New York Yankees Recap: Walk-off homer in the 11th wins it for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays in game 2 of the 4 game set tonight at Yankee Stadium. The Rays took the first game last night against the Yankees and improved their 2021 record to 7-3 against the home team. It was a beautiful night for baseball in the Bronx, a sunny start, and a game-time temperature of 72 degrees. Tonight the Ray’s ace Tyler Glasnow faced the Yankees Domingo German. The final score for tonight’s game was a walk-off win in the eleventh inning for the Yankees 5-3 win.

Domingo German faced the Rays’ Brandon Lowe in the first inning, who got a base hit off of Geman’s glove. Randy Arozarena ground out to Urshela on a great defensive play by Urshela; Lowe advanced to second.  Ji-Man Choi struck out for the second out. Austin Meadows homered into the second deck of right field for a two-run lead for the Rays. Yandy Diaz Yandy Díaz ground out to end the half. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu ground out for center. Rougie Odor ground out. Judge hit a long out to left-center to end the inning. Rays 2 Yankees 0.

The top of the second saw Joey Wendle at the plate; he went down on strikes. Kevin Kiermaier flied out to left. Mike Zunino struck out. At the bottom, Gio Urshela flew out to the wall in center. Mike Ford went down on strikes. Gary Sanchez went down on strikes for the very quick scoreless second inning.

At the third, Brett Phillips ground out. Lowe skied out to Andujar to left. Arozarena reached on a single not caught by DJ LeMahieu for an E5. Choi flew out to Frazier in right. At the bottom, Miguel Andujar went down looking. Brett Gardner ground out to first. Clint Frazier ground out. LeMahieu singled to short for two one and two outs. Odor singled to right, loading the bases for Aaron Judge. Judge walked, forcing in a run. LeMahieu went home on a wild pitch scoring another Yankee run. Gio Urshela flew out to right, but the Yankees tied the score. Yankees 2 Rays 2.

Austin Meadows led off the fourth inning by striking out against German. Diaz flew out to Ford in foul territory. Wendle hit sharply to Odor for the quick needed inning for German. Ford led off the bottom by striking out. Sanchez struck out. Andujar hit a homer to right-center. Brett Gardner popped out to shallow center to end the half.

At the top of the fifth, Kiwemier homered to tie the game at 3. Zunino struck out. Phillips lined out to right, and Lowe lined out to left. Score tied at 3 apiece. At the bottom, Frazier struck out looking. Lemahieu tapped to third for the second out of the inning. Odor popped out to the infield. New York Yankees 3 Rays 3.

In the sixth, Arozarena led off by facing Wandy Peralta, and he ground out. Choi walked. Meadows also walked. Diaz would face a new Yankee pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga, but Meadows was caught out at first for the second out. Diaz walked. Wendle struck out, leaving two on base. Aaron Judge led off the bottom by striking out. Urshela flew out to right. Ford went down for the third time on the night. The score tied at 3.

Kevin Kiermaier led off the top of the seventh inning, and he gound off the glove of Loaisiga for the first out. Zunino ground out to Urshela at third. Phillips walked. Lowe ground out to second. At the bottom, Gary Sanchez led off by doubling to left. Sanchez is called out on the bases again. Andujar reached on the fielder’s choice. Gardner flew out to right. Frazier ground out to end the inning tied at 3.

With the new pitcher on the mound for the eighth, Chad Green, Arozarena went down swinging. Choi went around and struck out. Meadows walked on four pitches. Meadows moved to second on a poor throw from Sanchez. Meadow then went to third on a wild pitch. Diaz walked. Wendle, with two outs and men on the corners, flew to Frazier in right with an amazon play. At the bottom, it was the top of the lineup. LeMahieu flew out to right. Odor reaching for the stars struck out. Judge walked—Urshela with one on and two outs singled, moving Judge to second. .Giancarlo Stanton pinch hit for Mike Ford, and he ground out to short to bring it to the ninth inning tied at 3.

