New York Yankees: Good news and bad news in tough loss to Toronto

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

You know the New York Yankees have given up when reserve catcher Erik Kratz is on the mound pitching. Kratz made an appearance in the eighth inning, allowing one earned run and one hit. The Yankees fell 14-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays, which marks two losses after clinching a playoff berth earlier this week.

With the postseason right around the corner, the Yankees need to pick up their bats and begin stringing together some positive performances. Coming off a 10-game win streak, the past few days for the Yankees have been tumultuous.

Starter Masahiro Tanaka lasted just four innings on Wednesday evening, allowing eight hits and three earned runs. He also walked three batters and struck out five. Finishing his regular season with a 3.56 ERA, we have seen Tanaka step up his game in the playoffs before, but I’m sure he would’ve preferred to end things on a higher note.

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

There wasn’t much good from the blowout loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday. The only positive performance came from DJ LeMahieu, who always manages to put together consistent games. He had two hits on the night, currently enjoying a .360 batting average and a .596 slugging percentage. Other than DJ, only Luke Voit and Gio Urshela managed to secure hits. The Yanks struck out eight times, while the Blue Jays logged 16 hits on the evening.

BAD NEWS:

If allowing 14 runs wasn’t enough for you, the Yankees have allowed at least 11 runs in four games this season, with three of the four games coming against the Blue Jays in Buffalo. As stated before, when Kratz is on the mound, you can pretty much assume the Yankees have given up. He is the first Yankee position player to pitch twice in the season since Rick Cerone in 1987.

In addition to their poor performance, the Yankees left the bases loaded with nobody out early on, which was extremely disappointing and attested to their poor offensive showing. As for the pitching, there weren’t many positives to extract, as Tanaka allowed three walks over 20 batters faced. In his previous six games, he had only walked two over 126 batters. Clearly, there was something off with the Japanese native pitcher, so we can cough this one up as an anomaly.

UFC: Khamzat Chimaev fires back at Israel Adesanya on Twitter

Khamzat Chimaev is rising as one of the biggest stars the MMA scene has, and he may be on a collision course in the future with Israel Adesanya. Adesanya already has a lot to worry about, of course. He’s already set to defend his title against Paulo Costa, after unifying the belt against Robert Whittaker and defending it from Yoel Romero previously. But the trash talk between these two fighters puts an eventual matchup between Chimaev and Adesanya on the radar.

Chimaev came out in Twitter in response to Adesanya’s recent dismissal of him as a threat. He said that Adesanya will lose his belt because of his words. Those words included dismissing Chimaev as “rat lip.” Fighting words to say about someone that’s capturing the attention of the sport as a whole right now.  Chimaev has earned praise from the fans as well as Dana White himself, and it looks like the UFC will market him as a future star thanks to his undefeated record.

Therefore, it’s safe to say this might not just be trash talk. Chimaev could be a real threat to Adesanya if his undefeated streak holds up. Chimaev already has three wins this year, gaining the third on the 19th when he defeated Gerald Meerschaert in an early first round knockout.

Adesanya, on the other hand, is set to take on Paulo Costa in under a week. He’s defending his belt again, and depending on the result, we may not even be talking about Chimaev taking the belt from Adesanya soon.

Chimaev, meanwhile, has also challenged experienced BJJ grappler Damian Maia to a bout via Twitter. We’ll see in due time if that becomes a real matchup.

New York Mets: 8-5 Loss Allows Tampa Bay Rays to Clinch the AL East

New York Mets, Michael Wacha

The New York Mets had no choice but to win every remaining game to give themselves a shot at the postseason, but the Tampa Bay Rays had a division to win. They fired off four home runs, two from Randy Arozarena in their 8-5 win, clinching the American League Eastern division for the first time since 2010.

Michael Wacha was making his final start of the season and likely his last in a Met uniform. He started strong by striking out the side in the first inning. This episode is one we have seen from Wacha before as the first inning does not translate to the rest of his start.

While his pitch count was low, he could not avoid the home run. He allowed a solo homer to Joey Wendle and Arozarena’s first home run of the game. Arozarena’s home run gave the Rays the lead in the sixth, and they never looked back from there. Wacha made it through six innings, allowing four runs on six hits, only needing 66 pitches.

Glasnow Glows

Tyler Glasnow came into his final start of the season, ranking fifth in strikeouts for the American League. He showed off his strikeouts stuff against the Mets offense with eight over six innings and holding the Mets to two runs. Glasnow made hitters look foolish with his fastball/curve combination. When the Mets struck against him, they did so with home runs from Andres Gimenez and Dominic Smith.

The Mets had some life when down six in the ninth. They tallied three runs, two coming from a Todd Frazier home run. It was no enough for the Mets to climb back, and the Rays clinched the division at Citi Field.

