UFC targeting Mackenzie Dern – Marina Rodriguez next

The UFC is close to finalizing a pivotal matchup in the women’s strawweight division. Dana White announced on TMZ Sports over the weekend that rising star Mackenzie Dern (11-1) will be fighting Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) next.

Dern and Rodriguez are both inside the UFC‘s top six at strawweight. As of now, the promotion doesn’t have an exact date, but White indicated that the fight is agreed to. An official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

Marina Rodriguez looks like she wants to become the killer of the UFC‘s social media darlings. Just this year, Rodriguez knocked out Amanda Ribas and then she defeated Michelle Waterson by decision.

Now, she has her sights set on stopping Mackenzie Dern. Rodriguez has incredible striking and very good power for the strawweight division. She looks like she can become a future UFC champion.

So far, she is 4-1-2 in her seven octagon appearances. her lose loss came against Carla Esparza on Fight Island last July by Split Decision. Other than that, she’s been a very tough out in the UFC and she looks to be a big challenge to Mackenzie Dern.

Next UFC women’s star?

Over the last year, Mackenzie Dern has really turned the corner in the UFC. At one point, Dern was looked at as someone with a ton of talent, but she was looked at as someone who lacked the dedication to becoming a star.

All of that talk has been thrown out the window. Dern gave birth to her daughter in 2019 and immediately came back to fight Amanda Ribas. She fell short by decision, but ever since that loss, she’s looked like a different fighter.

Dern has finally been putting it all together and she’s 4-0 with three first round submissions in her last four UFC appearances. Her striking is progressing to go along with her world class skills on the ground.

The way Mackenzie Dern looks now, it’s going to be hard to stop her. This matchup is putting together two of the rising stars in the strawweight division. Whoever wins this matchup looks to be in a great position in terms of the strawweight title.

New York Yankees Rotation: You ain’t seen nothing yet baby

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

In recent weeks the New York Yankees pitching rotation has turned heads in the baseball world, particularly among the 29 other MLB teams. Before the season started, the expectations were that the rotation could be great, but the early results didn’t show that. Now the rust has been shaken off, the results are outstanding and can only get better. For more information on each pitcher, go to my fellow writer Alexander Wilson’s article.

The entire pitching rotation is held together by New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. He has just been phenomenal, eclipsing his 2019 stats with the Houston Astros. Like the retired closer, Mariano Rivera, made fans think that when he takes the mound, the foregone conclusion is that the Yankees will get another win. So far this season, he is 6-2 with an ERA of 1.81. He has given up just 13 runs while striking out an amazing 92 opponents. That is second in strikeouts only to the Indians, Shane Bieber. But we expect that from Cole, don’t we?

New York Yankee legend Andy Pettitte has spent time with the rotation and says of Cole:

“It’s very rare that you find a player with his knowledge, his awareness. His mind works like a player that has had fifteen years in the big leagues. That’s the first thing that stands out, how sure of himself he was. His approach to the game, his knowlege of the history of the game. He’s going to be a huge contributor both on the field and in the clubhouse.”

If you notice, Cole has become a mentor to all the other New York Yankees pitchers. You usually see him chat with every pitcher when they come out of a game. Cole loves to talk about the fine nuances of pitching and freely shares it with his teammates.

What has Yankees fans so excited is the emergence of Corey Kluber as maybe a second ace for the Yankees. We might forget, but he is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and could return to the form that won him those prestigious awards. After his no-hitter, that thought has become closer to reality. Imagine going into the postseason with the one-two punch of Cole and Kluber; if both are at their best, they can defeat any team facing them.

But from there, it only gets better. Domingo German is pitching great and showing signs of his 18-4 2019 season. German this season seems to be getting better the more he pitches. In his last outing against the Rangers, he pitched seven scoreless innings in a game the Yankees won 2-0. The Yankees have won his last six starts. Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery are both close to getting it figured out but still need some work. Pitching coach Matt Blake has been working with them so they can contribute to a higher level. Pettitte said of Montgomery, “we need to get him right; I see him as a big contributor for the Yankees.”

