New York Giants: Cornerback prospects to target in the later rounds

The New York Giants are gearing up for the 2021 NFL Draft after a successful free agency period. The Giants made a few splash signings in free agency. One key signing that the Giants made was that of Adoree’ Jackson, a talented cornerback that could help make the Giants’ defense one of the top units in the NFL this season.

But the Jackson signing was a case where the Giants took a chance on a talented player with the potential for excellence, but the same amount of risk that brings the potential for disaster. Adoree’ has dealt with significant injuries over the past couple of years. But now he is healthy and the Giants are confident he can remain healthy and return to form.

Regardless, the Giants should look to add more depth to their secondary. It never hurts to have extra defensive backs on the roster. Cornerbacks and safeties are injured pretty frequently and New York knows all too well the struggles that can come from starting backup cornerbacks on Sundays. To prepare for that scenario, the Giants should target some solid cornerback prospects in the later rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Cornerback prospects to target in the later rounds

Tay Gowan

The Giants love tall, physical cornerbacks with the speed and length to matchup on the outside. Tay Gowan out of UCF fits that bill perfectly. At his Pro Day, Gowan was listed just under 6 feet 1 inch, 186 pounds, and flew in the 40-yard dash at 4.41 seconds.

Gowan’s speed and athleticism are noticeable on tape. However, there is not much tape to watch. This is why Gowan could be overlooked and fall to the later rounds of the draft. Tay Gowan opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. But in 2019, he was phenomenal. Tay has allowed the second-lowest passer rating allowed in single coverage since 2019 with a rating of 26.6 (PFF).

We had the opportunity to speak to Tay Gowan on Fireside Giants. Check out that exclusive interview here.

Thomas Graham Jr.

The Giants love drafting Senior Bowl standouts. Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. stood out as one of the best prospects at the Senior Bowl this year. Graham is a day two or three cornerback prospect for the Giants to target this month.

Graham Jr. is another prospect that opted out of the 2020 season. Mike Renner of PFF mentioned how many of the opt-out players at the Senior Bowl looked rusty. But according to Mike and every other talent evaluator in Mobile during the Senior Bowl, Thomas Graham Jr. was not one of those players. Graham did not look rusty at all.

Thomas Graham Jr. locked down all the top wide receiver prospects at the Senior Bowl. In his career at Oregon, Graham racked up 183 tackles, 40 Passes Defended, 8 Ints, and 10.5 TFL. He was an exceptional talent on Oregon’s defense.

Benjamin St-Juste

Benjamin St-Juste is another big-bodied outside cornerback that would make a nice addition to the Giants’ defense in the middle rounds. St-Juste is freakishly built for a cornerback, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds with an insane 80 1/4 wingspan.

This lengthy cornerback out of Minnesota has all the physical tools to be an elite press-man cornerback in the NFL. He has the size, length, and strength to succeed as a boundary cornerback. He is not an elite athlete, but he is a technical cornerback that the Giants could develop into a capable player outside.

Benjamin St-Juste is another player that stood out at the Senior Bowl. His 2019 season was an impressive campaign that saw Benjamin break up 10 passes and total 45 tackles. St-Juste is a physical cornerback and a textbook tackler. If he is available for the Giants in the later rounds, Benjamin St-Juste seems like a player that could fit nicely into Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme.

Marvin Vettori dominates Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 23

In the main event of UFC Vegas 23, we saw a fun matchup in the welterweight division. The Italian Dream Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) was looking to continue his winning streak against the entertaining, Kevin Holland (21-6).

Kevin Holland had about as good of a 2020 as you could have. Holland was a perfect 5-0 and he capped the year by knocking out Jacare Souza at UFC 256 in December. Winning that vaulted him into his first UFC main event.

Standing on the opposite side of him was Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22. Brunson used his wrestling and pretty much dominated Holland. Holland thought about dropping to welterweight, but a main event slot opened up against Marvin Vettori, he jumped back in.

Marvin Vettori was originally supposed to fight Darren Till at UFC Vegas 23. However, Till broke his collarbone and had to pull out of the fight. Vettori didn’t care who the opponent was, he just wanted to compete.

The last time we saw Marvin Vettori was in December in a headliner against Jack Hermansson. Vettori dominated the fight and earned the biggest win of his UFC career. A win today would put him right in the conversation for a title eliminator.

UFC Vegas 23 Recap

Round 1

There was no touch of the gloves to start the UFC Vegas 23 main event. Holland gets the striking started with a couple of leg kicks. Holland is very active with the kicks to start and one lands low. A very colorful response from Marvin Vettori after the low kick.

The two resume and Holland goes right back to work with his kicks. Vettori is moving forward, but the speed of Holland was impressive early. A clean right counter lands for Kevin Holland which forces Vettori to clinch.

