New York Mets: deGrom Exits Early, Gimenez Gets Big Hit in 5-4 Win

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Wednesday night’s matchup between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies featured a matchup of two longtime teammates. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler faced each other for the first time, but Wheeler lasted a lot longer than back-to-back Cy Young winner did. For the Mets, if they wanted any hope at a postseason birth, they needed a victory.

From the beginning, it set up like another disappointing Mets loss. They went down 4-0 early, deGrom only lasted two innings, and their offense struggled against Wheeler. The Mets overcame all of that to pick up a huge 5-4 victory to move within 1.5 games of the Phillies. 

From the second pitch of the game, it was evident deGrom was dealing with some issue. deGrom sent glares towards the dugout, trying to let them know something was not right. After giving up three runs in the second, he did not make it back out for the third. deGrom left the game with right hamstring spasms and was visibly frustrated in the dugout.

Wacha to the Rescue

Michael Wacha gave the Mets everything they could have asked for when called into long relief duty. He gave the Mets four innings and held the Phillies to one run and kept the Mets in the game. Wacha worked around some trouble, allowing five hits, but his performance cannot go overlooked.

The comeback started with a simple Robinson Cano ground out, making it a 4-1 game. J.D. Davis made it a 4-3 game with a two-run opposite-field off Wheeler. As the game move into the late innings, Davis left his mark on this game.

With Michael Conforto on first base, his double tied the game in the eighth inning. The ball hung in the air forever, and it just made it over the glove of the leaping Adam Haseley. Conforto also had no clue on the number of outs, which made the play at the plate closer than it should have been.

Clutch Bullpen

In the bottom half of the eighth, Miguel Castro stranded runners on first and second with back to back strikeouts to move the game to the ninth inning. The Phillies made a couple of mistakes in the ninth inning to benefit the Mets. With a runner on first, Hector Neris balked to move the runner to second base.

They decided to intentionally walk Jeff McNeil to set up Andres Gimenez in his biggest spot with the Mets. The rookie came through to line a single to center field, giving the Mets a 5-4 lead. Edwin Diaz worked around a base hit to strike out three batters and pick up his biggest save of the season.

The Mets send Seth Lugo to the mound for the rubber game of this three-game series. Aaron Nola opposes him at Citizens Bank Park for the 7:05 p.m. ET start.

 

New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson supports “brilliant” Adam Gase

Despite the New York Jets’ opening week loss, team CEO Christopher Johnson extended a vote of confidence to his embattled head coach.

New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson offered reassurance and regret when making a public appearance on Wednesday.

Johnson offered a vote of confidence to embattled head coach Adam Gase, whose career record now stands at 30-35 after the Jets fell by a 27-17 final to the Buffalo Bills in Sunday afternoon’s 2020 opener. The Jets (0-1) began Gase’s debut campaign with a 1-7 mark before recovering to finish 7-9.

Despite the losing mark, Johnson still believes that Gase is the man for the New York job.

“I have full confidence in Adam,” Johnson per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I think that he has a lot more in him as a head coach than some of our fans are giving him credit for…I understand they want to see success. I think that they will.”

Cimini’s report also indicated that Johnson would not issue a playoff mandate on Gase. The Jets haven’t been to the postseason since back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances under Rex Ryan in 2010 and 2011.

Johnson said that his belief stemmed from Gase’s prior work with quarterbacks.

“I think he can work with and develop quarterbacks,” Gase said per Cimini. “I do continue to think he’s a brilliant offensive mind especially. He has my every confidence.”

Despite Johnson’s belief in Gase, the CEO did admit that the opening loss against Buffalo was “a mess”. Yet, he cited Gase’s rapport with the team as well as their ability to recover from a slow start last season.

“He took a team that did so poorly the first half of the season and held them together,” Johnson said in a quote from Connor Hughes of The Athletic. “They finished well. I think he has a lot more in him as a head coach than some of our fans are giving him credit for.”

