New York Giants rated as second most improved receiving corps

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

The New York Giants came into this offseason with receivers as a large need, but that was mostly addressed through the draft and free agency. In free agency, of course, the team made the big name signing of Kenny Golladay to add a receiver that may very well finish in the top 10 statistically. And in the draft, they added a further weapon with first round pick Kadarius Toney after trading down.

Those improvements earned them the title of second most improved receiving corps by PFF. The only team rated higher happens to be the Giants’ neighbor, the Jets.

The Giants followed that splash free-agent signing by spending their first-round pick on another wide receiver. Per Zack Rosenblatt, Toney said that he models his game after Alvin Kamara, and like Kamara, his after-the-catch ability is rare. That’s something New York needed to add at wide receiver. The Giants’ wide receivers averaged 3.0 yards after the catch per reception in 2020, dead last in the NFL. Toney should help turn that number around.

The article by PFF mentions how Golladay and Toney aren’t the only additions. The Giants also added Kyle Rudolph, and while the signing has been almost forgotten since the start of the offseason, they also brought in 2017 top 10 pick John Ross.

A deep receiving group

Depth isn’t usually associated with the Giants receiving corps in recent years but the organization really does have a deep group this year. Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton are the top performers from the last couple of seasons, and they both return this year.

With the addition of Golladay as well as Toney, it’s easy to imagine Shepard and Slayton being able to work more effectively. Opposing defenses will be forced to focus on more than just them, and the Giants now have multiple receiving tight ends in Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph.

The pressure will be on for Daniel Jones now that he has more weapons than ever, but ultimately, the Giants have done about as good a job as possible at setting him up to win in 2021.

Mets Bullpen Dominates, Lindor Shines Bright For 4-2 Win Over D’Backs

The New York Mets went deep into their bullpen for the second straight night, but they held strong for a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Of course, offensive production is needed to win games, and the loving couple of Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor provided it for their fourth straight win.

Tommy Hunter has been with the Mets for just a couple of days but has been busy during his short tenure. After throwing two scoreless innings on Friday, he did the same as the opener tonight. Joey Lucchesi followed with 3.1 innings, where he allowed just one earned run. The following duo of Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup made their outings interesting.

Familia struck out his two batters in the sixth, but three weak singles loaded the bases in the seventh. After falling behind 3-0 to Christian Walker, Familia battled back to get him to ground out to shortstop, and Pete Alonso‘s swift footwork prevented a potential error. Loup allowed Stephen Vogt to get on base as the tying run after his RBI single but found his way out of the inning as well.

Trevor May got the closer job in the ninth, with Edwin Diaz unavailable after pitching the last two nights. May rose to the occasion and shut the door to finish off the victory. The pitching staff was not as dominant as it was on Friday, but they were terrific at tip-toeing out of danger. They allowed eight hits, two walks, and an extra three baserunners on errors but battled to hold the D’Backs to just two runs.

Kiss And Make Up

Only Lindor, McNeil, and the rest of the Mets clubhouse really know what happened in the tunnel on Friday, but both players have responded in great ways. McNeil opened the scoring and provided half the runs for the Mets with his two-run homer in the third inning. Lindor showed off his versatility when he turned instantly turned a walk into a run. When Lindor stole second base, the throw banged off his foot and into no-mans land in left field, which allowed him to chug around the bases and score. Lindor also remained hot with the bat as he had a double and an RBI single.

The Mets were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and had four hits, but three were for extra bases. They also recorded six walks and stole two bases after having five all season heading into the night. Kevin Pillar recorded a double to go along with his stellar defense in center field and Jonathan Villar walked twice as they continue to fill their roles perfectly with key Mets on the IL.

After stressing the bullpen arms in the first two games, the Mets are in a perfect position for a sweep, with Jacob deGrom heading to the mound on Sunday. Riley Smith will take the mound for the Diamondbacks for the 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees win a gutsy Cy Young game in the eleventh inning

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Today at the Stadium, the New York Yankees met up with the Washington Nations for game two of a three-game set. The game was delayed, but two and a half-hour rain delay. The game featured 3 time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer against 2 times Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber for the New York Yankees. The Nationals won last night’s game 11-4.

