New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose their fourth straight game dropping another game in the East

New York Yankees, Michael King

After being swept by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, the New York Yankees were back at Yankee Stadium tonight to start a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Michael King was on the mound for the Yankees and Dylan Bundy for the Angels. This is an important series for the Yankees as they try to right the ship and turn things around before they distance themselves further from the top of the AL East. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the Yankee lost to the Angels 5-3.

Michael King was on the mound facing the Angels David Fletcher, who struck out. Shohei Ohtani hit a monster home run to center, his 26th of the season. Anthony Rendon walked. Jared Walsh doubled driving in another run for the Angels. Max Stassi ground out. Scott Schebler went done swinging, but the Angels got two runs in the first inning. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu singled beyond short. Aaron Judge hit a double to the left-field wall moving DJ to third. Gary Sanchez ground out to short, but DJ scored. Giancarlo Stanton flew out to right, but Judge remained at second. Luke Voit flew out, and the Yankees were 3 for four with runners in scoring position. Angels 2 Yankees 1.

Jose Iglesias led off for the Angels in the second and grounded out to short. Luis Rengifo ground out, and Lagares ground out for a one-two-three inning for King. At the bottom, Gleyber Torres ground out to third. Gio Urshela hit a massive home run into the left-field stands to tie the game for the Yankees. Miguel Andujar singled to short. Brett Gardner hit into a double play. LeMahieu, with a runner on second, the trainer comes out to check on Bundy, who was removed from the game and was replaced by Jose Suarez. LeMahieu ends the inning with a ground out Angels 2 Yankees 2.

At the top of the third inning, Fletcher grounded out, and Ohiani flew out to center. Rendon walked. Walsh had an infield single. Stassi struck out, leaving two men on base. At the bottom, Judge worked a walk. Gary Sanchez flew out, and Giancarlo Stanton ground into a double play for a fast inning for both pitches. Angels two and the New York Yankees 1.

At the fourth Schebler ground out. Iglesias flew out. Rengifo singled. Lagares singled for two men on the corners. Fletcher struck out, and the game was tied at two.  At the top of the fifth, Ohtani went down swinging. Rendon doubled off the wall. Walsh hit to LeMahieu, who got an error not catching the ball. Stassi hit into the force out at second. Schebler ground out to end the half. Andujar led off the bottom. Suarez struck out Andujar. Gardner went down looking. LeMahieu lined out to short for the last out. Angels 3 Yankees 2.

Iglesias led off the sixth, singling to left. Rengifo lined out to Judge in left for the double play. Lagares hit a homer to right to lead the Yankees by two runs. Fletcher doubled to left. New Yankee pitcher Chad Green faced Ohtani; he struck out looking. Aaron Judge led off the bottom by popping out to first. Sanchez went down on strikes. Stanton hit a monster solo home run (426′) into the left-field stands. Luke Voit ground out, but the Yankees picked up a run. Angels 4 Yankees 3.

Rendon led off the seventh by flying out to center fielder Brett Gardner. Walsh struck out swinging. Stassi also struck out. To lead off the bottom, Torres was called out on strikes. Urshela singled. Andujar hit into a force out. Clint Frazier is pinch-hitting for Gardner; he was stuck out swinging.  Angels 4 New York Yankees 3.

The eighth was led off by Schebler, who singled to left. Iglesias tripled to third, and Schebler scored. Rengifo hit sharply to first for one out. Lagares popped out, and Fletcher ground out to Green to limit the damage. At the bottom, it was the top of the lineup for the New York Yankees. LeMahieu lined out to center. Judge flew out to center. Sanchez struck out for a quick inning for Steve Ciscek as he put down the Yankees 1-2-3. Angels 5 Yankees 3.

At the top of the ninth inning, Nestor Cortes Jr. faced Shohei Ohtani, who ground out to second. Rendon grounded out to Urshela at third. Walsh struck out swinging. At the bottom, with last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton was at the plate; he with Raisel Iglesias on the mound stuck out. Luke Voit went down on strikes. Gleyber Torres was the Yankees’ last hope; he stuck out as Iglesias struck out the side ending the game with another Yankee loss.