At the top of the ninth with New York Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman on the mound, Kiermairer struck out. Zunino struck out on a 101mph fastball. Phillips ground out to end the half. At the bottom with a possible walk-off win, Gary Sanchez with Fairbanks on the mound flew out to center. Miguel Andujar popped back to Fairbanks for the second out. Brett Gardner walked with one on and one out. Clint Frazier walked, bringing up DJ LeMahieu with a chance to have a walk-off win. He line drove out to second, bringing on extra innings. The game tied at 3.

At the top of the tenth, with Phillips as the ghost running at second, Brandon Lowe faced Lucas Luetage, and he gound out, but moving Phillips to third base. Randy Arozarena popped out to second. Pinch-hitting for Choi was Margot, who flew out to center. At the bottom, with DJ LeMehieu at second, and Kittridge pitching, Rougie Odor led off by grounding out to first, but Odor moved LeMahieu third. Aaron Judge was intentionally walked. Gio Urshela struck out. Gleyber Torres pinch hit for Tyler Wade. Torres walked to load the bases. Gary Sanchez stuck out with the bases loaded and goes to the 11th inning tied at 3.

At the top of the eleventh, Austin Meadows took to the plate with Margot on second base and Luis Cessa on the mound; Meadows popped out to Urshela. Yandy Diaz struck out. Joey Wendle struck out leading to the bottom of the 11th with ghost runner Gary Sanchez on the second. Miguel Andujar leading off the bottom ground out to short. Brett Gardner ground out, but Sanchez moved to third base. Clint Frazier had a two-run homer to walk off the win.

The final score was New York Yankees 5, the Tampa Bay Rays 3. the winning pitcher was Luis Cessa, and the loser was Andrew Kittredge.

 

 

 

The New York Giants will have one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL in 2021

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants‘ secondary was one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2020. Veteran cornerback James Bradberry led New York’s defensive backs to a stellar season in his first year with the team. However, the unit was not perfect and there was still a hole to fill in the 2021 offseason.

Opposite James Bradberry, the Giants struggled to find a consistent cornerback on the outside. CB2 was a major hole on the Giants’ defense. The Giants filled that hole in March when they signed veteran cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

The Giants signed Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year deal worth $39 million. He will be the starter opposite of James Bradberry and will give the Giants one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL this season.

James Bradberry stats and highlights

Many fans felt like James Bradberry was an All-Pro Team snub in 2020. He was selected to his first career Pro Bowl, but fans felt like Bradberry’s performance warranted a more prestigious reward.

In 2020, James Bradberry locked down everything deep. The Giants basically had an extra safety on the field with Bradberry at cornerback. On targets 20+ yards downfield, James Bradberry allowed 0 touchdowns and totaled 3 interceptions (T-2nd) according to PFF.

But Bradberry was not just a beast on the deep ball. He was also a true lockdown cornerback that could go one-on-one with any wide receiver. James Bradberry forced 14 incompletions in single coverage, tied for the most in the NFL in 2020 (PFF).

Bradberry set a new career-high with 18 passes defended, which was tied for the second-most in the NFL and only two behind Miami’s Xavien Howard for the league lead (Giants.com). PFF also ranked James Bradberry as the fifth-best cornerback in the NFL entering the 2021 season.

Adoree’ Jackson stats and highlights

It came as a shock when the Tennessee Titans released cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. The Titans cleared some valuable cap space but parted ways with one of the NFL’s best outside cornerbacks. When healthy, there are not many boundary corners better than Adoree’ Jackson.

Since 2018, Adoree Jackson has the fourth-highest coverage grade when lined up outside according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 85.6. This grade has Jackson on a list with stars like Jaire Alexander, Richard Sherman, and Stephon Gilmore. PFF also ranked Adoree’ Jackson as the twelfth-best cornerback in the NFL entering 2021.

Like James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson is elite when shutting down deep balls. According to Pro Football Focus, since 2017, Adoree’ Jackson has forced more incompletions on passes 20-plus yards downfield (18) than he has receptions allowed (14).

