New York Yankees Recap: Cole dominant but Chapman gave the game away to the Orioles

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees were at Steinbrenner Field tonight to face the Baltimore Orioles. It was Gerrit Cole’s fifth start of the season. He faced Jo Lopez as the opposing pitcher. It was 82 degrees at game-time with cloudy skies at the start of the game. Cole’s record for the spring was 3-0 with an ERA of 3.55 before tonight’s game. The Orioles won the game 4-1.

At the top of the first, Gerrit Cole faced Cedric Mullins, who ground out. Trey Mancini struck out swinging, and Mountcastle ground out for a quick 1-2-3 inning for Cole and the Yankees. At the bottom DJ LeMahieu led off for the Yankees; he ground out on the 9th pitch from Lopez. Aaron Judge doubled to right. Brett Gardner ground out to second. Giancarlo Stanton ground out to third for a fast inning for both pitchers. Aaron Judge was left on base.

Maikel Franco faced Cole in the second. He reached on a fielding error by Tyler Wade. Wade followed with another fielding error reaching Rio Ruiz for two on for the Orioles. With no outs, Cole faced Autin Hays; he flew out. Freddie Galvis flew out, and Sisco flew out to Mike Tauchman. At the bottom, Gary Sanchez ground out; Mike Tauchman singled, Tyler Wade ground out to second. Chris Gitten struck out to end the inning. No score.

Yomer Sanchez led off the third inning against Cole. Sanchez struck out for Cole’s third strikeout. Mullins flew out, and Mancini had a line-drive single, but Mountcastle lined out to Brett Gardner. At the New York Yankees half, Andrew Velazquez ground out. At the top of the lineup, LeMahieu ground out. Judge was called out on strikes. No score.

Franco again faced Cole at the top of the fourth. Franco ground out to first baseman Chris Gittens. Ruiz ground out, and Hays ground out for another good inning for Cole. Brett Gardner popped out in the Yankee’s half of the fourth. Stanton ground out, and Sanchez reached on an Oriole error. Tauchman walked, Wade made the final out of the inning as there still was no scoring in the game.

Calvis ground out for Cole in the fifth. Sisco ground out, and Sanchez ground out for another quick inning for Cole. Chris Gittens started the bottom with a strikeout. Velazquez ground out, Lemahieu also ground out for the fastest inning of the game.

Gerrit Cole was the first Yankee pitcher to pitch six innings in a spring training game. Mullins singled and stole second.  Mancini struck out, and Mountcastle flew out to Judge. Franco flew out to right, and Cole was removed from the game with 82 pitches thrown. Darren O’Day replaced him, striking out Franco. This was Gerrit Cole’s final start of spring training, and he had his best outing pitching 5.2 innings of scoreless ball and allowing only two hits. He reduced his ERA from 3.55 to 2.45. At the bottom of the sixth, Judge was called out on strikes, and Brett Gardner flew out. Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging to end the inning. Still no score.

Aroldis Chapman came out to pitch the seventh inning. Ruiz singled off of Chapman. A wild pitch allowed Ruiz to go to second. Hays singled, scoring Ruiz for the Orioles 1 run lead. Glavis doubled. Sisco walked and the second wild pitch of the inning by Chapman scored Westburg pinch-running for Hays. Sanchez struck out, but Chapman was pulled from the game by manager Aaron Boone. He was replaced by Nick Goody, who walked Mullins. Mancini ground into a double play to end the Orioles half, but the O’s picked up 3 runs. Orioles 3 Yankees 0.

At the bottom, Gary Sanchez struck out, Mike Tauchman walked. Tyler Wade struck out on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. Chris Gittens struck out to end the inning. The Orioles remained 3 up on the New York Yankees.

Chad Green took over for the Yankees in the eighth and ground out Mountcastle, Franco singled, and Urias walked for two men on. Diaz lined out for the second out of the inning. A wild pitch by Green allowed the runners to advance. Westburg was called out on strikes. At the bottom, Tyler Wells, in for his third inning of work, struck out Velazquez.  Thairo Estrada ground out, and Amburgey flew out for a quick inning for Wells. Orioles 3 Yankees 0.

