New York Mets: 10 Run Fourth Inning, Gives deGrom Plenty in 18-1 Win

Worrying about the New York Mets providing Jacob deGrom run support seems to be a thing of the past. Their 18-run effort gave more than enough for their two-time Cy Young winner in the 18-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

deGrom did not have his best command but put up deGrom-like numbers. He threw six innings, holding the Blue Jays to one run on three hits with nine strikeouts. deGrom continues to make a strong case for a third consecutive Cy Young award as his ERA dropped to 1.67.

Erasmo Ramirez picked up the rare three-inning save in relief of deGrom. Ramirez held the Jays offense scoreless on two hits and only threw 30 pitches in the effort. His ERA is 1.13 through his first eight innings with the Mets.

Relentless Offense

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s RBI single in the first inning was the only bright spot for the Blue Jays. After that, the Mets got things going with four runs in the third inning, highlighted by a Michael Conforto three-run home run.

The offense went bezerk in the fourth inning with ten runs. J.D. Davis started things off with an RBI fielders choice, then Dominic Smith hit a grand slam to break the game open to 9-1. Wilson Ramos contributed a three-run double, making it 12-1. The final two runs of the inning came in on a Conforto single, and Davis double.

Every starter in the lineup recorded a hit other than Pete Alonso. McNeil, Ramos, and Robinson Cano led the way with their three hits. 8 of the Mets 19 hits were for extra bases, and those same numbers (8-for-19) are how they hit with runners in scoring position.

The Mets hope to put up another similar offensive output with Seth Lugo on the mound for the second game of the series. Toronto has not named their starter for game two, but game time is 6:37 p.m. ET from Buffalo.

 

Yankees: Good news and bad news following Voit masterpiece over Baltimore

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

Starts slow clap for Luke Voit… The New York Yankees overcame the Baltimore Orioles for the second-consecutive game on Friday in a double-header, lead by their esteemed first-baseman, Mr. Voit.

In game one of the doubleheader, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had a phenomenal performance, pitching all seven innings and striking out nine batters. Cole allowed just two hits on the day, and number two starter Masahiro Tanaka didn’t disappoint either.

Tanaka lasted 5.0 innings, allowing three hits and striking out five batters. He has lowered his ERA to 3.16 and has turned into a significant piece for the Yankees. Of course, expectations were elevated for Tanaka going into a contract year. After getting struck in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive during summer camp, some believed he wouldn’t even pitch the season. However, he has returned strong and imposed as will on the Orioles Friday evening.

FINAL SCORE: 10-1

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The good news, the Yankees walked away with two victories on Friday. Their starting pitching was fantastic and carried them a majority of those games, if not the entire game. Offensively, they posted 16 total runs between the two games, with slugger Luke Voit torching Baltimore in game two.

Over four at-bats, Voit recorded three hits, including two, three-run homers, which tallied six RBIs. He was on fire, becoming just one of five Yankee first basemen to record two homers and six RBIs in a single game.

With the Yankees ending Wednesday with a win against Toronto and a tad about a .500 record, they pulled three games ahead in the above-average column. Sweeping the Orioles in the doubleheader was a fantastic swing of momentum and will hopefully propel them toward a postseason berth.

BAD NEWS:

I am proud to say that there wasn’t any bad news in the second game of the doubleheader. The closest thing was Gary Sanchez striking out once, but he also managed to get on base and even score a run. The relief pitching was strong, and Tanaka looked fantastic.

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New York Yankees could pursue all-star catcher in offseason

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

Gary Sanchez was supposed to be the next great catcher for the New York Yankees, but so far things have not panned out. He was stellar in his first two seasons, batting a combined .283 with 53 home runs and 133 RBIs between 2016 and 2017. However, the last three years have been absolutely dismal. In the Aaron Boone era, Sanchez has bat just .196 and has struggled to stay healthy.