With Kluber on the mound to start the first, he faced Trea Turner, who on his first swing of the bat broke his bat, and the majority of it flew into the Nats dugout; no one was hurt. He ended up hitting right back at Kluber for the out. Josh Harrison struck out looking, and Soto bounced one to Kluber for the final out of a 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. At the bottom, with Max Scherzer on the mound, he faced DJ LeMahieu flew out to right. After having his 12 game hitting streak snapped yesterday, Giancarlo Stanton struck out at his first at-bat. Aaron Judge struck out for a fast inning for both pitchers.

At the top of the second, Ryan Zimmerman hit a single just off the glove of Gleyber Torres. Josh Bell struck out. Kyle Schwarber hit into a double play to end the half. At the bottom, Gleyber Torres faced Scherzer and struck out. Brett Gardner struck out. Clint Frazier struck out after battling; that was 5 strikeouts in a row for Scherzer.

Starlin Castro led off the third by lining out to LeMahieu. Alex Avila singled to right-center. Victor Robles singled when no Yankee was covering first base. Turner, with two on and one out, singled to right to load the bases. Harrison gound to third. DJ threw home Avila out at home. Soto walked, driving in a run. Zimmerman ground out to Torres, but Kluber got away with giving up just one run, leaving the bases loaded with Nats. At the bottom, Ford stuck out for the sixth strikeout in a row. Higashioka homered to left to tie the game at 1. Wade lined out to left. LeMahieu singled up the middle. Stanton struck out. New York Yankees 1 Nationals 1.

Bell led off the fourth by striking out. Schwarber struck out. Castro walked. Avila walked. Robles went down looking for a no-contact inning. Three strikeouts and two walks. At the bottom of the inning, Aaron Judge led off by striking out. Judge was 1 for 22 with 14 strikeouts. Torres struck out for Scherzer that was 9 strikeouts. Gardner struck out and went down in order. Yankees 1 Nats 1.

Turner at the top of the fifth inning by flying out to Judge. Harrison flew out to left. Soto popped out to Frazier for a quick 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. Frazier started the bottom of the fifth by grounding out to short. Ford flew out to left field. Higashioka struck out for Scherzer’s 11th strikeout of the game. Scored tied at 1.

Zimmerman at the top of the sixth flew out to Brett Gardner. Bell struck out. Schwarber doubled to right. Castro drove in Schwarber with a single. Avila facing Chad Green replacing Kluber struck out Avila, but the Nationals took the lead. At the bottom, Wade ground out to right. LeMahieu struck out swinging. Stanton popped out to the infield to end the inning. Nationals 2 Yankees 1.

Victor Robles led off the seventh by singling to Gardner. Turner hit into a double play. Harrison was called out on strikes to end the half. With Scherzer with 84 pitches was still on the mound. Aaron Judge led off the bottom by grounding out to short. Torres struck out swinging. Gardner struck out for Scherzer’s 14th strikeout, the most ever in the new Yankee Stadium. Nats 2 Yanks 1.

With Lucas Luetge on the mound for the New York Yankees, he lined out Soto. Zimmerman stuck out. Bell flew out to Judge for a perfect 1-2-3 inning for Luetge. At the bottom, Frazier faced Scherzer, and he walked for the first Scherzer walk of the game. Ford flew out to Soto. Daniel Hudson came in to face Higashioka, who went down looking. The Yankees pitch hit Wade with Miguel Andujar, who ground out to second. Nats 2 Yankees 1.

With Luetge still on the mound, Shwarber ground out. Castro lined out to Torres. Avila struck out for six up and six down for Luetge. With the Nationals closer Brad Hand on the mound, DJ LeMahieu took to the plate and walked. Stanton, with the crowd chanting MVP, ground out to third. Aaron Judge, with last licks for the Yankees, singled with DJ going to third. Torres had an RBI single driving in LeMahieu to tie the game. Aaron Hicks struck out. Clint Frazier lined out to second, but the Yankees tied up the game.  Scored tied at 2.

Robles up at the top of the tenth, with Stevenson as the ghost running and Aroldis Chapman on the mound, got a base hit, Stevenson moved to third base. Turner had a sac fly as Stevenson beat out a throw by Judge for the Nationals lead. Turner stole second. Harrison went down on strikes. Chapman walked Soto to face Zimmerman, who struck out to end the half with the Nationals leading 3-2. At the bottom and Clint Frazier as the ghost runner at second, Mike Ford had a sac hit to bring Frazier to tie the game up at 3 apiece. Kyle Finnegan came in to face Kyle Higashioka, who singled into the force at second for the first out of Mike Ford. Andujar popped out to short for the second out. DJ LeMahieu struck out swinging, but the New York Yankees tied it up at 3 apiece.

