New York Giants Open As Underdogs In Season Opener With Steelers

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have made some improvements recently but Vegas isn’t about to favor them in their season opener. The Giants are set to take on the Steelers in under a week to kick off the 2020 season, but there’s some question marks around the team that seem to have gotten Pittsburgh favored instead.

The Steelers are favored with a -223 line according to Yahoo Sports. However, some offense is predicted from the game, as the O/U is set at 47.5 points. The point spread is -5.5 for Pittsburgh, so the Giants will beat the spread if they either win or lose within a couple of field goals of their opponent’s score.

Why the Giants aren’t favored in this game

With how many question marks there are around the New York Giants in 2020, it’s no surprise they’re an underdog.

The team is welcoming new head coach Joe Judge, for one. We’ve never seen Judge coach an NFL game before. Or even coach one as an offensive or defensive coordinator. It’s unknown how well Judge will perform, although the offseason has mostly been optimistic in terms of attitude towards the new coach.

The Giants also have some troublesome spots on their defense. They’ve moved on from DeAndre Baker at cornerback and his replacements are still new to the team. Logan Ryan is an improvement, but there’s not much time for him to get used to the Giants before stepping on the field.

Additionally, linebacker David Mayo will miss the game with an injury – after the Giants already cut his main competitor, Ryan Connelly. The team may have some trouble at inside linebacker because of that.

With that being said, the Giants do have a chance to beat the odds here and there’s a lot of other good reasons to be more optimistic about this year than the last. Even if the oddsmakers don’t have as much faith in the team in its current state.

Yankees’ Luke Voit lashes out after fifth-straight loss

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees lost 2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday evening, with JA Happ on the mound. Lasting 6.1 innings and logging two earned runs, Happ actually had a fantastic outing. He racked up 10 strikeouts over 113 pitches, giving Michael King and Zack Britton a smooth ride the rest of the way. However, the offense couldn’t pick up the slack, despite a solid start from Happ.

Things are seemingly ripping apart at the seams, as the Yankees posted seven runs on Monday but followed it up with a one-run performance on Tuesday. They recorded five hits on the night, with youngster Miguel Andujar furthering his momentum as of late.

Andujar now hosts a .240 batting average, which is much better than it was just two weeks ago. Increased at-bats have given him more time and comfort at the plate, and it is proving to be beneficial. Leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu has struggled, and I believe he is still dealing with a thumb issue, but it’s simply playing through it.

Nonetheless, the Yankees have lost five straight, including two to the Toronto Blue Jays and three to the Baltimore Orioles. Slugger Luke Voit was angry after the game, and rightfully so.

Yankees’ Luke Voit was brutally honest about the state of the team:

“We’ve got to get back to what the New York Yankees are. I feel like teams aren’t even scared of us now. … We’ve been playing like crap.”
“I almost feel like it’s embarrassing for us right now.

Voit is having a solid season, hitting .273 with 14 homers and 29 RBIs. He was the only Yankees to cross home plate and put them on the board on Tuesday, but it simply wasn’t enough. The Yankees are now .500 on the season at 21-21, and desperately need their star players in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back. Manager Aaron Boone stated that they might not gain the two sluggers until late in the regular season and possibly the postseason, which means the Yankees will have to find a way to win immediately without their help.

Jocelyn Willoughby tallies career-best for New York Liberty

Another loss awaited the New York Liberty on Tuesday night, but rookie Jocelyn Willoughby made team history from beyond the arc.

The New York Liberty failed to play spoiler on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Sparks, but Jocelyn Willoughby made some metropolitan history.

In New York’s 96-70 loss to Los Angeles, the rookie Willoughby scored an infantile career-best 21 points. The 10th overall pick from April’s draft shot 7-of-8 from the field and sank all five of her three-point attempts. Her latter mark was good enough to tie the Liberty record for most triple attempts without a miss. Becky Hammon achieved the mark twice, while Crystal Robinson, Nicole Powell, and Candice Wiggins also achieved the mark.

Willoughby returned to the starting lineup for the first time since August 5. The Liberty (2-17) experimented with different lineups during Tuesday’s showdown, reinserting both Willoughby and Kia Nurse into the opening five. Amanda Zahui B and Jazmine Jones were each held out of the game while Megan Walker played a season-high 22 minutes. Joyner Holmes played 20 minutes for the second consecutive game.

“We’re trying different things…it’s exciting. It keeps other teams on their toes. As we grow individually, the different lineups will continue. It will be a challenge for other teams. That’ll be something to look forward to,” Willoughby said of the new lineups and rotations. “Change is hard. I don’t think anyone grows without going through hard things. As a team we’ve had so much adversity. Sabrina (Ionescu) going out, the circumstances of the bubble. I think we’ve had growth.”