Current Philadelphia Phillie and two-time all-star JT Realmuto is a free agent at years end. He was traded to the Phillies prior to the 2019 season from the Miami Marlins. Should the Yankees pursue him in the off-season?

Realmuto, 30, has always been a very reliable and consistent option. You know what you’re going to get from him, and he stays healthy. He’s played at least 120 games in each of his five full seasons, and has bat in the .270s in each of his last three years. He hits home runs, drives in runs, and always sits above an .800 OPS.

Also, Realmuto is a reliable defender, coming off his first gold glove award in 2019. He has a career 36% caught stealing rate, and a fielding percentage well over 99%.

Stats show that Realmuto is a significantly better player than Gary Sanchez. With Realmuto hitting the open market, this may be the Yankees best chance over the next few years to land a stud catcher. Although Sanchez has struggled the last three years, he may succeed somewhere else if the team were to trade him. The team could get a nice package back if they traded him.

Will the Yankees pursue JT Realmuto this offseason, or will they continue to stick with Gary Sanchez?

New York Giants: Feeding Saquon The Key To Success In Week One

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are about to face off against arguably the best defense in the NFL on Monday night. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense led the league in forced turnovers last season. The Steelers’ defensive unit features three 2019 First-Team All-Pros and other Pro Bowlers littered throughout.

The Steelers have the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL in TJ Watt and Bud Dupree. The two combined for a total of 26 sacks in 2019 and 12 forced fumbles. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick also totaled 5 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles playing alongside Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden. Throwing against this secondary and pass-rush will be a true test for Daniel Jones entering his second NFL season.

For this reason, the Giants need to rely on their best player more than usual in Week One. Saquon Barkley, arguably the most talented running back in the NFL, is the key to success for the Giants on Monday night.

Feed Saquon

Saquon Barkley had an up and down season in 2019. He spent much of the season either on the sideline, nursing an injury, or on the field playing through that injury. When healthy, Barkley was his dominant self, but the Giants’ offense still struggled to use him in an efficient manner.

Entering 2020, Saquon has a brand new offensive line and coaching staff to help him find success. In Week One, Saquon Barkley needs to be fed the ball abundantly in order for the Giants to win. This is not a defense that teams want to air the ball out on. They have playmakers in the secondary and relentless pass-rushers in the front seven. Daniel Jones should not shoulder the load for New York this week.

If there is a weakness on the Steelers’ defense, it is their run defense. While their run defense is not an actual weakness, it is their weakest link, and Saquon Barkley is the Giants’ strongest link. Pounding the rock with Saquon Barkley will tire down the Steelers’ defense and allow the Giants to control the game pacing and game clock.

While the Steelers’ defense allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL last season, their run defense ranked 14th in the NFL, which is still above average, but not dominant like their pass defense. If the Giants want to take down this suffocating Steelers’ defense, they need to control the clock by pounding the rock with Saquon Barkley.

Yankees: Good news and bad news following New York Tough win over

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees tortured the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of the doubleheader on Friday. Winning 6-0, they previously lost the last three games in a series to Baltimore several days ago, but weren’t about to let them continue their streak.

Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had a phenomenal outing, allowing just two hit and striking out nine batters. He pitched the entire seven-inning game, recovering from a previous outing that resulted in five earned runs allowed.

The Yankees were able to feature their top two starting pitchers on Friday, including Cole and Masahiro Tanaka. Their offense finally clicked, and it was clear they were riding the high from Wednesday win over Toronto.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The Yankees could do no wrong in the first game of the doubleheader against the Orioles. Gerrit Cole was terrific, and their offense was solid throughout. The top performers in the batting order were Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, and Kyle Higashioka.

Gardner was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a walk, Tauchman was 3-for-3 with one RBI, and Higashioka launched to run homer in the second inning.

I would be remiss not to mention DJ LeMahieu, who hit a leadoff homer to get things going. Altogether, it was a cohesive effort from the team, something we hadn’t seen in recent days.