At the top of the eleventh, Justin Wilson pitched the ninth with Zimmerman on second. Wilson faced Josh Bell, who struck out. Schwarber flew out to Hicks for the second out. Castro went down looking. At the bottom, with DJ LeMahieu as the ghost runner, Stanton took to the plate, and with Tanner Rainy on the mound, Stanton walked. Judge walked to load the bases with no outs. Gleyber Torres had an infield single to have the walk-off win. Two Cy Young Award winners were not involved in the win. The winning pitcher was Justin Wilson, and the loser was Tanner Rainy. The final score was New York Yankees 4 and the Nationals 3.

New York Giants have plenty of depth in talented secondary

New York Giants, James Bradberry, logan ryan

The New York Giants had a top-ten defense in the NFL last season. New York’s defense won with a strong interior of defensive linemen and a dynamic secondary full of young, talented defensive backs. There should be more of the same in 2021.

The Giants doubled down this offseason and made some upgrades in their already top-tier secondary. They made a splash signing in free agency this offseason, inking outside cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal. This move potentially gave the Giants another elite starting cornerback opposite of James Bradberry.

But the New York Giants are no longer top-heavy in the secondary. They do not just have talented starters in their secondary. The Giants now have a secondary with talented depth.

Depth in the Giants’ secondary

The safeties

The New York Giants have a talented trio of safeties that will see significant playing time this season. Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan will build on what they started last season as the starting safeties. Ryan, that rangy ball-hawking free safety, and Peppers, that tough run-defending box safety. But the Giants also have Xavier McKinney entering his second season in the NFL. McKinney provides a nice blend of skills that would help him thrive in the box or in deep coverage. Expect to see the Giants run a lot of three safety sets this season to maximize the talent on their roster.

Julian Love will be the Giants’ depth piece for the safeties. Love got starting experience in his rookie 2019 season when Jabrill Peppers went down with an injury. Love was impressive and established himself as a perfect utility player for the Giants’ defense. Julian will provide depth in the Giants’ secondary as a safety, but he also has the skills and experience to fill in at slot and outside cornerback, too.

The outside cornerbacks

James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson could be one of the elite cornerback duos in the NFL this season. Bradberry played at an elite level last season, breaking up a career-high 18 passes with 3 interceptions and his first-career Pro Bowl selection. Jackson, however, barely saw the field in 2020.

Adoree’ dealt with a knee injury last season that kept him sidelined most of the year. This was his second significant injury in two years. Adoree’ Jackson is one of the best outside cornerbacks in the NFL when he is healthy. Since 2018, Jackson has the fourth-highest coverage grade when lined up outside according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 85.6. But his injury history does motivate the Giants to load up on depth behind him.

The Giants still have Isaac Yiadom on their roster. There were times where Yiadom was a liability in the Giants’ secondary last season. Isaac Yiadom might not be capable of being a full-time starting corner, but he does have experience and familiarity with the Giants’ scheme, making him a quality depth piece.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Giants once again prioritized the secondary. They drafted two cornerbacks this year: Aaron Robinson out of UCF and Rodarius Williams out of Oklahoma State. Robinson is likely to compete for the starting nickel corner position, but he has the versatility to contribute on the outside as well.

Rodarius Williams, though, is an outside cornerback that will begin his career as a quality backup. Williams forced 30 incompletions in his career (PFF). He has the aggression to play press-man on the outside, something of which the Giants want to do a lot more. Williams is a high-character, quality guy that will enter the Giants locker room. Check out our exclusive interview with him here.

Slot cornerbacks

The Giants are bound to have a competition at slot cornerback this summer. Darnay Holmes looked impressive in that role as a rookie in 2020. But New York added another slot corner in this year’s draft, Aaron Robinson. The two corners are both physical and have a knack for getting their hands on the football.

Regardless of who gets the start in the slot, the Giants have a good problem on their hands. They have two talented players that might be deserving of a starting role. That means that they have a lot of talent at the slot cornerback position and, of course, quality depth.