The winning pitcher was Jose Suarez, and the loser was Michael King. The save went to Raisel Iglesias. The Yankees dropped to 6.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox as they lost their fourth game in a row.

Mets Allow Five Homers in 8-4 Loss in Make-Up Game Against Nationals

The New York Mets and Washington Nationals played a make-up game from their opening series of the season and the Mets wish they had their off-day back. It only took two pitches for the Nationals to get a lead and they rode it to an exciting 8-4 win and move within three games of first place.

Mets radio broadcaster said starter Jerad Eickhoff began the game by throwing “batting practice” to the Nats, and he was spot on with his description. Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner opened up with back-to-back tape measure home runs to get out to a 2-0 lead. Gerardo Parra added another homer in the second inning as all Eickhoff allowed was hard contact.

It looked like Eickhoff would settle in, but Schwarber tagged him again for another homer in the fifth. Schwarber tied an MLB record by hitting 15 home runs in 17 games, making him an impossible hitter to slow down. Starlin Castro finished off Eickhoff in his final inning with an RBI single. Overall, Eickhoff lasted six innings, allowing eight hits, five runs, and four home runs.

Offense Please

As usual, the Mets could not get any offense against a starting pitcher. Paolo Espino was the beneficiary as he shut out the Mets for five innings, working around five hits while striking out five. The Mets had some hope when the Nats bullpen had to figure out how to keep the lead for 12 outs.

Jeff McNeil got the Mets on a board with a seventh-inning single, his second hit of the night, which broke an 0-for-12 slump. Pete Alonso‘s two-run home run and Billy McKinney‘s solo shot were back to back, putting the Mets deficit at just one.

Only Hurting Themselves

Things got dicey in the bottom of the eight, and it was due to the shift once again. Travis Blankenhorn had 18 career big-league innings at second base coming into the night, and his inexperience showed in a double-play situation. Castro hit a double-play ball right a Francisco Lindor, but Blankenhorn ranged to his right, vacating second base and cutting in front of Lindor. The Mets ended up getting no outs on the play, and Blankenhorn threw the ball away, resulting in runners on second and third.

Ryan Zimmerman made the Mets pay for continuing the inning with his three-run home run, which effectively pushed the game out of reach. Nats closer Brad Hand finished off his five-out save with a 1-2-3 ninth to complete the victory. The Mets made three errors on the night and were thoroughly outplayed in almost every aspect of the game. They will try to rebound in a critical three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves. Tylor Megill makes his second career start against Charlie Morton.

New York Giants: Evan Engram named as player that would improve elsewhere

New York Giants, Evan Engram

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is a polarizing and somewhat controversial player. On one hand, he’s consistently listed with the tight ends that have the best chance to break out as receiving stars. This is the primary reason the Giants drafted him, but his career has been set back by injuries and bad drops when he is on the field.

He’s brought up in each year as a player that could be traded, but the front office continues to have faith by keeping him on the roster in a prominent role.

But would Engram have better performances if the Giants did pull the trigger and send him somewhere else? That appears to be what Sharp Football Analysis believes, as they’ve listed Engram with players that could improve in better circumstances.

At the core of it, part of the issue may be Daniel Jones just not being that great at the kinds of routes that Engram actively runs. His low percentage of passes further down the field doesn’t match up with the amount of routes run on the seams by Engram.

Engram only had three targets on deep crossers — one reception and two thrown late into tight coverage. A lack of targets deep down the field was a problem all across the Giants offense. Only 28.8% of Daniel Jones’s pass attempts traveled 10 or more yards past the line of scrimmage, which was the ninth-lowest rate among quarterbacks in 2020.

That disconnect was on display throughout the season. Engram was charted with the fourth-most routes run combined between seams and deep crossers according to Sports Info Solutions (71, behind Rob Gronkowksi, Mike Gesicki, and Hunter Henry), but there were only eight total targets with those routes rarely early in the progression.

What does this mean?

