NASCAR: NJ native Martin Truex Jr. wins at Phoenix

Martin Truex Jr. won the NASCAR Cup Series event at Phoenix Raceway, which will also host the season finale in February.

A strong restart with 25 laps to go allowed Martin Truex Jr. to take home a victory at the Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Phoenix will also host the season finale in November. His No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota recovered from an early brush with the wall to visit victory lane for the first time since the visit to Martinsville last June (a 29-race drought).

Truex, a Mayetta Township, NJ native, becomes the fifth different race-winner this season, earning the 28th victory of his Cup Series career. Joey Logano, who led a race-best 143 laps, came home second while Denny Hamlin finished third. Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski and defending Cup Series champion Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.

“Huge boost, huge confidence,” Truex said of the win. “If we would have come here last year in the final four, I would have been not very confident. Last year we struggled here for some reason. It’s never been our greatest track, I’ll say that. It’s always been just okay. I’ve never come here with a really warm, fuzzy feeling that we’re going to go there and win, we’re going to go there and be really, really strong and lead laps.”

“That was definitely a nice surprise today. Really just hats off to all the guys for the hard work. Everybody that builds the cars, puts in all the effort back at JGR, Toyota.”

The victory was of a come-from-behind effort for Truex, who made contact with the wall on lap 12 of 312 while battling Ryan Blaney for position in the top five. Truex was thus relegated to a 17th-place finish at the end of the first 75-lap stage (won by Blaney) but recovered well enough to finish in the runner-up slot behind Logano after the second.

Strong adjustments on pit stops, headed by crew chief James Small, allowed the No. 19 to get back into contention. This marks Small’s second season and second victory atop Truex’s pit box, coming home seventh last year.

“We worked really hard. We’ve got a great team,” Truex said of his No. 19 crew. “It seemed like for whatever reason, it was always little things that were biting us. We were always so close, always second or third. I don’t know how many times we’ve been second, third, fourth, top five since we won last year at Martinsville. It’s been a bunch.”

Truex first took the lead on lap 224, ending the dominance of Logano. The No. 22 Team Penske Ford dominated for a majority of the afternoon, leading a race-high 143 laps after finishing no worse than 10th in the last four visits to Phoenix. Logano had also won the previous spring race at Phoenix last March, the last race held prior to the coronavirus-induced pause.

Logano gained back the lead after a series of strong pit stops. Truex gained a shot at the win during one final yellow flag at lap 283, when his JGR teammate Kyle Busch spun after contact with Ross Chastain. Having just passed Keselowski for second before the yellow, Truex started next to Logano on what became the final restart and drove to his first win of the season. He became the fifth different winner in five Cup events this year. It also marks his first career win at Phoenix after a runner-up finish in 2019.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (3 p.m. ET, Fox).

Race Notes

  • During his postrace comments, Truex confirmed that he would run the Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt incarnation. Several drivers will join him as the Cup Series prepares to go dirt racing for the first time in over five decades. Truex will drive a Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.


  • Kyle Larson, last week’s winner at Las Vegas, overcame starting at the rear of the field and two speeding penalties to finish seventh.


  • All three Team Penske cars finished in the top ten for the second consecutive weeks, as Blaney brought the No. 12 Ford home 10th.


  • Among those who failed to finish were Anthony Alfredo and Cody Ware, each of whom were involved in an accident on lap 89. Timmy Hill and Josh Bilicki likewise left early due to mechanical issues.

For full results, click here

For full standings, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Guillorme’s 22-Pitch Walk Highlights Mets 7-5 Win Over Cardinals

The New York Mets had plenty of fun during their 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Luis Guillorme was responsible for one of the greatest at-bats in spring training history. After falling behind 0-2, Guillorme battled 20 more pitches to draw a walk off flamethrowing Jordan Hicks. His walk was the epitome of the Mets’ success at the plate as it started a five-run fifth inning.

Michael Conforto led the way with a 3-for-3 game and two RBIs. One of his RBI singles came in the first, along with another from Dominic Smith. After Guillorme’s epic walk in the fifth, it immediately spelled the end for Hicks. Garrett Williams came in and loaded the bases after drilling Caleb Joseph and Brandon Nimmo.

