New York Giants: Golden Tate Speaks On Controversial Play

New York Giants, Golden Tate

Nobody around the New York Giants is particularly happy about the end to week two’s loss. The game ended on a pass interference penalty which ended the game and kept the Giants from getting another shot at a comeback. It would have been a storybook moment for Daniel Jones.  A comeback victory without the team’s best offensive player, to keep the Giants from starting the season 0-2.

However, that’s not the result we ended up with. Because of the penalty, the Giants ended the game on an incomplete pass. They’re 0-2 now, going into a dangerous matchup with a 49ers team that demolished the Jets that same week. It’s safe to say it’s not the ideal situation for Golden Tate, who committed the penalty.

On Monday, Tate spoke up about just what happened.

Golden Tate speaks out about the end of the game

“Just a very competitive play,” Tate told reporters when asked about the end of the game. “I went back and watched the film. I think it was a close call. But the refs called what they called and it is what it is. I’m a believer in just not leaving it up to anyone but ourselves. If we handle business earlier in that game, then maybe we don’t have to even get to that point.”

Tate was targeted five times during the game as a whole and had five receptions. But the penalty is what will be in the heads of most fans when they think of his performance. After all, with 47 receiving yards, he had something of an impact on the passing game but it was far from a breakout performance.

Tate also says that he didn’t hear from Joe Judge about the play.

“I didn’t have any conversations about that particular play with anyone really. Everything happens so fast. I kind of saw it as I was being competitive with Buster [Skrine] and just trying to find a way to get open. I don’t know what you guys think. What do you all think about that call?”

Giants dealing with big injuries

The most important thing for the Giants right now, though, is continuing despite injuries weighing the team down for another year. Saquon Barkley has been confirmed as out for the year, but Tate believes that won’t hold the Giants back from accomplishing their goals.

“Obviously, when we see Shep, we see Saquon go down, when we see any of our brothers go down, just the very natural feeling is it kind of can deflate you. However, after sleeping on it overnight and a lot of praying, the show has to go on. Next man up mentality. We have complete trust in our coaches and other players we have in our locker room that we can get the job done,” Tate said.

Tate is one of the next men up himself, thanks to Sterling Shepard potentially being out for weeks. The Giants are also reportedly making the move for former Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to fill in for Barkley. But while they have players waiting to step up, the success of the team depends on those players actually doing that: stepping up and breaking the bad trend from previous seasons.

The Giants are 0-2 for now and it won’t take long for interest in this season to deflate if they don’t pick up a win in the next couple of weeks. They’ll do their best to do that on Sunday, when they take on the 49ers at home.

New York Mets: Offense Backs Lugo in 5-2 Victory Over Rays

The New York Mets get a good starting pitching effort for the fourth consecutive night. This one against the Tampa Bay Rays came from Seth Lugo, who desperately needed one after his rough outing against the Phillies. The Mets offense also woke up to support Lugo in their 5-2 victory.

Lugo found the handle on his curveball early in this start. It eluded him over the last two starts, but his equalizer was the curve against the weak Rays offense. Lugo pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned), and striking out seven. Out of 95 pitches, 66 were strikes, and he produces plenty of uncomfortable swings.

Solving Snell

Blake Snell had one of the best starts of his career when he faced the Mets back in 2018. He came into his start without allowing any runs in the first two innings of the game during 2020. Robinson Cano changed that with his solo home run on an extremely high fastball in the second. Cano tomahawked the ball into the left-field corner, and it was the highest pitch hit for a home run this season.

Pete Alonso‘s solo home run in the fourth and RBI single in the sixth provided the other two runs against Snell. Alonso also contributed an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth. Guillermo Heredia‘s first home run as a Met was sandwiched between Alonso’s RBI chances.

It was a much-needed game from Alonso, who was threatening to fall into the interstate with his batting average. Alonso’s swing looked calmer and relaxed instead of his typical swing, which caused him to be off-balanced.

The bullpen trio of Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, and Edwin Diaz silenced the Rays bats for 2.2 innings after Lugo left the game. Wilson kept the tying run from scoring in the seventh, Shreve struck out the side in the eighth, and Diaz picked up his fifth save of the season. Diaz lowered his season ERA to a magnificent 1.50 on the season.