Brooks Kriske was out in the ninth to hold down the Orioles. Nick Ciuffo immediately doubled. Richie Martin walked. Stevie Wilkerson ground out to second. Jahmai Jones struck out swinging. Chris Shaw singled, driving in Ciuffo for another Orioles run. Tyler Nevin struck out, leaving two on. With last licks for the Yankees, Gardner doubled, Josh Breaux ground out, Rob Brantly ground out, but Florial pinch-running scored to avoid the shutout. Mike Tauchman walked; Milone replaced him and went to second on defensive indifference.  Milone went to third on a wild pitch. Hoy Jun Park walked for men on the corners Armando Alvarez walked. With Velazquez as the tieing run at the plate, struck out to end the game.

Gerrit Cole pitched a great 5.2 innings, not allowing a run. Aroldis Chapman completely bombed, giving the Orioles the win. The Yankee bats were again mostly silent with only three hits in the game. The final score was the Orioles 4 and the New York Yankees 1. The winning pitcher was Tyler Wells, the loser Aroldis Chapman and the save went to Isaac Mattson.

 

New York Mets: Peterson Pitches Well, Bullpen Not So Much in 7-3 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets have some questions behind their quartet of top-tier relievers, and Robert Gsellman and Stephen Tarpley continued to heighten the need for reliable middle relievers. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Washington Nationals roughed up Gsellman in the eighth inning.

Josh Bell‘s majestic opposite solo home run tied the game at three and almost cleared the scoreboard. Gerardo Parra put the Nats in the lead with an RBI single giving them a 4-3 lead. They added a two-run homer from Luis Garcia and RBI single from Adrian Sanchez to complete the 7-3 victory.

David Peterson was in line for the win before the blown save from Gsellman. Peterson pitched six solid innings with four hits and two runs allowed. The Nats did a bulk of their damage during the fourth inning, with three hits and two runs in their top half. Singles from Josh Harrison and Hernan Perez were the only damage against the slender lefty. Peterson only struck out two but was very effective in the outing. He did not allow a hit for the first half of his start.

Manager Luis Rojas hopes to have a second lefty in the bullpen, but Tarpley squandered one of his final opportunities to make the roster. Tarpley allowed four hits and three runs, including the Garcia homer, and only retired one batter. Due to their rough outings, Gsellman and Tarpley made their route to the Opening Day roster bumpier. Tylor Megill came in and prevented more runs from being charged to Tarpley’s ledger in the ninth.

The Mets offense recorded 12 hits but only pushed 3 runs across. James McCann‘s RBI single provided the first run during the second inning. The other two runs came in the sixth when Dominic Smith lucked into an RBI triple on a dribbler that Bell misplayed at first base and J.D. Davis lined an RBI single over a drawn-in infield. McCann and Francisco Lindor were the two Mets with multiple hits on the night.

On Saturday, the Mets play another home game when the Houston Astros visit Clover Park. Bryan Abreu (1-0, 3.68 ERA) takes the mound against opener Jacob Barnes (0-1, 5.40 ERA). Barnes opens up for Joey Lucchesi for the 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.

 

Former New York Giants QB Colt McCoy could become Kyler Murray’s backup

New York Giants, Colt McCoy

The New York Giants are parting ways with Colt McCoy after moving for Mike Glennon at the backup QB spot, but it might not take long for last season’s backup to find a new team.

From the looks of it, Arizona could be that landing spot and McCoy could end up in a similar situation to the one he was in with the Giants – backing up one of the league’s new generations of quarterbacks. Instead of Daniel Jones, it would be Kyler Murray this time.

According to a report from Adam Schefter, McCoy is visiting with the Cardinals next week. And it seems likely that this meeting could result in a contract to bring McCoy onto his next team at 34 years old.

This comes off a season where McCoy served as the backup to Daniel Jones and was thrust into the spotlight unexpectedly. Jones had trouble with injury in the second half of last year owing to poor pass protection contributing to an injury, and McCoy would have to make multiple appearances filling in for him.