Adoree’ Jackson has played in only 14 games over the past two years. When he is on the field, Jackson is an elite outside cornerback. The Giants are hoping to see Adoree Jackson stay healthy in 2021 and shut down opposing wide receivers alongside James Bradberry.

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace finally making offensive line a priority

Heading into the 2021 NFL offseason, the Chicago Bears needed to address the offensive line. After years of mediocrity featuring Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie, the Bears opted to move on from both veterans this offseason, drafting Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom in the 2021 NFL Draft.

With Chicago having started phase one of OTA’s, the Bears will also be bringing in veteran OT Morgan Moses for a visit, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. A third-round pick of the Washington Football Team in the 2014 NFL Draft, Moses has started 97 starts over the last seven seasons. Entering year eight, he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year in 2014.

Chicago did retain OT Germain Ifedi this offseason, signing the former first-round pick to a one-year deal worth $5M. Should the Bears sign Moses, he’d be the immediate starter at right tackle, bumping Ifedi to a backup role.

Chicago’s heavy investments in the offensive line tell us a different story: GM Ryan Pace is finally upgrading the positional group he spent years neglecting. Prior to 2021, Pace selected just six offensive line, with only Cody Whitehair and James Daniels becoming starters.

The addition of Jenkins provides the Bears with a franchise-caliber left tackle, a position Chicago has struggled to find throughout the Pace era. Borom can play either right guard or right tackle, while third-year man Sam Mustipher will have an opportunity to compete for the starting Center job.

Struggles on offense for Chicago the last two seasons (2019 and 2020) are traced back to the quarterback. It’s hard to ignore issues on the offensive line that impacted Chicago’s running game, which averaged just 4.2 yards per carry last season with running back David Montgomery leading the way.

A key piece of OTA’s will be looking at how Chicago decides to experiment with offensive line combinations, which could include playing Whitehair at right guard, when traditionally, the sixth-year pro has split time at both center and left guard.

The Bears have versatility on the offensive line for the first time since the Pace era. Every storyline in Chicago this summer will revolve around Justin Fields and the quarterback position but what happens on the offensive line will be equally as important.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone benches young shortstop after error-riddled week

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees are preparing to take on the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday evening, but they will do so without shortstop Gleyber Torres.

The Bombers are currently on a four-game losing streak, having lost six of their last seven games and scoring just six runs since their last victory. Walking away with a win against Tampa would be a step in the right direction, but it won’t alleviate all of their struggles, ranging from pitching to inadequate offensive production.

If those two factors weren’t enough, let’s add fielding to the mix, as starting shortstop Gleyber Torres was benched on Tuesday by skipper Aaron Boone after giving up several errors this week. He’s committed three errors in the last two games alone, and he showed his emotions in the dugout, slamming his helmet against the ground in frustration.

Instead of Torres, the Yankees will utilize Gio Urshela at SS, who is hitting .257 on the year and represents a far superior defender compared to Torres.

Yankees lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Rays:

1. DJ LeMahieu

2. Rougned Odor

3. Aaron Judge

4. Gio Urshela
5. Mike Ford

6. Gary Sanchez

7. Miguel Andujar

8. Brett Gardner
9. Clint Frazier
Urshela has a .923 fielding percentage this season at shortstop and .966 at third base. He has allowed five errors over 48 games, an adequate number representative of his talents with his glove. Torres, on the other hand, hosts a .952 fielding percentage with nine errors over 45 games.
While general manager Brian Cashman indicated last year that Torres is a better second baseman, the Yankees resigned DJ LeMahieu to hold it down at the position. Unless Torres can make a dramatic improvement over the next few months, Cashman may have no choice but to consider a strong shortstop market next off-season. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, and Gleyber can take a step forward and at least reduce the number of errors he produces on a weekly basis.