Francisco Lindor walked to drive in the first run, then Conforto recorded his second RBI single to tie the game at four. Pete Alonso‘s two-run single put the Mets ahead 6-4 and J.D. Davis grounded into a double play for the final run of the inning. The entire inning was a preview of how dangerous the Mets offense can be.

David Peterson started for the Mets and had what he would consider an average start. He allowed two first inning on a Jose Rondon single but settled in for the final three innings. Rondon also got to him again for a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Peterson allowed three runs and five hits over his four-inning outing.

Corey Oswalt impressed out of the bullpen and struck out five of the six batters he faced. It was his first outing of the spring as he tries to work himself back on to the 40-man roster. Arodys Vizcaino also hurled a scoreless inning in his first appearance of the spring.

The Mets get Monday off before they face the Houston Astros again. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.00) gets the opportunity to torture their hitters again, but this time it will be in Port St. Lucie. The first pitch from Clover Park is at 1:10 p.m. ET.

Yankees News: Injury bug strikes Miguel Andujar, Gary Sanchez ‘unbelievable’

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The injury bug is slowly starting to take shape for the New York Yankees this spring, as Zack Britton will miss a few weeks needing arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow. Clarke Schmidt is already dealing with a minor injury that should keep them out for a few more days, and now Miguel Andujar is dealing with a sore hand and wrist.

Andujar is trying to conform to a specific role on the team, primarily as a utility player that can play in the outfield, third base, and first base. Andujar simply isn’t defensively proficient in any specific category, with his offensive attributes keeping him afloat at the major-league level.

An inopportune time for Miguel Andujar to pick up an injury with the Yankees:

“He’s dealing with a sore hand and wrist,” Boone said. “Think he’s seeing a hand specialist tomorrow along with [Robinson] Chirinos to really get a diagnosis of exactly what’s going on there. We’ve held him back because he’s been dealing with a sore wrist and hand and we’ll know more about probably tomorrow or Tuesday.”

Andujar needs every rap he can get the spring to guarantee a spot on the roster, so this is a significant hit for the 26-year-old. He’s been feeling this injury for a few months already, indicating he’s simply played through it.

“Something he felt a little in winter ball. He took a swing and it’s kinda calmed down and he’s obviously playing and fine,” Boone said. “Then, he noticed it in his last game he played. It just got a little more sore again. So we’ve kinda been treating it here these last several days.”

Last season with the Bombers, Miggy recorded a .242 average with one HR and five RBIs. He struggled significantly to get things going over a small sample size, but with the MLB projected to play all 162 games, the Yankees will likely need Andujar to keep fatigue down.

Gary Sanchez’s resurgence has teammates raving:

The return of Gary Sanchez is one of the more exciting storylines this season. So far, the spring, Sanchez is batting .278 with three homers and three RBIs. He’s looked far more comfortable at the plate and has taken a more aggressive role with his defense and adjusting to the new pitchers the Yankees added this off-season. His work ethic can’t be questioned, and that has excited some of his fellow teammates.

“I think he’s been unbelievable,’’ Higashioka said Saturday of his fellow catcher.

“It’s really good to see him swinging the bat well again,’’ Higashioka said. “Last year was definitely tough for him — and everyone — because we all want to see him do well.”

Considering a Hihashioka is his direct competition, it is nice to see how much of a team player he is. Sanchez looks more comfortable at the plate and has been rewarded with confidence-inspiring words from his teammates and coaches. Personally, I believe Sanchez’s struggles are mostly mental and not physical, so going into the regular season with some motivation will do him well.

Yankees: Miguel Andujar to see specialist after reporting wrist and hand soreness

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Everything has been going on a downward spiral for Miguel Andujar since he injured his shoulder in 2019. That torn labrum took away most of the 2019 campaign and could have sapped some of his power last year, too. It has been quite the fall from the former New York Yankees’ top prospect that finished as the runner-up in the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Shohei Ohtani, with a .297/.328/.527 line, 27 homers, and 92 RBI.