Johnson’s statements also featured regret, particularly in the timing of general manager Joe Douglas’ hire. New York brought Douglas in from Philadelphia’s front office during the summer of 2019 after they fired incumbent man Mike Maccagnan. The latter’s firing came four months after Gase’s hire and a month after Maccagnan’s helped with the 2019 NFL Draft process. Not counting his final class (which has already seen the departure of third-round pick Jachai Polite), only six Maccagnan picks remain on the Jets’ roster. Johnson admitted that Maccagnan’s dismissal may have been ill-timed.

“Do I wish I had made that change earlier? Absolutely,” Johnson said in Cimini’s report. “I’ve made mistakes, and that’s one of them.”

In terms of the future, Johnson maintained that he would maintain a strong front office role upon his brother Woody’s return. The Jets’ co-owner continues to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump. Christopher also defended Woody from allegations of racist and sexist remarks.

“He’s denied it publicly. He’s denied it to me,” Christopher Johnson said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “I’ve known him my whole life. We’ve spent so much time together. I’ve never heard him utter a racist or sexist word or perform an action that was racist or sexist. I believe him.”

The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon against the San Francisco 49ers for their home opener at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Good news and Bad news following second-straight whopping of Toronto

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

As if putting up 20 runs on Tuesday evening wasn’t enough, the New York Yankees backed up a stellar performance with another 13-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night. That is a collective 33 total runs over two games.

The Yankees’ offense is currently unstoppable, as they tallied 13 runs, 12 hits, and struck out just four times on Wednesday. Four batters had two or more hits, including DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks, Tyler Wade, and Kyle Higashioka.

With the return of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gio Urshela, it seems as if the team is finally clicking and ready to make a postseason run. They are currently on a seven-game winning streak after touching .500 in the win-loss column. They are now 20-7 at home and are headed into the final game of a three-game series against the Blue Jays.

Good news and bad news for the New Tork Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The good news, the New York Yankees are currently an unstoppable force and immovable object. They are defying physics with their offensive power, and their starting pitching has been equally as impressive. Gerrit Cole took the mound on Wednesday, lasting 7.0 innings and allowing just one earned run. He struck out eight batters over 95 pitches. Currently hosting a 3.00 ERA, he leads the Yankees in the category and is their a bona fide ace. He was paid to be, after all. The bullpen has also been impressive, in addition.

The Yankees are simply firing on all cylinders, and that is without star shortstop, Gleyber Torres. When he returns, there’s not a single team that won’t feel the intimidation of their lineup. The emergence of young pitcher Deivi Garcia has also been a major positive, replacing James Paxton in the rotation.

BAD NEWS:

The one-piece of bad news came prior to the start of Wednesday’s game. Manager Aaron Boone informed the media that the team had placed James Paxton on the 45-day injured list. That will virtually end his 2020 campaign, in which he will head into free agency next off-season. I imagine the Yankees will let him walk, considering his injury problems over the past few years and inability to stay healthy. Before the ruling, Paxton hosted a 6.64 ERA, allowing 15 earned runs over 20.1 innings.

Paxton’s tumultuous season was stamped by a lagging injury. As for Gleyber Torres, who picked up a tweak in his injured right quad, Boone stated he was just resting him and ensuring his 100% health. If Wednesday’s game was a playoff contest, Torres would have been in the lineup.

New York Giants: One Statistic Tells The Story Of The Pittsburgh Game

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

There’s a lot of statistics in the NFL, and sometimes you can boil a game down to one of them. The New York Giants’ season opener, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is one of those games. There’s a lot of takes to be had here. You can say the Giants allowed Big Ben to pass too much on them. Or that Daniel Jones shouldn’t have turned over the ball. But if you really want to get to the bottom of the result, look no further than one statistic.

That stat is Saquon Barkley’s rushing yards – only six. That sounds like hyperbole, but that’s not the case. Barkley really did only have six yards, and it’s not entirely his fault. The offensive line didn’t do him favors in this game, though that was expected to a certain extent.