The Mets hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with Michael Wacha on the mound in the rubber match of the series. He opposes the fireballer Tyler Glasnow for the 7:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Yankees: Good news and bad news following blowout win over Toronto

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

After struggling offensively against the Toronto Blue Jays Monday night, the New York Yankees returned to their previous form, posting a 12 spot on Tuesday evening. With Gerrit Cole on the mound, the Bombers were always a favorite, and he did not disappoint, lasting 7.0 innings and allowing five hits and one run. He also tallied seven strikeouts over 108 pitches. He will finish the regular season with a 2.84 ERA, the first Yankee to qualify for the ERA title since David Cone (2.82) in 1997, per Katie Sharp.

With the Yankees having clinched a postseason berth already, they can continue forward comfortably knowing they are playing for better seeding.

FINAL SCORE: 12-1

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

There was plenty of good news in Tuesday’s win, as the Yankees posted 14 hits and 12 runs. They thrashed Blue Jays pitcher Tanner Roark over 4.1 innings, racking up seven hits and six earned runs. They quickly knocked Roark out of the game, continuing their offensive presence over the next few innings. While the Yankees did strike out 10 times overall, they scored zero runs off homers, an interesting development.

The Bombers did an excellent job of getting on base and hitting with runners in scoring position, which has been tough for them during this abbreviated season. Multiple Yankees had at least two hits, including Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, and Kyle Higashioka.

It seems as if backup catcher Higashioka has cemented himself in the lineup when Cole is pitching. He has been solid offensively as well, currently hosting a .273 average and a .568 slugging percentage.

In addition, Aaron Judge managed to score from first base in the first inning, showing off his speed and alleviating any concerns over his injured calf. With the Yankees currently the fifth seed in the AL Division, they’re picking up momentum at the perfect time.

BAD NEWS:

There wasn’t much bad news in the victory over Toronto. If we are picking at straws, Luke Voit failed to get on base and struck out two times. Voit has been a consistent player this year and has picked up the Yankees when others were injured or failing to produce, so he has earned the right to an anomaly of a poor performance this season.

The only other relevant bad news would be for Gary Sanchez, who will likely be replaced for Higgy when Gerrit Cole features in game one of the postseason.

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom has four rivals in the Cy Young race

The New York Mets depend on a miracle to advance to the playoffs in the shortened 2020 MLB season. They can’t lose anymore and other teams in the race would have to lose, which makes it even more complicated.

What they do have, even if it doesn’t represent such an appealing consolation prize to the Mets’ fanbase, is a firm Cy Young candidate. Jacob deGrom has the resume to fight for his third consecutive award, something that only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have achieved in the history of the game.

On Monday, deGrom pitched seven innings of two-run ball, striking out 14 hitters and retaking the National League lead in the latter category. He has, to this day, a 2.14 ERA, which is fifth in the NL, and 94 punchouts, tops in the circuit.

“He’s probably the top pitcher in the NL,” Mets third baseman J.D. Davis said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “We’ve played against a lot of great pitchers, hit against a lot of great pitchers, and it’s been unbelievable to watch Jake.”

The Mets’ ace has some serious rivals

Let’s examine the foes that the Mets’ ace would have to top in order to finish with his third straight Cy Young:

Trevor Bauer: The Cincinnati Reds ace has a 1.80 ERA, 88 strikeous and a 2.0 fWAR in 65.0 innings. With a sub-2.00s ERA and a chance to eclipse 100 fanned batters, the controversial righty has a good case for the award.

Yu Darvish: The veteran Chicago Cubs’ ace is seventh in ERA with 2.22, but is tied in the NL lead with 2.7 fWAR while fanning 88 hitters, just like Bauer. He has been a big reason behind the Cubs’ amazing season.

Dinelson Lamet: The Mets’ ace has a formidable foe in San Diego’s Lamet. He is the owner of a 2.07 ERA, the fourth-best in the National League, and his 89 strikeouts are second. He also has a 2.3 fWAR in 65 1/3 frames.

Corbin Burnes: Perhaps the biggest surprise in the group, Burnes has been Milwaukee’s ace and just recently started qualifying for the ERA title because he started the year as a reliever. He currently leads the NL in ERA with a tiny 1.77 and has 83 strikeouts. He is a little short in innings (56.0) but has managed to put a great fWAR (2.6.)

DeGrom himself has been the unquestioned New York Mets’ ace once again. He is fifth in ERA, first in strikeouts and is tied for first in fWAR, with 2.7. He is liking his chances.