Mets’ Jacob deGrom is not only pitching like a Cy Young: he is performing like an MVP candidate

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets won another game, their fifth straight, last night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-2. And once again, ace Jacob deGrom pitched like a man among boys: he stayed on the mound for six innings and conceded just a couple of base hits and no walks, striking out eight in the winning effort.

For the season, the Mets’ ace has been otherworldly: in 51 innings, he has a microscopic 0.71 ERA and an absolutely incredible 0.57 WHIP. He has walked only 3.9 percent of the batters he has faced, and has struck out 45.8 percent.

The right-hander earned two consecutive Cy Young awards in 2018 and 2019, and there is an argument to be made that he deserved it last year, too. And if we are talking about merits, he should have been the MVP of the 2018 season.

Can he get the MVP award in 2021? The Mets certainly wouldn’t mind.

The Mets’ ace heard MVP chants in Arizona

Last night in Arizona, some “M-V-P” chants could be heard when he was on the mound. He would have to beat the young stars, such as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr., but he certainly has a chance if he keeps running a sub-1.00 ERA.

“He was tremendous,” Mets manager Luis Rojas told the press according to MLB.com. “You see this guy, it’s almost like he’s getting better and better every time he goes out there.”

The D-Backs hitters had to deal with deGrom throwing ten pitches harder than 101 mph.

“What we’re watching is definitely something special. In my mind, he’s in a league of his own,” Arizona starting pitcher Merrill Kelly said. “The fact that he has the stuff that he has and can command it the way that he does, I think, is probably what sets him apart the most. You know, there’s a lot of guys in this league that throw 90-100 [mph], but he pitches with it, and it’s relentless, and it’s every single pitch.”

Can he pull off the upset and win the MVP award?

Boxing: Jake Paul deserves respect for taking the Tyron Woodley fight

The boxing world was lit on fire yesterday when it was reported that Jake Paul (3-0) would be taking on former UFC champion Tyron Woodley (19-7-1) next. Paul recently signed an exclusive deal with Showtime Boxing in order to take his career to the next level.

In signing with Showtime, you had to expect the competition level would get steeper for Jake Paul. That said, I think everyone was expecting incremental steps up before taking on some really big names.

However, Jake Paul threw that strategy out the window. Paul is coming off of a first round knockout over former top MMA contender Ben Askren. Askren is known for his wrestling and he’s known as one of the worst strikers in all of MMA.

With that, there were a lot of people who were not impressed by his last boxing performance. Yes, Paul got a first round knockout. However, Askren can’t even compete with a lot of beginners in boxing.

Paul has been vocal about his desire to fight MMA fighters in a boxing ring. Fighters like Dillon Danis or even Diego Sanchez were being rumored. However, Paul decided to take a giant step forward and take on a former UFC champion with dynamite in his hands.

Boxing Respect

For the first time in his boxing career, Jake Paul is taking on someone dangerous. He’s taking on someone who can do serious damage to him inside the ring. Tyron Woodley is not Ben Askren.

Yes, Woodley has struggled mightily losing his last four fights inside the octagon. However, even just this year, Woodley showed that he’s still incredibly dangerous. In his fight against Vicente Luque, he rocked Luque and showed off his explosiveness.

I’m not a Jake Paul fan and I think he’s been incredibly disrespectful towards the MMA community. That said, he’s earned a ton of my respect in taking on this fight. Paul could fight tomato cans and make millions.

However, in fighting Woodley, he’s showing that he’s serious about boxing. He’s the betting favorite, which is crazy to me, and he’s putting everything on the line in this one. If he gets starched by Woodley, there’s no coming back.

Mets Game Preview: (6/1/21) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (19-36)

The New York Mets hope to continue their May momentum as they flip the calendar to June for the second game of their three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both teams come off two polar opposite months of May. Despite many injures, the Mets were 17-9 while the D’Backs went 9-21. Game two of the series is another 9:40 p.m. ET start from Chase Field.