The Giants were debuting a new offensive line in this game, after all. And one of the players they intended to have around as a starter, Nate Solder, opted out before the season. There’s valid reasons to complain about Solder’s play, but the line didn’t improve without him there.

Saquon Barkley’s take on the situation

Barkley usually takes the high road with reporters and that’s what he did following this result. He praised the Steelers defense, leaving out any remarks about the blocking.

“I’m not really too concerned with the stats. You have to give credit where credit is due. They have a great defense, especially their defensive front. They made some plays and we weren’t able to win the game today,” Barkley told the media.

He also claims that watching film will prevent the large number of backfield hits from being repeated next game.

“We just have to go back and watch the film and learn. Something I’m proud about with the team today is the way we fought, especially when we were hit with adversity. We just have to go back and watch film, continue to believe in each and come ready to work next week and get ready for Chicago.”

A better showing in week two at Chicago?

There’s a reason not to panic yet, however. Like Barkley claimed, the Steelers do have one of the top defenses in the league. Their defensive front was a concern heading into this game. Most games won’t be like this one, against a team like Pittsburgh. The Giants were also playing their first game under a new head coach, as well as a new offensive coordinator. Hiccups usually happen in games like this.

However, the Giants should have one thing in mind in week two: getting Saquon Barkley more rushing yardage. There’s only so many weapons the Giants have on offense, and a key to victory will be ensuring that they use all of them properly.

Against Pittsburgh, Barkley hardly had a chance to shine. And that showed in the final result.

New York Giants: Offensive Stars Need To Improve In Week Two

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are coming off of a disappointing loss to kick off the season. On Monday Night, New York lost to the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers with a final score of 26-16. Despite this loss, there were plenty of positives to draw from the Giants’ performance. However, there were some glaring negatives to take away from it as well.

In particular, the Giants had a couple of disappointing performances on the offensive side of the ball. Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, two of the Giants’ most dynamic playmakers, need to improve in Week Two if the Giants want to beat the Chicago Bears.

Saquon Barkley Not An Every-Down Back?

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley has received plenty of criticism from the media and fans after his performance in Week One. Most prominently, former Giants star running back Tiki Barber was very critical of Barkley this week. Tiki was quoted saying:

“Saquon Barkley is a great back, but he might not be an every down back. He cannot pass protect. It’s becoming glaring & could become a liability” – Tiki Barber on Saquon Barkley

What Tiki said does have some substance. Obviously, Saquon is a phenomenal running back and should be on the field as much as possible. He is a mismatch as a receiver and a big-play machine as a runner. And it is hard to criticize Barkley’s Week One rushing performance, given the way his offensive line played on Monday night. But Saquon Barkley’s struggles in pass protection have become a glaring weakness in his game.

Saquon let up more than one sack in pass protection on Monday night. According to Pro Football Focus, Saquon Barkley earned a 27.0 pass-blocking grade in Week One. He was a liability in pass protection for the Giants vs the Steelers. Granted, the Giants were facing arguably the best defense and best pass-rush in the NFL in Week One. It is a long season, so Saquon has plenty of time to improve, but he needs to step up and silence the doubters against the Bears in Week Two.

Evan Engram’s Night To Forget

The uber-versatile tight end Evan Engram had maybe the worst game of his career in Week One. With Jason Garrett serving as the team’s new offensive coordinator, Giants fans heard all season long about how big of a role Evan Engram would have with the Giants moving forward.

While Engram did have a substantial role in the Giants’ game plan versus the Steelers, he put together an extremely disappointing performance in that role. Engram was targeted 7 times on Monday but only hauled in 2 receptions for 9 receiving yards. Evan also dropped 2 passes in this game and committed an offensive pass interference penalty that erased a big gain through the air.

Pro Football Focus’s grading for Engram was pretty harsh, too. They gave Engram the worst grade amongst all tight ends in the league, 30.9 overall. Evan was also a complete liability as a blocker, both in pass protection and in the running game. He earned an 18.2 pass-blocking grade and a 32.9 run-blocking grade, both the lowest marks at the position.