Some of this may be the fault of Daniel Jones but some of it may be the surrounding situation. The Giants haven’t had a good offensive line during the time Jones has been the starter, after all. Without much time to throw, it’s natural that Jones is going to have less passes further down the field. This, indirectly, hurts players like Engram that might depend on those routes.

The Giants offense was also criticized last season for not being very creative and relying on the same routes regardless of success. This season, Jason Garrett may not have the luxury of falling into complacency – his job is on the line after a first showing that didn’t impress anyone.

But even if it’s possible to turn things around, it does undeniably look like Engram would be better in a better offense if things are judged based on the situation right now. That is, if he can get over his problem of dropping the ball in big moments.

Will the Giants actually make a deal this season and move Engram before the deadline? Many will likely speculate on it, but at this point, Engram’s trade value probably isn’t as high as it was in the past. And with how much the Giants have held out hope so far for his improvement, it seems unlikely they’ll move on now and likely receive less in return in a trade.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard and his versatility will be crucial for the offense in 2021

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants revamped their receiving corps in 2021. Last season, the Giants’ group of wide receivers were a subpar group that failed to create separation or make contested catches. Only one wide receiver (Sterling Shepard) reached the league average in separation yards last season via Next Gen Stats.

In the 2021 offseason, the Giants recognized this deficiency and worked to fix the issue. They went out and got Daniel Jones a new alpha dog outside receiver in Kenny Golladay and also added a speedy human joystick underneath in Kadarius Toney. This receiver group is now loaded, giving Daniel Jones plenty of options to share the football with.

Darius Slayton might seem like the odd-man-out to some, but he actually might see the field a great amount. The reason for this being Sterling Shepard’s positional versatility. Over the past two seasons, Sterling Shepard has played on the outside despite starting his career off as a premier slot receiver. This versatility gives the Giants the ability to rotate their personnel and get Toney, Shepard, and Slayton all a bunch of reps this season.

Sterling Shepard inside and outside

Many fans typically think of Sterling Shepard as a slot receiver. However, since 2019, Shepard has played as an outside receiver. In 2019, Shep played 331 snaps out wide and 256 inside. Sterling continued playing predominantly outside in 2020. 356 of his offensive snaps came out wide with only 190 in the slot this past season. Shepard was typically playing the Z-receiver role in 2020 with Darius Slayton lining up as the team’s X-receiver. The loss of Odell Beckham Jr. and the gain of Golden Tate forced Shepard to kick out wide that season after playing from the slot in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Sterling Shepard has gotten comfortable playing outside these past two years. But his best seasons came from the slot when he was playing alongside Odell Beckham. From 2016-2018 (slot), Shepard averaged 63.3 receptions, 762 yards, and 4.7 touchdowns per year. From 2019-2020 (outside), Sterling averaged 61.5 receptions, 616 yards, and 3 touchdowns per year.

In 2021, Shepard will once again play the complementary role to a true number one receiver threat in Kenny Golladay. The addition of Kenny G is so crucial for the Giants’ offense because it makes Shepard and Slayton better as they are now secondary options facing secondary cornerbacks.

One of the reasons Sterling Shepard has had such a successful career thus far is his versatility. He can play inside, outside, and do both at a high level. When the Giants want Darius Slayton on the field, Sterling Shepard should play in the slot. When the team wants Kadarius Toney on the field in the slot, Sterling Shepard should replace Slayton out wide. Sterling Shepard is the second-best receiver on the New York Giants’ roster right now, so the team needs to keep him on the field as much as possible.

Knicks Draft Watch: Corey Kispert models his game after Klay Thompson

New York Knicks‘ most pressing need is a solid starting-caliber point guard. But it seems to be Leon Rose is sold that he can solve the Knicks’ point guard woes via free agency or trade (Hello, Dame Lillard!).

That’s the vibes we’re getting after New York coach Tom Thibodeau revealed last week that the Knicks are looking for wings and guys who can shoot in the Draft Combine in Chicago.

The Knicks have met with more than 20 prospects, and one of them perfectly fits the bill.

Enter Gonzaga’s sharpshooter Corey Kispert.