The Mets head to the road as they finish off their season with a four-game road trip against the Washington Nationals. Two lefties matchup as David Peterson faces Patrick Corbin in the first game from Nationals Park. The first pitch is at 6:05 p.m. ET.

New York Giants: Are Daniel Jones’s 2020 Turnovers Alarming?

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Much has been said about New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones two weeks through his second NFL season. Already, fans are campaigning for the Giants to tank the season, get the first overall pick, and draft Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. The Giants have played two games in the 2020 NFL season, mind you.

Granted, New York has lost those two games. But they also played two of the best defenses in the NFL while trotting out aa brand new offensive line. The Giants were never expected to win those games, so why are fans in such a panic? Well, apparently, Daniel Jones is turning the ball over at an “alarming” rate. Is he really? Or are fans just used to their seasons ending in September, and subsequently freaking out over a few bad plays?

Daniel Jones’s Two Turnovers Against Pittsburgh

Daniel Jones turned the ball over twice in Week One. Daniel threw two interceptions en route to a 26-16 loss versus Pittsburgh. The Steelers have one of the best defenses in the NFL, so it is no surprise that the Giants, who were installing a brand new offensive scheme, struggled against that defense.

Daniel Jones’s first interception was made by superstar edge rusher TJ Watt. On that play, Jones was targetting Evan Engram on a short route. Engram was well-covered on the play, but not by TJ Watt. Watt read Jones’s eyes, jumped up, and made an incredible interception. It is hard to fault Jones here. Daniel did not throw into coverage and the coverage-man made the play. He threw to a receiver and a defensive lineman picked the ball out of the air.

So, most fans decided we could give Daniel Jones a pass on this play. He was not really at fault for TJ Watt making a spectacular defensive play. But Jones’s second turnover was horrific.

On his second interception, Daniel Jones had multiple opportunities to take a sack or throw the ball out of bounds. While rolling out of the pocket, Jones held the ball way too long and floated a poor pass (after his arm was hit) into the end zone that was intercepted by defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

This interception was completely avoidable. This play killed a 19-play drive that would have been the best of Daniel Jones’s career. This was an ugly turnover, but has Jones made any more head-scratching decisions like this?

Daniel Jones’s Two Turnovers Against Chicago

In Week Two, Daniel Jones once again turned the ball over twice. Once again, Jones was facing one of the best front-sevens in the NFL that features Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn off the edges. Quinn and Mack got the best of the Giants’ offensive tackles in this game.

Jones threw one interception and lost one fumble in this game. But does he deserve blame for both of these turnovers?

Undoubtedly, Daniel deserves blame for the fumble in this game. Check out this play breakdown to understand why:

Jones, once again, held onto the football too long here, resulting in a fumble. But later on in that same game, Daniel found himself in a similar situation. Instead of fumbling the ball, Jones put two hands on the ball and fell forward to ensure he lost as little yardage as possible.

So yes, he deserves blame for that turnover. But he also deserves some credit for learning from it and not making the same mistake twice. What about his other turnover from this game?

Daniel Jones threw an interception in this game as well. On this play, Jones was once again targeting Evan Engram. Unfortunately, Engram slipped coming out of his route and was on the ground when Jones threw the ball. The ball was intercepted because of this. It is hard to blame Daniel Jones for this interception.

So, through two games, Jones has turned the ball over four times. Two of them have been his own fault, one of them was a spectacular defensive play, and the other one was the fault of the intended receiver.

Last season, Jones fumbled the ball 18 times in 13 games. So far, has fumbled once in two games and fans are ready to move on. Daniel Jones has started a total of 14 games in his career. He is young, he is learning, and he is improving. Giants fans need to be more patient with their quarterback. There are fourteen games left in the 2020 NFL season. Let’s table the Trevor Lawrence conversation for now.

New York Yankees: This star hasn’t ruled out offseason surgery

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

It is no secret that the New York Yankees have had a very difficult season health-wise, maybe even more than the much-maligned 2019 campaign. Virtually every piece of the lineup has lost time due to injury, not to mention several starters and a couple of key relievers. Among the players that have suffered injuries in 2020 is the starting third baseman Gio Urshela.

Urshela, who took the New York Yankees’ third base job early in 2019 after Miguel Andujar was injured, is nursing a bone spur in his right elbow, the one he uses to throw the baseball.

After the Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 12-1 at Sahlen Field in Buffalo on Tuesday, Urshela said that he hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of undergoing surgery in the offseason.

The Yankees are riding the hot streak

He left the door open on a potential surgery in a video conference. “I don’t know yet,” he told the media in the call. “We’re going to have to see how’s the elbow at the end of the season.”

While the Yankees’ infielder is wearing a sleeve, he had “no pain, no soreness. It’s like I’ve got a new arm. It feels really good.”

