New York Yankees News: The Bronx Bombers clinch a playoff berth for the 22nd time in 26 years

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees yesterday, clinched their playoff berth in the 2020 postseason. Entering yesterday’s Red Sox game, the Yankees were hoping to clinch on their own terms, but a loss to the Red Sox prevented that. Instead, a loss by the Seattle Mariners to the San Diego Padres. But a playoff berth is a berth, and the Yankees will take it.

With the guarantee of playing in the postseason, the Yankees join the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Minnesota Twins who have also clinched their spot in the playoffs.

Just two weeks ago, when the Yankees were on a losing streak and dipped to .500 in the standings, it looked like the New York Yankee might miss postseason play altogether. But then they went on a rip, winning ten games in a row. One off the Blue Jays, three off the Baltimore Orioles, three more off the Blue Jays and two off the Red Sox. Then when the seattle Mariners lost their game yesterday, the Yankees place in the postseason was cemented.

The New York Yankees have had a topsy turvy baseball season. They started off the regular season with a bang, going 8-1. Then their fortunes changed losing 15 games out of 20. Their pitching wasn’t working and the lineup they had to put up due to so many injuries, just didn’t click like it did in a similar situation last year. Little by little as star players returned the, Yankee began to turn it around.  Pevious to yesteday they won 10 straight games, as the Yankee pitching greatly improved and the hitters dramatically gained power, hitting 29 home runs in 10 games, and scoring 43 runs in the 3 game series with the Blue Jays.

The New York Yankees will go into the playoffs with the healthiest team on the field than they have had all season.  DJ LeMahieu upon return was DJ, Gio Urshela continued where he left off, Giancarlo Stanton has found this stroke, and slugger Aaron Judge is sure to find his. The Yankee pitching for the first time this year, has shown what they can do.  Ace Gerrit Cole leads the team in wins, J.A. Happ has been billiant in last few starts, and Mashiro Tanaka has improved.  The additon of Deivi Garcia has only improved the pitching situation, and the return of Zack Britton to the bullpen has only stenghtened it.

The addition of Clint Frazier to the regular lineup, has had a great impact on team, with his quick bat speed, and improved fielding.  He has made some dramatic diving catches. With missing players, Luke Voit took up the mantle to be the Yankee star of the season, hitting 21 home runs, leading the sport, and putting his hame in contention for the AL MVP.  The Yankees shocked the Toronto Blue Jays Sept. 17 smashing five home runs off right-hander Chase Anderson, including back-to-back-to-back blasts on three consecutive pitches by Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, and Luke Voit. After an out, Stanton and Torres slugged back-to-back drives, helping to power a 10-7 victory.

The Yankees are missing a few key elements to the mix. Luis Severino is out for the season, James Paxton is questionable, and Domingo German may not return until next year.  The bullpen will be missing Tommy Kahnle, who is out with Tommy John surgery.  But, even considering these missing parts, the Yankees have experience in dealing with such adversity.

Although it’s still mathimatically possible, it is doubtful that the Yankees can regain the lead in the East from the Tampa Bay Rays, there are only seven games left in the season.

The crazy season will end on September 27th, and the most unusual posteason will start off on the 29th. Instead of four postseason spots in each league there will be eight, for a total of 16 teams making the playoffs. The wild card series will start on the 29th.  As it stands now the Yankees will face the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Series, at Target Field. The ALDS, the ALCS and the World series will be held in the “bubble” at Arlington, Texas brand new stadium, the retactable roof, Globe Life Field.

According MLB’s “bubble plan,” which ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported, all games after the wild-card round will be played at Houston’s Minute Maid Park (NLDS), Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium (ALDS), San Diego’s Petco Park (ALDS, ALCS) and Arlington’s Globe Life Field (NLDS, NLCS, World Series), pending approval from the players union.

When the Yankees meet the Twins on September 29th, Aaron Cole will be on the mound, Masahiro Tanaka, and then either J.A. Happ or Deivi Garcia in game three. Prediction: Yankees 2-1. How far the Yankees get into the postseason and if they reach and win the World Series, is anyone’s guess, I won’t tread there yet.

Should Tyron Woodley retire after UFC Vegas 11?