Kispert is one of the older guys in the Draft, but his floor is so high that he’s been mostly projected to be a lottery pick. His public Mock Draft ranges from as high No. 10 (ESPN & The Ringer) to as low as No. 22 (CBS). Bleacher Report pegs him at No. 14.

It’s not hard to see why there’s a lot of intrigue in Kispert despite being a senior prospect.

It’s going to be out of Thibodeau’s character to bring in four rookies next season, so there’s a league-wide belief that the Knicks will be looking to package their picks to trade up. If they missed out on James Bouknight, the 22-year old Kispert could be a solid option and would be ready to contribute right away.

Ever since the Golden State Warriors changed the game with their impeccable shooting during their dynasty in the middle of the past decade, teams have been looking out for the next Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Shooters have become a hot commodity with the past NBA Drafts yielding rising stars Trae Young and Tyler Herro, Cam Johnson, while unheralded players Duncan Robinson and Joe Harris shot their way into becoming key starters in playoff teams.

Kispert wants to be that next guy.

“The guy that has been the gold standard for me forever has been Klay Thompson,” Kispert said on a zoom call at the Draft Combine. “Whenever I don’t feel good about my game or have a bad night or whatever, I watch him score 60 on 12 dribbles. The way he plays the game, the way he impacts their team. You’ve seen how much they’ve missed him since he’s been out. I want to be as close to that as I can.”

Kispert sure looked like Thompson at Gonzaga. And he was a better shooter than Thompson in college. The Golden State gunner was a 39 percent shooter on 620 three-point attempts in his three years at Washington State. Kispert finished his college career at 40.8 percent on 662 three-point attempts.

But most experts believe his ceiling could be Harris.

“That’s the comparison that I’ve heard most often throughout this draft process. Joe and I are friends,” Kispert said.

In 2019, Kispert linked up with Harris through a mutual friend to study his shot preparation during the offseason.

“It’s an honor to be compared to a guy like him. The career that he’s made for himself from almost being done and out [of the league] to signing a big deal with Brooklyn. So I’m really happy to receive that comparison and honored. Hopefully, I can live up to it,” Kispert added.

Then last year, Kispert went through the Draft process before pulling out to return for one more year at Gonzaga. He made the right decision as his remarkable run with the Bulldogs made him a sure first-rounder.

“Last year was like a runway to my rookie season,” Kispert said. “I have been able to receive feedback from teams and took that advice to heart and was able to implement those things right away.”

Kispert parlayed that into a West Coast Conference Player of the Year run, averaging 18.6 points, 5.0 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 44.0 percent of his 3s on 6.5 attempts — all career-highs. He was one of the two biggest reasons why the Bulldogs went to the NCAA national championship undefeated. The other being Jalen Suggs, a projected top-four pick.

While they fell short in the NCAA Finals against Baylor, Kispert believes he can lean back to that experience in the next level.

“It helped me understand what it takes to win a game like that. I’ve never played in a national championship game before. We came out a little bit flat and it cost us the game. So being able to come out for a game like that with enough energy to take on Baylor would have been huge,” Kispert said. “Being in that kind of pressure situation — the Final Four and the national championship game — that’s gonna be able to translate directly to the [NBA] especially with the fans coming back in the arenas.”

What’s holding him back from cracking the Top 10 is his perceived lack of athleticism. Kispert can’t wait to prove his doubters wrong.

“I think I get pegged as the guy who people can take advantage of on defense. And for whatever reason, the guy who can’t run, who can’t jump, whatever. And the numbers I’ve had in the [Draft] Combine were a great start to prove people wrong, and I can’t wait to get on the floor to continue to do that,” Kispert said.

Measuring 6-6 on foot and 6-7.25 with shoes, Kispert has a decent size to defend guards and wings in the NBA. He looked athletic in the drills, posting a solid 3.12 sprint, 30-inch no-step vertical, and his 2.99 shuttle time was just 0.01 short of topping last week’s camp.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of pigeon-holing Kispert as a shooter. But he offers more than that.