This was a fantastic sign from the Yankees, who partied hard after snapping a five-game losing streak against Toronto on Wednesday. With music blasting and players dancing in the locker room, it seems they are forcing a hot streak.

In addition, manager Aaron Boone stated that the Yankees could gain back both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton next weekend. They would provide a significant boost in the power department and allow them to sit some of their deeper reserve players.

BAD NEWS:

There wasn’t much bad news from game one, except for several offensive performances. Clint Frazier struck out twice over three at-bats, and Tyler Wade failed to get on base. Gary Sanchez walked and struck out once, but otherwise, the rest of the team performed well. Frazier isn’t someone I am too worried about, and Wade has been inconsistent at the plate, but Sanchez‘s struggles continue.

The slugging catcher is currently hitting .119 with a .321 slugging percentage. While some fans will back Gary until the death, most are coming to their senses and realizing he is colder for more extended periods that he is hot.

New York Mets: Michael Conforto is mashing his way into a possible extension

The New York Mets are, before the Friday games, a couple of games from a spot in the playoffs. They have played poorly, as their 20-24 record suggests, but if things break right, they could sneak in as one of the wild card teams or maybe even as a second-placed team, although that’s very unlikely.

If the New York Mets are alive by now, it is in large part thanks to the offensive excellence of Michael Conforto. If the 2020 season has been rough for many players in MLB, it has represented another step forward for the lefty-hitting outfielder.

In 44 games and 187 plate appearances, Conforto has hit eight homers and has a shiny .340/.428/.562 slash line, with an excellent .423 wOBA and a 170 wRC+. He has accumulated 1.7 fWAR.

He has even had a few defensive highlights. Truth be told, Conforto has been the heart and soul of the team and the offensive star in a roster filled with top performers such as Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil and others.

Conforto is peaking at the right time if we consider his earning potential. He will go to his third and final arbitration year in 2021, so the Mets may consider extending him.

What would it take? In this fine analysis by Mets’ beat writer for MLB.com Anthony DiComo, he notes that he averaged .257 with an .855 OPS and 29 home runs from 2017 to 2019. Those numbers should also enter the discussion of his next deal.

The Mets’ outfielder keeps evolving

Given that Conforto is hitting lefties with authority and mashing to all fields, we can say he has advanced as a hitter. He is also young, at 27, so he won’t be cheap.

While he is a Scott Boras client, and those tend to wait to reach free agency, it will be Conforto’s decision if he signs an extension with the Mets.

“Everyone always says that Scott is a big free-agency guy and he’s a big fan of that, but Scott … is obviously going to give me the best advice that he feels he has for me as a player and for my career,” Conforto said in February. “Ultimately, it’s my decision. I think it’s somewhat of a misconception about Scott and his clients. He wants what’s best for us. He’s going to give us his best advice. But at the end of the day, he’ll tell you, ‘It’s my client’s decision.’”

Similarly-rated players, like Charlie Blackmon, Justin Upton and JD Martinez, have gotten between five and six years, ranging from $100 million to $110 million.

Will the New York Mets look to extend Conforto?

New York Mets Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (9/11-9/13)

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The New York Mets head up to Buffalo to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game weekend series. Toronto comes off taking two of three from the New York Yankees, while the Mets come off a two-game split against the Baltimore Orioles.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (9/11) @ 6:37 p.m. ET: Jacob deGrom (3-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Chase Anderson (0-0, 4.94 ERA)

Saturday, (9/12) @ 6:37 p.m. ET: Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.05 ERA) vs. TBD

Sunday, (9/13) @ 3:07 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD

Friday’s game comes on the 19th anniversary of the tragic World Trade Center attacks. For the first time in over a decade, the Mets are allowed to wear first responder hats during the game. This is a movement led by Pete Alonso, who led the team to wear commemorative cleats on 9/11 during the 2019 season.

