New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees sweep the Blue Jays series in historic fashion scoring 43 runs

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Last night at New York Yankees Stadium, the Yankees made a statement, scoring six more home runs in each of the three games and had a 10 run win over the Blue Jays. The win was a historic win and sweep of the Blue Jays, scoring 43 runs in the three-game series.  It was also the first time in MLB history that a team has scored six or more home runs in three consecutive games. The Yankees made a statement, now just trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by just 3.5 games.

For the first time in Yankee franchise history the Yankees hit five home runs in the same inning, it was the seventh inning when the Yankees blew the game open. Everybody contributed, Giancarlo Stanton went 4-5 and Gary Sanchez contributed in the game. In the seventh Gary Sanchez hit a long double driving in Clint Frazier, then Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer into the Yankee bullpen. DJ LeMahieu stepped to the plate and punched at long ball into the right-field stands. In the very next pitch, Luke Voit joined the party with his homer to right center. Giancarlo Stanton added another home run to right. Gleyber Torres hit a homer into the Blue Jays bullpen and it was 9-2 Yankees.

The Yankees hit 19 home runs in the three-game series against the Blue Jays, the most every in baseball in a three-game series. Even though the Jays tried to really in the ninth inning the night was a historic night for the New York Yankees, trying to right a 5-15 streak earlier in the month.

Not only was the hitting alive in the game, but starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka made a statement of his own. Tanaka pitched seven solid innings allowing just three runs, walking no one, and striking out 5 Blue jays. He even assisted in a Jay being thrown out at second base. Adam Ottavino who hasn’t been pitching well came in the eighth inning, pitching a clean inning while striking out two Blue Jays. Jonathan Holder who has been the stopper for the Yankees did give up four runs in the top of the Blue Jay’s ninth, but closer Aroldis Chapman replaced him shutting down the Blue Jay and getting the save.

The winning pitcher was Masahiro Tanaka for the New York Yankees and the loser was Chase Anderson, with the save going to Aroldis Chapman. The final score was the Yankees 10 and the Jays 7. Tomorrow the New York Yankees move on to Fenway Park and a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. Jordan Montgomery will take the mound for the Yankees and lefty Martin Perez who is 3-4 with an ERA of 4.33 for the Boston Red Sox. After facing the difficult Toronto Blue Jays it should get easier for the Yankees at Fenway Park.

 

New York Giants: Tiki Barber Explains How Saquon Barkley Can Bounce Back After Criticism

New York Giants, Tiki Barber

Saquon Barkley drew plenty of attention for the wrong reason when the New York Giants opened with a loss. He only had six rushing yards, leaving Daniel Jones as the team’s leading rusher after the first game. The performance drew some interesting words from former Giants back Tiki Barber, who said Barkley’s blocking is a liability. He also said Barkley shouldn’t be on the field for third down, due to that blocking problem.

More recently, however, Tiki expanded on his comments. He also spoke about what Barkley will have to do to get over some current problems. According to him, it’s something the running back needs to work out with his coaches.

Barkley’s problem is one for coaches to fix

When asked about whether or not he was going to reach out to Barkley to offer help, Barber said no. He also explained his reasoning – back during his own career, working with his coaches worked better for him.

“I hearken this back to when I had fumbling issues and a media member sat down with me and said ‘Tiki, you have a fumbling problem and I’m going to write about it.’ And I was like ‘what the hell are you talking about?’ He made me aware of it,” Barber told CBS Sports.

“I wasn’t even thinking about it or really aware of it. It was alarming, but it rose my awareness about it and made me self-conscious about it. I didn’t know how to fix it and it continued for a couple years until Tom Coughlin and my RB coach Jerald Ingram came in. You need your coach to help you do that. It would be wrong for me to try and help Saquon fix this. It’s his coach’s job to fix it just like it was Jerald Ingram’s job to fix my fumbling issue.”

The Giants have a good staff in place to help Barkley improve on his week one performance. Jason Garrett is known for having worked well in Dallas with Ezekiel Elliot, while running backs coach Burton Burns has a track record of working with NFL caliber players at Alabama.

With Barkley only racking up six yards in the opener, the Giants will surely focus on changing up their running game in week two and getting him better chances. That, though, isn’t entirely in Barkley’s hands. Regardless of how well Barkley studies between weeks, the offensive line will have to provide more openings for the result to change for the better against Chicago.

New York Yankees: Good news and Bad news in third-straight thrashing of Blue Jays

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees had no mercy for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, sweeping them in a three-game series. The Yankees are now on an eight-game winning streak and have scored 43 runs over the past three games. Hitting double digits in every game against Toronto, they didn’t disappoint on Thursday with another stellar performance.

Winning by a score of 10-7, they broke several records, including an all-time record and a franchise accolade.