“I feel like everything is where I want it,” said deGrom. “It’s just a short season — what is that, 11, 12 starts? You’re used to making 30-plus, so I feel like I could keep going and keep improving. But I don’t have that opportunity.”

“He can do some special things,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said, “that can definitely put him back at the top of that race for sure.”

New York Yankees: ‘Pain-free’ Judge aims to regain his form before the playoffs

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The 2020 season has been a tough one for New York Yankees‘ right fielder Aaron Judge. Not because he hasn’t produced; he has. However, he hasn’t been able to stay in one piece and play in the majority of the team’s games so far in the shortened 2020 season.

First, he was limited by a rib/lung injury for much of the spring and part of the summer. He was ready in time to start the season, but he suffered a couple of calf strains that robbed him too much playing time for his taste.

After re-aggravating the issue, he has already returned to the New York Yankees’ active roster, just in time to get a week’s worth of at-bats before the playoffs and try to regain the form that made him one of the most feared elements of the Bombers’ lineup.

When healthy, Judge has mashed in 2020. He has a .256/.315/.610 line with a .383 wOBA and a 145 wRC+. In 22 games and 90 plate appearances, the hulking outfielder has nine home runs, 18 runs and 20 RBI.

The Yankees need him to get in a groove

He claims he is pain-free. “It’s good to see him moving so well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said to MLB.com on Tuesday. “For him, it’s just racking up those at-bats and really locking in. He’s gotten to a lot of deep counts, a couple of balls that he’s had a chance to do something with. As he sees more pitches, he’s close to locking it in.”

He has played in a handful of games since returning from the injury last week, and it is clear that he is still rusty, collecting just two hits in 17 at-bats. But as long as he has no pain, it is a matter of time for him to heat up.

“I’ve been able to run around pain-free, no problem,” Judge said. “I’m feeling good in the box. It’s going to take four or five games for me to get the timing back. I didn’t have a chance to get a lot of live at-bats like Scranton or playing in Triple-A right now, so I’m getting back slowly but surely.”

Yankees call up a familiar face; send Heller to the IL and King to the alternate training site

The New York Yankees made a couple of transactions before the first pitch of Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. In an attempt to refresh the pitching corps, specifically the bullpen, the Bombers purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons.

Lyons is a 32-year old reliever with plenty of big league experience. His best years came with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he pitched from 2013 to 2018 with success and was a mainstay in the bullpen. He found himself with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019.

With the Bucs, Lyons struggled to the tune of a 11.25 ERA in four innings of work. He allowed six hits and five runs, with three bases on balls and five strikeouts. His 2.25 WHIP left a lot to be desired.

He had a good run with the Yankees

However, the New York Yankees rescued him and he had a good run in September 2019, with eight frames of a 4.15 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He punched out an impressive 12 hitters with only two walks over that timeframe.

Lyons had success with the Yankees on the strength of his slider, which he began using more in the Bronx. He is hoping to enjoy similar success a year later and help the team in the last few games of the season.

In other moves, the Yankees placed right-handed hurler Ben Heller on the 60-day injured list with a right biceps nerve injury. He had conceded a couple of runs on five hits and two walks over six innings of relief this year with the Bombers.

The Yankees also optioned righty Mike King to their alternate training site. The young pitcher had a role in Monday’s loss to the Blue Jays, as he allowed five earned runs over just 2 2/3 innings. He has a 7.76 ERA and 26/11 K/BB ratio in 26 2/3 total frames in the 2020 season.

New York Giants: Offensive line showing no signs of improvement in 2020

New York Giants, Will Hernandez

The New York Giants have had issues across their offensive line for years now. Entering the 2020 NFL season, the expectations were set higher for the Giants’ front line. New York invested heavily in their offensive line and upgraded the positional unit’s coach. But so far, these improvements have not shown up on the field.

The Giants have gone up against two of the NFL’s best front-sevens in the first two weeks of the season. New York’s new offensive line has been given two extremely tough tasks to kickoff 2020. But the Giants’ “new & improved” line has not handled these tasks well at all.

A Disappointing First Two Weeks

The New York Giants’ offensive line has surrendered an insane amount of pressure in 2020. Through two games, the Giants have allowed 56 pressures, the second-highest total in the NFL (according to Pro Football Focus). According to Football Outsiders, New York has also let up 7 sacks in two games, the second-highest total in the NFL.