Many of the pitching mysteries at the beginning of the season have been resolved for so many pitchers that had not pitched in a year or more, but there is one huge one yet to come. That is, how will Luis Severino pitch when he returns to the team sometime around the All-Star break? Severino is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and so far, reports on his rehab have been good.

In the first half of the 2018 season, he recorded 14 wins before the All-Star Game, the first Pitcher since 1969, when Mel Stottlemyre did it. He was again selected to pitch in the All-Star game. Severino started the AL Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics in a game the Yankees won 7-2. Severino finished the season 19-8 with an ERA of 3.39. He led all major league pitchers with an average fastball velocity of 97.6 miles per hour for the second consecutive year. At the end of the season, Severino signed a $40 million contract for four years with a Yankee option for a fifth year.

Imagine this for a moment… The New York Yankees win the AL East and go into the postseason with a Luis Severino, which returns to the 2018 form, Domingo German, which returns to the 2019 form led by Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber. Could the New York Yankees end up with four ace-like pitchers? My friends, can you say 28th World Championship?

Mets get terrible injury news on three key performers; may be active on the trade market

The injury crisis in the New York Mets’ roster is getting ridiculous. At least the team will get top starter Jacob deGrom back tonight to face the Colorado Rockies, but in the last few hours, acting general manager Zack Scott provided bad news on three recovering key players: Carlos Carrasco, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil.

The three players are dealing with hamstring issues, but they are more severe than initially thought, especially Carrasco’s. The Mets’ hurler will not return to the active roster before late June or early July, which is crushing because the first reports on his torn hamstring had him getting back to action in early June.

Conforto (strained right hamstring) and McNeil (strained left hamstring), two key components of the Mets’ lineup “will be out a while,” according to Scott, who mentioned late June as a best-case scenario for both.

Brandon Nimmo, JD Davis, Pete Alonso, Luis Guillorme, and several others remain sidelined, as well. As a result, the Mets are searching the trade market for possible help.

At least Alonso is shooting for a quick return, perhaps next week, and the Mets are also about to gain a crucial reliever, Seth Lugo. But Nimmo hasn’t progressed as hoped and may be dealing with a nerve issue in his hand.

The Mets are looking at all avenues to fill a competitive roster

Per Scott, he is “pretty much on the phone all day, every day” trying to put together a roster. He implied that going to the trade market is a tangible option.

“We’re trying to find the best internal options, the best external options, trying to get the most out of the guys that we have,” Scott said. “It’s really all of the above.”

Scott said, per the Mets’ official site: “There’s teams that are open. … We’ll see where that goes.”

“The bigger challenge is there’s a big need right now,” Scott said. “You only have so many bullets to use in trades. You only have so many players you’re willing to trade. You only have sometimes so many dollars that you’re willing to take on. There are always those limitations with every team. And so it’s whether you’re using those bullets now, vs. waiting. And the risk of waiting, given all our injuries, is that we’re in a different spot, and not where we want to be, come the end of July.”

One New York Giants pass rusher who could have a significant impact in 2021

ifeadi odenigbo, New York Giants

The New York Giants are heading into the 2021 season with a bolstered outside linebacker unit. Last year, both Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines suffered season-ending injuries, which forced defensive coordinator Pacha Graham to utilize underdeveloped and aged talent. They rolled with Carter Coughlin and Jabaal Sheard as their primary pass rushers for the majority of the second half of the season, but the 2021 campaign should offer them a bit more security.

General manager Dave Gettleman made it a priority to draft a pass rusher, which is where Georgia stand out Azeez Ojulari comes into play. Ojulari should have an immediate impact as a second-round pick, ranking first in sacks in the SEC with 9.5 and forcing four fumbles last season. Ojulari is only 20 years old, so he still has plenty of time to develop and refine his game, but he already has a few quality pass rush moves he can use at the NFL level.

However, there is one pass rusher the Giants acquired that could end up being a significant contributor, and his name is Ifeadi Odenigbo.

The former Minnesota Viking spoke with Empire Sports Media a few weeks ago, indicating that he is excited to join the Giants and offers value at multiple positions, including outside linebacker, 5-tech, and even interior at 3-tech.