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The Yankees hit five home runs in one inning, breaking a franchise record and setting another MLB record with three straight games of six homers or more. Their offense has simply been on fire, with multiple Yankees earning at least two hits on the evening.

Lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu got on base four times, settling with a .373 batting average on the year. Luie Voit continued his insane streak, hitting his 20th homer, leading the MLB. In just his second game back, Giancarlo Stanton had four hits and two RBIs, including a monster line drive that left a dent on the left-field wall. While he was visibly taking things easy on the base paths, he’s locked in, and the Yankees are ready for Aaron Judge to return in full force.

As for the starting pitching, Masahiro Tanaka lasted 7.0 innings, allowing three earned runs and two homers. Overall, he had a solid outing, tossing 91 pitches and finishing with a 3.27 ERA. Despite giving up a couple of runs, I thought Tanaka’s performance was solid, and he worked his way out of trouble on numerous occasions. He has been a consistent threat for the Yankees in the rotation and will remain so heading into the postseason.

BAD NEWS:

The only real piece of bad news came in the ninth-inning when relief pitcher Jonathan Holder simply couldn’t put Toronto to bed. He recorded only one out, allowing three hits, for earned runs, and two walks. It was clear he was having an off night, but Holder has had tumultuous appearances before.

To finish a strong series, he brought the Yankees back down to earth, but heading into a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, things theoretically should only get easier. Boston is currently 19-32 and will feature Martin Perez on Friday evening, who currently is 3-4 on the year with a 4.33 ERA. Jordan Montgomery will take the mound for the Yankees.

New York Giants: A More Creative Rushing Attack Is The Key To A Win Against Chicago

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Jason Garrett

The New York Giants‘ rushing attack was shut down in Week One of the 2020 NFL season. The Giants were handed a disappointing loss on Monday night against the stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Pittsburgh has one of the best defenses in the league and they absolutely suffocated Saquon Barkley and the Giants’ offensive line.

Saquon Barkley is under criticism this week for his performance as a pass-blocker in Week One. But all are aware of the fact that Saquon is one of the best running backs in the NFL when his offensive line does their job. On Monday night, they did not do their job, and the Giants’ offense suffered from the offensive line’s poor performance.

But is it fair to put all of the blame on the offensive line? This line features a rookie left tackle, a starting center who has never before played that position, and a newly-signed swing tackle starting at right tackle. The lack of continuity across the offensive line led to a multitude of negative rushing attempts. But the offensive line does not deserve all of the blame for the team’s pitiful rushing attack in Week One. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett deserves some blame, too, and he needs to implement a more creative rushing attack in order to beat the Chicago Bears in Week Two.

A Lack Of Creativity

The Giants’ rushing attack in Week One lacked creativity. New York’s running plays were predictable, which is why the Steelers seemed to be in the backfield often before the ball was handed off.

Saquon Barkley was given fifteen rushing attempts in Week One. Of these fifteen attempts, eight of them went wide right and five of them went inside right (according to Next Gen Stats). The Giants barely ran the ball to the left side of the line. One attempt went inside left and one attempt went wide left. For the Giants to only run the ball to the left side of the offensive line twice on fifteen attempts is almost inexplicable.

On the left side of the line are arguably the Giants’ two best run-blocking offensive linemen. Andrew Thomas was an elite run-blocker at Georgia and Will Hernandez is now a veteran left guard. Only thirteen percent of Saquon’s rushing attempts followed these two excellent run-blockers.

An even more perplexing statistic relates to the Giants’ usage of pre-snap motion. Across the NFL, the teams with the best rushing attacks emphasize the usage of pre-snap motion (the Ravens, Chiefs, and 49ers are known to lead the league in pre-snap motion percentage). On Monday night, the Giants utilized snap motion on only 1.6% of their offensive snaps. They used all forms of pre-snap motion on a league-lowest 9.4% of the time.

This lack of creativity in the run-game led to a 15 attempt, 6-yard rushing performance by Saquon Barkley. Saquon is an uber-talented player, but he will only go as far as his offensive line and offensive coordinator allow him. In need of a win in Week Two, the Giants need to emphasize the utilization of a more creative rushing attack in order to allow Saquon Barkley to dominate the Bears’ defense.

New York Yankees: DJ LeMahieu battling familiar foe for batting title

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

In 2019, New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu fell just short of Tim Anderson for the AL batting title. Now in 2020, LeMahieu is at it with Anderson once again for the title.

LeMahieu had an opportunity to win it in 2019 up until the very end. However, two 0-for-3 games to end the season ruined his hopes, placing him second in the American League and third in the MLB.

Entering Thursday, both Anderson and LeMahieu are sitting atop the MLB with a .373 average, .021 points above the next closest. That would be Freddie Freeman behind them, the frontrunner for NL MVP.