Vettori continues to press forward after they separate. Again, Vettori goes back to the clinch and a body lock. Vettori tries hard for a takedown, but Holland was defending well. Vettori then switches levels, but he couldn’t get the takedown.

Holland started talking to Vettori and the separate. A few combinations from both men and Vettori once again goes back to the clinch. Vettori gets a body lock and uses a trip to finally land the takedown.

One minute left in the round and Vettori starts working his ground strikes. Holland uses a beautiful reversal to get top position and get back to his feet. Vettori goes right back to the pressure and the round closes. Close round, but I think it’s 1-0 Vettori at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 2

The second round at UFC Vegas 23 started with more pressure from The Italian Dream. A nice straight left lands for Vettori to start the striking. However, a nice combination and a big straight right hand lands for Kevin Holland.

Immediately, Vettori went right back to the wrestling. Vettori got deep on a double and landed the takedown. Holland kept looking for opportunities to escape, but Vettori was heavy on the pressure. Vettori lands a couple of clean ground strikes.

Holland throws his legs up against the fence looking for a submission, but Vettori stacked him and landed some good shots. Vettori settled back into Kevin Holland’s guard and went back to his ground and pound.

Holland again tried to use the fence, but he couldn’t do anything with it. Vettori lands some big shots on the ground, but Holland is able to get up after a brief scramble. However, Vettori immediately dragged him right back down. The round closes and it was a dominant one. 2-0 Vettori at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 3

Entering the third round at UFC Vegas 23 and Kevin Holland needs to keep this fight standing. Holland’s eye was closing as the round starts and Vettori right after the takedown as soon as the round started.

Vettori landed the takedown and immediately started to work his ground shots. Holland looked tired and Vettori immediately advances to the mount. Vettori gets an arm triangle and he’s going for the finish.

However, Holland remained composed and Vettori let it go. Holland then uses a scramble to get back up. A big straight hand lands for Marvin Vettori and he immediately chains it into a takedown.

Holland defended well and the fight stayed standing along the fence. The two separate with a minute left. Both men look very tired and Vettori goes right back to the body lock. Holland separates and lands some good shots before the bell. Still, a dominant round for Vettori. 3-0 Vettori after three at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 4

Entering the fourth round at UFC Vegas 23 and Marvin Vettori is looking a little tired. However, it doesn’t stop him from coming forward with a big 1-2. Holland throws some big shots back and lands on Vettori.

A wild exchange forces Vettori to shoot for a takedown and he gets it. Holland tries to force a scramble, but Vettori just stacked him and went right back into the guard.

Vettori takes Holland’s back as Holland tried to scramble. However, Holland was able to get back up. Vettori went right back in for a takedown and lands one. Vettori immediately landed in the mount and looked for the arm triangle choke again.

However, Holland defended well and got Vettori back to half guard. Holland was staying active on his back, but he couldn’t get Marvin Vettori off of him. The round comes to a close and it’s another dominant round for Marvin Vettori. 4-0 Vettori entering the final round at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 23 and Kevin Holland needs a miracle to win this one. Vettori definitely looks more fatigued entering the final round. Holland lands a couple of clean shots to open the striking and Vettori is hurt.

However, Vettori shoots for a desperation takedown and he lands it. Holland uses the fence to briefly stand back up, but Vettori immediately drags him right back down.

Kevin Holland just has no answer for the takedowns of Marvin Vettori. This was the same thing we saw a couple of weeks ago against Derek Brunson. Vettori starts passing the guard of Holland with two minutes left in the round.

Vettori gets the mount on Kevin Holland. However, Holland uses an explosion to get back up. Marvin Vettori goes right back in for a takedown and he gets it. With that, he just set a UFC middleweight record with his eleventh takedown.

Holland tries one more time to get to his feet, but he couldn’t get any separation. The final bell sounds and it’s going to be a lopsided decision for The Italian Dream in this one.

Marvin Vettori def. Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44)

Arnold Allen defeats Sodiq Yusuff at UFC Vegas 23

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 23, we saw a pivotal matchup in the featherweight division. Top eleven ranked contenders went head-to-head as Arnold “Almighty” Allen (16-1) took on “Super” Sodiq Yusuff (11-1).

Both of these top contenders were in a very similar position. Both are young, entering their prime and they’re both ready to make that next jump into the UFC‘s premier names at 145 pounds.

For Arnold Allen, this is just his eighth UFC appearance despite making his debut back in 2015. While Allen hasn’t been the most active, he’s definitely been effective. In his UFC career thus far, Allen is a perfect 7-0.