While it is refreshing for fans to hear that the Yankees’ primary third baseman has no pain, it is something that will likely need to be addressed later down the road.

Urshela is currently on a hot streak, as the Yankees prepare for another postseason full of dreams and hopes. Last night, he had four hits and in his last 11 games, he is 20-for-45 (.444) with 10 RBI.

The Yankees have to be thrilled with Urshela’s success this season. He’s currently at .308 with six home runs, 29 RBI and a .895 OPS. He has matured as a batter this season, hitting the ball with authority to all fields and tapping into his power with frequency.

New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau gives his first impression on RJ Barrett

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

New York Knicks‘ third overall pick RJ Barrett will be entering his sophomore season with a chip on his shoulder after the All-Rookie Team snub.

Barret, despite averaging 14.6 points on 40/32/61 shooting splits, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists, still came 13 votes short of making it to the All-Rookie Team.  With that snub as a backdrop, Barrett came to the Knicks’ organized team activity looking ripped and sharp.

New head coach Tom Thibodeau was pleased with what he saw initially from Barrett, who was identified by team president Leon Rose as one of the franchise’s cornerstones together with third-year center Mitchell Robinson.

During Thibodeau’s media availability via Zoom call today, SNY’s Ian Begley asked Thibodeau about his first impression on Barrett.  Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s been great. Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done. These are the initial steps. And so, I think the offseason is critical for any young player so obviously you could get going on with the development piece which I think is critical but that holds true for all our players. But he’s been great, he’s been eager. He’s working hard and if he does that day after day, he will improve quite a bit.”

During last week’s individual workouts, Barrett immediately hooked up with new associate head coach Johnnie Bryant, who is known for his developmental chops.

Thibodeau was left impressed with Bryant’s teaching ability that has helped develop the likes of Gordon Hayward and Donovan Mitchell while in Utah.

“It’s been great because Johnnie is someone I got to know a little bit when I was travelling around.  I have great respect for the people in Utah.  The thing that stood out when I went out to Utah and spend time with them, it was Johnnie’s teaching ability.  You know when I heard that we have the opportunity to hire him, I have spent time with him prior to his hiring and I came away impressed with him,” Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau also added that the offseason is usually “the time when you can add to your game, learn something new and you never want to stop learning,” which was the approach and the attitude that he saw not only from Barrett but from the whole team.

During the hiatus, Barrett has also worked on his shooting form with renowned skills coach Drew Hanlen, who has an impressive roster of NBA clients that include Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, and Zach LaVine.

Niners’ Shanahan: Giants Getting ‘Helluva Player’ in Devonta Freeman

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants (0-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at MetLife Stadium this Sunday afternoon in a game where both teams will be down several key players to injury.

The 49ers had five key starters go down against the Jets at MetLife last Sunday. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both blew out ACLs and are gone for the season. Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman suffered knee injuries and quarterback Jimmy Garappolo (ankle) aren’t likely to face the Giants this week. In addition, linebacker Dee Ford (back) is out and All-Pro tight end George Kittle (knee) is questionable for this week.

The Giants lost stud running back Saquon Barkley for the season to a torn ACL and starting wide receiver Sterling Shepard was placed on IR with an ailing toe.

To help defray the loss of Barkley, the Giants signed two-time Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to their roster. Freeman, an all-around back who rushed for 1,000 yards twice in his career, will join Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman in what will likely be a committee approach in the Giants’ backfield.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows Freeman very well, having coached him in Atlanta as their offensive coordinator during Freeman’s two Pro Bowl seasons (2015-16).

“They’re getting a hell of a player and a hell of a guy,” Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. ” I love (RB Devonta Freeman), hell of a pickup for you guys at this time of year. He’s a really good runner, he’s really good out of the backfield as a receiver and a great teammate to have around.”

Freeman had a lost 2018 season due to multiple injuries and went unsigned this spring after having a bounce back season last year in Atlanta.

Report: New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson exits ‘Bubble’ for personal reasons

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks had a great turnout on the first day of their voluntary workouts except for the conspicuous absence of their third-year center Mitchell Robinson.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported that Robinson has exited the Knicks’ ‘Bubble’ in Westchester County due to personal reasons.

Curiously, Robinson has posted a video of a baby earlier in the day on his Instagram story and used the song “You are the reason” as the background music.  It is not clear if the baby in the video has something to do with Robinson opting out of the team workouts that will continue through October 6.

Robinson was in attendance during the team’s individual workouts, which started last week.  He was even seen working out with the new assistant coach and said to be a big man’s whisperer, Kenny Payne.

In a zoom call with Knicks reporters today, The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov said that new head coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t exactly say who was in attendance and who was missing.

“Some guys weren’t comfortable with that, so we totally understood that part of it,” Thibodeau was quoted saying.