“I’m best at catch-and-shoot, but I’ve grown my game so much off the dribble over the last two years,” he said. “I’ve watched films of myself during my freshman and sophomore years, and I barely recognize the player that I was out there. It’s a testament to how much I can improve in that time. I can’t wait to see how much I can improve from here on out. Definitely, I have to continue to work on putting the ball on the deck and make guys pay for closing out on me. That’s gonna be a consistent theme in the NBA as long as my career lasts.”

As one of the older guys in the Draft, Kispert exudes confidence and a great basketball IQ with experience as his teacher.

The secret to Kispert’s success from behind the arc is his quickness in setting up his shot. And when a defender collapses on him, he can punish him with quick off the dribble to glide to the basket. He shot 63 percent of his two-point attempts last season.

“It’s reading guys out of the corner of your eye. You look at the ball coming in; you could feel the defender. And it’s something that I’m really thankful to have thousands and thousands of reps doing, just being in games. That’s the kind of situation I find myself in a lot. Just continue to work on that and sharpen the tool that I have in my toolbox in every way I can.”

Kispert checks all the boxes for Thibodeau.

“There’s a great value in [character]. You try to measure their drive and intelligence and how players have improved over a period of time. And also if they have gotten through some adversity. You’d like to see that quality as well. There are a number of things you’re looking for,” Thibodeau said.

Kispert not only leans on his on-court improvement last season but, more so, the challenges off the court as a tool to navigate the NBA in his rookie year.

“I had a great year. I’ve grown a bunch as a person having navigated through COVID-19 and all the protocols and stuff we have to work with. It was not an easy task. And team-building with that kind of obstacle is tough,” Kispert said.

There will be plenty of rivals for the Knicks, as Kispert met with almost half of the league last week in Chicago. The long list includes the Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, the Warriors, and Los Angeles teams.

In this pace-and-space era, Kispert is a can’t miss prospect. But his drive is what makes him special. There’s a case for him to come out of this class as one of the top 10 players.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

BREAKING: UFC books interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane

Massive breaking news this afternoon involving the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the promotion is moving forward with an interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The fight will headline UFC 265 on August 7th which will take place in Houston, Texas. This is a massive shot as Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion a few months ago.

The promotion had been trying to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for August, but Ngannou wasn’t ready. The latest word was that the UFC was going to book the heavyweight title fight for September, but everything changed on a dime.

Over the weekend at UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane dominated Alexander Volkov to remain undefeated. After witnessing his performance, the UFC decided to move Gane up the ladder for an interim title fight against Lewis.

The manager for the UFC heavyweight champion was completely stunned by the news. Ngannou’s reps told Okamoto, “This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon.”

UFC’s odd decision

I honestly don’t understand the UFC’s logic here at all. By all accounts, Ngannou was going to be ready to defend his title in September. Over the last few years, the heavyweight title has been defended on average once per year.

Ngannou just won the title at the end of March. To make an interim title so soon is absolutely insane to me. Nevertheless, the UFC is moving forward and Ciryl Gane will battle Derrick Lewis in his backyard for the heavyweight title.

With this news, we likely won’t see Francis Ngannou against until the end of the year. Well, maybe the UFC will finally book Ngannou against Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) for the undisputed title then have the winners face off. Who knows, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

New York Yankees to face the Angels in four-game series, here’s the preview

New York Yankees, Michael King

The New York Yankees are back at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx after being swept by the Boston Red Sox for the second time this season. Tonight they start a series with the Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees are six games out from the East-leading Boston Red Sox. The Angels are also in fourth place but in the AL West. The Angels are coming off a loss to the Detroit Tigers, being swept by the San Francisco Giants and losing three out of four against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Most industry sources consider Mike Trout as one of the best players in baseball. Luckily for the Yankees and in reverse for the Angels, the Yankees won’t be seeing Trout in this series. He has been on the IL since May 17th with a right calf strain. While Angels fans would like to see Trout back in the lineup, they will have to wait a bit longer. Of the Angel’s 75 games, Trout has only been able to play in 35 of them.  But the Angels are not without talent; Shohei Ohtani is also thought to be at the top of his game. The multi-talented pitcher has a .750 winning percentage with an ERA of 2.58; he also has the second-most home runs as a hitter (25)  in all of baseball.