Sodiq Yusuff also held a perfect UFC record coming into today. Yusuff earned himself a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series and he hasn’t looked back. “Super” Sadiq has gone 4-0 and his last win came against the tough Andre Fili.

UFC Vegas 23 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 23 co-main event kicked off with no touch of the gloves. Yusuff took the center while Allen was bouncing on the outside. Nasty leg kick from Yusuff starts the striking. A lot of pressure from Yusuff early.

Yusuff tries for a body kick, but Allen catches it and lands a takedown. However, they were against the fence and Yusuff started using the fence to get up. Yusuff uses a guillotine choke attempt to reverse the position and a scramble has them standing again.

More pressure from Yusuff, but Allen lands a big shot that slows the pressure. Allen lands another clean shot, but Yusuff lands a good shot of his own. A big shot from Arnold Allen sits Yusuff down. Allen pushes forward but Yusuff recovers quickly.

Yusuff backs away and Arnold Allen lands a takedown. However, Yusuff again used the fence to get back up. Allen was heavy on the pressure as the two were clinched along the fence. The bell sounds and it’s 1-0 Arnold Allen at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC Vegas 23, it looks like Arnold Allen has the respect of Sodiq Yusuff. Yusuff goes right back on the pressure to start the second round. Allen was light on his feet and was sliding out of the way of the big shots from Yusuff.

A nice straight left hand lands for Allen and he follows it with an uppercut. A couple of clean straight right hands land for Yusuff. Yusuff is not swinging nearly as wild here in the second and he’s starting to touch Allen more.

Solid low kick lands for Yusuff. A big headkick lands for Arnold Allen and Yusuff is wobbled badly. Allen follows up and Yusuff goes down briefly. However, Yusuff recovered quickly and the two ended up in a clinch.

After a couple of knees from Yusuff, the two separate. More pressure from Yusuff and he lands a good leg kick. He forced a clinch after, but Allen immediately reversed the position and pushed Yusuff against the fence.

Allen was extremely heavy with the shoulder and head pressure in the clinch. The two break just as the round comes to a close. It’s 2-0 Arnold Allen here at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 3

Entering the final round here at UFC Vegas 23 and Sodiq Yusuff is going to need a finish in this one. Yusuff immediately moves forward and forces a clinch to start the third round. However, Allen immediately reversed the position.

Yusuff forces the break, but Allen immediately shoots in for another takedown. However, Yusuff defended well. Allen got up and forced a clinch against the fence. Yusuff then reverses the position on Allen and tries for his own takedown but couldn’t land it.

The two break and go back to striking. Yusuff was really loading up on his shots and landed a couple, but Allen was able to get a body lock and forced a clinch. “Super” Sodiq reverses the position, but there wasn’t a lot of urgency from him here in the third.

Allen reverses the position with 40 seconds left in the round. It just doesn’t appear that Yusuff has the energy to do anything to get the finish. The round comes to a close and I give Yusuff the round, but Allen the fight 29-28 at UFC Vegas 23.

Arnold Allen def. Sodiq Yusuff by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

New York Jets: A seven-round, post-Sam Darnold mock draft

With Sam Darnold having moved on, ESM envisions how the New York Jets’ replenished draft haul will look come April/May.

Sam Darnold is gone, resolving the question of his New York Jets fate. Now, another rises in his place: now what?

Following Darnold’s dealing to Carolina earlier this week, the Jets now hold ten picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on April 29. The last came from the Panthers along with two further choices in next year’s selections.

With Darnold’s New York term ended, how should the Jets spend this surplus? In the immediate aftermath, it’s a terrific note on Douglas’ resume that he has earned the Jets double-figure offerings in a single draft. But draft day quantity, of course, is never a guarantee of quality. The Jets learned that lesson the hard way during the 2014 proceedings. Then-general manager John Idzik held a dozen picks in the final draft in New York, but none of them remain on the Jets’ current roster and, in fact, only one (fourth-rounder Dakota Dozier, now a starting blocker in Minnesota) partook in NFL action last season.

How can the Jets make the most of their excess choices, especially in the wake of the Darnold news? ESM investigates through a full New York mock…

1st Round (2nd overall): QB Zach Wilson, BYU

One of the biggest wins of the Darnold trade was that the Jets now have an official deadline for their current quarterback controversy: the evening of April 29, after they make their second pick. Deshaun Watson is out for obvious reasons and they certainly won’t entrust Week 1 starting duties to Mike White or James Morgan. Thus, it’s a near-certainty that they’ll choose a non-Trevor Lawrence thrower with the second overall choice.