During those 4 games played, McCoy threw for 375 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His most notable moment was when he and the Giants defense came up big to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the first game missed by Daniel Jones.

The Giants, however, would choose to move on at the backup spot and go for the slightly younger Mike Glennon. Glennon had a promising rookie season where he was the starter in Tampa, but quickly fell off after that and will now have to be content as the definite backup in New York behind Jones.

For McCoy, it doesn’t seem like things are so bad, though. His performance as backup last season may just land him at least one more one-year deal in his career, this time with the Cardinals.

How the NFL Draft shuffle affects the New York Jets

The New York Jets remained rooted in the second overall slot, but chaos erupted behind them on Friday. Where does that leave them?

Never mind the Super Bowl shuffle…the draft board boogie aired at full blast on Friday afternoon.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets respectively remain in the top two slots, but the landscape behind looks drastically different. At the cost of two future firsts, the San Francisco 49ers will now choose in the third slot. The Miami Dolphins, recipients of those Bay Area picks, dealt the No. 12 they gained to Philadelphia, officially situating themselves at sixth overall. 

How does this affect the Jets, still the ongoing holders of the No. 2 choice? ESM investigates…

No Way, Darnold

Many assume that the 49ers, like the Jets before them in 2018, are trading up to the third pick to select a quarterback. Trevor Lawrence remains the consensus top choice to Duval, while many believe the Jets will take BYU passer Zach Wilson after team brass attended his pro day on Friday.

Despite being firmly entrenched in the rookie passer discussion, San Francisco has no imminent plans to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. But this move more or less eliminates them from the Sam Darnold conversation. If the 49ers are apparently comfortable with a lingering quarterback controversy between Garopoolo and, say, Justin Fields, there’s no way they would add a third name to that list.

This week has been one of the roller-coaster variety for Darnold. Corey Davis mentioned that he was under the impression that Darnold would be his thrower come September in his first New York statements. But the New York prescience in Provo dictates that the Jets are still exploring other options. If the Jets are ready to officially close the book on Darold, likely only one potential destination remains: the Carolina Panthers. 

Tua Time

Miami owned the third pick through one of the earliest chapters of the downfall of the Houston Texans: the trade for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. After Friday, the Dolphins have essentially turned Tunsil (who fell to their grasp at 13th overall in 2018 after the bizarre social media hacking) into six first-round picks over the next three drafts.

But the cold truth is that draft quantity means nothing without quality, and major questions surround a high-profile choice in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (No. 5 in 2020).

While many have pegged the Dolphins as a surprise playoff team this season after winning ten games, questions hovered around their quarterback position, especially after the Ryan Fitzpatrick safety net went to Washington. Trading out of the third slot essentially says they’re not looking for a quarterback. Even with the sixth choice, the best passers, including FCS stud Trey Lance, will probably be gone. With Atlanta rounding out the top four and possibly looking to prepare for the post-Matt Ryan era, we well could see quarterback taken with the first four picks.

From a New York standpoint, the upgrades to their front seven through Vinny Curry and Sheldon Rankins look even wiser right now. It’s possible they could use their latte first-round choice (the Seattle pick at No. 23) to further shore up their edge game, though cornerback options have also been analyzed.

Would the Jets be willing to trade too?

San Francisco elevator ride up the draft board ensures that they can get one of the three or four most-talked-about passing names in the draft. Could that inspire other teams to give the Jets a call in an attempt to find further passing stability?

Carolina’s passing conundrum is anything but solved in the eighth choice, their current depth chart topped by Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker. Denver could be trying to put pressure on incumbent Drew Lock. Stifling the tough of such a deal is the fact that neither potential partner has much to offer in terms of future picks (the best in terms of a surplus amongst each of them is day three picks in 2021). Either way, this shift will possibly have other quarterback-hungry teams trying to work their way through, so Joe Douglas might have some extra calls to field as draft day in Cleveland approaches.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants could supplement the loss of Dalvin Tomlinson through the NFL Draft

The New York Giants had a phenomenal offseason. They spent big money and landed top free agents like Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson to fill huge positions of need. Kyle Rudolph was another great addition that the Giants made in free agency.