Monday’s game was a night for Engram to forget. He will need to bounce back in a major way on Sunday to quiet the critics. Fans and analysts alike have torn Engram to shreds this week, rightfully so. But, like Barkley, Evan has plenty of time to make things right. A strong performance in Week Two versus the Bears will get Engram back on the right track.

James Paxton’s career with the Yankees is likely over after latest move

New York Yankees, James Paxton

While the New York Yankees gained back Geo Urshela, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge this week, they did lose one significant starting pitcher.

Left-handed pitcher James Paxton was placed on the 45-day injured list, according to manager Aaron Boone before Wednesday nights game. Before going down with a forearm flexor strain, Paxton was pitching 6.64 ERA baseball, which would land in the lackluster category. He had given up 15 earned runs over 20 innings pitched — an elevated number that was easily replaceable for the Yankees.

Paxton is currently on the final year of a one-year, $12.5 million deal. Set to hit free agency next season, I can’t imagine the Yankees will retain him and his injury proneness.

Being placed on the 45-day IL essentially ends his season. The Yankees have since utilized Deivi Garcia, their 21-year-old youth pitcher, in his role. Garcia has been phenomenal, as he currently hosts a 3.28 ERA with a 2-1 record. His emergence has been perfectly timed with Paxton’s absence, and they can feel confident moving forward with him in the rotation.

Vassell, Williams on the Knicks radar; NBA Draft pushed back

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

The New York Knicks are not exclusively looking at point guards for their lottery pick in the NBA Draft.

The Knicks, who are slated to pick at No.8 barring any trade, have recently looked at two intriguing prospects that will be available at the second half of the lottery.

Empire Sports Media has learned yesterday that the Knicks have made their due diligence on Florida State University’s 3-and-D prospect Devin Vassell along with his one-and-done teammate Patrick Williams, the youngest college player in the Draft.

According to a highly placed source, the Knicks made a thorough background check on both players which wasn’t only confined to the coaching staff.

When reached for comment, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton neither confirmed nor denied the Knicks’ growing interest in his two-star players.

“[I’ve talked to] Just about everybody in the league who has the opportunity [to pick them]. I am saying, we’ve three kids who we think we’re going to be drafted, so about just every NBA team.  To be honest with you, it’s hard to even remember who all they were.  We’ve talked to so many teams about Trent Forrest, Patrick and Devin,” Hamilton told Empire Sports Media. “I’m not going to give particular names out there.”

A two-way player and a lights out shooter, the 6’6 Vassell could be the safest pick for the Knicks outside a motley of playmakers that will be available to them at No.8.

Vassell has blossomed from a role player as a freshman to a lottery talent in his sophomore year. The small forward made the All-ACC Second Team Selection after averaging a team-high 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds with second-best 1.9 steals and 0.9 shot blocks.  He also shot an outstanding 41.5 percent from deep, a valuable skill in the modern NBA, while leading the Seminoles to their first ACC regular-season title in 2020.

Several Mock Drafts have pegged him to be picked from as high as 8th to as low as 16th.

“Devin is going to play well regardless of where he goes and the coach he’ll play for.  He’s well prepared. I don’t think it matters [which team picks him].  He’s capable of learning whatever style of play he’ll be asked to do,” Hamilton said. 

Williams, on the other hand, is just the third one-and-done player from FSU after Malik Beasley (2016) and Jonathan Isaac 2017). He was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and won the ACC Sixth Man of the Year after averaging a fourth team-best 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds, a team-best 1.1 blocked shots, and 1.0 steal.

“He’s young, one of the youngest in the Draft. But I think he’ll fit in very well because he’s so versatile and he has an NBA-ready body,” Hamilton said of Williams.

While Williams is seen more as a project, he has a high upside as a 6’8 power forward who can defend basically all positions in the NBA.

Both players have also made it to the ACC Academic Honor Roll with Vassell making it for the second year in a row.

Hamilton, a three-time ACC Coach of the Year, has pride himself of having a holistic approach to his basketball program.