UFC, Tyrone Woodley

Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) could not stop the bleeding at UFC Vegas 11. The former welterweight champion had his back against the wall, and he had the fight that was supposed to motivate him more than any other. A grudge match with Colby Covington (16-2).

Woodley was in sink or swim mode leading up to UFC Vegas 11. The former UFC welterweight champion had lost two straight fights. However, he didn’t just lose those fights, he was thoroughly dominated losing all ten rounds of both fights.

If there was going to be any fight that could motivate him to get back to his former self, you would think the Covington fight would be it. However, we saw basically the same result as his previous two UFC outings. Woodley was completely dominated before a rib injury stopped the fight.

Should the former UFC champ hang it up?

UFC President Dana White said that he believes that Woodley should hang it up after Saturday night. That’s a popular feeling among a lot of people in the sport. Woodley has just looked like a shell in his last three contests.

Entering the fifth round against Covington, Woodley had lost 14 straight rounds. He’s been shutout in three straight UFC contests, and he didn’t even have moments in any of the fights where he remotely resembled his former self.

Woodley turns 39 next year, and he just doesn’t seem to have his head in it anymore. With no real path forward in the UFC, I think it’s probably a good time to walk away for Woodley. Nobody wants to walk away on a losing streak like this, but what else is there?

If Woodley wants to keep fighting, the UFC isn’t going to give him anyone at the top tier because he’s proved that he can’t hang anymore. That’s why I believe that it would just be better for him to hang up his gloves after Saturday.

He’s had a very good career which included capturing the UFC welterweight title and defending it four times. However, he’s not that same guy anymore, and it’s time to face reality if you’re Tyron Woodley.

Giants, Jets Already in Thick of Trevor Lawrence Derby

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is already widely predicted to be the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is considered to be a generational talent and will lift the fortunes of any team that that selects him.

In order for that to happen, that team must land the first pick by virtue of finishing with the worst record in the NFL in 2021. The New York Jets and the New York Giants are both on their way to challenge for that pick after both opened the season with 0-2 records.

According to the official NFL standings, the Giants and Jets may be 0-2 but they are two of the best 0-2 teams in the league (how is that possible?) thanks to the NFL’s sophisticated tiebreaker rules. There are 11 teams with 0-2 records at the moment. The league is ranking the Giants 11th overall in the NFC and the Jets 12th in the AFC.

But based on what we’ve seen thus far, that will change as the year goes on. The Jets are a mess who lost their two best defenders (Jamal Adams to a trade and C.J. Mosley opted out) before the season even started and their running back (Le’Veon Bell) and wide receiver (Jamison Crowder) are injured. They got crushed by San Francisco at MetLife Stadium even with the 49ers losing some of their best players to injury during the game.

It’s hard to see the Jets winning more than 3-4 games and they may not even get there. Head coach Adam Gase is on the verge of losing the team – if he hasn’t already – and Sam Darnold, in year three, hasn’t really shown that he’s the answer at quarterback. With the supporting cast they’ve put around him, that probably won’t happen again this year.

The Giants have been more competitive but 0-2 is 0-2. Now, they face the prospect of playing out the year without their best player, running back Saquon Barkley, who went down with a possible torn ACL on Sunday. The face the 49ers this week and then head to L.A. and Dallas to play the Rams and Cowboys after that. They also have Tampa Bay, Arizona, Baltimore and Seattle on their schedule as well as Dallas again. Let’s not forget the two games against the Eagles, a team the Giants have lost 11 of their last 12 games to, including seven straight.

What would happen of one of these two ended up with the top pick next April? Would they take Lawrence? That’s a tough choice, but consider this. A trade could bring franchise-altering draft picks and players in return. Taking Lawrence could change both teams’ fortunes forever.

The Jets’ GM, Joe Douglas, was not in the role when the Jets selected Darnold with the third overall pick  in 2018. He’s not married to him. He could take Lawrence and trade Darnold and no one would blink, especially if Darnold doesn’t show any improvement.

The Giants are run by Dave Gettleman – for the moment. The Giants have won just 12 games in the three years since Gettleman took over as GM. They won’t win many again this year and the Giants’ ownership is becoming impatient. They might have a new GM come 2021 and given the choice between Lawrence and the turnover-riddled Daniel Jones, that GM may simply turn the page on Jones.