While New York managed to add a lot of talent this offseason, they did also lose a crucial piece of their defense. Dalvin Tomlinson walked in free agency, signing with the Minnesota Vikings, leaving a hole on the Giants’ defensive line. Tomlinson was one of the Giants’ best defenders over the past four years. Now, they will need to replace the four-year starter.

The 2021 NFL Draft will provide the Giants an opportunity to replace Dalvin Tomlinson. However, this year’s draft class is considered to be a bit weak at the interior defensive line position. The top of the class has only one interior defensive line prospect considered to be a first-round lock. But the Giants would not be likely to take an interior defensive lineman in round one anyway. However, in the second or third round of the NFL Draft, there is a defensive line prospect that the Giants should make a top target.

Alim McNeill stats and highlights

Run-stuffing interior defensive linemen are a dime a dozen. But interior defensive linemen that can rush the passer and possess great athleticism are a little rarer. NC State’s Alim McNeill is a rare prospect. He’s a big boy, playing his 2020 season at 340 pounds. But he has some sneaky athleticism to his game. Check out this video of McNeill hitting 18 miles per hour on a treadmill:

Empire Sports Media was fortunate enough to speak with Alim “Dream” McNeill in an exclusive interview this month. Right now, McNeill said he is 319 pounds, the weight he plans on playing at in the NFL. This will give Alim positional flexibility. When we asked him about his defensive alignment at the next level, Alim said he is “comfortable in all the positions on the D-Line, whether it’s the 0, 1, 2i, 3, 4i, whatever it is.”

McNeill primarily played nose tackle/0-tech at NC State. The Giants just lost their nose tackle, Dalvin Tomlinson, in free agency. Alim McNeill makes a lot of sense for the Giants as a replacement. He is a talented defensive line prospect that can stuff the run and provide the added bonus of being an explosive pass-rusher.

Alim McNeill posted 10 sacks through 32 career games and, according to Pro Football Focus, had a 9.3% pass-rush win rate, far above the draft class average from his position.

Alim’s run-defense grade via PFF was 92.1 with a 77.5 pass-rushing grade. He has the ability to make plays in both facets of the game. If he is on the board in the second or third round, the Giants should greatly consider drafting Alim McNeill. As an added bonus, McNeill did mention in his interview with ESM that he “would love to be a Giants!” Giants fans would love to have Alim McNeill, a smart, young, explosive defensive lineman that can make plays against the run and the pass.

NASCAR: Three drivers to watch in Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race

For the first time in nearly 51 years, the NASCAR Cup Series is getting dirty! NASCAR’s best head to a dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway for a 250-lap duel in Tennessee. The field will be set by four 15-lap qualifying races consisting of nine or ten cars based on a random draw. Some Cup Series drivers are experienced in dirt racing, while others have very little experience. Here are three drivers to watch this weekend on dirt in Bristol.

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson has gained the reputation of being one of the best dirt late model racers out there. He won over 40 dirt races in 2020 while suspended from NASCAR and is a two-time reigning Chilli Bowl Nationals winner, the dirt equivalent of winning a Daytona 500. Larson also won the 2016 Truck Series dirt race at Eldora Speedway.

In the 2021 Cup Series, Larson already has a victory and two other races in which he was very close. He wrecked late at the Daytona Road Course while in contention for the win, and dominated last weekend at Atlanta before getting passed late by Ryan Blaney. Expect Larson to run up front all race on Sunday.

Christopher Bell

Similar to Larson, Christopher Bell has also gained a strong dirt reputation. He’s won countless World of Outlaws events and won the Chilli Bowl Nationals in three consecutive years (2017-2019). He also won the 2015 Truck Series race at Eldora.