The Mets come off a very convincing win in game one, which featured the return of Pete Alonso and Kevin Pillar. Alonso homered and recorded four RBIs, while Pillar recorded a hit in his only at-bat. Francisco Lindor is showing signs of his bat returning to full strength. Lindor is 5-for-13 (.385) over the last three games and is driving the ball to all fields. Dominic Smith had gone half a month without a double, but two to the opposite field also showed that his power stroke might be returning as well.

Seth Lugo did not pitch in Monday’s game, but we should expect to see him today. Trevor May, Jeuyrs Familia, and Miguel Castro all pitched in the win, leaving the door open for Edwin Diaz and Lugo tonight. Lugo cannot pitch in back-to-back days, and using him tonight allows the Mets to have him for multiple days against the San Diego Padres.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman makes his 11th start of the season after a terrific start against the Colorado Rockies. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits and recording 11 groundball outs. Stroman has been great all year and comes into tonight’s start with a 2.47 ERA.

Caleb Smith comes out of the bullpen to make just his second start of the year. His first outing of the season was his only start, where he allowed four runs (three earned) in only three innings. Smith has faired very well in his long relief role with a 2.70 ERA and a .214 average against. He can lose the strike zone occasionally, which could run up his pitch count early in his start.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Eduardo Escobar: 2-for-12 (.167), 2 Doubles, Walk, Strikeout

Caleb Smith vs. Pete Alonso: 1-for-9 (.111), 2 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Islanders’ power play was instrumental in Game 2 win

To beat a team like the Boston Bruins especially in the playoffs, having terrific special teams goes a long way for the Islanders. Monday night was full proof of that, especially the power play.

In game one on Saturday, the Isles found themselves on the wrong end of that spectrum, as Boston went a perfect 2/2 on the man advantage. Last night the tables were reversed, and it was the Islanders whose usually sporadic power play came up huge in their 4-3 overtime win to even their second-round series at a game apiece.

They converted two of their three chances man up last night. And they did it not without getting a little luck in the process.

On their first goal, Josh Bailey came down the far wall, stopped and threw a puck that ricocheted of Boston’s Jeremy Lauzon skate and straight through Tuukka Rask’s five-hole. That moment would not be the only unfortunate thing to happen to Lauzon; his failed cross-ice feed that hit a teammate skate led to Casey Cizikas’ breakaway in overtime to win the game. But back to that goal.

Both power play units were moving the puck very well before Bailey’s tally, much to the chagrin of many who’ve seen how anemic the Isles have been in that department. They weren’t making it easy for a Bruins penalty kill, which is one of the best in the league. That should be the game plan moving forward.

J.G. Pageau was responsible for the other goal on the man-advantage. Only his marker was a thing of beauty and the kind of play the Islanders love to draw up. “It’s part of our game plan,” said Pageau in the postgame. “Rask is a good goalie, so we need to bring traffic around him, put a lot of pucks on net, win some battles around the net and we were able to do that.”

Pageau’s goal gave the Isles their third power play goal of the series, which has the Isles now at 50% in that category through two games. Some might not realize that’s a massive improvement from not just the previous series with Pittsburgh — just three goals on 17 attempts — but also the regular season. The Islanders finished the season in the bottom ten (20th) in of the league after the 56-game slate concluded, according to covers.com.

If the Islanders can keep up at the rate they’re going through the first two games, it will help their chances tenfold in winning this series. But last night’s performance man-up, in particular, should give them some extra confidence heading into game three on Thursday night.

Casey Cizikas’ goal won the game for the Islanders, but the stop made by Semyon Varlamov minutes earlier on Taylor Hall might have been even larger in the grand scheme of things. Hall looked like he was ready to send the series back to Long Island with his team up 2-0 before Varlamov sild to stop him on the doorstep.

It was one of Varlamov’s 39 saves on an evening where he was outstanding. “[Varlamov’s] a veteran, he’s not scared of these moments, and he’s been a rock for us all year,” Barry Trotz said. I mean, I hope he gets a ton of votes for Vezina, at least be a finalist. He’s been one of our MVP’s this year.”