Already on the roster bubble because, in great part, of his defensive limitations and the fact that he hasn’t been able to show the same offensive talent the whole league saw three years ago, his chances of making the Yankees got even slimmer on Sunday morning.

Andujar has been dealing with wrist and hand soreness for a while, and will be seeing a hand specialist on Monday, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

Andujar is on the Yankees’ roster bubble, and this doesn’t help

To be more specific, Boone said that Andujar felt the soreness back when he was playing with Toros del Este in the Dominican winter league, but didn’t think it was serious until he felt more soreness recently.

Regardless of what the hand specialist thinks about Andujar’s injury, the Yankees don’t have a clear spot for Andujar to play regularly and one could even argue that they don’t have space for him in the roster given the incredible depth they boast and the emergence of spring training standouts like pitcher Lucas Luetge, infielder Andrew Velazquez, outfielder Jay Bruce, and others.

Last season, the New York Yankees prepared Miguel Andujar to be super utility type for the corners (first base, third base, left and right field) but he ended up playing in just 21 games and spent the majority of the season at the Yankees’ alternate training site.

Knicks could be targeting 3-point specialist in ‘smaller’ trade

J.J. Redick, New York Knicks

While head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks refused to commit to the idea that they could target a superstar prior to the March 25 trade deadline, that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of the market. The Knicks have been connected to players like Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, and Victor Oladipo the past few weeks, but making a smaller, less impactful trade could still be on their mind.

Two players the New York have kept her eyes on are three-point specialist JJ Redick of the New Orleans Pelicans and guard Lonzo Ball. Adding a point guard might be beneficial for a team that is currently without Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose. The moment Rose left the team for personal reasons, they completely imploded against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, second-year guard RJ Barrett has looked phenomenal over the past three games, averaging 25 points, 3.3 assists, and 4.6 rebounds. The Knicks are happily watching Barrett develop into a star at a significant rate, so adding a complementary piece might be in their best interest.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks are intrigued by JJ Redick:

Thibodeau said earlier this week that the Knicks were “looking at all the possibilities.” They are probably keeping an eye on dozens of potential trade targets across the league. Prior to the All-Star break, New Orleans’ JJ Redick was among the players the Knicks were keeping an eye on.

Redick is currently in the middle of a down year, averaging just 8.7 points over 18.6 minutes played. While his minutes are down significantly compared to recent years, he’s putting forth his lowest point totals since 2008, when he averaged just 17.4 minutes per game.

His three-point percentage is hovering around .364, the lowest it’s been since 2012, so clearly, either age is getting the better of Redick or simply not playing with confidence in New Orleans.

With family in Brooklyn, making a move to New York would likely be a positive twist for him, and the Knicks might get a revitalized player in the process. He would likely be a cheap add, and utilizing his primary strength from behind the arc should inject a bit more offensive efficiency into the team. I like this move at the right price, but the Knicks need to be careful with their asset allocations.

Yankees’ shortstop Gleyber Torres has one goal: play 162 games

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Much has been said about Gleyber Torres reporting out of shape to last year’s summer camp, including the New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman. However, the shortstop wants to leave it all in the past and this time around, he made it a priority to report to spring training in tip-top shape.

The Yankees’ emerging slugger committed to building his physique during the offseason and worked alongside Seattle Mariners’ uber-prospect Julio Rodriguez and Kansas City Royals hitter Carlos Santana. Gleyber’s primary goal during the 2021 campaign is to play the whole 162 games.

“It’s really important to me to be in really good shape,” Torres said on Friday to “This year, we play 162 games. Personally, I just want to play all the games and be healthy all year. That is how I’ll help my team in any opportunity I have. So far, I feel really good.”

The Yankees’ shortstop is in a good place now

The Yankees are happy with Torres’ current progress, both with his physique and at the plate, where he is 6-for-15 with one double and two round-trippers in the early going. Last year, he struggled mightly as a batter, but he is hungry and wants to rebound.

 “Last year was a tough year for everybody,” Torres said. “We didn’t start for three or four months. It was very hard for players, especially for me. Now, we know we’re playing a full season, we had a regular offseason, a regular Spring Training. We’ve played really well, and mentally, I feel really well.”