With a New York triumvirate (Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, Mike LaFleur) in tow for his pro day in Provo, it’s beginning to look like a Wilson-based future for the Jets. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter took it a step further, flat out texting Wilson “Welcome to New York” after the Jets-Panthers deal was completed. With this move, Douglas has officially solidified the Jets as his “own”, as the modern Jets will work with a head coach and quarterback exclusively chosen by the current GM.

1st Round (23rd overall): C/G Landon Dickerson, Alabama

So the Jets have traded Darnold, the latest of several offseason moves that have made them a better team on paper (if only because there’s nowhere to go but up after a 2-14 campaign). But their offensive line negligence has only gained a brighter spotlight. Dan Feeny and Corey Levin are acceptable options for depth, but they’re not guys that are going to push the Jets’ offensive needle in the right direction.

Dickerson, on the other hand, can be a difference-maker. Going 23rd would almost be an injustice to the 6’6, 325 lb. national champion, who was injured on a scoring play during the SEC title game. It was the last of several injuries he endured in Tuscaloosa, which has served as a red flag in several teams’ draft preparation. But Dickerson’s loss in position could be the Jets’ gain, as he brings an impressive resume that goes beyond his championship ring. He’s the current holder of both the Rimington and Jacobs Blocking trophies (sharing the latter with teammate Alex Leatherwood) and was a unanimous All-American last year.

2nd Round (34th overall): LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

The hullabaloo around a new quarterback…as well as some shrewd offseason maneuvering from Douglas and Co…has somewhat masked the fact that the Jets still have some defensive renovations to make. One of the smarter moves of Douglas’ winter was bringing in Carl Lawson and Jarrad Davis, both of whom have extensive experience with the 4-3 defense that Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich are set to install in New York.

Don’t be surprised if the Jets take a similar approach on draft weekend. Collins is among the top, if not at the top, of the 4-3 linebackers in the coming class. He likewise brings in a sizable trophy case to his NFL destination, one that includes the AAC Defensive Player of the Year Award (guiding the Golden Hurricane to an undefeated regular season in conference play) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (whose previous three winners include Minkah Fitzpatrick, Josh Allen, and Chase Young). Critics feel like Collins would have to improve his physicality to move into the first round proper, but he’s the type of day two pic that can contribute immediately.

3rd Round (66th overall): CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

As the post-Jamal Adams carries on, the Jets are still relatively thin in their secondary. Their safeties are on relatively solid ground…having franchise-tagged Marcus Maye and working on Ashtyn Davis as a project. But they’re still understaffed in the cornerback spots, where the current top options are veteran newcomer Justin Hardee (who’s primarily used on special teams) and raw, young talents like Bless Austin and Bryce Hall.

Thus, it’s worth exploring some cornerback options on day two, some more proven potential that can contribute immediately. Perhaps unfairly, Adebo has seen his stock fall after opting out of the 2020 season. He was previously projected to be among the first safeties to go in Mel Kiper’s 2020 draft board. He’s thus another project, but he has at least has some proven potential to work with (primarily as a player with the “ballhawk” classification) and could insert himself into a starting lineup fairly quickly.

3rd Round (86th overall): T Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa

The Jets have a perfect opportunity to make up for their relative inactivity in terms of upgrading their protection through the extra picks gained on the first two days. Their thrower’s blindside is protected through the first-round arrival of Mekhi Becton last season, but their questions on the right side. George Fant appears to be back in the starting lineup with Chuma Edoga behind him.

Brown, an FCS standout, could provide the proper heat to a veteran like Fant on the right side. His 2020 showcase has been thrown into disarray with uncertainty in what was Division I-AA football, but Brown managed to impress at both the Senior Bowl and UNI’s pro day. He has earned particularly strong reviews for his pass blocking and, in lieu of partaking in UNI’s ongoing shortened year, has been training with former All-Pro blocker (and Saleh’s fellow San Francisco alum) Joe Staley.

4th Round (107th overall): RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma

The Jets have an interesting running back situation. Signing Tevin Coleman can not only give the offense a proven weapon both on the ground and through the air, but also take the pressure off the new quarterback. Behind Coleman is a trio of projects who have raw potential: La’mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams. It wouldn’t be surprising for the Jets to add an upstart rookie to create a training camp competition. The addition of Coleman allows the Jets to address other areas over the first few rounds.

A failed drug test suspension kept Stevenson, a former JUCO star at Cerritos College, out of the Sooners’ College Football Playoff trek at the end of the 2019-20 season, as well as the first five games of last year’s campaign. He nonetheless led the Sooners with 665 rushing yards (6.6 average carry), capped off by a dominant 186-yard showing in OU’s dominant Cotton Bowl victory over Florida. Stevenson’s build (230-240 lbs.) could also allow the Jets to reestablish a fullback role, especially with Saleh and LaFleur knowing the benefits of such a position, having worked with Kyle Juszczyk in San Francisco. The Jets toyed with tight end and 2019 draftee Trevon Wesco in the spot over the last two seasons, but more or less abandoned the project last year.