“We hold academics with a high esteem and our athletes have responded very well,” Hamilton said.

Whether the Knicks would pick Vassell or Williams or somebody else, Hamilton has faith in Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff that they can turn things around in New York.

“I know Kenny (Payne), I know (Mike) Woodson.  I know a lot of positive things about Thibodeau. I have a tremendous respect for him. I think he’ll (Johnnie Bryant) be a great addition to the staff,” Hamilton said.

“I have a lot of confidence that the new administration at the Knicks will be determined and they are more than qualified.  I think they will do everything to bring back the Knicks’ glory days of the past,” he added.

Meanwhile, the league has pushed back the NBA Draft to Nov. 18 which remains subject to change as circumstances warrant it.

The delay will allow more time for the Knicks and the rest of the league to evaluate the Draft pool which is viewed as the most unpredictable since 2013.

New York Jets Adam Gase The Betting Favorite To Be Fired

New York Jets, Adam Gase

Sunday was an utter disaster for the New York Jets. The Jets were outcoached tenfold. The team looked more underprepared then a Pop Warner football team with less than a week of practice. Even a fundamental of football, tackling, was pitiful. Yes, you can blame the players to an extent, but the way the Jets played it was an example of poor coaching.

Entering the season, Adam Gase came off a 7-9 season that featured an end of season resurgence. The team lost that momentum in the performance on Sunday, and that was very evident to oddsmakers. Initially, Gase was ranked as the third likeliest coach to be fired behind Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions) and Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars). Now, after being ranked as the worst team in football by ESPN in their power rankings, Gase has been placed as the likeliest coach to be fired.

Per BetOnline.ag:

First Coach Fired during the 2020 NFL Regular Season

Adam Gase                  3/1       

Dan Quinn                    4/1       

Matt Patricia                 5/1       

Doug Marrone              7/1       

Mike Zimmer                7/1       

Anthony Lynn               9/1       

Bill O’Brien                   9/1       

Vic Fangio                   10/1     

Matt Nagy                    12/1     

Kevin Stefanski            14/1     

Frank Reich                 20/1

Adam Gase leads Falcons coach Dan Quinn, the two coaches I mentioned earlier, and Mike Zimmer as the likeliest in-season firings. The difference between the teams is that their teams were all competitive or won their games on Sunday. Gase needs to step up and get the team prepared for one of the best teams in football, the San Francisco 49ers, or else these odds could prove to be worth the bet.

In the end, it would take an utter embarrassment of a start for Chris Johnson to hand Gase his walking papers. Sunday, though showed a glimpse of what that embarrassing start could be like.

Yankees receive amazing Aaron Judge news prior to Wednesday’s game

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

While New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone projected that he would gain his star sluggers back over the weekend, they manage to return a few days early to the active roster. On Tuesday, the Yankees featured both Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton, and on Wednesday, they reinstated Aaron Judge from the injured list.

After a 20-6 whopping of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx, the Yankees felt the need to bring in more offensive firepower. Judge, who has been nursing a calf strain the past few weeks, was dominating the MLB before his injury.

Prior to going down, he was hitting .292 with a 1.081 on-base plus slugging and nine homers. While he has only played 18 games, less than half of the 2020 campaign, he immediately gives the Yankees a higher probability of making a playoff run.

The Yankees are currently on a six-game winning streak, coming off a five-game losing streak earlier last week. The recent spark in productivity came just after hitting .500 in the win-loss column.

An exciting turn of events, fellow slugger Luke Voit stated that the Bronx Bombers are back and teams are fearing them once again. Their intimidation factor is something to be considered, as they simply didn’t have the gusto with their top players out. Now, they are only missing Gleyber Torres at shortstop, who, according to Boone, would be playing if it was a playoff contest.

Giving Torres the extra time off is essential, as the Yankees continue to perform and look solid. Hopefully, they can continue their stretch of victories and climb to the top five seeded teams in the American League. The Yankees will walk out Gerrit Cole on Wednesday evening to extend theIr streak, and he’s currently hosting a 3.20 ERA over 59 innings pitched. In his most recent start against the Orioles, he lasted 7.0 innings and allow just two hits and zero runs, tallying nine strikeouts.