Ride deGrom Out

It is no secret to how poor the Mets starting pitching has been this season. The main reason they do not sit dead last in the National League in rotation ERA is due to Jacob deGrom’s greatness. His 1.69 ERA is first in the NL and second in all of baseball. Manager Luis Rojas lined up his rotation to squeeze out as many starts as possible for deGrom, and the Mets will need those in order to make the playoffs.

Seth Lugo has not started as many games as deGrom but is another anchor to the Mets rotation. The Mets lined him up to pitch after each of deGrom’s start to get the momentum going. It is much better than having deGrom throw a gem then watch a mediocre starter allowed five runs the following night.

As for the Blue Jays, their lineup packs a mighty punch. They are second in the American League in home runs, fourth in RBIs, and fourth in hits. They are led by Teoscar Hernandez, who is slashing .308/.358/.637, with 14 home runs and 27 runs batted in. Hernandez’s slugging percentage is third in the AL behind Nelson Cruz and Mike Trout. Luckily for the Mets, Hernandez is currently on the injured list.

Key Statistics

Joe Panik vs. Jacob deGrom: 3-for-19 (.158), Double, 3 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Michael Conforto vs. Chase Anderson: 2-for-11 (.182), 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

First Pitch Swings Against deGrom in 2020: 5-for-59 (.085), Double, Home Run, 23 Strikeouts

Seth Lugo As a Starter in 2020: 1-0, 1.54 ERA, 11.2 IP, 20 Strikeouts, 4 Walks

New York Islanders: 2 Keys to Winning Game 3

New York Islanders, Brock Nelson

The New York Islanders‘ only have one choice tonight, and that is to win. If the Islanders go down 3-0 in the series, it’s “goodnight Jim Kite.” Game 2 was winnable; it all came down to one costly turnover by Andy Greene in the last 10 seconds. The Islanders have little room for mistakes tonight, but they do have some help. Brayden Point is a game-time decision. Also, Alex Killorn is out to his cheap hit against Brock Nelson. However, Vasilevskiy is playing. There are two keys to winning tonight’s game that the Islanders must follow.

Shooting Stick Side

Andrei Vasilevskiy is almost unstoppable. The keyword is unstoppable; there’s a weakness in every good goalie’s play. For Vasy, it’s definitely his short side. I mean, it’s the only spot the Islanders have been able to confidently score on. His five-hole is too strong on breakaways, and his glove is everywhere. There’s only one way to combat this: lift the puck to his short side. Get a low shot rebound from the right-winger and let the left-winger or center clean up the rebound and put it in the toy department. The Islanders cannot shoot it into his chest and hope it trickles in. This is not a 22-year-old goalie, this is one of the best goalies in the NHL for at least the last decade.

Getting Pucks in Deep

The Islanders’ forecheck is one of the best in the league. Those “pesky” Isles, as everyone calls them, are phenomenal at creating turnovers through the forecheck. Not only do the Islanders have power, but they’re very fast through all four lines. The second line is so good at creating turnovers. And the fourth line is the best forechecking line in the league. The Islanders must get the pucks in deep.

Conclusion

There’s not much to it; the Islanders must deliver tonight to keep their season alive. No matter what the outcome is, the Islanders have had a hell of a season, and Isles’ fans must be proud.

Bellator: Douglas Lima and Gegard Mousasi to battle for the middleweight crown

Things are moving fast and furious for Bellator MMA on this Friday afternoon. This morning it was confirmed that the promotion would be hosting the first major MMA event in the country of France.

Shortly after, President Scott Coker announced that the promotion would be moving to CBS Sports Network. However, the announcements didn’t stop there. Bellator announced that welterweight champion, Douglas Lima (32-7), would be taking on Gegard Mousasi (46-7-2) for the middleweight title on October 29th.

Another Bellator Double Champ?

Bellator‘s welterweight champion is looking to become another one of the promotion’s double champs. They had two before Ryan Bader lost at Bellator 244, now Patricio Pitbull is the only one. Douglas Lima is looking to take the champ-champ status.