5th Round (146th overall): WR Shi Smith, South Carolina

At receiver, the Jets did a solid job of upgrading their receiving weaponry for the incoming quarterback. In addition to Coleman (111 receptions from 2016-19 with Atlanta and San Francisco), they added promising young veterans Corey Davis and Keelan Cole to a group that already includes Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. But the third day of the draft would be a good time to find some depth.

Smith could be a potential project, especially one in the slot with Crowder due to hit free agency next year. His development in Columbia was slightly hampered by the Gamecocks’ unstable quarterback situation, but he still garnered some professional looks for his speed and athleticism (which could allow the Jets to establish the screen). Smith’s 57 receptions earned last season were good for fifth in the SEC’s shortened 2020 season. He can also add a little heat to the Jets’ return situation, currently headed by Corey Ballentine and Braxton Berrios, as he was second in the conference with a 21.9 kick return average during the 2019 campaign (albeit on a 12-return sample size).

5th Round (154th overall): S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU

As Brian Poole remains unsigned, the Jets could use a nickel/dime upgrade while potentially working on a safety project. While Washington’s size (5’8, 178 lbs.) is a concern, his ball skills make him an intriguing prospect to work with in the secondary. The underclassman has constantly defied odds, not only working his way through a tough size situation but also making an immediate Fort Worth impression by winning the Big 12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year Award. Working with Hardee could also allow him to make an impact on special teams.

6th Round (186th overall): TE Matt Bushman, BYU

At tight end, Chris Herndon is the one player left over from the Jets’ new uniform showcase in the early stages of 2019. While they did add Tyler Kroft…who will be a decent goal line option…Herndon still appears to be the top man in the position. Adding Bushman would not only put some heat on Herndon but also give Wilson a friendly face to work with in his NFL debut. Though Bushman missed all of the Cougars flirtation with a New Year’s Six bowl with an injury, he was their top receiver in 2019, notably uniting for 91 yards on six receptions in their final collaboration in the Hawaii Bowl.

6th Round (227th overall): K Jose Borreagales, Miami (FL)

The current pick gained from the Panthers in the Darnold trade can allow the Jets to address one of their most problematic areas: kicking. With an offense still struggling to consistently visit the end zone, having a reliable kicker will be vital if they want to remain competitive. Since the Pro Bowler Jason Myers left for Seattle two offseasons ago, the Jets have gone through six different kickers. The most recent pair (Sam Ficken and Chase McLaughlin) remain on the roster, with a competition potentially set to ensue. Last year’s draft showed that they wouldn’t hesitate to use a pick to bolster their special teams, using their last on Texas A&M punter Braden Mann.

New York needs a reliable name as their leg, and the primary boot in this draft is Borreagales. A native of Venezuela, Borreagales established himself as a South Beach kicking legend, first starring at Florida International before spending a fifth season with The U. Mirroring Mann’s Ray Guy Award, Borreagales would bring a Lou Groza trophy with him as the current holder. He was successful on all 35 of his extra point attempts last season and was 18-of-20 on field goals. One conversion was a 57-yard boot in a September win over Louisville, a primetime showdown that saw him score 17 points in a 47-34 win.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Yankees Recap: Domingo German bombs again in Yankees 2nd loss to the Rays

The New York Yankees again faced the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field for game two of the set. The Yankees lost game one 10-5. Both teams at the beginning of the game were 3-4 on the season. The game pitted Domingo German against Chris Archer. The Yankees were shut out 4-0.

DJ LeMahieu first faced the Tampa pitcher Chris Archer and struck out. Aaron Judge, back in the lineup, also struck out. Aaron Hicks, who has been struggling so far this season, got a base hit to right field. Giancarlo Stanton that had 7 RBI’s on the season struck out, giving Archer three strikeouts in the inning. At the bottom, Domingo German took the mound for the Yankees. German was hoping to rebound from his poor first start. Yashi Tsutsugo went down on strikes. Austin Meadows followed with a home run off the screen in right field. Randy Arozarena got a base hit to third. Brandon Lowe flew out to Hicks for the second out. Yandy Diaz flew out to end the inning. Rays 1 Yankees 0.

Gleyber Torres led off the second by popping out. Brett Gardner, who was very familiar with Archer, ground out to second. Gary Sanchez singled to far left. Gio Urshela ground out for another scoreless inning for Archer. Wendle led off the second with a single up the middle. Willie Adames singled. Brett Phillips with two on and no outs, Phillips grounded out, but the runners moved to 2nd and 3rd. Francisco Mejia singled off the glove of German, and two runs scored. Tsutsugo struck out, and Meadows flew out to Hicks. Rays 3 Yankees 0.