Yankees’ catcher competition is good for Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Throughout the entire 2020 season, fans have been frustrated with Gary Sanchez. The New York Yankees catcher has been pretty terrible overall when you look at the numbers. Sure he’s hit some home runs, but he’s left a lot to be desired.

Despite his abysmal performance, Sanchez wasn’t really pushed from the backups. Last year, the Yankees had Austin Romine who really pushed Sanchez in terms of internal competition. If Sanchez couldn’t perform, Romine was right there for the Yankees.

However, the Yankees didn’t have the luxury of someone like Romine this season. However, Kyle Higashioka has completely turned heads over the past week. Higashioka smacked three home runs in the Yankees win over Toronto on September 16th.

He’s hitting the ball hard, and Higashioka looks very comfortable at the plate. Not to mention the fact that Gerrit Cole loves pitching to him. Cole has looked sensational with Higashioka catching him. All of these attributes for Higgy are actually good for Gary Sanchez.

Yankees Catcher Competition = Motivation

If there’s been one knock on Gary Sanchez over the past few years it’s been his motivation. We hear stories all the time of how the Yankees say he’s working hard, but a lot of the times it leaves fans scratching their heads due to the lack of improvement.

Sanchez has been called out by Yankees fans for his lack of hustle. However, Sanchez didn’t have to experience too much pressure because nobody was threatening his job. That’s been changing as of late.

Now that Giancarlo Stanton is healthy, there’s a very real chance that Gary Sanchez doesn’t get to start the Yankees first playoff game. I’m not sure the Yankees will deviate from having Higashioka catch Cole.

However, Sanchez can force their hand if he continues to play well. We’ve seen an uptick in Sanchez’s performance as of late. His batting average has climbed over 30 points in the last ten days, and he’s looking more comfortable at the plate.

The Yankees catcher needs all the motivation he can get. Higashioka playing as well as he is will only motivate Sanchez. Sanchez is looking at being benched to start the Yankees playoff run, and if that doesn’t motivate him, I don’t know what would.

Should the New York Giants kick the tires on Devonta Freeman after Saquon Barkley injury?

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The worst part about Sunday for the New York Giants wasn’t losing to the Chicago Bears, it was watching star running back Saquon Barkley fall to the ground in pain. Just two plays before his knee evidently gave out, Barkley hyperextended his elbow and left the field for a split second.

Barkley’s return was welcomed with a sigh of relief, but it didn’t last long after jump-cutting to the right side of the field and making contact with Bears’ safety Eddie Jackson. By the time Saquon was engaged with the defender, his knee was experiencing searing pain.

Shortly after Barkley went down, he hobbled off the field and to the bench. He made his way to the locker room to receive x-rays on his knee, and early reports indicate that a torn ACL is likely the diagnosis. Saquon enjoyed four carries for 28 yards on the ground before the injury, but had a tumultuous start to the season, logging 15 attempts for 6 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one. The Giants’ offensive line didn’t do him any favors, but he started off week two, averaging 7 yards per carry.

With Barkley in his third season, he was expected to earn a massive contract in 2021. That will obviously be on hold, as he will try to reinstate his form in the NFL and make a come back from this unfortunate injury.

Should the New York Giants consider Devonta Freeman as a replacement?

Freeman is a capable NFL running back who enjoyed Pro Bowl seasons in 2015 and 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. He has failed to remain healthy the past couple of years, rushing for 656 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. He would be a welcomed addition to the Giants, who could use a strong running back that can move the chains adequately. He’s also a fantastic receiving threat, enjoying 410 yards and four touchdowns last year through the air.

Over six seasons in the NFL, Freeman has 1000+ scrimmage yards in four of them. While he might be a bit pricey on a one year deal, he is the best option available on the market and would hold down the fort in the meantime. Otherwise, the Giants will rely on Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman to lead their backfield, which is certainly a realistic possibility. However, kicking the tires on Freeman isn’t a bad idea, considering his past success and the multifaceted approach he brings to the game.