New York Yankees Analysis: Has Manager Aaron Boone worn out his usefulness with the Yankees?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Aaron Boone, the New York Yankees manager, has taken the Yankees to the postseason during both of his years as manager.  In 2018 he won 100 games, and in 2019, he won 103 games, but in both years, has failed to get the team into the World Series. Also, in 2018, he had injuries, in 2019, he had record injuries of players, something that has carried over to this year as well.  At the end of this season, Boone’s contract with the Yankees will be over.  The question is, is it time for the Yankees to move on from Boone and possibly look elsewhere for fresh blood to lead the team?

At the end of the 2017 season, when Joe Girardi brought the New York Yankees one game short of the World Series, Giradi’s contract was not renewed. It was later found out the the Houston Astros cheated in that ALCS, and may have cost the Yankees a World Series.  Girardi was let go primarily becuase he hadn’t won a World Series since 2009, and his agressive management style wasn’t appreciated by many of the “baby bombers.”

Joe Girardi’s and Aaron Boone‘s management style are very different.  Garardi was more of a boss and disiplinarian, whereas Boone, while being a leader wanted to be a friend to his players. Boone is not as demanding of his players, Girardi was very demanding, making them do constant running and stretching, when not in the batting cage or performing on field play drills.  Girardi’s 2017 season saw a healthy Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez, and all had an excellent season.  During Boone’s management the team has not been able to stay healthy.  The last two years have been the worst injury years in decades. How much of that is Aaron Boone’s fault is anyone’s guess.

The Yankee brass claimed that one of the main factors in his removal, beside his overbearingness was that he didn’t communicate well with the young players.  This was the same manager that brought a young Miami Marlins team, that nothing was expected of, to fourth place in the National League, and was named Manager of the Year in 2006. The first time a Manager of the Year was ever awarded to a manager of a fourth place team.

One would wonder how Joe Girardi, still being manager, would do with the likes of former MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Andrew McCutchen, Luke Voit, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino and DJ LeMahieu added to his team. Under Boone’s leadership, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have spent as much time on the IL as on the field, and he has been unable to keep catcher Gary Sanchez from crashing and burning, despite his home run ability.

In his third year as Yankee manager, Boone is not as well liked as he once was.  He has publicly pissed off three of his pitchers by pulling them from games they thought they could win, including new Yankee ace Gerrit Cole, who was visibly angered by Boone’s action.  Slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t happy when Boone would not allow him to go on day to day, when he said he was 100%.  In an unsual move for the mild and proper Judge, in  zoom interview, let it be known that he was not happy with Boone’s decision. J.A. Happ has publically called out Boone’s the the way he has or hasn’t handled his pitching starts.

Moving on to the 2020 season, the New York Yankee team hasn’t seemed to be energized, and lost it’s purpose at different points in the season.  It got to point, that if pitchers pitched well, hitters didn’t hit, and when they did hit the pitching failed.  Now coming off six straight wins and an enlivened lineup, the Yankees have a chance to, again go to the posteason.  Many fans wonder if the Yankees do get to the playoffs, how far they will go and if they will fail again, short of making a World Series appearance.

For Aaron Boone fans, this writer feels they have nothing to worry about. Boone’s contract will be renewed for another period, and the Yankees will not hold him responsible for the injuries or the team’s play.  They gave Girardi nine years, they will give Boone more than three. A big factor will be how Boone manages the team, if the team reaches the postseason, which now seems inevitable.

Should the Yankees decide not to renew Boone’s contract, there are several options out there.  Buck Showalter, David Cone, Jorge Posada all of which would manager with similar style to Joe Girardi. Two interesting possibilities would be catcher Erik Kratz, who who works very well with young players, and Rob Thompson who is with Joe Girardi, as his bench coach.  Thompson had served with the Yankees for nearly twenty years, and knows the organization inside and out.