With Archer on the mound, Jay Bruce led off for the Yankees; he struck out. LeMahieu doubled to Meadows. With Judge at the plate, Archer apparently hurt something and was taken out of the game, replaced by Andrew Kittredge. Judge ground out into the shift. Hicks walked for men on the corners. Stanton struck out, leaving two on. Arozarena led off the bottom, homering, making it 4-0 Rays. Lowe and Diaz both struck out. Wendle singled. Adames flew out to Hicks, but the Rays picked up another run. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

Torres led off the fourth, flying out. Gardner doubled to far left. Sanchez flew out to center. Gio Urshela ground out to end the half and leaving Gardner on base. At the bottom, Phillips flew out to the wall, but Gardner grabbed it. Mejia flew out to Judge. Tsutsugo singled. Tsutsugo moved to second on a botched throw out by Sanchez E2. Meadows walked. Arozarena struck out to end the inning. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

Jeffery Springs took the mound in the fifth. Jay Bruce struck out. LeMahieu struck out, and Aaron Judge singled to left field. Hicks struck out to end the inning. Lowe at the bottom faced Justin Wilson replacing German that gave up 4 runs. Lowe ground out to Urshela, who rolled around and made the out sitting. Diaz walked. Wendle, hit by pitch, took first, two on with one out. Adames struck out. Phillips stuck out as Wilson got two strikeouts in the inning. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

Stanton popped out to start the sixth inning. Torres grounded out, and Gardner blooped to right for the final out of the half as the Yankees went down in order again. Mejia led off the bottom with Jonathan Loaisiga on the mound; he flew out to Hicks. Tsutsugo struck out. Meadows reached on an E5 when Ushela booted it. Arozarena singled two on two outs. Lowe struck out to end the inning. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

Gary Sanchez led off the seventh by flying out to right field. Urshela ground out to third; Bruce ground out to second as the Yankees’ lack of hitting continued. At the bottom, Diaz chopped to Torres, one out. Wendle struck out. Adames walked. Phillips doubled, moving Diaz to third. Mejia chopped to LeMahieu, ending the inning and getting Loaisiga out of trouble. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

LeMahieu led off the eighth inning. He walked. Judge struck out, and Hicks ground into a double play ending the half. Tsutsugo faced Luis Cessa at the bottom of the inning and struck out. Meadows went down on strikes. Arozarena ground out for a 1-2-3 inning for Cessa. Rays 4 Yankees 0.

With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees down by 4, Giancarlo Stanton ground out sharply to third. Gleyber Torres flew out to center, and Brett Gardner flew out to far center, and that was the game. Final score Tampa Bay Rays 4 New York Yankees 0. The winning pitcher was Kittredge and the loser Domingo German while the Yankees could only muster up 5 hits in the game and making two errors.

Mackenzie Dern submits Nina Nunes at UFC Vegas 23

The second fight on the main card of UFC Vegas 23 was a big matchup in the strawweight division. Fifth ranked Nina Nunes (10-6) was making her return against the rising contender, Mackenzie Dern (10-1).

After a lengthy layoff due to having a baby, Mackenzie Dern returned to the UFC in 2019. She looked very rusty and lost a decision to Amanda Ribas. However, she was able to really turn things around in 2020.

Starting in May, Dern was a perfect 3-0 with two submissions in the UFC. She continues to look better and better every time she steps in the cage. Dern was going to need her best stuff today in taking on Nunes.

Nina Nunes was returning from her lengthy layoff after giving birth. We had not seen Nunes in the UFC since June of 2019. That night, Nunes lost a decision to Tatiana Suarez.

However, that loss snapped a four-fight win streak that included victories over Claudia Gadelha, Angela Hill, and Randa Markos. This matchup at UFC Vegas 23 was pivotal for both of these top contenders.

UFC Vegas 23 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 23 strawweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Dern pushes forward with a ton of pressure and lands, but Nunes cracked her with a nice counter shot. The two exchange a couple of big shots before Dern forces the clinch against the fence.

Nunes is able to break and they go back to striking. A big leg kick from Mackenzie Dern lands and she follows it with a right hand. After that, Dern shot in and got deep on a single leg. Dern used a trip to successfully land the takedown.

After they were on the ground, Dern started trying to advance position. The Jiu Jitsu world champion was looking for a submission and she was able to advance to the mount position.

After getting to the mount, Dern started throwing big shots and she transitioned to working on the armbar. Nunes was defending well, but eventually Dern was able to lock it in and Nunes taps immediately. Beautiful performance by Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 23.

