

Last week, both Mara and Giants general manager Dave Gettleman both told reporters that there were no prior ‘red flags’ in Baker’s past pointing to such criminal behavior.

The Giants will now have nothing to show for the draft day deal that resulted the selection of Baker. They traded the 37th, 132nd and 142nd selections last year to Seattle in exchange for the 30th overall pick they used on the former Georgia star.

Baker took all season to get his sea legs under him, giving up huge chunks of yardage and several easy touchdowns in the process. It wasn’t until late in the season that he began to show the form he had at the college level.

 

New York Islanders: Will Noah Dobson Get the Starting Spot Next Year?

New York Islanders, Noah Dobson

New York Islanders‘ defenseman Noah Dobson is close to NHL ready. There’s one problem for Dobson, though; there’s a million other defensemen on the roster. The Islanders have established defensemen like Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Both of those defenders have long, expensive contracts. This makes them hard to trade and lowers Dobson’s chances of starting a lot.  How can Noah Dobson start next year?

Have a Strong Training Camp

Training camp is a time for unproven draft picks, old veterans, and undrafted free agents to show that they have what it takes. Noah Dobson is no different. Just because he was the number 12th overall pick doesn’t mean he gets a hall pass. Dobson has to give it his all on every single rep and take the spot away. Last year, general manager Lou Lamoriello has stated that he would give Dobson every shot to make the team. It won’t be as hard to make the team for Dobson, but it will still be a challenge, especially if he wants to be in the top 6. Sliding in with Nick Leddy or whoever stays around isn’t a gift; he will have to earn every minute.

Trading Talent

There are a few defenders that need to go if Noah Dobson wants a shot of making the team. Nick Leddy has the most trade value out of all those defenders. If the Islanders can unload Nick Leddy off for someone like Tomas Tatar, Dobson moves up in the depth chart. Johnny Boychuk already has one foot in the grave. Andy Greene took his spot for the playoffs indefinitely. Boychuk doesn’t have much trade value; he’s old and costs a lot of money. It would be nice for the Islanders to trade Boychuk due to cap space problems, but it’s unlikely.

Conclusion

Noah Dobson has a good shot to start next year, but he has to work for it. There are many obstacles in front of him, but adversity builds character.

New York Knicks: Trading Julius Randle ‘number one priority,’ Utah Jazz interested (Report)

According to Knicks Fan TV, the New York Knicks‘ number one offseason priority is trading Julius Randle, and the Utah Jazz are a potential buyer.

“Number one priority this offseason for the Knicks will be trading Julius Randle. They are going to look to trade Julius. And the first trade rumor that I’m hearing is Julius Randle to the Utah Jazz for Mike Conley and draft considerations.”

Randle, 25, is one season through a three-year, $62 million contract with the Knicks. Randle averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 46.0 percent from the field this season.

The 2019-20 NBA season was Mike Conley’s first run with the Jazz. He averaged 14.4 points, 4.4 assists and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. Conley is entering the final season of a five-year, $153 million deal.

The Knicks could have upwards of $40 million in cap space this offseason depending on what they do with the handful of team options they hold on veteran players (Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock). A Randle-for-Conley trade would add roughly $13 million in payroll for the Knicks next season.

Conley, 32, would presumably become new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s starting point guard. They could subsequently select a wing/forward such as Florida State’s Devin Vassell or Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, who each reportedly interest the Knicks, with the eighth pick in this year’s NBA Draft. New York also owns the 27th and 38th selections in the upcoming draft.

From Utah’s perspective, Randle could start in-between a healthy Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert or serve as the team’s sixth man. They could then pursue a lead guard in the offseason to start next to Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz lost to the Denver Nuggets in seven games in the first round of the NBA playoffs this season.

New York Mets: Gimenez will start his fourth straight game at shortstop on Monday, what about Rosario?

The New York Mets entered the season with Amed Rosario as their starting shortstop. He had a .287/.323/.432 line last year and was even better in the second half, and the team officials thought he was going to break out in 2020.

Well, it’s safe to say that hasn’t been the case. Whereas he had a 100 wRC+ last season, which is basically league average offense, he is at 61 wRC+ in 2020. His inconsistent offense and defense have prompted New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas to give more reps to rookie Andres Gimenez at Rosario’s expense.

Gimenez has started the last three games and will make his fourth straight appearance on Monday. He had a two-run single on Sunday and has a nice little .412 batting average in his last seven contests.

For the season, the Mets’ rookie has a .282/.329/.385 line with a 97 wRC+. As a left-handed hitter, he has been getting most of the playing time against righties, limiting Rosario to facing mostly lefties. It isn’t necessarily a permanent arrangement, but it is the one that seems to be working as of now.

The Mets’ gritty weapon

Gimenez is versatile, being capable of playing all over the infield but first base. He is speedy, he plays hard, and he has been trying to hit for power. If he keeps working and develops his game even further, the Mets could have an interesting debate as to which player could be the long-term starter at shortstop.