As of this morning, Varlamov was not one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy despite playing 36 games and being ranked third among goalies in goals against, first in save percentage, shutouts, games started quality starts (yes that’s a real category) and Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA).

Yankees’ Jameson Taillon: ‘I’m confident we’ll pull through’

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, jameson taillon

When the New York Yankees brought right-hander Jameson Taillon via trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates, they envisioned a pitcher that may not provide incredible length, but pitched high-quality innings with great run-prevention skills.

After all, in his four years with the Pirates, he never had a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) higher than 4.00, and also had a couple of 3.0+ WAR seasons. In other words, they hoped for above-average per-inning efficiency and production.

So far, that hasn’t been the case. Taillon has, over ten starts, a 5.10 ERA and a 4.61 FIP. He has pitched 47.2 innings, so in average, he hasn’t cracked five. The Yankees’ hurler understands he needs to be better in order for the team to reach its objectives.

Yesterday, the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays scored three runs over five innings on the righty, and since the Yankees just haven’t been hitting at all recently, it was too much to overcome.

“It’d be nice to pitch with a lead, but at the same time, that’s how it’s going right now,” Taillon said, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “It’s my job to go out there and put up zeroes, and I put us in a little bit of a hole.”

No shot to the Yankees’ offense

Later in the afternoon, Taillon clarified that his remarks were by no means a shot at his Yankees’ teammates.

Both things remain very real, though: Taillon needs to be better, and the Yankees need to remember how to make consistent hard contact in the air. They need to score more runs, otherwise they risk too much.

“I’m confident we’ll pull through,” Taillon said. “But right now with how it’s going, I needed to definitely put up a few more zeroes.”

The Yankees could eventually get Luis Severino back, maybe this month. They expect Corey Kluber to contribute meaningful innings in several weeks. If Taillon doesn’t improve, and everybody gets healthy, the team will be forced to make tough decisions.

Leon Edwards vows to ‘batter’ Nate Diaz at UFC 263

Leon Edwards

Next weekend at UFC 263 we are going to get to see a very highly anticipated contest in the welterweight division. Top contender Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) is set to face off against one of the biggest stars in the sport, Nate Diaz (20-12).

Originally, Diaz and Edwards were set to face off at UFC 262 in Houston. However, Diaz suffered a minor injury which pushed the fight back a month. The fight between the two men is the first of it’s kind for the promotion.

The matchup between Diaz and Edwards is considered a third headlining fight. It’s the third fight on the main card, but it’s scheduled for five rounds. It’s the first fight in UFC history that’s a non-title, non-main event that’s scheduled for five rounds.

Diaz is fighting his fifth straight fight in the UFC‘s welterweight division. Granted, three of the previous four matchups were against guys who naturally fight at lightweight. Diaz has spent the majority of his career at 155 pounds.

Diaz hasn’t fought since his BMF title fight against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244. That night was cut short due to a cut and we haven’t seen Diaz since. Now, he’s jumping in there against one of the very best in the world in Leon Edwards.

Edwards has had a string of awful luck in the UFC from fight cancellations to an eye poke that spoiled his return. Now, he’s facing off against one of the most popular fighters in the sport and he’s ready to make a statement.

Edwards wants his UFC title shot

Leon Edwards respects Nate Diaz, but he doesn’t believe that he has anything for him. In speaking with MMA Junkie, Edwards made it clear that he doesn’t believe Nate Diaz will give him any trouble at UFC 263.

“I envision going out there and just battering him from pillar to post and getting the stoppage,” Edwards said. “I know he’s a tough, durable guy and I just don’t think being tough and durable is enough to beat me. I’ve worked hard, and I’ve dedicated myself for a long time, and it’s now time for my results to show. I can’t wait to go out there and prove that.”

If Edwards is able to get a stoppage at UFC 263, it will be massive. However, doing that is not going to be easy. Diaz has only been stopped by strikes once in his career. If Edwards becomes the second man to do it, he just might earn himself a UFC title shot.