The Giants know the importance of having depth in the secondary. When Darnay Holmes and James Bradberry were both absent against the Cleveland Browns last season it was a long night on the field for New York. Baker Mayfield had his way with the Giants’ defense during that primetime matchup. Now the Giants have a deep secondary filled with young playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

New York Rangers Finish Season in Style with win over Boston

The New York Rangers could have just played out the season and left for vacation. Instead, the Blueshirts put in a strong effort in defeating the Boston Bruins 5-4 to wrap up their 2021 season.

Mika Zibanejad scored two of New York’s four third-period goals, and the Rangers ended their season by halting their five-game losing streak.

Keith Kinkaid made 28 saves before leaving with an injury midway into the third period. Igor Shesterkin finished up in goal with seven saves.

Alexis Lafreniere and Vitali Kravtsov also scored in a wild third when the Rangers overcame a 2-1 deficit. K’Andre Miller started the scoring with a goal in the first period. Pavel Buchnevich seemed a little snakebit with his puck shooting but did add three assists in the victory.

The victory will bolster the spirits of the New York Rangers

Heading into the offseason, the win against a playoff-bound Bruins team should help bolster the spirits of a young Rangers team.

That sentiment was echoed by Zibanejad in his post-game Zoom comments. “It means more than what you would think right now. Especially the way things have been going the whole season, especially the last 10 days or so, that’s been kind of crazy with the guys that are not here right now. The way we battled through it and get the win, that was good.”

In his post-game conference, head coach David Quinn noted that it was nice to give newly appointed general manager Chris Drury his first win. “I know all of us were very happy that we were able to get him that first one.”

After the firing of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton earlier in the week, it will be Quinn that decides which direction the franchise is heading, including on whether or not to retain Quinn as head coach.

Quinn also was pleased with the effort and the win stating that “it’s been difficult. It was great to finish the way we did.”

With the win, the Rangers will finish in fifth place in the NHL’s East division.

 

NASCAR: Three Drivers to watch in Sunday’s Goodyear 400

Alex Bowman, NASCAR

For the first time in seven, the NASCAR Cup Series makes a stop at Darlington Speedway for a scheduled spring race. The series went there twice last spring when NASCAR returned from their COVID-19 pause, but the events weren’t on the original schedule.

Sunday’s event is set for 293 laps and 400.2 miles around the 1.366-mile circuit. Brad Keselowski will lead the field to green while last week’s winner Kyle Busch will roll off third. Here are three drivers to watch in the Goodyear 400.

Kevin Harvick (+700)

Not many drivers have been able to tame the “Lady in Black”, but Kevin Harvick has done so three times in the Cup Series. He’s won two of the three races at the track last season, including the first race back from the pandemic. Harvick has 15 top-10s in 26 starts at Darlington, including 11 top-5s.

Through 11 races, Harvick sits 8th in the Cup Series standings despite being winless thus far. He has 4 top-5s and 8 top-10s, also earning many stage points. Sunday could finally be the day Harvick scores his first win of 2021, and he has a good chance to do so.

Erik Jones (+8000)

In less than stellar equipment, Erik Jones has had an up-and-down season. He’s 27th in the standings 2 top-10s in 11 starts and spent time in contention a few weeks ago at Talladega.

Jones has an opportunity to better his points position with a strong finish at Darlington. He’s finished in the top-10 in each of his six starts at the track, including a victory in 2019. His average finish is a stellar 5.2. Be sure to look out for Jones this weekend in the Goodyear 400.

Tyler Reddick (+4000)

Tyler Reddick has had a sneaky good 2021 season in improved Richard Childress Racing equipment. He’s finished in the top-10 in four of his last five races and currently sits in 18th place in the points standings.

Tracks like Darlington and Homestead-Miami where cars kind of just slide around the corners are Reddick’s best. He finished in the top-10 once last season in the Cup Series and also has a pair of top-5s in the Xfinity Series. Don’t be surprised to see Tyler Reddick contend on Sunday and potentially steal a win.

Knicks’ Julius Randle blasts Jae Crowder for trash-talk comments

new york knicks, julius randle

The New York Knicks are in the middle of a tough West Coast trip right now, having lost their last two games of the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. They are preparing to take on the LA Clippers and the Lakers in the coming days, but the Knicks must find a way to forget about their most recent games, especially a hostile and aggressive loss to Phoenix on Friday evening.