Bell has gotten off to a strong start this season, winning at the Daytona Road Course and currently sitting 9th in the points standings after a 21st place finish last weekend in Atlanta. Bell is one of the favorites on Sunday, and expect him to run towards the front at the end of the race.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch hasn’t proven to necessarily be as strong of a dirt racer compared to Larson and Bell, but the difference is that Busch already has practiced on the dirt configuration. He ran in the Bristol Dirt Nationals last weekend, finishing second in the B-Main, and then 11th in the A-main race.

Busch picked up another top-5 last weekend at Atlanta but has yet to secure his first win of 2021. Experience pays off, so expect Kyle Busch to have a strong chance at victory on Sunday in Bristol.

 

 

The New York Knicks stayed relatively quiet at the trade deadline, and that’s a good thing

Thursday’s trade deadline came and went for the New York Knicks, and the team remained relatively quiet. New York was involved in a small three-team trade, resulting in the departures of Austin Rivers and Iggy Brazdeikias, both of whom were out of the team’s regular rotation. Rivers went to Oklahoma City and Brazdeikias went to Philadelphia, with the Knicks receiving Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, and two future second-round picks in return. The Knicks waived Poirier once the deal was complete.

Upon arrival in New York, Ferguson isn’t expected to have a role in the rotation. He’s scored just one basket in 13 appearances with the Thunder this season.

All things considered, the Knicks stayed relatively quiet this trade season. The team made a significant trade earlier in the season when they acquired Derrick Rose, but didn’t make any additional moves with the deadline ticking down. No Lonzo Ball, no DeMar DeRozan, no Victor Oladipo.

And that’s a good thing.

The Knicks are kind of in a funny position this season where they are still in the middle of a rebuild, but also contending for a playoff position at the same time. They have their star in Julius Randle, averaging a cool 23 points and 11 rebounds per game, along with budding star RJ Barrett. After a brutal start to the season, Barrett has turned things around on both ends of the floor, playing lockdown defense and averaging nearly 18 points per game.

To complement the two, the Knicks have a strong core in Mitchell Robinson, Reggie Bullock, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, Elfrid Payton, and Nerleans Noel. All of these players are making an impact on both ends of the floor, and have contributed to the Knicks having the best defense in the league.

This all being said, the Knicks aren’t in any rush to win right now. Although the Knicks are in the playoff picture and have a reasonable chance to win a playoff series, the team is by no means a title contender. The Knicks once again have two first-round picks in the upcoming NBA draft, meaning they have two more opportunities to grab young stars.

So by staying quiet this trade deadline, the Knicks finally started thinking smarter. They realized that if they draft and scout right, they can acquire two more impact players this summer to help the team make a title run a few years down the line. Between now and then, Barrett, Quickley, and other young stars on the team will continue to develop and improve. Plus, making significant trades now could result in the Knicks losing important players in the current rotation.

Things are headed in the right direction for the New York Knicks, and staying quiet at the trade deadline is the best thing the team could do for the long run. If the Knicks can be in playoff contention with this inexperienced of a team, imagine what they can accomplish two years from now.

New York Yankee’s Spotlight: Aaron Judge and Aroldis Chapman’s new splitter

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

In this weekly column, we spotlight the New York Yankee who has made the most positive impact on the team during spring training for the week. It will spotlight one pitcher and one hitter that excelled beyond the rest. So far in spring training, both starters’ and relievers’ pitching has generally been better than the Yankee hitting. But one Yankee is standing out from the rest, and that is Aaron Judge, who had his first homer of the spring this week. The pitcher spotlight is on Aroldis Chapman.

The player spotlight is on Aaron Judge

Last night in Clearwater, Florida, Aaron Judge got his first home run of the spring that reportedly traveled 440′. Judge has gotten off to a relatively slow start this spring training. But that homer reminds us of the power that he has and what impact he can have on the New York Yankees when healthy.

Judge in 2017 looked like the next Micky Mantle or Derek Jeter. In his breakout year, he had 52 home runs with 157 hits and a batting average of .284. Since then, he has disappointed due to various health issues that have dogged him. The 6′ 7″ hulk of a man just hasn’t been able to stay on the field. He has missed at least 50 games since 2017. Last year he played in less than half the games. He started the season hot, hitting nine home runs in just eighteen games. After an injury, he never regained form.