The second phase of their OTA, which consists of practice, skills or conditioning sessions, and intra-squad scrimmages, will give Thibodeau and his staff a better look at the roster they currently have.  The scrimmages will also serve as a sort of tryouts for their G-League players and those with non-guaranteed contracts (team options).

One of their two-way players, Kenny Wooten, Jr., appeared to be soaking in the experience with the new coaching staff.

Meanwhile, the Knicks have until late October to guarantee the contracts of Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, and Bobby Portis.

Diego Sanchez ready for the final stretch of UFC career

It’s been quite the ride for UFC veteran Diego Sanchez (30-12). A career that has seen him win the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, and a career that has seen him spend 15 years in the octagon. Sanchez is heading towards the final few fights of his career.

Sanchez started his MMA record at 17-0. Primed for stardom, Sanchez ran into a speed bump back at UFC 69 where he lost to Josh Koscheck. Since then, it’s been a career of highs and lows for the nightmare. The high point came in 2009.

After competing in the UFC at middleweight and welterweight, Sanchez moved down to lightweight. After winning four straight contests, he got his lone UFC title shot against B.J. Penn back at UFC 107. Sanchez was overwhelmed by Penn and lost by a doctor’s stoppage.

Since that defeat, Sanchez has gone 9-9 over the last 11 years inside the UFC. Last year, he signed a four fight deal which would be the final new contract he would ever receive. Sanchez is ready to ride off into the sunset once the contract is up

A UFC Legend

“I’ve let all those dreams of trying to become a UFC champion go. I’m just trying to enjoy the experience and finish out these last four fights on legendary status,” Sanchez told the media today. It’s been quite the career for Sanchez.

Sanchez already has a spot in the UFC‘s Hall of Fame for his legendary fight with Clay Guida. The two men had an absolute war and the fight was inducted into the Fight Wing of the UFC‘s Hall of Fame last year.

Sanchez has always been entertaining and a bit of an odd duck. However, he’s been loved by fans for a very long time, and it will be a sad day to see him go. Earlier this week, I thought of a very good fight for Sanchez regardless of the outcome this weekend.

I think that the promotion should really look to book fun fights as Sanchez finishes out his UFC career. Who wouldn’t want to see a fight with Cowboy Cerrone? Sanchez will compete this weekend against Jake Mathews.

Giants’ Jerry Schuplinski offers explanation behind Daniel Jones’ struggles

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

There is no question that New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has experienced his fair share of struggles early on in his career.

Turnovers in his rookie season were a major problem, as Jones threw 12 interceptions and fumbled the ball 18 times. So far in 2020, his sophomore campaign, Jones has fumbled once and thrown three interceptions. Losing the turnover differential in any given contest is the recipe for failure, and having turned the ball over four times already this year, it seems as if Jones needs more work in the area.

Jones has the leadership and mentorship to alleviate this problem, but it simply hasn’t come together yet. Applying things in practice and learning in the film room is often times the best way to mitigate mistakes in live-action. Jones wasn’t gifted with time, unfortunately, as he replaced Eli Manning in week three of the 2019 regular season.

An unfortunate developmental circumstance for the young quarterback, but he gained essential experience early on in his career. After adding nine-pounds of muscle mass this off-season, DJ has looked visibly stronger, but still struggles with awareness and turnover issues. Things should improve as they go, as the offensive line develops chemistry and Jones becomes more comfortable, but injuries to his primary weapons have significantly limited has potential.

“I certainly [hope], we all hope, we don’t have to wait too long,” Giants’ QB coach Jerry Schuplinski said. “But it is part of the process and is part of the growing pains. Sometimes with some of the younger quarterbacks that I’ve coached, to be quite honest with you, We’ve had the luxury of letting those guys sit and learn in the meeting room and learn on the practice field. Those mistakes have shown up there [in practice] as opposed to on the field.”

The New York Giants aren’t giving up on DJ anytime soon:

The Giants seem to have plenty of faith in their young quarterback, noticing his tangible talents on the field. Solid arm strength, mobility, and the desire to extend plays all make up Jones’ potential. However, his biggest issue remains, but Schuplinski believes this is part of the process in becoming a great quarterback.

“With Daniel, we’re really happy with what he’s done and some of the progress he’s made in this offense, and some of the leadership he’s shown in the plays he’s made,” Schuplinski said. “But we’re just going to continue to harp on the fundamentals being strong with the ball in the pocket making all the good decisions on every play. I think the big thing is just focus on every play. You know, he’s a focused kid, he works hard and we just need to have that focus and concentration every play.”

With a large portion of the 49ers’ starting defense set to miss the week three contest against Big Blue, Jones should have an opportunity to regain his footing and put together a motivating performance. If he can keep the ball in his hands and refrain from throwing any interceptions, that will be a significant step forward in his progression this year.