The Knicks held a commanding lead in the third quarter but allowed Phoenix to make a comeback and emerge victorious, being outscored 38-17 in the fourth. While Julius Randle scored 24 points and shot 50% from the field, their three-point percentage was degraded compared to recent games. The squad finished with a 34.4% success rate from beyond the arc, while the Suns hit on 43.9% of their attempts. They desperately missed rookie Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks in that category, as the seven additional three-point shots the Suns hit were just about the difference in score at the end of the game.

However, this game got a bit zesty at times, especially with Randle and Suns power forward Jae Crowder, who got tangled up at the bottom of the basket at one point. Randle is known for having a hot-head at times and occasionally lashes out at players or even referees for inadequate calls and actions. Both Randle and Crowder got in each other’s faces, proceeding to clash, landing Julius a technical foul.

After the game, Julius had select words for Crowder, stating his frustration and how Crowder handles his trash talking.

Per Stefan Bondy:

“He’s [Jae Crowder] just a frontrunner. He didn’t say a word in the first half. They were down and they tied the game up and he got a stop on me and wanted to say something. That’s just who he is. Everybody in the league knows it. But I’m not worried about him.”

At the end of the day, Crowder has helped Phoenix become one of the toughest teams in the Western Conference, and he has played a big part in their success this season. While his actions can be a bit abrasive, Randle needs to temper his reactions and ignore the trash talk. The postseason will only be worse and more intense.

Yankees: Good news and bad news in loss to Washington, taste of their own medicine

yankees, dj lemahieu

The New York Yankees lost their second consecutive game against the Washington Nationals on Friday, falling back to .500 on the season. After failing to sweep the Houston Astros in a three-game series, the Yankees are now looking to take down Washington, who have had their fair share of struggles this season. Unfortunately, they weren’t only beat, they were demolished, as Jameson Taillon lasted 6.1 innings and gave up three hits and three runs, including two homers. The bullpen failed to support Taillon, though, as Jonathan Loaisiga gave up four hits and five runs in just 0.1 innings. Luis Cessa didn’t fare much better, as Washington plastered the Yankees with home runs toward the end of the game.

Normally, the Yankees are the team hitting long balls routinely, but the Nationals gave them a taste of their own medicine, with a six-run eighth inning. Nonetheless, the Yankees have to put this game behind them, as they have another matchup on Saturday afternoon as they look to break this two-game losing streak.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

There was some good news to come from Friday, as the Yankees learned that starting third baseman Gio Urshela will be day-to-day after suffering an injury sliding into home plate. This is great news, as the Yankees recalled Miguel Andujar, who they stuck at first base and moved LeMahieu to third.

“He checked out pretty well after the game, and then the MRI confirmed that everything is structurally sound,” Boone said. “He’s got a little bit of swelling in there. Whether he’s back in there tomorrow or whatever, we’ll go day by day, but he’s doing a lot better.”

Offensively, it was nice to see DJ getting back to his old self, recording three hits and two homers, one in the first inning and another in the sixth inning. He is currently hitting .283 on the season with a .400 slugging percentage. However, the rest of the Yankee lineup struggled, recording a total of five hits compared to Washington’s 10. The Bombers aren’t going to score a plentiful amount of runs if they don’t make contact with the baseball in fair play, as they’ve been streaky as of late.
The pitching also struggled, but we can expect a bounce-back performance from the bullpen, as they’ve been quite strong this year.

Yankees dodge a bullet with Gio Urshela’s knee

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

After watching star infielder Gio Urshela leave the last game of the Astros series with some knee discomfort, the New York Yankees received some great news in the last few hours regarding the health of their prized third baseman.

Urshela, who presumably hurt his left knee while making a play on the field for the Yankees, underwent an MRI on Friday, and it showed no structural damage whatsoever. That qualifies as excellent news for a team that couldn’t afford to lose another infielder.

The MRI did show inflammation, though, so it’s possible Urshela isn’t back in the Yankees lineup right away. He is expected to avoid a trip to the injured list, so that’s a huge plus for a surging organization that need his offensive and defensive stability. In fact, there is a chance that Urshela us back out there on Saturday for the second game of the series against the Washington Nationals.