This season he is totally healthy and could regain his 2017 form; it will depend on if he can stay healthy. After a slow start, he is finding his timing. If he gets on a tear, he could hit a homer every three or four games. Another good sign this season is that Judge seems to be more patient at the plate. He also seems to be striking out less. He has struck out only 12 times in 15 games. Also, having him on the field simultaneously as Giancarlo Stanton could be big for the New York Yankees.

The pitcher spotlight is on Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman is not Mariano Rivera; we all know that, but he is a hell of a closer even though he has given up the lead causing the Yankee’s early exit from the postseason two years in a row. If you remember Arizona, Mo could do the same. This season could be a big surprise for fans as he has always relied on his 100 mph fastball, but he has developed a new pitch over the past year that could make a huge difference in his success.

Chapman relies on that fire fastball but also throws in a slider and seldom a change. But now he has a splitter, and he will be using it more. The looks he can have will keep opposing batters even more off balance. On the YES Network last Saturday, Boone was being interviewed when Chapman was on the mound. He struck out the first hitter he faced on three pitches. His last pitch was his new splitter. Boone chuckled and said, “that’s gross.” Chapman’s splitter comes in at about 90 mph falls off sharply down and away from right-hand hitters.

“It’s been great,” Boone said in a Zoom call. “Even going back to last year, we felt like it was real and something that he could certainly incorporate.” Now that Zack Britton will not be available for at least two or three months while recovering from bone chip removal, it will be even more important for Chapman to perform now that Boone won’t have the option of mixing and matching. This new pitch could be just what the doctor ordered. So far this spring Champman has pitched in four games and has not allowed a hit.

 

Why the Knicks were winners at the trade deadline

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The NBA trade deadline officially came and went Thursday, and it certainly did not disappoint as there was a record amount of activity around the league, according to ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski:

Despite all these trades, the New York Knicks stayed relatively quiet during the trade deadline. They were involved in one minor three-team trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers that sent veteran point guard George Hill to Philadelphia. The Knicks parted ways with guard Austin Rivers, who was sent to Oklahoma City, and forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who was sent to Philadelphia, in exchange for guard Terrance Ferguson, 7-foot big man Vincent Poirier, and a pair of second-round picks.

Both players should not make much of an impact with the team and probably will rarely even seen the court barring injuries. It has also been reported by Wojnarowski that the Knicks are planning to waive Poirier, so that means they will have an open roster spot they need to fill.

So, all in all, it was a quiet trade deadline for the Knicks. They were interested in a number of players and even made offers to a few, but in the end, the asking prices were too much, and the front office did not want to ruin the strong chemistry of the current group.

Some Knicks fans are upset the team did not make more moves and felt like this was a missed opportunity to gain assets at the very least. I’m here to tell you why the approach that the team took is not a bad one and why they should be considered winners despite their lack of activity.

What has been one of the biggest reasons for the agony and pain that being a Knicks fan has come with for the better part of the last 20 years? It’s that the Knicks too often get desperate and throw away all their assets for a quick fix that ends up not fixing much of anything. Now, I’m not saying the Knicks were in position to make a move that big during this trade deadline, but apparently, teams were asking a lot for the players the Knicks were interested in acquiring.

The fact that the front office showed discipline and patience and did not rush to make any irrational decisions out of desperation is a huge positive. Who’s to say that the previous regimes would have done the same thing? Because history says otherwise. They were more likely to (over)pay up and sacrifice key parts of the future in order to bring in a guy who they think would take the team to the next level when really it ends up setting the team back. Knicks fans should be thrilled that the team has a front office in place that finally seems to get it.

Another reason to be satisfied with the Knicks’ approach is because of a fact I pointed out earlier, which is that they maintained the chemistry of the current rotation. There is no doubt that this team’s chemistry is at an all-time high, as they play hard, unselfish basketball every game and play for each other. We see the camaraderie and positive relationships that the players have with one another time and time again. It is clear that this group enjoys being around each other, and that is translating to winning basketball being played on the court.