Last season, Odenigbo tallied 35 tackles, 15 QB hits, and 3.5 sacks, representing Minnesota’s top pass rusher on a poor unit. He tallied 27 quarterback hurries, 11 QB hits and regularly made an impact on the defensive front. He is a solid tackler, missing only 6.7% in 2020.

As more of a power washer, Odenigbo can be utilized to overwhelm smaller offensive lineman on the outside or interior but has been working to increase his agility and speed off the edge. The Giants have had their eyes on Odenigbo for quite some time at Northwestern, and they finally managed to snag him on a relatively cost-efficient deal.

He signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Giants — another one-year, stop-gap deal to help replace and even offer more than Kyler Fackrell at OLB.

I do believe that he is being undervalued, considering his versatility and past success. Back in 2018, Ifeadi tallied 7.0 sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He is an adequate pass rusher, and at 27 years old, he’s just entering the prime of his game. This could end up being a home run move for the Giants, who lacked significant depth at OLB on the defensive line last year.

One positive sign for the new Giant is the fact that he’s been training with Leonard Williams this off-season, develop chemistry, and learning his new system from one of the better players on the defense.

Yankees’ Corey Kluber gets second weekly award in the American League

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees are white hot, winning their last six games and playing perhaps their best baseball of 2021, even with a decimated outfield that will be without Aaron Hicks for a significant amount of time.

Part of the Yankees’ recent success can be attributed to the starting rotation, which has thrown 35 consecutive scoreless innings. Corey Kluber has been a big contributor to that total, with nine frames of his own in his no-hit, no-run against the Texas Rangers last week.

Because of that effort, Kluber, who was signed by the Yankees on a one-year deal around $11 million before the season started, earned Player of the Week honors in the American League alongside Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull, who also happened to throw a no-no.

MLB announced its latest Players of the Week on Monday, with Kluber and Turnbull named American League Co-Players of the Week and Austin Riley named National League Player of the Week.

The Yankees’ righty was in complete control

Riley was also impressive, hitting six home runs in the week to help the Atlanta Braves. But back to Kluber and the Yankees: the righty completely dominated the Rangers and only conceded a walk, against nine strikeouts. His whole arsenal was working and his command was pinpoint.

It was the first no-hitter thrown by a Yankees’ pitcher since 1999, when David Cone embraced perfection.

For Kluber, who has managed to lower his season ERA to 2.86 after a rocky couple of outings in the first month, it is his sixth Player of the Week award, and the second he gets in the 2021 campaign after winning it in the first week of May.

Yankees’ right fielder Aaron Judge won it last week, so the Bombers won the “back to back”.

Kluber will toe the rubber today against the Toronto Blue Jays, and will try to keep the momentum going.

Yankees could be eyeing experienced outfielder in trade with Rangers

Delino DeShields Jr., yankees

The New York Yankees are dealing with significant issues in the outfield, with Aaron Hicks expected to miss the remainder of the 2021 season, Giancarlo Stanton dealing with a quad injury, and Ryan LaMarre pulling his hamstring last week. Ultimately, the team has been forced to lean on their reserve options, including the 38-year-old Brett Gardner, raw defensive player Miguel Andujar, and finally gained back Clint Frazier after dealing with a stiff neck the past few days.

There’s no doubt that the team could be considering alternative options at the trade deadline for another player. The Yankees have had success with depth pieces in the past, and there are a few on the market that could offer something similar in terms of value and production.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are intrigued by Rangers’ Delino DeShields Jr., who could offer salvation in the outfield with injuries continuing to pile up and some reserve pieces continuing the struggle.

Deshields is an interesting player, having played five seasons with the Texas Rangers to open his career and spent last season with a Cleveland Indians, playing in 37 games. However, he made his way back to Texas this past off-season on a minor-league deal, spending the majority of his time with their affiliate in Triple-A.

The 28-year-old has started off his campaign very nicely, enjoying 59 at-bats and hitting .365 with two homers and seven RBIs. There’s no question he’s ready to take the champ to the MLB level, and as a stout defender, he would offer a bit of consistency for the Yankees’ outfield.