On the other side of the ball, Willoughby was given the unenviable task of guarding Candace Parker. The two-time WNBA MVP shot 6-of-10 from the floor in a 14-point performance, but Willoughby still earned a strong review on defense from Nurse, who had 13 points and seven rebounds.

“It’s awesome for her. Jocelyn’s one of the best defenders we have on our team,” Nurse said of her rookie teammate. “She’s a great person…she shoots really, really well in practice. That’s just translating into the games.”

Things got away from the Liberty in the latter stages, but they earned the trademark brand of growth Hopkins has sought all season with a strong sequence at the end of the first half. Los Angeles (15-5) built a 40-20 lead with three minutes to go in the second quarter but went on a 12-3 run to close out the stanza and go into a locker room with a respectable 11-point deficit.

Alas for New York, the Sparks pulled away with a dominant second half. Five players reached double figures, with Nneka Ogwumike and Riquana Williams leading the way with 20 points each. The Sparks are in the midst of a battle for the top seeds in the WNBA playoffs. They currently sit in third, a game-and-a-half behind the leaders from Seattle.

The Liberty have three games remaining on their slate at the WNBA’s bubble in Bradenton continues its final sessions. They’re next game comes

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Mets: Wacha, Gsellman Struggles Continue in 11-2 Blowout Loss

New York Mets, Michael Wacha

The New York Mets learned something they should have known prior to the season starting…they cannot win when Michael Wacha takes the mound. It was another dreadful start for Wacha as the Baltimore Orioles jumped all over him and then Robert Gsellman in the 11-2 blowout.

Wacha had nothing from the start of the game. Despite retiring the Orioles 1-2-3 in the first inning, he did not look sharp. In the second inning, the barrage of runs started to come in, and Wacha allowed runs in the final three innings he pitched. He struggled to allow five runs (four earned) on seven hits in four innings pitched. The struggles now put his future in the Mets rotation in question.

Gsellman followed Wacha and continued the trend he set. Over 3.2 innings, he allowed six hits, six runs while walking two batters. With Erasmo Ramirez throwing five innings on Monday, Gsellman was the only long relief choice the Mets had. Whether intentional or not, it was the Mets throwing an early white flag. Gsellman also left his outing after an apparent back injury.

Means Channels All-Star Form

John Means showcased why he earned an All-Star selection in 2019 with a six-inning effort and holding the Mets to one run. The Mets only recorded three hits off Means, and his fastball/changeup combination neutralized their bats. Jake Marisnick provided the only run off Means with a solo home run in the second inning. Jeff McNeil added a garbage time home run in the ninth inning.

The starting pitching for the Mets has kept them back more than anything else. Outside of Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo, the Mets need to outscore their starters to have a chance to win.

Rick Porcello tries to give the Mets length and slow down the hot Orioles offense as he faces Jorge Lopez in the final game of the series. The first pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

Things could be shaking behind scenes for Yankees as Brian Cashman travels to Buffalo to check in

The one thing that couldn’t happen during this shortened season was to fall into a void of a long losing streak. The New York Yankees have figured out a way to do more than that. After starting the season with a strong 16-6 record, the Yankees have lost their last 12 out of 17 and are now 21-21.

After dropping the first two games of a three-game set to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees have put themselves at real danger of falling out of playoff contention if they continue the way they are playing. They’re currently sitting in third place of the AL East, three games behind the Jays, and just one game up on the Baltimore Orioles.

You know the club has hit a rough patch when fans have to check the score of the Orioles games each night.

General manager Brian Cashman made a rare trip up to Buffalo to watch the team take on the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, so far he hasn’t seen the best from his team.

Manager Aaron Boone has been on the hot seat as of recently because of the team’s drought. “I know we are better than that, but we have not played to our capabilities,” Boone said following Tuesday night’s loss against the Blue Jays. “Obviously the last couple weeks have been a rough stretch to get us to that point. So, we still have time here to turn this thing around and I’m confident we will.”

The Yankees are having major trouble with staying consistent. Every night it’s either they have a great offense and no pitching support, or vise versa. Some blame can be pointed to the team’s injuries, however the bullpen (except for the absence of Tommy Kahnle) is at full strength. The reality is, these high-leverage guys have not gotten the job done. The same goes for the lineup. The absence of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gio Urshela, are all major hits on the offense. However, DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres are all still in there.