Tonight, June 28th, 7:05 pm:

This is going to be on hot series, not only do the Yankees have to win games, but they will have to do it in all games at the Stadium under sweltering conditions with very high humidity. At the start of each game, the field temperature will be near or above 100 degrees. There is little chance of any inclement weather throughout the series.

Michael King will take the mound for the Yankees and Dylan Bundy for the Angels. King has been the replacement for Corey Kluber, who has been nursing a cranky shoulder. King is still looking for his first major league win this season. He is 0-3 with an ERA of 4.05 in his eleven starts. He is coming off two games that the Yankees won. King’s primary problems are not pitching deep into games and giving up too many walks. However, his last two games have shown improvement and have been his best games of the season. Only two Angel hitters have seen King pitch.

Dylan Bundy is a righty that is 1-7 with an elevated 6.68 ERA. Bundy, like King, doesn’t go deep into games. He is coming off two losses, one to the Oakland A’s and most recently a loss to the Detroit Tigers. He will come to the mound tonight on 8 games of rest. Bundy gives up an average of one home run per game. He also walks a player and a half per game. All of the New York Yankees have appeared before Bundy before. The 14-year veteran Brett Gardner has faced the 8-year veteran Bundy the most (28) and has a .286 average off of him. Gary Sanchez has been most successful, getting 4 RBIs off him. Aaron Judge also has 4 RBI’s off him. Tonight’s game will be televised on the YES Network, Bally Sports West, and MLBN out of market.

Tuesday, June 29th, 7:05 pm:

Tuesday night Jameson Taillon will face the Angel’s, Andrew Heaney. Taillon has been the Yankee’s least dependable pitcher.  Taillon is 2-4 with an ERA of 5.18. He had pitched inconsistently but is coming off his best game of the season, a win against the Kansas City Royals on June 24th, when he gave up just 1 run pitching into the seventh inning.

Heaney, a lefty, is 4-5 with an ERA of 4.72 with 85 strikeouts in 13 starts. He is coming off two losses, one to the Giants and one to the Athletics. Heaney gives up few home runs and has struck out 10 twice this season. He has also pitched seven shutout innings twice. Tuesday night’s game will be televised on the YES Network, Bally Sports West, and MLBN out of market.

Wednesday, June 30th, 7:05 pm:

Wednesday night’s game will feature a matchup of Domingo German against the standout pitcher and hitter Shohei Ohtani.  German, one of the Yankee’s best pitchers this season, is coming off three poorly pitched games against the Phillies, Oakland, and most recently against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees eventually won the game against Oakland, but he gave up 7 earned runs in the Phillies loss. In all three games, he didn’t make it past the fifth inning. On the other hand, German could be totally dominant. Fans will have to wait and see which German shows up. Geman is 4-5 with an ERA of 4.32.

Ohtani is a baseball sensation being a more than competent pitcher and hitter. The multi-talented pitcher has a .750 winning percentage with an ERA of .258; he also has the second-most home runs as a hitter (25)  in all of baseball. It is doubtful that with his talent that the Angels will use a DH in the Yankees American league park. Ohtani on the season is 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA and 82 strikeouts. His last loss was on May 28th against Oakland. The game will be televised only on the YES Network and Bally Sports West.

Thursday, July 1st, 1:05 pm:

The final game of the series will be a matinee on Thursday. Jordan Montgomery will be on the mound for the Yankees and Griffin Canning for the Angels. Montgomery has started more games that the Yankees have won than any other Yankee pitcher. His record is 3-2 with an ERA of 4.06 and with 80 strikeouts. He is coming off a 4-2 loss against the Red Sox, but the Yankees won his previous six games.