Mackenzie Dern def. Nina Nunes by Submission (Armbar) – Round 1

Mets Offense Fails To Support deGrom in 3-0 Loss To Marlins

The New York Mets continue to create innovative and disappointing ways to waste Jacob deGrom‘s stellar outings. In their 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins, the offense managed just three hits against Trevor Rogers, who outdueled the Mets ace.

deGrom and Rogers put on a classic pitchers duel. deGrom hurled eight innings, allowing just one run and striking out 14 Marlins. Unfortunately, a solo home run to Jazz Chisholm was all the fish needed to support Rogers. deGrom came out with his blazing fastball during the first two innings, but Chisholm’s homer forced him to adjust. He went back to being a complete pitcher using all three of his magnificent pitches to keep Marlins hitters guessing. Two more runs in the ninth off, Edwin Diaz gave the Marlins more than enough to complete the victory.

Rogers showed why the Marlins are very high on his future. He worked in and out of jams throughout the latter part of his outing and ended up striking out 10 on the day. Rogers set the tone in the first inning when he worked out of a first and third situation to keep the Mets scoreless. He also slithered his way out of a first and second with none out by retiring the 2-3-4 hitters in order.

Help The Guy Out

The loss makes the Mets 36-42 in deGrom’s starts since the 2018 season. deGrom was even responsible for one of the team’s three hits. They went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and dropped their season average with RISP below .150. There was little fight towards the end as 12 Mets in a row were retired to end the game. Michael Conforto continued his slump with an 0-for-4, three strikeout game and heard vociferous boos from the small contingent at Citi Field.

Through five games, the Mets are 2-3 and are lucky their record is not worse. Their starting pitching deserves a 4-1 record, but their offense is more of a 1-4 team. Either way, the Mets need to do a better job supporting the starting pitching they have received early in the season.

Marcus Stroman makes his second start of the season while the Marlins are waiting to name a starter. Sunday’s rubber game of the series is another 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Daniel Rodriguez picks Mike Perry apart at UFC Vegas 23

Kicking off the main card of UFC Vegas 23 on ABC was a fun welterweight scrap between Mike Perry (14-7) and Daniel Rodriguez (13-2). Both of these men were looking to bounce back from losses in their last fights.

For Mike Perry, he’s looking for 2021 to be a lot better than 2020. Perry was in the news several times for things outside of his performances in the UFC. And inside the octagon, his last performance left much to be desired.

Perry badly missed weight and lost a decision to Tim Means. However, Perry seems to have rededicated himself after the birth of his son. Perry has been training with the likes of Colby Covington and he made weight with no problems this weekend.

Daniel Rodriguez suffered his first UFC loss in his last fight back in December. That loss snapped a nine-fight win streak that brought him to the octagon. Both of these men were in need of a big win today.

UFC Vegas 23 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 23 welterweight contest opened with a touch of the gloves. Perry opens the striking with a good leg kick. Rodriguez throws a high kick and tries to follow with a left, but both miss.

As Perry steps in, Rodriguez pops him with a left. Rodriguez looks incredibly quick on the feet here in round one. Perry comes in again, but Rodriguez clips him with a counter. Good body kick lands for Rodriguez, but Perry counters with a right.

A big 1-2 lands for D-Rod that hurts Mike Perry. Rodriguez pushes forward to pour it on, but Perry recovered quickly. Again, the speed Rodriguez was really bothering Mike Perry here in the first round.

Another big 1-2 lands for D-Rod and he follows it with another big 1-2. Perry shoots in and gets deep on a double leg and he slams Rodriguez to the ground. Perry spends the rest of the round on top, but I still give the round to Rodriguez. 1-0 D-Rod after one at UFC Vegas 23.

Round 2

Going into the second round at UFC Vegas 23 and it’s apparent that Mike Perry needs to go to his wrestling. A good calf kick opens the striking for Mike Perry here in the second. Rodriguez looks for the 1-2, but he was a bit out of range.

Both men trade big body kicks. A nice straight left hand lands for Rodriguez. D-Rod pops the head of Mike Perry with back-to-back crisp jabs. Another stiff jab lands for Rodriguez.

Rodriguez lands another nice combination, but Perry shoots in and gets a body lock. Perry uses that to get another takedown. However, with both men close to the fence, Rodriguez was able to get back up.

Perry is coming forward with the pressure, but Rodriguez hits him with a clean uppercut. Straight left hand from D-Rod pops the head of Mike Perry. At range, Daniel Rodriguez was doing damage to Mike Perry.

