Mets Ninth Inning Rally Comes Up Short in 3-2 Loss to Rockies

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets‘ offensive struggles continue as they were outscored 3-2 by the Colorado Rockies in the first game of their series. Colorado is notorious for their lack of offense on the road, but they figured out a way to outscore the Triple-A lineup the Mets rolled out.

David Peterson looked like he was going to have another short start after allowing two solo home runs in the second inning. He rebounded and put together a quality start where he allowed three runs over six innings pitched with just three strikeouts. Peterson did not have his best stuff but certainly pitched well enough to deliver a victory.

Fellow lefty Austin Gomber was the pitcher who had his good stuff. Gomber pitched eight terrific innings, pitching into the ninth, allowing two runs, and striking out eight. James McCann and Brandon Drury each tagged him for solo home runs and summed up the Mets offense. Drury’s homer started a ninth-inning rally, but the Mets stranded the tying run at second against Carlos Estevez. Offense was such a premium that each team only had one at-bat with a runner in scoring position.

McCann At First Base

McCann played his first career game at first base with the Mets in dire need of depth on their roster. On his first play, McCann made a sprawling play on a groundball to his right and made a perfect toss to Peterson for the out. Unfortunately, Johneshwy Fargas left the game with what looks like a shoulder or collarbone injury. Fargas suffered the injury after slamming into the center field fence. With 16 players on the injured list, the Mets are running out of outfield options with Kevin Pillar, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto out of commission.

Luckily, Jacob deGrom returns off the injured list on Tuesday when he makes his first start in two weeks. Kyle Freeland makes his first start of the season after being sidelined with a shoulder injury. The first pitch from Citi Field is another 7:10 p.m. ET start.

New York Giants and Jets to play 2021 season with full stadium capacity

There’s good news for anyone looking to witness a New York Giants or Jets game live this season. For the first time since COVID-19 hit the sports world hard and resulted in MetLife Stadium closing to fans, both teams will play with full capacity in the stands going forward.

This was announced on a joint statement in Monday, where the Giants confirmed it following an announcement from Governor Phil Murphy.

We are thrilled by Governor Murphy’s announcement today to have MetLife Stadium operate at full capacity for the 2021 season. We can’t wait to welcome our fans back, creating the gameday atmosphere we have all been missing. We will continue to work to ensure the return of fans is accomplished in a safe and responsible way.

This is set to come into effect as soon as the preseason, which the Jets and the Giants are set to play each other in during week one. The exact date and time of the game has yet to be announced but the week one date makes it clear that the game will happen in August.

The Giants played the previous season with no spectators in the stands, even as other teams in the NFC East were able to open back up with partial capacity.

This, in the eyes of some, may have made a difference in their performances as the Giants had to go on the road in front of hostile crowds while having no home crowd of their own.

Whether last season’s situation was ultimately fair or not, it won’t be a worry this year – it’s unknown what health and safety restrictions will be in place at MetLife Stadium, but we can already expect to see the stadium filled once again.

New York Liberty: 3 stars from Monday’s win vs. Dallas

Despite losing Natasha Howard to an injury, the New York Liberty were able to sweep a back-to-back headed into a four-day break.

Forced to play three games in three cities over a four-day span, the New York Liberty learned in the most enjoyable way that two out of three isn’t bad.

Betnijah Laney scored 26 points, while Sabrina Ionescu (15 points, 9 assists) fell just short of a double-double en route to an 88-81 victory on Monday night at Barclays Center. The game was previously scheduled for Tuesday night but moved due to the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

ESM has three heroines from Monday’s game…

3rd Star: DiDi Richards

3 points, 5 assists, 2 steals 

The energetic Richards, chosen in the second round in last month’s draft, has quickly become a fan favorite in New York. She cemented that status on Monday through the basketball’s de facto equivalent of a hockey fight, diving for a loose ball late in the first half that more or less changed the course of the game. At the time of Richards’ gritty display, the lethargic Liberty trailed 39-31. Over the final 1:54, they went on an 8-0 run to create a tie game and go into the half on a good note.

2nd Star: Betnijah Laney

Death. Taxes. Betnijah Laney scoring 20 points in a Liberty uniform.

The trend came to pass once again on Monday, as Laney once again broke the double-decalogue plateau. She likewise dealt the Brooklyn fans an unintentional scare, as she took an elbow to the mouth in the penultimate minute of the ball game while going for a rebound. Fortunately, she returned to the floor and went on to sink several free throws that played a role in securing the win.