Disrupting that by making a trade to acquire a star player could’ve negatively affected that chemistry in a big way, and it could’ve had real consequences on the court as well. That’s not to say the Knicks are set to win a championship with their current roster, but they are having fun and are very much in the playoff hunt, so why would you want to risk jeopardizing that? This season was supposed to be about establishing a culture and developing the young guys anyway, so continue to focus on that while seeing if you can get into the playoffs, then in the offseason, you can worry about plugging holes and improving the roster.

And finally, I understand the argument that the Knicks did not take advantage of their resources and add enough assets at the deadline. That is true, and it is the one area where I would’ve liked to see them maybe be more involved in, as they could have taken on bad contracts for young players and/or more draft picks. But the fact that they didn’t is not the end of the world. The Knicks did add a pair of second-round picks, which is something, but this wasn’t the only chance they had to add assets.

The Knicks will be entering this offseason with loads of cap space, and as usual, there will be plenty of teams looking to get out of bad contracts. The Knicks will have lots more opportunities to gain assets over the summer if they so choose. Plus, if they brought in a guy before the deadline, once again, they would’ve had to worry about fitting them into the rotation somehow.

This trade deadline may have been disappointing for some Knicks fans who wanted to see a guy like Lonzo Ball in orange and blue, but take a deep breath and focus on the big picture. I wanted Ball too, but he didn’t get traded to any team, so that means he’ll be very much in play this offseason since we know he’s unlikely to re-sign with New Orleans. The Knicks won’t have to give up assets for him either, since he’ll be a restricted free agent.

So relax, my fellow Knicks fans. We finally have a competent front office and a fun and surprisingly good team to root for this season. Let’s ride them out the rest of the way and see if they can make the playoffs. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Take it all in. And then we’ll worry about improving the team over the summer.

UFC 260 Preview: Sean O’Malley – Thomas Almeida

Sean O'Malley

Tomorrow night on the UFC 260 main card, we will see a highly anticipated bantamweight matchup. One of the young stars in the sport, “Suga” Sean O’Malley (12-1), is making his return against Thomas Almeida (22-4).

The last time we saw The Suga Show as back at UFC 252. O’Malley took on Chito Vera in the co-main event. Early on in the fight, I was encouraged by what I saw out of O’Malley.

His speed and feints were giving Vera issues and it looked like we could be heading towards another O’Malley win. However, Vera started to land some nasty calf kicks and one completely deadened the leg of O’Malley.

O’Malley proceeded to roll his ankle a few times and Chito capitalized to get the TKO win. It was the first loss for O’Malley, but there’s still a lot of UFC hype behind him. Prior to that loss, O’Malley had two TKO wins in 2020 after a two year layoff.

O’Malley is going to be looking to get back on track against Thomas Almeida. A few years ago, many were looking at Thomas Almeida as a future UFC champion. Almeida was 21-1 heading into a matchup with Cody Garbrandt.

Garbrandt ended up starching Almeida on his run to becoming UFC champion. Since then, Almeida has gone just 1-3 inside the octagon. The last time we saw him was back in October where he dropped a decision to Jonathan Martinez.

UFC 260 Prediction

When it comes to the hype around Almeida from a few years ago, I’m not sure it was really warranted. He had an incredible record, but a lot of that was padded. When the competition level really turned up, we saw him falter in the UFC.

However, you could also question the competition level of O’Malley. Now, when it comes to their skillsets, I really like Sean O’Malley. He’s longer, he’s crisper on the feet and he has very good skills on the ground that we really haven’t seen.

For Almeida to be successful at UFC 260, he needs to go right after O’Malley’s legs. Attack the lead calf and take the Chito Vera strategy. If he can’t, I think he’s going to get picked apart.

In addition to losing, we’ve also seen Almeida’s chin look incredibly suspect. If O’Malley lands clean tomorrow night, I think it’s over. In the end, I think O’Malley is going to get back on track with a TKO win at UFC 260.

Prediction: “Suga” Sean O’Malley by TKO – Round 1