After returning from quad and hamstring injuries last season, he slowly began to rediscover his form, and he was a beast for the Yankees in the postseason, going 10-for-23 with two homers and five RBI.

“He looks good. He looks focused,” said second baseman DJ LeMahieu. “He’s been locking in on the early work defense. The swing looks good. He just seems very focused this year. That’s kind of what I expected from him. I definitely think Gleyber looks ready to go and ready to get after it again.”

MLB must read analysis: Minor changes could have a major impact on the game

Like it or not, MLB is evolving in many ways. A hardcore group of baseball fans wants baseball to remain just the way it has for the last 130 years or more. They say that changes and analytics are ruining the game they grew up with. Therein lies the problem that MLB faces. The fan base is getting older and older and dying off, shrinking America’s summer pastime viewership. Over the last twenty-some years, baseball has gone from the most-watched sport to last behind football and basketball.

The simple answer to why this has happened is that the younger population finds baseball boring, slow, with too much dead time. Society has changed to a culture that wants immediate satisfaction, and they want it right now. Baseball is not satisfying those needs. This brings us to why baseball viewership and thus revenues are shrinking. The average TV baseball viewer is now 55 years old. Football and basketball viewers are at least ten years younger on average.

MLB wants to change this. Now that MLB has taken over control of the minor leagues, they have a new playground to experiment with what changes in the game can make it more engaging to younger viewers. In the past few years, they have implemented some rules to shorten game length with is one of the complaints most expressed by viewers. For the most part, those changes have had little effect on shortening games.

New and even more dramatic changes are on the way if MLB and the MLBPA (players union) have anything to say about it, and they do. MLB released some big rule changes for the minors this past Thursday. Some of the most dramatic experiments will be tried at different levels of affiliated clubs. Here is just a few: No more Andy Pettitte; the Pettitte move is now a balk. No more multiple pickoff attempts. No more tiny bases; we are going to make them huge. No more umpire; the strike zone is now computerized, umpires will be reduced to referees. I wonder if robots will throw out a player if he kicks dust in its face? No more infielders in the outfield. These are just a few of the changes that will be implemented in the minors this season.

We have to be reminded that these at just experiments, but if many or any are permanently put in place at the Major League level; it could dramatically change the game. A group of MLB executives, team owners, the players, and even ex-Cubs GM Theo Epstein have put their heads together to come with plans to make the game more viewable. Here is the goal:

• A game with more action, more balls in play, and less dead time.

• A game with better pace and rhythm.

• A game with more base stealing and more chances for world-class athletes to show off their athleticism in the field and on the bases.

• A game with less swinging and missing, fewer pitching changes, and less time between balls in play.

Let’s take a look at each one of these changes and how it could affect the game of baseball as we know it.

The Andy Pettitte move is dead in the water.

Andy Pettitte was one of the most successful pick off pitchers of his or any other time. Many felt that it bordered on a balk. Under the new rules, it will be a balk. It won’t be allowed in the High-A leagues, at least. This rule will require all pitchers to step off the rubber before throwing to first (or any) base. The penalty is (what else?) a balk, and runners get to advance a base.

No, no, no, you have already tried to pick off twice!

Nothing is any more annoying and interrupts the game’s rhythm than a pitcher throwing 8 consecutive pick-off attempts. It usually incites loud boos from fans in the stands.   Well, no more, pitchers will be limited to two pick-off attempts. That is not to say the pitcher can’t try again, but he must get the player out if he does. If he doesn’t, it’s an automatic balk, and the player advances.

We are going to make the bases big, really big!

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but even the small changes in base size could significantly impact how the game is played. Presently the bases are 15″x15″; the new size to be experimented with is 18″x18″. You may say that’s not that big a deal, but yes, it is. How many base stealers have you seen called out just inches from the plate.  The base’s size will shorten the path by 4 1/2 inches, encouraging more base stealing and a more exciting game. For the New York Yankees Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade, this is a dream come true.

Move over, Ump; the robots are here!