1st Star: Natasha Howard

17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists

Time will tell if Howard is able to build on her strong debut. The three-time WNBA champion left Monday’s game with a late knee injury sustained while setting a pick, but she made her prescience felt. What’s impressive about her early showings is that she has yet to partake in a single practice with the team, having only joined the team on Sunday, immediately before this back-to-back.

The Liberty (5-1) return to action on Saturday afternoon against the Atlanta Dream at Barclays Center (2 p.m. ET, YES App/Amazon Prime). 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

UFC: Joshua Fabia says Diego Sanchez was forced to throw a fight

Just when you thought we were done with this whole UFC situation with Diego Sanchez (30-13) and Joshua Fabia. Today, we learned of another wrinkle in story that continues to gain more and more legs as the days go on.

Let’s start at the beginning. Several weeks ago now, it was announced that Diego Sanchez was out of his UFC Vegas 26 fight against Donald Cerrone. The reasons were not very clear at the time as to why Sanchez was pulled from the fight.

Following that news, Diego Sanchez started posting videos on his Instagram of interactions with UFC staff. First, Sanchez leaked a commentators meeting that took place back on Fight Island when the commentators were confronted by his coach Joshua Fabia.

Following that, Sanchez and Fabia released audio of Fabia’s call with UFC lawyer Hunter Campbell. After all of this, the UFC released the original Ultimate Fighter winner and paid him his show and win money for his final fight.

Throughout this whole ordeal, fellow fighters have begged Sanchez to separate himself from Joshua Fabia. Well, the UFC veteran announced in the last few days that he had cut ties with Fabia completely.

However, you had to know that we’d hear from Fabia. Fabia appeared on Behind The Scene with Summer Helene today where he revealed some incredible stuff including the fact that he says Diego Sanchez was forced to throw his UFC 239 matchup against Michael Chiesa.

Was Sanchez forced to throw his fight at UFC 239?

Fabia said of UFC 239, “So, this moment happens where the Nevada State Athletic Commission comes in and leans on Diego, and he has to throw a f*cking fight. I have them recorded. You go watch the fight, and it’s the only fight in Diego Sanchez’s history that he never threw a punch.”

“The way that they did it, is in the lean, which is in talking to somebody and dangling their license and explaining, ‘Are you really trying to hurt this man? You’re not trying to hurt him, are you Diego? You’re a sportsman, Diego. You’ve always been a good guy, Diego.”

Of course, Sanchez lost a lopsided decision to Michael Chiesa that night. I don’t believe for a second that the Athletic Commission asked Sanchez to throw his fight at UFC 239. I do on the other hand believe that Joshua Fabia is a complete hack.

Later in the interview, Fabia said that he believes that Sanchez took advantage of him during their professional relationship. Listen, if anyone was taken advantage of, it was Diego Sanchez. I’m sure we will learn more about this story, but this was remarkable.

Mets’ get their star pitcher back for Tuesday game

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

After being removed from his May 9 start against the Arizona Diamondbacks before starting the sixth inning with tightness on his right side, New York Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom is set to return to the big league roster to take the ball on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies.

The piece of news was provided by Mets’ manager Luis Rojas, per the team official site. In the end, deGrom ended up missing two turns in the rotation with the ailment, but over the weekend, he proved he is just fine by touching 102 mph in the radar gun and striking out eight of the 10 foes he faced in a rehab outing in Low-A.

Sunday was also a throwing day for the Mets’ two-time Cy Young Award winner, and he aced the test with a clean, successful bullpen session in Miami.

“Everything really looked good,” Rojas said. “We are still going to monitor the rest of today and tomorrow, but he is on track [to pitch on Tuesday].”

The Mets need deGrom

The Mets have benefited from having an in-form deGrom in the early going. The right-hander is 3-2 with a minuscule 0.68 ERA and a fantastic 2.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

In other injury-related news, Mets’ outfielder Kevin Pillar had nasal surgery on Friday and was scheduled to begin light baseball activities on Monday.

“[The plan is to] see how he keeps progressing post surgery and see what he is able to do,” Rojas said.

Relief pitcher Dellin Betances (right shoulder) threw a bullpen session, while infielder Jose Peraza (right leg contusion) is expected to be available for the next game.

JD Davis, the Mets’ third baseman, didn’t play on Sunday with a stiff neck, but is expected to return to the Triple-A lineup for a couple more games this week before being activated from the injured list, where he is with a finger issue.