Last season with Cleveland, he hit .252 with a 24.2% strike-out rate. He represents more of a contact hitter, never impressing in the WAR category but offering adequate play as a reserve/depth piece.

Considering he’s currently sitting at a Texas affiliate team, I imagine he wouldn’t be a costly acquisition for the Yankees. Sometimes, wearing the pinstripes can motivate a player, which leads me to believe the Yankees might be able to extract more value from DeShields than Texas has managed. Nonetheless, he is a player to keep an eye on as the Yankees’ outfield is in flux.

After dominant win at UFC Vegas 27, what’s next for Rob Font?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 27, we saw a pivotal matchup in the bantamweight division. Former champion Cody Garbrandt (12-4) was taking on the surging Rob Font (19-4).

For the first time in a few years, Rob Font was fighting twice within a 12 month period. Font has been one of the brighter prospects in the UFC‘s bantamweight division, but for a while, he struggled to stay active.

However, he had won three in a row leading into UFC Vegas 27. One of those wins came over the current Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis. Font looked better than ever in his last outing against former title challenger Marlon Moraes.

He picked up the first round knockout and that win earned him a shot against the former UFC champion. However, Garbrandt was going to be a much steeper test. This was a great fight to see where Rob Font was in terms of the elite.

Well, Font looked sensational on Saturday night. The first round was very close with him getting taken down a couple of times, however, after that round, it was all Font. He dominated with his jab and lit Garbrandt up on his way to a dominant decision win at UFC Vegas 27.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 27?

While it’s a massive win for Rob Font, he didn’t move at all in this week’s UFC rankings. Font is locked in at the third spot behind Cory Sandhagen (14-2) and former champion Petr Yan.

Sandhagen is scheduled to face former UFC champion TJ Dillashaw (16-4) in July. That fight is being considered a likely title eliminator with the winner fighting the winner of the rematch between Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling and Yan are expected to run things back in the fall. With that, what’s next for Rob Font? Well, the UFC could have Font face the winner of Sandhagen – Dillashaw if the Sterling – Yan title fight takes a while to materialize.

That’s definitely an option for Font. Another option would be taking on former featherweight champion Jose Aldo (29-7) should Aldo win his next fight. Aldo is taking on Pedro Munhoz in August and if he wins that fight, a matchup with Font could make a lot of sense.

New York Yankees: Preview of the Blue Jays series it’s what’s next

After a languid start to the baseball season, the New York Yankees have been playing great ball, actually the best ball in all of baseball the last few weeks. They are now 28-19, just one game out of first place in the East after going 8-2 in the last ten games.

The main reason for this rise in the standings is superior pitching from most of the rotation and the club hitting when needed, even though the hitting across the board is still deficient. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres have stepped up their game dramatically, with Judge leading the pack with the highest batting average and the most home runs.

The Yankees have won several series in a row now, and this weekend at the Stadium in the Bronx, New York pulled off a three-game sweep of the number one AL Central team, the Chicago White Sox. What is so encouraging to fans is that they did it with a combination of fine pitching and some very exciting small ball, along with stellar defense including the first triple play since 2014. The Yankees outscored the Sox 14-5 and did it with only two home runs.

After a day off of rest, the New York Yankees will tackle the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in a 3 game set starting today. The Yankees and the Blue Jays have faced each other six times so far this year. The Blue Jays are up on the Yankees 4-2; however, the Yankees weren’t playing well at the start of the season.

Tuesday, May 25, 7:05 pm:

Tonight the Yankees’ Corey Kluber will face the Jays’ Steven Matz. Kluber is coming off the first no-hitter of his Cy Young career and the first Yankee no-hitter since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999. Kluber is the opposite of Matz, who started hot but has gone cold. Kluber has just now come up to speed, pitching great. He is 4-2 with an ERA of 2.86. His no-hitter was a gem at Arlington, Texas, against the Rangers when he threw 101 pitches while striking out 9 Rangers and coming just one walk away from a perfect game. Yankee fans will be sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what’s next for Kluber.