The Yankees could have Urshela back this weekend

“He checked out pretty well after the game, and then the MRI confirmed that everything is structurally sound,” Boone told MLB.com. “He’s got a little bit of swelling in there. Whether he’s back in there tomorrow or whatever, we’ll go day by day, but he’s doing a lot better.”

Just in case, the Yankees recalled fellow infielder and former Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar from Triple-A, where he had been having an explosive performance at the plate.

Andujar, who hit 27 homers with a .297 average back in 2018, was 4-for-6 with a couple of home runs in the early going.

“He’s been over there before, and he’s worked there before,” the Yankees’ skipper said. “We had him work there pretty steadily last week just so he could get enough reps in case a situation like this presented itself. He’s been doing good over there.”

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from loss to the Nationals

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

After winning two of three games against the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees entertained the Washington Nationals in game one of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium in that Bronx last night. This was a much weakened Nationals team that won the World Series in 2019. They had just come off a three-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees lost the ugly game 11-4.

Taillon vs. Corbin

Both Jameson Taillon and the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin pitched pretty good games. Corbin went 6 innings, giving up 3 earned runs, and Taillon when 6.1 innings giving up 3 earned runs. The cause of the Yankee trampling was for the second night in a row; the Yankees bullpen fell apart.

What is so unusual about this is that up to the third game of the Astros series, the Yankee bullpen had the lowest ERA in baseball. Where that stands, presently, I am not sure. In the 3rd game of the Astros series, one of the most dependable Yankees relievers, Chad Green, gave up 3 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning, Justin Wilson gave up 2 earned runs. Last night another of the Yankees’ best relievers, Jonathan Loaisiga, entered the game with an ERA of 0.98 and gave up 5 runs in 1/3 of an inning. Luis Cessa gave up 3 runs.

LeMahieu, Sanchez, Stanton and Andujar

CBS News, this morning, had a story on the “Season of the slump.” The story basically discussed how pitchers are getting better, and hitters are paying for it. Some of the Yankee hitters have been in prolonged slumps, but they are not unique; it’s all over baseball this year. Why is not clear, but better pitching is part of the reason. There have been four no-hitters already in the first five weeks of the season.  April 9, Joe Musgrove (Padres), April 14, Carlos Rodon (White Sox), May 5, John Means (Orioles), and yesterday, Wade Miley (Reds).

The New York Yankees have spent far too long at .500 or below, a stat; they have not suffered since 1991. Although some of that fault may lie at the feet of the pitching staff, most of it is because the Yankee hitters aren’t hitting. Last night the Yankees put together a lineup that had four hitters hitting at .202 or less. And on the bench were two more players on the interstate (.115 and .169). That results in low-scoring games and ultimately in losing games.

Miguel Andujar was added to the staff last night. He went 0 for 4. Giancarlo Stanton had his 12 game hitting streak broken, although he has been the Yankees’ best hitter this season, with the most hits, most home runs, and most RBI’s. DJ LeMahieu, while hardly in a slump by most standards, his batting average is almost 100 points less than his batting average in 2020 when he was the batting champ. It’s encouraging to see his two home runs last night and seeing him go 3 for 4 after going 0-5 the previous night.

Gary Sanchez, who has been in a season-long slump, hit his first home run since the first two season games. Sanchez is hitting .182. After just one home run in his last 30 games, manager Aaron Boone is already singing the praises of the failed catcher.

“There’s a lot of underlying things that suggest he’s ready to really bust out,” Boone said Friday, before Sanchez was one of a few bright spots in an ugly 11-4 loss to the Nationals at Yankee Stadium.

Yankee errors helped the Nationals

In his longest outing of the season, Jameson Taillon got cheated out of a possible win when the bullpen and Yankee errors may have robbed him of a win. The eighth inning last night was a mess for the Yankees. It all started with Torres, whose defense has recently improved. Hernandez hit a liner to him that he didn’t catch. The usually perfect Aaron Judge bobbled a ball in right for an error that allowed Hernandez to get to second. Following that, Robles reached when DJ LeMahieu threw wide to first. That put runners on the corners with no outs, and Trea Turner’s single up the middle gave the Nationals the lead. Then the bullpen collapsed, allowing eight additional runs putting the New York Yankees out of the 11-4 game.

“It’s not good timing for those errors to happen,’’ LeMahieu said. “It was just one of those innings. We didn’t help our pitchers out there.”