Three big shots land for Rodriguez and Perry was looking a little busted up. Another 1-2 lands for Rodriguez. Perry tries to get another takedown in the final seconds, but couldn’t get D-Rod down. After two here at UFC Vegas 23 it’s 2-0 Daniel Rodriguez.

Round 3

Heading into the final round here at UFC Vegas 23 and Mike Perry is going to need a finish in this one. Perry comes forward to start the round, but couldn’t land in the opening exchange.

A nice leg kick starts the striking for Rodriguez. D-Rod moves forward and lands a good body kick and follows it with a couple of clean shots. Perry shoots in for a takedown, however, Rodriguez defended well and they went back to striking.

Big straight left hand connects for D-Rod. Both men were looking tired here in third. Perry’s back was against the fence and Rodriguez was just touching him up with straight shots.

Perry circles out to take the center and he starts trying to throw. However, Rodriguez continued to just pick him apart. The straight left was really hurting Mike Perry here in the third round.

A massive 1-2 staggers Perry briefly. Daniel Rodriguez shoots for a takedown, however, Perry was still able to defend. Perry’s face is busted up badly, but he didn’t stop fighting until the final bell. However, D-Rod should pick up the win here at UFC Vegas 23.

Daniel Rodriguez def. Mike Perry by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Mets place JD Davis on the 10-day injured list

The New York Mets, looking for some roster flexibility and with the best interest in mind about third baseman JD Davis’ health, decided to place him on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 7, with a left hand contusion according to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News.

The Mets’ third sacker suffered the injury on Tuesday, after being hit by a pitch on his left hand by a 90 mph Chase Anderson fastball and not being able to recover as quickly as the team had hoped.

X-rays taken to Davis’ hand this week were negative, but the Mets decided that they needed his roster spot for as many days as he remains on the shelf. He will now spend at least another week sidelined with his ailment.

In corresponding moves, infielder Jose Peraza’s contract was selected by the Mets from the alternate training site, and right-hander Franklyn Kilome was designated for assignment to open up a 40-man roster spot for Peraza.

While Davis is out, utility infielders Jonathan Villar and Luis Guillorme are expected to see more starts at third base and second base.

The Mets hope to have Davis back soon

Davis, acquired by the Mets before the 2019 season from the Houston Astros, is not expected to require more than the minimum stay on the injured list.

That 2019 season represented Davis’ breakout season, with the help of Mets’ hitting coach Chili Davis. He hit .307/.369/.527 with a .373 wOBA and a 136 wRC+, one of the best marks on the team.

However, last year he struggled to a .247/.371/.389 line and a .339 wOBA in 56 games, with six home runs. Even though he was still an above average hitter for the Mets by virtue of his 116 wRC+, it was clearly a down year by the talented slugger, who clearly suffered the absence of Chili Davis for COVID-19 related concerns.

Once he returns to full health, Davis will regain his third base position and start to find his rhythm back.

Yankees: Corey Kluber feels good about the way he executed pitches despite poor results

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees fell to 3-4 on the season after dropping the first game of their series against the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5 at Tropicana Field on Friday. The two teams are set to play the second tilt on Saturday, as Domingo German will take the ball for the Bronx Bombers.

By failing to win, the Yankees didn’t send the message they intended. “I mean, we always want to send a message,” manager Aaron Boone said to “We always want you to know who you’re playing. But the message is sent throughout the year with our play, and we have to play consistent and play well. And if we do that, we’ll be the team we expect to be.”

For a second start in a row, Yankees’ starter Corey Kluber didn’t produce the best results on an evening in which he faced a sneaky good offense.

Kluber, signed by the Yankees this year to a one-year, $11 million contract, could only pitch 2 1/3 innings and ended up allowing five runs, three of which were earned. However, he was affected by iffy defensive play and some bad batted ball luck.

The Yankees’ starter had some terrible luck

As Jordan Horrobin pointed out, the second inning features three hits by the Rays with expected batting averages below .200, according to Statcast data. Two of those hitters came around to score and spoil Kluber’s line.

“That’s one of the funny things about baseball,” Kluber said. “I actually felt better about the way I executed pitches today, the way I felt out there. All you can do as a pitcher, honestly, is try to execute pitches. Once it leaves your hand, you’ve gotta flush whatever happens and move on to the next one.”

While it’s true that Kluber’s velocity has been down slightly to this point compared to the last season in which he pitched with some regularity, which is 2019, the Yankees’ veteran isn’t worried. His four-seamer has been averaging between 88 and 90 miles per hour and his sinker has been around 90. The former was at 92 mph and the latter at 91.3 two years ago. However, he said that velocity is “probably the furthest thing from my mind.”

Kluber has been historically better during the summer months than during April or May. The Yankees are hoping that’s still the case and he can turn things around.