Okay, they won’t look like a Roomba or the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, but they are coming in the form of a computerized strike zone. The biggest challenge will be making that strike zone look like what pitchers, players, and fans can agree it should look like. This change will not be in all minor league parks, but Baseball has experimented with the electronic strike zone in the Atlantic League and the Arizona Fall League. But now, it will move to the minors and maybe later to the majors.

The low A Southeast League will employ the ABS (Automated Ball-Strike System) at most of its parks as baseball continues to explore the future feasibility of sending in the big leagues’ robots. When the Atlantic League used the rulebook strike zone in 2019, the robots called strikes on pitches that no single human in the park thought was a strike. That has to change for this system to work in the big leagues.

There are several problems to get ironed out before you will ever see a robot calling strike and balls at Yankee Stadium or any other MLB park. Robots read strikes differently than those nasty human umpires. It is presently questionable if an ump considers the player’s size as to where the strike zone is. There is a huge difference in the size of Jose Altuve and the Yankees Aaron Judge. How will a robot handle this?

Also, in the test, the previous version of the ABS was sweeping breaking balls called strikes but didn’t look like strikes to anyone but the robots; players were furious with truly unhittable balls. Some would say a robot can not replace the human eye, and they might be correct; only time will tell. As much as umpires are mostly held in low esteem, how do you take your aggression out on a computer program?

None of these experiments may make it to the majors, or maybe all of them over time will become part of the game. MLB is in a race to make the game shorter and more exciting to increase the fan base as basketball and football try to do the same. Huge stars like Mike Trout and the Yankee’s Aaron Judge bring out the fans, but a better game is even more important.

Besides these changes, sources say other changes are on the way as well.

• A 15-second pitch clock, down from 20 seconds at the upper levels of the minors. Pitchers have 15 seconds to begin their windup or come to a set position from the stretch. Otherwise, the umpire can call an automatic ball.

• The batter will be required to be “attentive” to the pitcher with 8 seconds left on the clock. Otherwise, it’s an automatic strike.

• There will now be a 30-second clock between batters in mid-inning, and the time between innings will shrink from 2 minutes, 15 seconds to exactly 2 minutes.

And these may not be the only changes being experimented with. the independent Atlantic League doesn’t start their season until May 27th, so there is still plenty of time to try out additional changes. You won’t see any of these changes in the majors, but if you visit your local minor league park to take in a game, you may see many of these changes first hand. But make no mistake, the successful ones will be showing up at Yankee Stadium and other MLB parks before you know it.








The New York Giants could target one undervalued pass rusher in free agency

New York Giants, Hasson Reddick

The pass rush market is flush with the options this off-season, and with free agency starting on March 17, the New York Giants are still trying to clear a bit of salary space to work with.

On Saturday, it was reported that Nate Solder will restructure his contract, hopefully lowering his cap hit for the 2021 season significantly. This will give the Giants a bit more space to work with and also allow them to retain the OT, providing a solid option at right tackle moving forward.

However, the Giants still have plenty of holes they need to fill, and as they continue to restructure deals and make cuts, there are a few solid targets to explore. The pass rush market consists of players like Bud Dupree, Carl Lawson, Jadeveon Clowney, Matthew Judon, and Haason Reddick.

Most of these names will command solid contracts, but one player stands out to me and how the Giants have constructed their roster since Joe Judge took over as head coach.

A good fit for the New York Giants:

Haason Reddick, currently coming off his best season to date, is hitting the market looking for a new deal. Last season, he tallied  12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 43 solo tackles. As a former first-round pick in 2017, he made the transition back to pass rusher after playing off-ball linebacker with the Cardinals the past few seasons. His primary strength has always been rushing the passer, and the Giants could lock him into a three-year deal with a low cap hit for 2021.

If they can sign him for a three-year deal paying him $30 million total, they can push a majority of the hit to next season, taking on a $5 million cap hit this year and $15 million next season with minimal dead money for 2023. This scenario makes a lot of sense, injecting a proven pass rusher into the team with significant upside.