In his short two years as a Yankee, LeMahieu is certainly proving himself to be a top player in the American League. He finished fourth in the 2019 MVP voting, finishing with a .327 average, 26 home runs, and 102 runs batted in. In 2020, LeMahieu has nine home runs and 22 runs batted in, and that’s with spending two weeks on the IL in August.

However, it’s been just as of late since the power came. Six of his nine home runs are in September to a tune of a .352 average. He also has a .410 average at home, and a .396 average in games that the Yankees win.

All DJ LeMahieu does is hit. For the second straight season, he’s battling Tim Anderson of the White Sox for an American League title. LeMahieu’s play of late has helped lift the Yankees out of their cold spell, and the team has now won seven games in a row.

The offseason is looming, and LeMahieu’s contract is expiring. The Yankees need to do all that they can to retain him this winter and sign him to more of a long-term deal.

New York Islanders: Possible Lineup Changes for Game 6

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders face another due or die game tonight in game 6. Barry Trotz has already alluded to the fact that some players from game five won’t be available for game 6. This is probably a smokescreen, so Tampa doesn’t know who to prepare for. I’m saying that the Isles are fully healthy, but are going to switch up the lines again. So, there are some lineup changes that will need to occur. However, I will keep the 11 forwards, seven defenseman strategy.

1st Line Forwards/Defenseman

Mat Barzal and Anders Lee will obviously be on that first line. There’s no reason for either of them to switch lines. There’s a case for Jordan Eberle to sneak up on that first line as usual, but I’m going to move him down to the second line. I think Cal Clutterbuck should man the right-winger spot on the first line. Cal is a great forechecker, lays the boom, and can snipe the toy department. For the defenseman, it’s going to Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock. PP is by far the best defensive line pairing.

2nd Line Forwards/Defenseman

Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle as the 2nd line forwards. “Why isn’t Josh Bailey on that line?”. Well, J.G. Pageau needs help, and Bailey can feed him in the slot. This line is a boom or bust; it all depends on how Eberle plays. It’s just an experimental line, so don’t get mad in the comments. The 2nd pairing for defense should be Devon Toews and Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk played really well in game 5, so there’s no reason to take him out.

3rd Line Forwards/Defenseman

J.G. Pageau, Josh Bailey, Matt Martin on the 3rd line. This line is a little confusing, but this may be the most productive line. Matty can crash the net and scoop up rebounds. Josh Bailey can forecheck and pass to Pageau in the slot for an easy goal. This is the “thumper” line even without three physical guys manning it. The defenseman will be Mayfield and Leddy. Hopefully, Leddy doesn’t turn the puck over a million times again.

Extra Forwards/Defenseman

To finish out the lineup, we’ll have Leo Komarov and Michael Dal Colle play. Andy Greene will be the extra defenseman. 3 scrappy players who will give it their all to win this game and see another one. What are your thoughts on these hypothetical lineups? Keep it clean in the comments; it’s just an idea.

For Tyron Woodley, it’s sink or swim at UFC Vegas 11

In two days at UFC Vegas 11, the former welterweight champion of the world has a chance to silence all the doubters. With his back up against the wall like never before, Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) finds himself in a sink or swim situation on Saturday night.

Not even two years ago, many were putting Woodley in the conversation as one of the greatest UFC welterweights of all time. Some (not me), even put him in the same conversation as Georges St. Pierre. Oh how the times have changed in just a year and a half.

After being put in those lofty conversations, the former UFC welterweight champion is on a two fight losing streak. Not only is he on a two fight losing streak, he’s on a two fight shutout streak where he’s lost all ten rounds in those two UFC contests.

Woodley is getting another main event against his biggest rival in the division, Colby Covington (15-2). He finds himself in a position where he has to win. If Woodley cannot win on Saturday night, he could be facing some tough realities in his UFC career.

Last chance for the former UFC champion?

Prior to UFC 235, Woodley was on a seven fight winning streak with one draw thrown in there. Outside of Stephen Thompson, his welterweight title reign was pure dominance. Woodley shutout Demian Maia, submitted Darren Till, and knocked out Robbie Lawler.

Many people believed that Woodley would also defeat Kamaru Usman and continue his UFC title reign. However, Usman completely dominated Woodley in a performance that was pretty embarassing by Woodley’s standards.

After the loss, the former champion took over a year off to dedicate him back to the sport. He was originally scheduled to fight Leon Edwards, but after that fight fell through, he fought Gilbert Burns in May at UFC on ESPN 9.

That night, once again, Woodley was completely dominated. Now, he gets the matchup he’s always wanted with Covington. If he can win, we might be looking at another title run. If he loses, he might have to look down at the pieces of shattered glory. Saturday is a big night for the former champion.

Giants Preparing For Bears’ Receivers

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The 0-1 New York Giants will travel to Chicago to face the 1-0 Bears this Sunday in a matchup that should be a better fit for them than the Steelers were in Week 1.