Griffin Canning is 5-4 with a somewhat elevated ERA of 4.95. Canning is coming off two straight losses, one to the Athletics and most recently to the Tampa Bay Rays,  going 5 innings, giving up 2 earned runs per game. This will be Canning’s 14th start of the season. The New York Yankees will have to study the videos as only Rougned Odor has faced Canning. He had five at-bats resulting in two RBI’s. Thursday’s game will be on YES, Bally and MLB out of market.

Is Diego Sanchez BKFC bound?

Could The Nightmare be heading to BKFC? The last month and half has been crazy for Diego Sanchez (30-13). Originally, Sanchez was supposed to face off in the UFC against Donald Cerrone back in May.

The grudge match was supposed to be Sanchez’s retirement fight, however, things went all wrong. Sanchez’s former manager, Joshua Fabia, completely botched the fight by demanding medical records from the UFC in what sounded like data collecting for a future lawsuit.

The UFC cut ties with Sanchez, but they still paid him his full money for the final fight. After the fight was cancelled, Sanchez shouted out BKFC, Bellator, and PFL announcing that he was a free agent.

After a very strange few weeks, Sanchez cut ties with the toxic Joshua Fabia and has been focusing on himself. Sanchez is wanting to compete at least one more time before he hangs it up for good.

This past weekend, Sanchez appeared at a BKFC press conference. Sanchez appeared to be a little intoxicated, but seemed very interested in competing in Bare Knuckle. When speaking about it Sanchez said, “If I ever get into the BKB, yeah, it would be fun. I never liked the gloves in the UFC anyway.”

Will BKFC sign Diego Sanchez?

First and foremost, I don’t know how many people would want to watch Diego Sanchez compete in BKFC. However, I know that there would be an audience for it and that alone will likely peak the interest of Bare Knuckle.

Over the last year, we’ve seen BKFC sign former UFC fighters as they look to gain more mainstream popularity. Some of the notables including Paige VanZant, Thiago Alves, Hector Lombard, and others.

Bare Knuckle Boxing is still a little taboo and the interest isn’t great at the moment, However, the promotion is doing everything they can to bring more eyes to the promotion. Love or hate the move, signing Diego Sanchez would likely bring in additional eyes.

My guess is that there is a pretty high likelihood that Bare Knuckle entertains signing Sanchez. I’m not sure if a deal will come together, but don’t be shocked if you hear that Diego Sanchez has signed a deal with BKFC.

New York Yankees Analysis: Gerrit Cole’s problems continue, what lies ahead?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Gerrit Cole

Suppose the New York Yankees have any chance of advancing to the postseason; they must rely on ace Gerrit Cole to lead the way. With Cole’s performance in his last two outings, that future remains in question. What started out as a season with mostly excellent starting pitching and a baseball-leading bullpen. The season looked bright for the New York Yankees, with most industry insiders saying that the Yankees were the team to beat. Much has changed since then, the starting pitchers and even those in the bullpen have struggled at times, and the Yankee hitters that were supposed to represent one of the strongest lineups in baseball have dramatically faltered.

The Yankees now find themselves almost have way through the season in fourth place in the AL East, behind the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays, teams they must beat to win the East prize. However, the Yankees are now six games off of the pace that would put them in the first place. The Yankees have been too inconsistent all season, sometimes taking a step forward then falling two steps back. Their one constant this season has been Yankee ace Gerrit Cole, but now even that is in question.

It has been an unsettling month for Gerrit Cole.  He allowed nine homers during June, the second-most he has ever allowed during a month. The most were in August of last season when he allowed 10 long balls. After Cole struck out 14.8 batters per nine innings during the March/April period, that figure dropped to 9.6 in May and 9.3 in June. Also, in June, Cole’s ERA has risen from 1.48 to 2.66. Although his record is 8-4, the New York Yankees have lost 8 of his 16 starts, and that is not the result the Yankees want to see from their ace.

Yesterday was just another example of Cole’s decline.  After Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez put the Yankees down 1-2-3 at the top of the first inning, Cole’s nightmare began. His first pitch to Red Sox leadoff hitter Kike Hernandez deposited a bomb into the green monster stands. But, unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. Cole allowed two more runners, then Rafael Devers came to the plate and hit a three-run blast into the right-center field bleachers. Just like that, the New York Yankees were behind by four runs in just minutes before the Yankees got their first hit.