What’s next for Colby Covington after UFC Vegas 11

On Saturday evening at UFC Vegas 11, Colby Covington (16-2) arguably earned the most satisfying victory of his career. Covington dominated Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) over the course of five rounds before a rib injury stopped the action in the final round.

The former UFC interim champion used his high level pace and pressure to break Woodley. After years of build up, Covington did what he said he would do in dominating the former UFC champion. It was a big bounce back win for Covington.

Since 2016, Covington is 8-1 with his lone loss coming to Kamaru Usman back at UFC 245 for the undisputed title. This was Covington’s first fight since losing the fight to Usman back in December of last year. So after this victory, what’s next for Colby Covington?

What should the UFC do?

If you ask me, there are a few avenues that the UFC could pursue with Colby Covington. The first option is they could just have him wait for the winner of the Kamaru Usman – Gilbert Burns fight that is scheduled for UFC 256 in December.

Dana White has said how much he loved Usman and Covington’s fight from UFC 245, and he absolutely believes that Covington is in the mix for another title shot. With the current state of everything, Covington could be first in line for the winner.

Another option, and the one I personally think they should do, is pairing Covington with Jorge Masvidal. There is so much heat right now between Masvidal and Covington. Their fight is a fight that UFC fans are dying to see. The storyline is there for a massive event.

Now, the UFC has been working on a Masvidal – Nate Diaz rematch for January, but that fight is still not finalized. The UFC might pivot to make the Covington fight if Masvidal is willing to do it. That’s still up in the air at the moment.

The other option for Covington would be Leon Edwards. Edwards still doesn’t have an opponent despite calling out nearly everyone for a fight in the UFC. The third ranked contender has just been sitting on the sidelines.

The fight would make sense from a rankings perspective, but I’m not sure Covington wants that fight. I think Covington will hold out for either Masvidal or another shot at the welterweight title.

New York Yankees Recap: Bronx Bombers lose to the Red Sox, but clinch a playoff berth

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees went into last night’s finale with the Boston Red Sox with a ten-game winning streak that came to an end last night, when two rookie pitchers faced each other at Fenway Park.  The Yankees have had an up and down season this year.  They started with an 8-1 streak, then lost 15 of the next 20 games. Then they got hot again, and won ten straight.  Last night four Red Sox pitchers limited the Yankees to just three hits.

The Red Sox Tanner Houck, in his second start in the major leagues, held the Yankees to just one hit over six innings, allowing three walks and striking out four.  The Yankees Deivi Garcia took the mound for his fifth start in his young career. From the beginning, it was apparent that Garcia didn’t have it.  All of his pitches were off, and the Red Sox took advantage over it. If it was any other park, he might have held down the Sox, but the Sox took advance of the “Green Monster,” scoring doubles that might have been caught in a different venue.

Garcia, who was coming off two wins, lasted only three innings, giving up 8 hits and two homers. Meanwhile, Tanner Houch was holding the Yankees down, he pitched a brilliant six innings. Luis Cessa came in relief of Garcia and pitch two scoreless innings. Jonathan Holder, who is usually dependable, gave up another three runs to the Red Sox in two innings, without striking out a single Red Sox hitter.  At this point the Red Sox were so far ahead (9-1) New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone sent catcher Erik Kratz out to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning, he gave up an additonal run for the Red Sox 10-2 win, and the end of the Yankees winning streak.

The winning pitcher was Tanner Houch and the loser was Deivi Garcia. To be fair the Yankees had a bit of bad luck in the game. They did hit the ball, but every time they did, they hit it to a Sox player. Also  the Red Sox had some very good defensive plays, keeping the Yankees off the bases.  As a side note, Gary Sanchez was hit in the neck, that caused him to bleed, but after some care from the Yankee trainer, remained in the game.

There were a few positives, the Yankees did take the series from the Red Sox, winning two of the three games. Luke Voit hit his 21st home run in the game, leading all of baseball. Today the Yankees start a four game series against the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo. After that series they will come back to the Stadium in the Bronx for a three game set against Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins, to end the season.

The New York Yankees entered the game last night with the magic number being just one. They couldn’t do it on their own, but with the Seattle loss yesterday, the Yankees officially clinched their 22nd playoff berth in the past 26 seasons. They are the fifth American League team to clinch a spot in the 2020 postseason.