New York Yankees Report Card: The Bronx “Killers,” what lies ahead?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

In the last few weeks, the New York Yankees have become the baseball team to beat, and the opposition, for the most part, can’t seem to turn back the Yankee’s mission. That mission is a 28th World Championship. They already have the most championships in all sports.

Before the 2021 season started, the New York Yankees looked like it had its best chance at accomplishing that goal that they have had in years. Two major competitors seemed to be far less strong. The Boston Red Sox with a new controversial manager and in complete disarray, and a Tampa Bay team that had traded away some of their best pitchers that were Yankee Killers.

Then everything was turned on its head. The Yankees got off to a plodding start (5-10) while the Tampa Bay Rays outplayed them (7-8), and to add insult to injury, the Yankees were 1-5 against them. The bigger surprise for the Yankees was that the hapless Red Sox were 10-5 during the same fifteen-game period.

Fifteen games into the season, Yankee fans were filled with doom and gloom and completely puzzled why their best baseball lineup wasn’t performing, and the completely revamped pitching staff was shaky at best. The one bright spot was the Yankee bullpen that was outstanding when called upon, often so often that some feared it would collapse.

Then the baseball world got turned on its head again. From April 22 to the present day, the New York Yankees are the winningest team in baseball (23-9). They have pulled themselves out of the AL East cellar to number three, winning 8 of their last 10 games. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the Boston Red Sox somehow plays great baseball leading the AL East. The Yankees have yet to play the Red Sox but will for six games in June.

What has changed for the New York Yankees is that the pitching has been off the wall excellent as all the rust seems to have been shaken off. The once sluggish lineup has come to life and appears to be in killer mode after so many series wins and culminating in a sweep of the best in the AL Central, Chicago White Sox. It seems that the Yankees will only get better with the return of Giancarlo Stanton, Zack Britton, Clarke Schmidt, and eventually Luis Severino. Let’s take a look at how our players are performing.

Gerrit Cole, A+

Record 6-2, ERA 1.81. Gerrit Cole has been absolutely amazing this season, considering he has gotten pretty poor run support. He is second in all of baseball with 92 strikeouts. He also has gone deeper into games than any other Yankee pitcher.

Corey Kluber, A

Record 4-2, ERA 2.86. After a slow start in the last several games, Corey Kluber has shown that he can be the Cy Young Award pitcher that he has been in the past. Over the weekend, he recorded the Yankees’ 12th no-hitter against the White Sox.

Domingo German, A

Record 4-2, ERA 3.05. After a rough start being sent down to Scranton, he had returned to his 2019 form when he was 18-4. The New York Yankees have won the last six of his starts. He has also saved the bullpen going deep into games.

Jordan Montgomery, B+

Record 2-1, ERA 4.07. Montgomery has been pretty good but also quite inconsistent. Other than Gerrit Cole, he is second in strikeouts but also suffered from a lack of command. Four of his starts have been for five or fewer innings.

Jameson Taillon D+

Record 1-3, ERA 5.06. Jamison Taillon has not fully shaken off all the rust from his lack of pitcher after two Tommy John surgeries. His last outing against the White Sox was one of his best.

Aroldis Chapman A+

Relief record 4-0, ERA 0.47. Chapman, with the addition of his new splitter and has been lights out, going 19 games without giving up a run and recording almost 2.1 strikeouts a game. Last night he proved he was human by giving up his first run of the season.

Jonathan Loaisiga A

Relief record 3-2, ERA 2.49. Loaisiga, ever since spring training, has been manager Boone’s most dependable reliever.

Lucas Luetge B+

Relief record 2-0, ERA 2.95. Luetge, after a long time out of the majors, was given a change by the Yankees, and he has not disappointed this season.

Chad Green  B

Relief Record 0-3, ERA 2.25. Chad Green is Chad Green the most dependable reliever the Yankees have had over the last several years. This season he has been put into some challenging situations but still has a love 2.25 ERA.

Luis Cessa C

Relief no record, ERA 3.00. Luis Cessa still isn’t into full relief mode, but history shows he gets better as the season progresses. Still, an ERA of 3.00 is nothing to sneezy at.

Aaron Judge A+

Batting average .308. After a slow start to the season, Aaron Judge has been gain busters lately, hitting 12 home runs and leads the team in hits. If he continues at this pace, he could reach over 40 home runs on the season. He also has been better at contact hitting this season.