After the game catcher, Kyle Higashioka stated that he thought Cole didn’t have good control of his secondary pitches. Cole, after the game, said he had trouble keeping his fastball down. The bottom line is that two misplaced down the middle of the zone pitches cost the Yankees big-time. Although Cole’s poor pitching yesterday was in the spotlight, his involvement in the “sticky ball” situation remained in the minds of Yankee fans. Cole has been the poster boy for the supposed use of sticky substances to improve grip and spin rate. Coles’s spin rate was down yesterday from what it was before MLB’s crackdown on the use of any sticky substance.

The Yankee ace ended up pitching only five innings, his shortest outing since a game against the Texas Rangers on May 17th. He gave up 6 runs, just one less than his five outings in April. It is the first time in his career he gave up a leadoff home run, the first time he allowed two home runs and allowed four runs in his first inning. Although his loss was a worry yesterday, what may be more concerning is that Yankee fans are now wondering what they can expect from Cole in the future. If the Yankees hope to catch the three teams ahead of them in the East. After the game, Cole commented on his pitching.

“Couldn’t get the breaking ball down,” Cole said after the game, speaking to his lack of command. “Couldn’t get the fastball where I wanted to. Tried to make a good pitch to Devers and absolutely pulled it into the wrong part of the zone. The first pitch of the game to Kiki Hernandez was poorly located as well.”

A pitcher with Cole’s resume could be excused for a bad month, but with the spotlight on Cole and his reduced spin rate during the crackdown for the use of any sticky substance by MLB, it only adds to the tension Cole faces to pitch well. The underlying metrics of his decline and spin rate will be a moot point if he consistently wins games, but he continues his June performance into July and beyond, it will be concerning. Additionally, to be completely fair to Cole, he has gotten less than three runs of support from the Yankee hitters in his losses, another area of concern for the team.

The bottom line in all of this is that Gerrit Cole is now in the hot seat, needing to perform. He is joined by manager Aaron Boone who, if his seat isn’t hot, will begin to feel the heat if he can’t turn this underperforming team around in time to run for the postseason. Unfortunately, his uninspiring after-game platitudes aren’t cutting it.

Yankees: DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge among All-Star game finalists

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees may not be playing their best baseball, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have representation in the upcoming 2021 All-Star Game. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu and right fielder Aaron Judge were announced among the All-Star Ballot finalists for the game. MLB Network made the revelation on Sunday.

Catcher Gary Sanchez, who has turned his season around with the Yankees in the month of June, was a notable omission from the All-Star finalists.

Per MLB.com, the top three vote-getters at each position (top nine in the case of outfielders) will now advance to the second phase of voting to determine the starters for the All-Star game.

The midsummer classic will be played in Colorado, at Coors Field, on July 13.

LeMahieu, who hasn’t had his best season, will compete with Toronto Blue Jays’ Marcus Semien and the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve to be the starter.

LeMahieu hasn’t had his best season this year with the Yankees, hitting .271/.345/.377 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 72 games, but has turned things around in the last three weeks. He actually leads the Yankees in hits with 79.

Yankees’ Judge has been a bright spot this year

On the other hand, Judge is joined by the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Twins’ Byron Buxton, the Astros’ Michael Brantley, the Rangers’ Adolis García, the Blue Jays’ Teoscar Hernández and Randal Grichuk, the Orioles’ Cedric Mullins and Alex Verdugo of the Red Sox. Three of them will have the privilege to start.

Before Sunday’s game, Judge was .285/.382/.506 with 16 home runs and 38 RBIs in 72 games. He leads the Yankees in runs (42), homers, RBIs, total bases (133) and all three triple-slash categories, per the league’s site.

The second phase of the All-Star voting will start on Monday at noon and will end on Thursday at 2 p.m. Per MLB.com’s information, fans will be able to submit one ballot on MLB platforms and can submit up to 17 unique player votes during that 74-hour voting period