The Giants played the Bears not too long ago, last year in Week 12, with the Bears winning, 19-14. In that game, the Bears’ wide receivers had big games. Allen Robinson caught six of 10 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Miller added 77 yards on six receptions.

Last week the Giants’ secondary didn’t give up any big plays to the Steelers length-wise, but were soft in some areas. Rookie Darnay Holmes played the slot for the Giants and contained well but allowed five of six passes his way to be completed. This week, he’ll draw Miller, who just might tea this up.

From Pro Football Focus:

Anthony Miller has the third-best matchup of the week, according to the wide receiver/cornerback matchup chart. He played 91% of his snaps in the slot, which lines him up against Darnay Holmes, who had 100% of his snaps in the slot. Holmes allowed five of six passes thrown his way to be caught for 56 yards. Miller led all slot receivers in yards per route run in the slot (3.8) among those with at least 18 slot routes. If there is any week to insert Miller into your starting lineup, this is it.

Giants’ head coach Joe Judge will rely on the tape of last year’s game even though many of the players the Giants will send out to cover the Bears this week weren’t on the team last year.

“I think the biggest thing that helps you from watching last year’s matchup is some of the similar players we have on the roster, and some of the ways they really looked to isolate and attack guys who are still on the roster. Schematically, there are some differences, obviously. You try to look at a lot in terms of coordinators, in terms of the experience you’ve had against them. Whether that’s going back to the Miami days with (Bill) Lazor, whether that’s going back and watching some of Pat’s (Graham) experience in Green Bay against the Bears, or maybe some of the old New England games, some of our defenses, how they attacked it, how they used it. Then offensively, how they attack both our personnel and then also maybe when Jason (Garrett) was at Dallas. You look at everything you can to gather as much knowledge and then try to form how you think they’re going to attack you and have a plan that fits that.”

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham knows what Robinson is capable of and is wary of what he might do to his newly-formed secondary.

“I think what makes him special is his catch radius,” said Graham. “That’s one of those, I remember when I first heard that, I was like, ‘what in the world does that mean?’ His catch radius is pretty good. I think he’s competitive, he’s really really competitive. Whether it’s at the line of scrimmage or further down the field, getting open and away from defenders. The finish on the ball, he does a great job of tracking the ball and bringing it away from defenders’ hands and always ending up with the ball. Of course, when you have go-to guy like that, and obviously he’s a heavy target for the quarterback in terms of going to him. We have to adjust, whether it’s a matchup thing or just an awareness in coverage. You always have to adjust for those great players. Any time it’s a great player, I don’t know when you wouldn’t adjust or have some awareness of those guys. Sometimes the plan works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Any time you have a good player, one of those great players, you have to do something to adjust to it. Hopefully the plan works out.”

Hopefully.

 

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar’s agent hints at service time manipulation by the team

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Service time manipulation is nothing new, although it is still criticized by many circles in the baseball industry. Teams often keep their players off the major league roster for a determinate period of time in hopes of securing an extra year of team control down the road. According to an agent, the New York Yankees are performing the practice with a young slugger.

Miguel Andujar’s agent Ulises Cabrera hinted that the New York Yankees may be handling his client with this particular objective in mind, according to a report from The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler.

“For him not to be playing Major League Baseball games at this stage of the year, especially after he’s just demonstrated that he’s still physically capable of giving higher-than-average production, it’s extremely frustrating to not be suiting up every night in New York,” Cabrera told Adler.

The primary issue with Andujar is that he offers the Yankees absolutely no defensive value whatsoever: not at his natural third base nor in left field, where he has been tried this season in an effort to increase his versatility.

His overall batting line (.242/.277/.355) may not be very impressive, but he was turning his season around in the last few games. Another problem is that the Yankees have many DH-types like Andujar, but with a better and more complete offensive profile, most notably Giancarlo Stanton.

“Although his dream from the very beginning was to do so in pinstripes, that doesn’t take priority over just playing baseball. Miguel Andujar should be playing for a Major League Baseball team, and a Major League Baseball game, tonight.”

Up and down through the Yankees’ ladder

He has been up and down between the Yankees big league roster and the alternate training site for much of the season. General manager Brian Cashman said that Andujar is currently down because the club needed bodies in the middle infield, where he can’t play.

But Cabrera seems to think that the Yankees are keeping him down with the intention of controling him for a longer period of time.

“If I were the general manager for the New York Yankees, I would certainly want to do what’s best for the New York Yankees and control the assets as long as I possibly could,” Cabrera explained. “They said at the time that that wasn’t the reason why he was being sent down. So, I guess we have to take their word for it. Right?”

According to Cashman, Andujar could still be eligible for Super Two status and enter arbitration after this season.