Giancarlo Stanton A+

Batting average .282. Before going on the IL with a quad strain, Stanton led the team in home runs and was the spark that ignited the team. Luckily the Yankees should see him back with the team this week.

Gleyber Torres A

Battin average .282. Gleyber Torres got a lot of flack at the begging of the season for poor field play, and he wasn’t hitting. That has all changed; he has been on fire for the last two weeks in the field and at the plate. In the White Sox series, he was responsible for seven of the fourteen runs scored.

Gio Urshela B+

Batting average .277. Gio Urshela continues to shine at the hot corner making amazing play after amazing play. He has also been the most consistent Yankee hitter, performing at key moments.

DJ LeMahieu B

Batting average .260. LeMahieu is still one of the Yankee’s best hitters but is not performing anywhere near like he did last season. He batts a full 100 points below the average he ended up with last year, earning the baseball batting title.

Brett Gardner C

Batting average .208. Gardner is not hitting this year and has yet to hit his first home run of the season. But he is better than several of the bench players. In the field, he hasn’t lost a beat, making incredible plays.

Clint Frazier D

Batting average .171. Frazier has hit pretty poorly so far in the season, although he seems to be coming into form of late. This season’s main asset to the team is his stellar play in the field, making so wild diving catches and taking runs away from opponents.

Gary Sanchez D-

Batting average .181. Gary is Gary, still not hitting and only being average behind the plate. He also doesn’t hit at key moments and has only 14 RBI’s on the season. Yankee fans don’t expect much from him either. He has lost his starting catcher designation, with Kyle Higashioka catching most of Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber’s starts.

Some players did not get report cards due to not playing in enough games or being in the IL for a prolonged period.

Rose Namajunas next opponent still not clear after UFC Vegas 27

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 27, Carla Esparza (18-6) took on Yan Xiaonan (13-2, 1 NC). Many people were thinking that the winner would likely get the next crack at the UFC strawweight title.

Xiaonan had the most hype coming into the matchup. She was a perfect 6-0 in the UFC and none of her fights had really been that close. Carla Esparza is a former UFC strawweight champion, but she often gets overlooked by everyone.

Esparza was the first strawweight champion for the promotion when she defeated Rose Namajunas (10-4) back in 2014. However, the reign was short lived as Esparza was destroyed by Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first title defense.

Since then, Esparza has gone 8-3 in the UFC, but a few of those wins were razor close split decisions. Heading into UFC Vegas 27, Esparza had won four fights in a row, but she needed a signature win to get in the title conversation.

Well, Esparza completely dominated Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 27. Xiaonan had no answer for the wrestling of Esparza and Esparza battered her on the ground. Ultimately, she picked up the second round TKO victory on Saturday night.

Next UFC title challenger still not clear

After her dominant win, Esparza made her case in her post-fight interview that she deserves the next shot at Rose Namajunas. Esparza holds a victory over the current UFC champion and now she’s won five fights in a row.

Dana White was interviewed after the event where he was asked about Namajunas’ next challenger. I was expecting him to come out and say that they will likely be doing Namajunas – Esparza 2 next.

However, that’s not what Dana White said. White indicated that the rematch with Esparza is definitely an option, but so is the rematch with Zhang Weili (21-2). Weili was the strawweight champion who was just knocked out by Namajunas last month.

She is really pushing for the immediate rematch with Namajunas and the UFC is seriously weighing that as an option. In reality, Esparza has earned the next shot at the champion. However, we know that sometimes the UFC will favor the bigger fight.

Despite the one-sided nature of the title fight at UFC 261, the Namajunas – Weili rematch is likely bigger business. While Esparza definitely deserves the shot, I’m not certain she’s going to get it. This will definitely be something to watch over the coming weeks.

What’s next for Cody Garbrandt after UFC Vegas 27?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (12-4) took on Rob Font (19-4) in the main event. This was a pivotal matchup between two top five contenders in the bantamweight division.

Garbrandt was making his first appearance since UFC 250 last June. That night, the former champion knocked out Raphael Assuncao in the second round. That win snapped a three-fight losing streak for the former champion.

After that win, Garbrandt intended to move to flyweight to challenge for the UFC flyweight title. However, a battle with COVID-19 and injuries kept Garbrandt out for a significant amount of time.

After resuming training, Garbrandt decided to stay at 135 pounds for now. Ultimately, Garbrandt said that he wanted to hold two UFC titles at the same time. He was undecided on which division he would pursue.