Since 2016, Lima has looked incredible inside the cage. He’s gone 6-1 with his lone loss coming to Rory MacDonald. Lima got a rematch with MacDonald back in October of 2019 and dominated him to get that loss back. Prior to that win, Lima had a highlight reel knockout of Michael Page back at Bellator 221.

Gegard Mousasi left the UFC back in 2017 for a better deal with Bellator. Mousasi was one of the best middleweights in the world which is why Bellator gave him a great deal. Mousasi won his first three fights and was the Bellator middleweight champion.

Then, at Bellator 223, Mousasi lost by majority decision to Rafael Lovato Jr. Lovato was originally going to be the one to fight Lima, but due to a brain condition, Lovato relinquished the middleweight title. Mousasi will now get another crack at the title.

Mousasi is coming off of a split decision win over Lyoto Machida last September. This is a massive fight for the promotion. There are a lot of exciting things going on in Bellator right now, and fights of this magnitude will continue to draw fans in.

MSG announces awesome new show ‘Joe Judge Report’ ahead of 2020 season

New York Giants, Joe Judge

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM MSG:

MSG Networks Announces New York Giants Programming Lineup for the 2020 NFL Season

Lineup to Feature the Debut of the “Joe Judge Report,” Airing at 7:30pm ET on Tuesday After Sunday Games and on Wednesday After Monday Games; First Episode to Premiere on Wednesday, September 16th

 Coverage Includes the Return of “Giants Postgame Wrap-Up, presented by Mercedes”, Set to Air at 11:30pm ET Every Sunday Night and Live at 11:30pm ET Following Primetime Games, Starting in Week 1 on Monday, September 14th

New York, NY (September 11, 2020) – With the NFL season set to get underway, MSG Networks (NYSE: MSGN), the television home of the New York Giants, today announced its new lineup of season-long Giants programming. The coverage will be highlighted by the return of “Giants Postgame Wrap-Up, presented by Mercedes”, the team’s official post-game show that will air at 11:30pm ET every Sunday night and live at 11:30pm ET following primetime games.

Hosted by Madelyn Burke, the exclusive postgame show will first air live on Monday night, September 14th, after the team’s opening week matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Burke will be joined on the postgame shows by a rotating group of analysts including Shaun O’Hara, Victor Cruz and David Diehl in the studio at the team’s practice facility, the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The new programming lineup this year will feature the debut of the “Joe Judge Report,” which will give fans with tremendous insight into the coaching philosophy of the team’s new Head Coach. Hosted by Bob Papa, the show will feature Judge using the telestrator and providing viewers with unique, in-depth analysis of the team. Carl Banks will join the discussion as well each week to preview the team’s next opponent. The show will air during the season on Tuesday at 7:30pm ET after games on Sunday and on Wednesday nights following games played on Monday. The first episode will premiere on Wednesday, September 16th.

To kick-off the season, MSG Networks will air “Giants First and 10, presented Stop & Shop” at 8:00pm ET tonight, a one-hour preview show hosted by Bob Papa and Carl Banks. Airing every Friday night, the show will feature reporting from Madelyn Burke and Paul Dottino and a panel of Giants experts including Howard Cross, Victor Cruz, David Diehl and Shaun O’Hara breaking down the team’s upcoming matchup with ten ‘must know’ topics. Each week, the show will also profile a key player or moment from the Giants’ 1990 Super Bowl championship season, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the team’s Super Bowl XXV win over the Buffalo Bills.

Starting this Sunday at 10:30am ET, the weekly programming will also include “Giants Chronicles, presented by Hackensack Meridian Health,” an award-winning documentary series that will give fans a great look back every Sunday morning at the classic games, moments and players from that storied 1990 championship season. The lineup will also include “Giants Access Blue, presented by Toyota” as well, which will provide viewers with an inside look into the lives of Giants players and coaches off the field each week, beginning on Thursday, September 16th at 6:00pm ET.

All Giants programming throughout the season on MSG Networks will also be available on MSG GO, MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform for smartphones, tablets and computers.