Though Andrew Thomas has held his own against two of the best defenses in the NFL, he has still struggled through the first two weeks of the season. He is currently the lowest-graded of the top four offensive tackles from the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft class.

But the rest of the offensive line has struggled along with Thomas. If the Giants’ offensive line is going to make a turnaround, Week Three is the time to do it.

A Week Three Turnaround?

Originally, the Giants were scheduled to go against another dominant defense in Week Three of the 2020 NFL season. This week, the Giants will host the San Fransisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Andrew Thomas and the Giants’ line was projected to face off against the likes of Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Dee Ford. In reality, the Giants will face none of these talented defenders.

The 49ers were hit with the injury bug in a major way last week. Across the NFL, injuries were abundant. The Giants lost 2018 second-overall pick, Saquon Barkley, to a torn ACL in Week Two. The 49ers lost their 2019 second-overall pick, Nick Bosa, to a torn ACL as well in Week Two.

Solomon Thomas is another talented player on the 49ers’ defensive line. He also suffered a season-ending injury in Week Two. Dee Ford is also injured and out for Week Two, but fortunately, he will not be sidelined for the entire season.

The Giants will not have to face any of the 49ers’ top three defensive linemen in Week Two. San Fransisco signed veteran defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to help fill one of these holes. But overall, the Giants’ offensive line is fortunately not going to be completely overmatched like they have been the last two weeks.

Struggling against the Steelers’ and Bears’ front-sevens is understandable. But against this depleted and injury-riddled San Fransisco defense, the Giants should be able to turn things around. New York’s offensive line will be left with no excuses in Week Three. They need to step up and play a solid match against the 49ers to turn things around.

Report: Mets’ Steve Cohen could try and lure Brian Cashman from the Yankees

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

Could the New York Yankees really lose GM Brian Cashman? Well, ESPN’s Senior MLB Reporter Buster Olney thins so but under specific circumstances.

Olney stated that Mets’ new owner Steve Cohen could pursue Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, but it would have to be for an elevated position, above general manager.

The standard operating procedure in Major League Baseball is that teams will allow their employees to interview for jobs with other clubs if the change represents a promotion of some kind. In theory, Cohen (or any other owner) could pursue Cashman by dangling a club presidency or vice presidency as part of the pitch (ESNP+).

Whether or not Cashman would be interested in that kind of overture remains to be seen, given that the Yankees are the only major league team he’s ever worked for. But the possible allure of Cashman for the Mets would be obvious: He is highly regarded among his peers for the way he has handled the inherent challenges of being a Yankees executive — the constant pressure to win and the outsized media inquiries while working for the Steinbrenners, most notably George, with whom Cashman frequently sparred.

Ex-Marlins President David Samson stated on his show, “Nothing Personal with David Samson,” that the report was bogus, and there was “zero chance” that Cashman would end up with the Mets, as reported by CBS.

“Mets fan, here’s the chances that Brian Cashman will be the new general manager of the New York Mets: zero. Brian Cashman has two years left on his deal with the Yankees,” Samson said. “If the Mets called the Yankees and say ‘may we have Brian Cashman? We’re going to promote him and make him president of the team,’ the Yankees would say ‘screw you.'”

You be the judge of this fluff, but the Mets stealing away Cashman is about as realistic as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge playing an entire season. Cashman is currently in the middle of a five-year, $25 million deal, and considering the Bombers are the only team he’s ever worked with, I highly doubt this pipe dream for the Mets even comes up in a professional setting.

Could Colby Covington welcome Nick Diaz back to the UFC?

UFC, Colby Covington

Last Saturday night at UFC Vegas 11, Colby Covington (16-2) put on a clinic. He completely dominated Tyron Woodley for four rounds before an injury TKO called a stop to the action in the fifth and final round.

After the fight was over, Covington called out Jorge Masvidal and the UFC‘s welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. Both of those guys have history with Covington. However, Covington did mention another name he’d be interested in on Saturday night.

Covington said that he would be interested in fighting Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) in his next fight. There have been plenty of guys who have called out Nick Diaz since it was announced that he was planning his return to the UFC.