Kluber will be facing Steven Matz, who is coming off one of the worst games of the season against Boston. He hasn’t given up many hits, but the hits he has issued have been hit hard. The Blue Jays have lost four out of his last five starts. He has given up 25 earned runs, seven of them home runs.

Wednesday, May 26, 7:05 pm:

On Wednesday night Domingo German will take the mound for the New York Yankees against a yet to be announced Jays pitcher. German this season seems to be getting better the more he pitches. In his last outing against the Rangers, he pitched seven scoreless innings in a game the Yankees won 2-0. The Yankees have won his last six starts.

Thursday, May 27, 7:05 pm:

Thursday night’s finale will feature Jordan Montgomery, who is coming off his best outing of the season when he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. He is 4-2 with an ERA of 4.05. In his White Sox win, he struck out a career-high 11 Sox while not allowing a walk.

Montgomery will face the Jays’ lefty, Robbie Ray. Ray was an offseason acquisition for the Jays. He is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.42. Ray can make his pitches but has always been dogged by walks, but not this season; he has allowed only one walk in his last six games. Yankee hitters will have to be aggressive with Ray because he won’t issue walks.

Notes:

All games will be broadcast on the YES Network and SNET-1 in Canada. Thursday’s game will also be on MLBN out of market. The weather at Yankee Stadium for Tuesday and Thursday will be mild and not an issue. Wednesday night’s game will be considerably warmer and with pop-up thunderstorms in the area.

New York Giants preparing to unleash 3-headed monster in secondary

new york giants, logan ryan

The New York Giants are heading into the 2021 season with a bolstered defense and an overhauled offense. With their first OTA session on Monday, most of the rookies and fringe players were in attendance, but the majority of the defensive backs were down in Florida working with veteran leader Logan Ryan.

The coaching staff trusts Ryan to get the job done, helping these youngsters refine their talents and prepare for the season ahead. The Giants have lofty expectations for their defense but also anticipate a developmental jump from quarterback Daniel Jones. If the secondary can hold up, the pass rush should benefit, and they could find themselves in the top five of defenses. The success of the defense rolls over into the offense’s production and time of possession.

With the way that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham utilizes his unit, a reliance on safeties has become apparent. The Giants drafted Xavier McKinney in the second round in 2020, adding another safety to the mix to spearhead the disguising of their 3-4 base scheme. Graham loves to get creative with his blitz packages and aggressive scheme, and that won’t stop in 2021 as they add another layer.

Three-headed monster in the New York Giants’ secondary:

1.) Logan Ryan

One of the most important parts of the Giants’ defense is veteran safety Logan Ryan, who not only took on a leadership role but is still very capable of being a quality player on the field. Being drafted back in 2013, Ryan has essential experience at cornerback and is now making the transition to safety full-time. He signed a fresh three-year contract with the Giants this past off-season and finished the 2020 season with 94 tackles, four quarterback hits, nine passes defended, and three forced fumbles.

Ryan was directly linked to four turnovers for the Giants, playing in all 16 games and helping Graham establish his scheme without an extensive training camp or preseason. At 30 years old, Ryan still has a few years of solid football left in him, and he has become an integral part of this defense, especially when it comes to helping younger players adapt to the NFL and make an impact early on. His ability to cover deep zones but also step up and stop the run at the second level must be appreciated.

One of the more exciting things that Logan offers Graham on defense is his versatility. With the ability to confuse quarterbacks and help disguise the coverages, his leadership in the backfield is essential. I don’t expect that to change in 2021.

2.) Xavier McKinney

When the Giants drafted Xavier McKinney out of Alabama, they anticipated he would be an immediate starter on defense. Unfortunately, he fractured his foot during training camp and missed more than half the season. He only played in six games but totaled 25 tackles, one interception, and a tackle for a loss. Against the Dallas Cowboys in the final game of the 2020 campaign, McKinney posted eight tackles, an interception, and a TFL.

It is clear that McKinney is capable of offering versatility and quality play on a weekly basis, and he’s another player the Giants featured at different positions. According to PFF, McKinney played 26 snaps in the box, 82 in the slot, and 76 at free safety. I imagine he will be rotating with Logan Ryan around the secondary, further confusing quarterbacks and their coordinators.