The Yanks are going to need to turn things around immediately if they want a shot at a good seeding in the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Rays and the Blue Jays seem to not be slowing down anytime soon, so a quick turnaround for the Yanks is crucial.

New York Yankees lose a tight one to Blue Jays, drop second game of series

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees have now fallen to .500 after losing the second game of a three-game series to the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite having a great outing by J.A. Happ, the Yankees offense was flat all game. The Yanks have now lost five games in a row, losing 12 out of their last 17 games.

There wasn’t much scoring done tonight on either side. The Blue Jays scored their only two runs with a home run from Jonathan Davis which Statcast estimated it was 411 feet.

The Yankees scored their lone run on a Mike Tauchman sacrifice fly to left field which knocked in Luke Voit.

J.A. Happ had a great outing tonight, going the distance pitching 6.1 innings with ten strikeouts, only allowing the two runs on the Davis home run. Besides the one mistake to Davis, he had his stuff all night and was getting a ton of swing-and-misses. It’s unfortunate that Happ picked up the loss tonight especially with how powerful the Yankee lineup should be.

Right-hander Taijuan Walker started the game for the Blue Jays where he went four complete innings pitched, only allowing two hits while striking out three. The Jays relied mostly on their bullpen this game using four guys to finish off the remaining five innings.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone talked about the team being .500, “I know we are better than that, but we have not played to our capabilities. Obviously the last couple weeks have been a rough stretch to get us to that point. So, we still have time here to turn this thing around and I’m confident we will.”

The New York Yankees’ record drops to 21-21 after starting the season 16-6. They are sitting in third place for the AL East, three games behind the Blue Jays, and only one game up on the Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays advance to a 24-18 record on the season.

Tyron Woodley vows to let his hands go in UFC bout with Colby Covington

UFC, Tyrone Woodley

We are less than two weeks away from arguably the biggest grudge match on the UFC‘s calendar for 2020. Former welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley (19-5-1), will be taking on former interim champion, Colby Covington (15-2).

It is no secret that these two men do not like each other. Covington has called Woodley out for years, but something always got in the way of them fighting. Now, the UFC has paired them against each other when both men need a victory.

Nobody needs a win more in the division than Woodley. Woodley has been criticized for his last two UFC performances where he was shutout by Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman. Woodley wouldn’t let his hands go, but he vows this time will be different.

UFC Grudge Match

“I will let my hands go…You’ve got my word. I’m going to let them go upside his head, body, I might even punch him in the sack,” Woodley said in a fan Q&A. These two former UFC champions do not like each other and Woodley is making it known.

Woodley is even training with Jorge Masvidal for this fight. Masvidal is Covington’s former close friend and roommate. Masvidal is assisting in getting Woodley prepared to take out Colby Covington.

We haven’t seen Covington since he lost to Kamaru Usman back at UFC 245. Covington put up a great fight, but in the end, Usman proved to me just a little too much. Despite the loss, Covington’s stock didn’t take too much of a hit considering the way the fight went.

A win for either man on September 19th would put them right back in the mix for a title shot. If Covington wins impressively, you could say nobody deserves it more than him. One thing is for sure, I’m hoping Woodley lets his hands go and we have a competitive UFC main event.

New York Giants: Week One Will Be A Tough Test For Daniel Jones

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants will play their first regular-season game of the 2020 NFL season next Monday. The Giants will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in this highly-anticipated Week One matchup.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is entering his second NFL season, coming off of an impressive rookie campaign. As impressive as Jones was as a rookie, he made plenty of mistakes. There were peaks and valleys for the Duke alum, his biggest flaw being his fumbling issue. Jones fumbled the ball 18 times in only 13 games (one game being one drive that ended in a fumble).

The Giants did everything they could do fix this problem this offseason. They hired an excellent quarterbacks coach in Jerry Schuplinski, a wise offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett, and totally revamped the offensive line. Additionally, Daniel Jones worked hard himself to improve his ball security, even adding nine pounds of muscle.

All eyes will be on Daniel Jones during the Giants’ primetime matchup with Pittsburgh. Daniel will go up against a tough Steelers defense that will challenge him and put him to the test to start his sophomore season.

A Challenging Steelers Defense

The Pittsburgh Steelers had the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense in 2019. They forced a league-high 38 turnovers last season. In order for the Giants to win this game, they need to keep the ball out of harm’s way.

There are a few playmakers on that Pittsburgh defense. T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick are the two biggest standouts. In 2019, T.J. Watt was a first-team All-Pro, as he had a career-year in his third professional season. Watt played in all 16 games, racking up a dominant 14.5 sacks and a league-high 8 forced fumbles.