Also, considering the fact the Giants don’t have much financial flexibility, he is a bargain with a market full of options, so he will likely have to settle for a more cost-efficient contract. This ultimately benefits the Giants, but expect free agency to move a bit slower than in recent years, based on teams still needing to clear money and get creative with the salary cap.

Big Blue still has Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and Carter Coughlin as options, but considering two of them missed a majority of the 2020 season, bringing in a more productive option to spur competition is a beneficial move. Reddick would fit Patrick Graham’s scheme well as a multiple player who brings versatility. In case of injury, he can move back to regular linebacker and also rush the passer adequately at the OLB position.

NASCAR: Three drivers to watch on Sunday in the Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix on Sunday for the Instacart 500 — the fifth race of the 2021 season. Sunday’s event is an important one, as the race is on the track that will host the season finale in November. Top drivers will focus on set-ups in Sunday’s race to be better prepared if they are in the Championship 4 later this season. Here are three drivers to watch in the Instacart 500:

Chase Elliott:

Coming off a win in Phoenix last fall to secure the championship, Chase Elliott is one of the biggest names to watch on Sunday. He’s finished in the top-10 in 6 of his 10 career starts in the desert. After a decent start this season, Elliott is due for a win. He’s finished in the top-10 once so far in 2021, however, he sits fourth in overall points. Expect Elliott to contend for the win on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick:

Phoenix Raceway has always been one of Kevin Harvick’s best tracks. He’s won there nine times over his career, and placed runner-up twice. This season, Harvick has finished in the top-10 in three of four races and sits seventh in standings. Harvick has gotten off to a strong start this season, and it’d be fitting for him to pick up his first win of 2021 in Phoenix

Aric Almirola:

2021 has been less than stellar thus far for Aric Almirola. Currently sitting 28th in points, Almirola has failed to finish within the top-10 and has just one top-20. He’s crashed in two of four races and hasn’t spent much time up front. Going into Sunday’s race, Almirola has six top-10s in 20 starts at Phoenix Raceway. Almirola could use a strong run this weekend to turn his season around.

Yankees: Good news and bad news in Kluber-lead win over Pittsburgh

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees faced off against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon, and yet another positive result was extracted, bringing the Bombers to an 8-4 record the spring.

Normally, pitching is the Yankees kryptonite to go with injuries. However, the Yankees have remained relatively healthy this spring, despite losing Zack Britton for a minimum of six weeks and Clarke Schmidt for a few weeks. Nonetheless, the starters have looked spectacular, with Corey Kluber earning his second start of spring training against the Pirates.

The Yankees have been getting their bullpen plenty of action in recent days, with April 1 just around the bend. It surely doesn’t seem like the Yankees have any offensive problems, with DJ LeMahieu hitting .400, including two hits and three RBIs on Saturday in the win.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

It is extremely exciting to see Kluber healthy and preparing for the regular season. He earned a 4.0 inning sample size against Pittsburgh, allowing four hits and two earned runs, including a homer, which brings his ERA to 3.00.

In his first outing, he was perfect over two innings, striking out three batters. I wouldn’t categorize this as a bad performance, but one that showed a bit of inconsistency. This was expected with Kluber early on, as he regains his form after missing virtually two entire seasons. Nonetheless, his pitches did have some good movement, and he caught a few batters looking. If anything, this performance was a positive step forward, as Kluber stated after the game that he feels good physically.

“I’m happy with the way I felt physically, happy with where the stuff was at,” Kluber said. “Maybe some pitches I could have located better and been a little sharper. The home run was a first pitch that I left too much over the plate. I hit a couple of guys. I was trying to get it in there, obviously I wasn’t trying to hit him. So we’re just fine-tuning that sort of stuff.”

Offensively, DJ LeMahieu launched a three-run homer in the second inning, and a pair of homers late in the contest gave the Yankees a two-run advantage. Once again, a heavy reliance on the long ball seems to be the catalyst for the Yankee offense, and that shouldn’t change as we head into the regular season.

The only negative was Chad Green, who allowed two earned runs in just 1.0 innings of work. The bullpen has been a bit spotty as of late, but they are ironing out their rust.