3.) Jabrill Peppers

Peppers is in the final year of his rookie contract; the Giants picked up his fifth-year option last season. The Giants’ strong safety has developed into one of their more dependable defenders, offering fantastic support in the run game while also developing his coverage skills against tight ends and running backs. At 25 years old, Peppers is the energizer bunny of the defense, helping elevate the atmosphere around his teammates and motivate them with stellar play and character.

Peppers undoubtedly deserves an extension after setting career highs in tackles (91), TFLs (8), sacks (2.5), and passes defended (11) last season. His influence as an enforcer is exactly what the Giants need at strong safety, but he’s also versatile with his style of play.

Last season, he found himself moving all around the defense, playing 383 snaps in the box, 264 at slot corner, and 143 at free safety. A trio of safeties like this will consistently confuse opposing offenses, as you never know which one will be dropping back into deep coverage, blitzing off the edge, or playing man-coverage.

They are the heart and soul of this Giants defense, and they could turn into something truly special if firing on all cylinders next season.

The Yankees could have one of the best starting rotations in baseball by August

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees starting pitching has been phenomenal as of late, pitching 35 consecutive innings without allowing a run. The Yankees are currently nine games above .500, having won their last six straight. Finally, the Bombers are looking like the team that analysts and fans expected them to be before the season began, despite the fact that their offense continues to struggle.

During this six-game-winning stretch, the Yankees have scored 25 runs, a number they would tally in three games last year at times. However, the pitching has been so good, they barely had to score more than two runs per game to extract wins, which is a mind-blowing statistic. During this win streak, the Yankees have recorded three shutouts, a no-hitter, and a one-run game.

General manager Brian Cashman has truly turned a weakness in the starting rotation into a strength in one off-season, so let’s take a look at what it could look like in August with a key player returning from injury.

The Yankees’ starting pitching rotation could be insane in August:

1.) Gerrit Cole

Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole has lived up to expectations this year, currently hosting a 1.81 ERA, with 12.80 strikeouts per nine. He has the best FIP of his career at 1.73 and is walking just 1.11 batters per nine, an absolutely insane rate.

Cole has established himself as the number one pitcher on the Yankees by a long shot, and if not for the Yankees’ offense playing inadequate baseball at times, he would have eight wins on the season but currently has two losses. Come the postseason, Cole’s influence will be essential, and he’s playing some of the best ball of his life.

2.) Corey Kluber

Cashman took a big chance on Corey Kluber, who hadn’t pitched in nearly two years and was recovering from a bevy of injuries. Nonetheless, Kluber recorded a no-hitter last Wednesday, the first of his entire career and the last since 1999 for the Yankees. He currently holds a 2.86 ERA and has firmly cemented himself as the number two behind Cole. The Yankees have been desperately seeking a solid one-two punch in the starting rotation, and they finally found their answer.

3.) Jameson Taillon

While Jameson Taillon has struggled to get things going this season, his last performance against Chicago to close out the series was adequate. He lasted 5.0 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four batters over 80 pitches. While he does host a 5.06 ERA, he’s taking a bit longer to return to form compared to Kluber, but I believe he’s well on his way.

4.) Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery adds a bit of diversity with his lefty arm to the rotation, as he features a 4.07 ERA this season. He has struggled at times but has performed well lately, right in line with the rest of the starters. Utilizing his fastball less this year compared to any other season in this career, he has started to dabble with a cutter more frequently, which has eaten into his FB usage.

5.) Domingo German

German started off the season a bit rocky but has lowered his ERA to 3.05 and is walking just 1.62 batters per nine. He has a career-high left on-base percentage, meaning he’s working his way out of trouble adequately. German needed a bit of time to adapt to live action at the MLB level, but he’s well on his way to cementing himself as a regular starter.

6.) Luis Severino

Arguably the most exciting part of the Yankees rotation is that it can get even better with the return of Luis Severino. Severino underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, but he’s preparing to make a return late this summer. If Severino can return to his former self, the Yankees could have one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball, and they are going to need it in the postseason, especially if their offense continues to struggle.