Prior to the weekend games, Rosario was benched after a three-hit performance against the Yankees.

“Right now, in this stretch that we are [in], we’re going to say that Giménez is getting back-to-back games because he’s looked really good against right-handed pitchers,” Rojas said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “Rosie looked good his last game, but right now, we’re basically spending some time using Giménez as a hot hand.”

New York Yankees Analysis: The Yankees have broken a record, and it’s not pretty

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have broken a 51-year record, they have a team batting average of .236, which is the lowest since the horrible Yankee team of 1969. There is no question that the Yankees pitching has not been great this year, but the hitting has been just plain terrible.  This may turn out to be a season the Yankees will want to quickly forget.

The New York Yankees have a glorious 118 years history. They have had some bad teams, but they are mostly known and hated for having several dynasty periods over the years, from “murder’s row” to the dynasty of the late ’90s and early 2000s. They have a record of 10399-7858, with 55 playoff appearances, 40 American League Championships, and 27 World Championships. Plain and simple, they are the winningest franchise in the entire sports world. They have a legacy of great players and managers. However, every season was not one to write home about.

Will this be one of those seasons?  Only time will tell, but if the Yankees keep hitting as they have recently, that reality is becoming more likely. From 1913 to 1917 the Yankees had some of its poorest hitting seasons. Probably it’s the worst streak of poor hitting, was when the CBS ownership let the team go to pot, from 1965 to 1970. In 1968 the team experienced its worst team batting average of just .214.

This season the New York Yankees won’t be that bad, but the .236 team batting average is concerning, as the team may miss the postseason, for the first time since 2016. The Yankees have only missed the postseason three times since 1994.

To be completely fair to the Yankees, the major cause of the low batting average is the number of injuries they have endured this year.  Being that this season is so short, caused by the coronavirus, the injuries have been more impactful on the team. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who both got off to a fast start, showing great plate discipline and hitting home runs, their absence from the lineup has been devastating. During other periods DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres have been on the IL. Presently along with Stanton and Judge, the hot-hitting Gio Urshela has joined them on the injury list.

Last year, with an unprecedented number of players being injured (30) for 39 separate stints. The Yankees depended on the Scranton shuttle, bringing up players every time a player went on the IL, and those “next man up” players rose to the occasion and brought the Yankees to a 103 game winning season. It would be unrealistic to expect that same type of unprecedented performance this year, and that is exactly what has happened, except for a few standouts.  The Yankees presently have six players with a batting average south of .195.

Mike Ford, who was a stand out last year, is hitting only .141, Tyler Wade .158, and Brett Gardner who had a career year last year, is hitting only .180. But in the worst scenario, Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez is having his worst year ever, hitting just .130, which is the lowest batting average of any catcher in all of baseball. Not only has his hitting been bad, but he has left more Yankee runners on base than any other Yankee.  Standouts DJ LeMahieu, Clint Frazier, and Luke Voit must be mentioned as the Yankee hitters that have performed well.

Yankee Manager Aaron Boone seldom speaks badly of any Yankee player, usually making the situation rosier than it is.  But with the poor playing Yankees, even Boone is frustrated.  He has called out the poor play of Gary Sanchez and has even pulled him from the lineup.  Last night he called out Miguel Andujar for his horrible defense that led the Yankees to give up four runs.

It’s hard to say what has caused this tumultuous hitting slump. It could be because of the broken up spring training, it could be because there hasn’t been a minor league season.  The one thing we do know, is those missing key players have cost the Yankees in a short season.  Even more concerning is the fact that Judge and Stanton might not return during the regular season.  Should the Yankees get to the postseason, it’s hard to believe that they will be postseason-ready.

The New York Yankee slump can not be only attributed to poor hitting. The pitching rotation has had their problems as well. Out for the season was Luis Severino (Tommy John) and last year’s winningest pitcher Domingo German (suspension). Add to that second in the rotation James Paxton has gone on the IL with forearm soreness.  The remainder of the rotation has not pitched consistently, nor gone deep into games.

The best in baseball Yankee bullpen has disappointed this season. This is partly due to Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton going on the IL, wearing out the rest of the pen.  Closer Aroldis Chapman got the coronavirus and didn’t close his first game until August 17th. Chapman has failed as a closer, blowing two of his six opportunities, with an ERA of 7.20.

Before the Trade Deadline, the Yankees looked to improve their situation, zeroing on obtaining a front line starter and help in the bullpen, but came up empty with General Manager Brian Cashman refusing to give away the Yankee’s future for short term gain.  The needed trades were just too costly.

The Yankees have slipped to third place in the East, and are now in danger of missing the postseason altogether.  Manager Aaron Boone and coaches have to find a way to improve pitching and getting the Yankee hitters kick-started and hitting with a better team batting average. Hopefully, with the return of players, they can do that.