Watt’s knack for poking the football loose is troubling news for Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense. New York needs to slow down T.J. Watt if they want to start the season off with a win. The best fumble-forcing edge rusher in the NFL is going up against the most fumble-prone quarterback. This could be a recipe for disaster if Daniel Jones does not demonstrate the improved ball security that has been promised.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is the other turnover machine on the Steelers’ defense. In 2019, the Steelers acquired Fitzpatrick via trade with the Miami Dolphins. Minkah started 14 games for the Steelers and was an absolute ballhawk. Minkah forced 6 turnovers in 2019, including 5 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. He even scored 2 defensive touchdowns, one on a pick-six and the other off of a recovered fumble.

Interceptions were not a huge problem for Daniel Jones in his rookie season. Jones threw 12 interceptions, which is an average of one per game. Of course, Jones would like to lower that average further, but for a rookie, that was a respectable number.

Daniel Jones faced some tough defenses in 2019. He will face another one to kick off the 2020 season. It will be a tough test for the second-year gunslinger, but if he can protect the football, it will bode well for the team’s season.

New York Yankees: Brian Cashman steps in to fix what Aaron Boone has failed to do

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

New York Yankees‘ general manager Brian Cashman addressed the team on Tuesday in a pregame meeting, as the club has collapsed to the point of struggling to hold on to a postseason spot in the last couple of weeks.

According to MLB.com’s beat writer for the Yankees Bryan Hoch, the message that Cashman wanted to deliver was that he trusts his players and still believes in them and what they have the ability to do on the baseball field.

“I thought it was a really good message…understanding that better days are ahead for us because of the people we have in that room,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said to SNY about what the general manager told the team.

A season to forget so far for the Yankees

Between injuries, ineffectiveness, bullpen mismanagement by Boone, slumping stars and an improved American League East division, the New York Yankees were from a surefire playoff team to a struggling club playing some surprisingly mediocre ball in a matter of weeks.

They are currently 21-20, two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second spot in the East.

The players and the coaching staff probably needed a wakeup call, as the Yankees take the field in Buffalo tonight against the same Blue Jays that scored 10 runs in an inning in an ugly collapse for the Bombers.

As a fun fact, Cashman also had a similar “intervention” in the 2009 Yankees’ clubhouse. During a rough stretch that year, per Hoch, Cashman jetted to Atlanta and spoke to the team, and his words were viewed as a turning point in a season that ended with the Bombers lifting the World Series trophy.

Will this be what the Yankees need to turn their season around? Only time will tell, but it is clear that things need to start changing in the Bronx. Soon. Otherwise, they may be missing the postseason in a year they looked as clear-cut favorites to win it all in October.

New York Islanders: Lineup Changes for Game 2

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders got whipped last night against the Lightning. You can blame this on lack of rest, or just being out talented. There’s no room for mistakes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Changes must be made to the lineup. The Islanders need to make several changes and take game 2. Also, I will not be tackling the decision at the goalie spot just because it could be either-or.

Ross Johnston Out

I am not the biggest Ross Johnston fan, and it’s well documented. I mean, JG Pageau does the same thing, and he’s like 5 inches smaller and 60 pounds lighter. Ross Johnston doesn’t have the speed to help out the defense if they get caught on a 3v2. Johnston doesn’t play on the power-play kill. Johnston isn’t making momentum-swinging hits or fights happen. Either Tom Kuhnhackl or Michael Dal Colle should take Johnston’s spot. Kuhnhackl provides a ton of offense and forechecks with the best of them. While Dal Colle is solid in the neutral zone and is relatively fresh. The Islanders haven’t allowed a goal in the Playoffs when Dal Colle plays. One of those two must take Johnston’s spot.

Leo Komarov In

Leo Komarov is a player most teams don’t think they need, but in reality, they need him. Komarov is a grinder and plays on the power-play kill, which the Islanders need help on. The Islanders can’t allow Victor Hedman to score three power-play goals a game. Komarov will lay it all out on the line if it means he can raise that Stanley Cup. Komarov also creates offense and gets his linemates in a good position to score.

Andy Greene gets Fewer Minutes

Andy Greene has been a very inconsistent player for the Isles during the playoffs. One game, he scores from the point, and poke checks everything. Other games, he takes multiple penalties and provides too many opportunities for the other team. I don’t believe that Johnny Boychuk or Noah Dobson should take his spot, but Greene needs to earn his 17 minutes a night. The Isles are deep in the playoffs, there’s no room for error.