The former champion looked motivated and focused heading into UFC Vegas 27. However, that focus didn’t translate to the performance. While Garbrandt landed some decent shots, Rob Font beat him to the punch and pretty much dominated on Saturday night.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 27?

After this loss, the former UFC champion is just 1-4 in his last five fights. So, where does ‘No Love’ go from here? Well, a lot of that will depend on which weight class he decides to pursue.

As mentioned, he seemed torn between flyweight and bantamweight moving forward. The UFC has options for him depending on which weight class he decides to pursue and there are options.

If he moves down to 125 pounds, I think a fight with someone like Alex Perez (24-6) makes a lot of sense. Perez is coming off a loss in a title fight and he’s squarely in the mix. If Garbrandt moved down and defeated Perez, he’d likely be right in line for a title shot.

If Garbrandt decides to stay at bantamweight, the UFC could pair him with someone like Marlon Moraes (23-8-1). Moraes is in a very similar position having gone 1-3 in his last four although the one win should’ve been a loss.

Magic Marlon is still ranked sixth in the division so Garbrandt would still be getting a top opponent. Either one of these fights would make sense for the former champion, but it will all come down to which weight class he wants to try next.

New York Giants prepare to start OTAs, what to expect

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants are preparing to start Phase 3 of their off-season workout program on Monday afternoon. The organized team activities will commence this week, lasting until June 15. There will be breaks in between specific sessions, but mandatory minicamp doesn’t start until June 8, where the entire team will be present regardless of position or experience.

There are a number of players expected to participate in voluntary workouts, as players around the league have suffered off-the-field injuries, and teams haven’t been so kind with their contracts. Specifically, Ja’Wuan James and DeSean Hamilton have been cut from the Denver Broncos after sustained injuries training on their own, so the players are more incentivized to attend workouts at the facilities to protect themselves and their financial future.

I expect the Giants to host about half of their current starters, as the defensive backs have been training in Tampa Bay with Logan Ryan and his personal trainer. Developing chemistry off the field is essential, and Ryan has played a mentor role and leadership catalyst in helping the youngsters adapt to the NFL.

I anticipate that a majority of the rookies will be in attendance at OTA’s to start, as the media won’t have access until Thursday, so it will be difficult to see what players are in attendance or not. We will keep a close eye on their social media profiles to gauge their whereabouts, but fringe players are more likely to be in attendance based on their desire to make the active roster.

A few players that stand out should be Isaac Yiadom, Sam Beal, and a bevy of depth pieces looking to make an impact in the 2021 season. The Giants will not be handing out starting jobs this year as they did at some positions in 2020, specifically at wide receiver. It is in their best interest to be available for all of voluntary camp, so I anticipate a bigger turnout than some.

The Yankees’ rotation is breaking records and showing its most dominant version

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees are one of the hottest teams in baseball, and there is no question about it. Gleyber Torres came off firing out of the gates since he was reinstated from the COVID-19 list, Aaron Judge has been playing like an MVP, and Luke Voit’s return gives the offense another slugger.

However, the primary driving factor behind the Yankees’ current six-game winning streak has been the rotation. For the first time since the group was assembled, every member is performing at an incredibly high level.

Yesterday, right-hander Jameson Taillon, who has been the weakest link in the group, was outstanding during five scoreless innings against a top offense, but that wasn’t the start of it all.

The Yankees’ starting pitchers – Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and Taillon – haven’t allowed any earned runs in 35 innings, which would tie for second longest in franchise history (per MLB.com), after a 40-inning stretch in May 1932.

After Kluber and German’s early season struggles, and Monty’s bad start prior to last week’s gem against the White Sox (a team known for punishing lefties, no less), the unit has shown its best and most dominant version in the last turn.

The Yankees’ Big Five

It all started on May 19, when Kluber no-hit the Texas Rangers and only conceded one walk against nine strikeouts in a truly dominant performance that proves that he is all the way back to his best version.

The next day, the Yankees won with an identical score than the night before, 2-0. German was behind the pitching masterpiece, with seven scoreless frames and no walks, striking out five.

On Friday, Montgomery twirled seven scoreless frames with no walks, four hits, and eleven strikeouts against one of the toughest lineups the Yankees can face.

Cole took the mound on Saturday, and while he wasn’t at his best (3:7 BB:K ratio) he didn’t concede runs for seven innings. On Sunday, it was Taillon’s turn, and the outing went a long way in lowering his ERA to 5.06.

With the level of dominance that the Yankees’ starters have shown, there is room to dream big.