At first the callout caught me off guard, however, after thinking about it, the fight could make sense. Kamaru Usman is fighting Gilbert Burns. Jorge Masvidal is supposedly close to finalizing a fight with Nate Diaz. What other options are there in the UFC for Covington?

An interesting route for the UFC

“I would love to fight Nick,” Covington said in the post-fight press conference. “He’s a high-pressure fighter. I’d love to fight him and it would be an easy fight. I’d definitely retire him just like I retired Tyron Woodley. Nick Diaz would never fight again, I promise you, after I got done with him.”

Fans would have to admit that it’s a very intriguing matchup. When Diaz does return to the UFC, we have no idea what Nick Diaz we will see. The man hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2015. In his last fight, he lost a decision to Anderson Silva. The fight was overturned to a no contest after Silva tested positive.

When he was in his prime, Diaz was one of the best welterweights in the UFC. He would break opponents with his incredible pace and pressure. In a lot of ways, he fights like Covington but with a different base.

Covington tries to suffocate opponents with pressure, but he leans heavy on his wrestling. However, Diaz would pressure his opponents and just keep touching them with light punches before he’d rip them with heavy shots as his opponents would start to fade.

With the lack of options, this could definitely be a fight the UFC could make. Leon Edwards is sitting there, but I don’t think Covington or Diaz have interest in fighting him. Edwards might be best suited to fight Wonderboy Thompson.

We don’t know if the UFC will actually entertain this idea, but it’s definitely something to watch. I know that I’d tune it for it.

New York Liberty: Kia Nurse joins TSN as basketball analyst

Kia Nurse, New York Liberty

The New York Liberty All-Star will join her native Canada’s top sports network for their ongoing coverage of the NBA and WNBA postseason.

New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse is adding another skill to her expansive resume.

The Liberty announced on Tuesday that Nurse will be joining Canadian sports network TSN (The Sports Network) for their continuing coverage of the NBA and WNBA playoffs. Labeled “Canada’s Sports Network”, TSN boasts five national channels and carries numerous domestic and international events across their airwaves.

Nurse, a Hamilton, Ontario native, returns to TSN after making her debut during the 2019 NCAA basketball championships. She assured fans Liberty and Team Canada fans that her broadcasting duties would not interfere with her on-court material.

“I’ve truly enjoyed my time in front of the camera as much as I have playing basketball and I’m honoured [sic] to be back to talk about the game I love,” said Nurse in a statement released by the Liberty and TSN. “I’m excited to join the amazing team at TSN, and look forward to expanding my experience as a broadcaster.”

Nurse and her family have routinely appeared on TSN throughout the years. Her father Richard was a receiver for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and her cousin Sarah has represented Team Canada hockey in numerous international tournaments. Nurse’s brother Darnell also plays for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers (whose television rights are owned by competitor Rogers Media).

Chosen 10th overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, Nurse recently wrapped up her third season with the Liberty. She averaged 12.2 points and a career-best 2.9 rebounds in the Bradenton bubble, servings as a self-described “baby vet” on a team that dressed seven rookies throughout the course of the 2020 season. Nurse was elected to her first WNBA All-Star team last season.

“We’re extremely excited to have an elite and instantly recognizable Canadian basketball personality in Kia Nurse join our team and connect with fans across the country,” said Nathalie Cook, Vice-President of TSN, in the statement. “We will continue to cheer Kia on in her all-star role on the court, and she will elevate our broadcasts with her insights and in-depth knowledge of the game.”

Nurse has made her mark on Team Canada’s basketball endeavors in recent years. In 2015, the University of Connecticut alumna was named the MVP of the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship, guiding Canada to their first top finish in the tournament since 1995. Nurse would cap things off with a team-best 20 points in the 82-66 win over Cuba in the gold medal game. She is expected to return to duties with Team Canada for the Summer Olympics next year in Tokyo.

The WNBA playoffs continue on Tuesday night, with the Connecticut Sun seeking a 2-0 series lead on the Las Vegas Aces (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Meanwhile, the semifinal matchup between the top-ranked Seattle Storm and the Minnesota Lynx gets underway immediately after, as inconclusive COVID-19 tests postponed the series opener on Sunday. Both the semifinal and WNBA Final stages are best-of-five.

The NBA’s semifinals likewise continue on Tuesday, as the Los Angeles Lakers seek a commanding 3-0 lead on the Denver Nuggets (9 p.m. ET, TNT).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags