New York Giants: Revamped offense will help Saquon Barkley return to form

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants revamped their offense this offseason. Last year, the Giants had one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The team averaged only 17.5 points per game in 2020, ranking them second-to-last in the league. A major piece of the Giants’ offense was missing for the majority of last season.

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2, causing him to miss the rest of the season. Thus, New York was left without its best playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. The Giants’ receiving corps lacked talent and failed to create separation during route running. Ultimately, the Giants’ front office recognized these mistakes and moved to correct them in the offseason.

The Giants signed elite wide receiver Kenny Golladay to be their new alpha dog on the outside. They also added ankle-breaking slot receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. New York even went ahead and signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to bring some dependability to the position alongside the inconsistent Evan Engram.

The signing of Kenny Golladay makes other wide receivers like Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton better. Golladay being their primary receiver allows Shepard and Slayton to move into complementary roles, facing off against lesser competition at cornerback. Toney makes the Giants’ YAC game better and Rudolph makes the team’s short-to-intermediate receiving better, too. But overall, all these new additions will make Saquon Barkley better and allow him to return to form this season.

How Saquon Barkley benefits from the Giants’ new additions on offense

When fully healthy, Saquon Barkley is in consideration for the best running back in the NFL. In his 2018 rookie campaign, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage as one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers. He was a presence rushing and receiving out of the backfield. Saquon Barkley’s 2019 season was hampered by injuries but he was still a stellar back that rushed for over 1,000 yards.

At times in 2019, Barkley faced some stout defenses and struggled to find any rushing lanes. For example, in Week 10 of the 2019 season, Barkley rushed for 1 yard on 13 attempts against the New York Jets. 2019 was supposed to be Saquon’s year as he was the sole focal point of the offense. The team traded away its number one receiver Odell Beckham that offseason, leaving Barkley to be the offense’s one and only playmaker.

Running backs often struggle to succeed when there is a lack of talent around them. A top receiver outside can open things up for the rushing attack as opposing defenses key-in on the receiving threat, putting more defensive backs on the field and lining up with fewer stacked boxes.

The Giants’ influx of offensive talent should result in fewer stacked boxes against the team’s offense. Defenses did not respect the Giants’ receiving corps in 2020. Wayne Gallman, starting in place of the injured Saquon Barkley, faced 8+ defenders in the box on 40.14% of his rushing attempts (second-highest in the NFL). With more receiving threats for defenses to account for on the Giants’ offense, Saquon Barkley should see fewer stacked boxes and greater rushing opportunities.

Knicks: RJ Barrett and Canada’s Olympics hopes end in heartbreaking OT loss

New York Knicks wingman RJ Barrett played his best game in the tournament but it was not enough for Canada.

Barrett scattered team-highs 23 points and six assists to help Canada forced overtime after trailing by nine points late in regulation. But the Czech Republic recovered and proved steadier down the stretch banking on Tomas Satoransky’s heroics that ended Canada’s Olympics hopes.

The Czech Republic advanced to the finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, B.C. in Canada with a gut-wrenching 103-101 win Saturday after Satoransky hit a banked shot with 1.8 seconds left in overtime.

The Czech Republic was in control for most of the match behind their crisp ball movement (24 assists) and outside shooting (13-28 3s). They looked headed to a comfortable victory after Satoransky hit a pair of free throws that extended their lead to nine, 94-85, with 44.7 seconds remaining.

But Barrett just wouldn’t give up. He keyed a 9-0 Canada closing run in the regulation with a stepback three-pointer.

Then Andrew Wiggins punctuated that run with a three-pointer off a steal to extend the game for five more minutes.

Canada opened the overtime with a five-point lead, 99-94, behind Barrett’s big plays. The Knicks wingman assisted Nickeil Alexander-Walker for a wide-open three-pointer then he followed up with a beautiful spin move and drew a foul.

But Barrett missed the bonus shot and things began to unravel. The Czech Republic stormed back and took the lead on a wide-open Blake Schilb three-pointer, 101-99, with 49 seconds left.

During that stretch, Barrett missed a three-pointer and a floater that could have extended Canda’s lead to three. Instead, Schilb, who led the Czechs with 31 points, hit the go-ahead three-pointer.

Wiggins tied the game with a short stab before Satoransky hit the game-winner over the outstretched arms of Oklahoma City Thunder’s defensive stalwart Lu Dort.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Canada who came into this game with back-to-back victories over Greece and China.

Barrett ended the tournament with all-around numbers of 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists with a shooting split of 49/32/55.

He was Canada’s second-leading scorer behind Wiggins’ 21.7 points and was tied with Cory Joseph as the team’s assists leader.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Mets Offense Comes Alive in 8-3 Win Over Yankees

The New York Mets looked like their struggle to score runs would continue against the New York Yankees. Brandon Nimmo wanted nothing to do with that narrative as the Mets offense woke up. They chased Jordan Montgomery in the fifth inning and took advantage of the Yankees bullpen. Three runs in the fifth and five in the sixth were all they needed to take a chilly game one, 8-3.

The Mets failed to take advantage of scoring chances early in the game but ran Montgomery’s pitch count up to 86 in just 4.1 innings. Dominic Smith broke the seal with a fifth-inning single, James McCann followed up with another, and a wild pitch capped off the three-run fifth. In the sixth, three consecutive singles to begin the inning loaded the bases for a Francisco Lindor walk. Smith continued his excellent day with a two-run double, and Kevin Pillar‘s two-run single finished off the scoring.

Walk That Way

Taijuan Walker pitched very well once again as he threw 5.2 innings, allowing two runs, and struck out five. He allowed a home run to Aaron Judge while in the game, and Miguel Castro allowed Walker’s second run on Gio Urshela‘s two-RBI single. Walker pitched five no-hit innings before sitting for 20+ minutes and coming out for the sixth.

When Castro entered the game, he gave the Yankees life by failing to find the strike zone. Jeurys Familia came in fresh off the IL to save the day and struck out three of the four batters he retired. Drew Smith finished off the game with two perfect innings, carving through the heart of the Yankees order.

The loss moves the Yankees to just one game over .500 but found a bright spot in the outing from Michael King. On a day where the bullpen faltered, King was a stabilizer with four shutout innings, allowing three hits and nine strikeouts to save the bullpen for tomorrow’s doubleheader.

Game one of the doubleheader features a supreme pitcher’s duel of Marcus Stroman against Gerrit Cole. The first pitch for the split doubleheader is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees Recap: Mets say who’s your mama to the Yankees in first game

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

Today, after a postponement last night, the New York Yankees faced their cross-town rival New York Mets at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx for the first game of three-game 4th of July weekend in series. Both teams had been struggling recently, going 4-6 in their last tens games. The Yankees are 9.5 games behind the East-leading Boston Red Sox that won their game last night against the Athletics. The Mets were in first place in the NL East. Best friends Gio Urshela and Francisco Lindor played in their first game together this season. The Yankees lost the game 8-3.

The postponement messed up the pitching rotation for the Yankees. Last night’s starter Jordan Montgomery started today’s game. Gerrit Cole was moved up to pitch in one of the day-night doubleheaders caused by the postponement. The other Sunday game will be pitched by either Nestor Cortes Jr. or Michael King.

To open the game, Jordan Montgomery faced the Met’s Brandon Mimmo, who got a base hit over the head of the jumping DJ LeMahieu. Francisco Lindor singled. Dominic Smith, the Met’s best hitter, struck out swinging. Pete Alonso flew out to a charging Brett Gardner. James McCann made the final out of the half. DJ LaMahieu led off against Taijuan Walker and ground out to second. Aaron Judge flew out to right field. Gary Sanchez went down looking for a 1-2-3 half for Walker.

The second inning was led off by Michael Conforto, who ground out to Voit at first. Kevin Pillar flew out to dueling players caught by Aaron Judge. Jeff McNeil walked. Jose Peraza struck out swinging. Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom by going down looking. Luke Voit popped out to second. Gleyber Torres walked. Gio Urshela went down looking for another quick inning for Walker. No score.

The top of the third saw the top of the lineup for the Mets. Nimmo flew out to Andujar in left field. Lindor blast one to left, Andujar fired in, keeping him with a single. Smith singled, and Lindor chose not to challenge Judge’s arm and stopped at second. Alonso at the plate Sanchez booted the ball with Lindor going to third. Alonso struck out on a Monty fastball. McCann went down looking, and Monty got out of a jam. At the bottom, Miguel Andujar led off and ground out to first. Brett Gardner hit a long one to left, but Pillar ran it down. LeMahieu worked a walk. Judge flew out to right for another scoreless inning for both teams.

At the top of the fourth, with Monty on the mound, he faced Conforto, who struck out. Pillar flew out to Gardner in center. McNeil flew out to short for a 1-2-3 inning for Montgomery. Sanchez at the bottom flew out to right. Stanton went down on strikes for the second time in the game. Voit lined out to third base for another scoreless inning as both teams struggle to hit the ball.

Jose Peraza led off the fifth by flying out to Gardner near the warning track. Nimmo singled up the middle. Lindor singled in front of Gardner, moving Nimmo to second. Smith got an outfield single driving in the first Mets run. Alonso walked, ending Montgomery’s start. Lucas Luetge came in with the bases loaded, facing McCann, who had a broken-bat single scoring another Met’s run. Conforto, with the bases, still loaded, flew out to left. Smith scored on another passed ball by Sanchez. Pillar ground out, but the Mets went ahead by three runs.

At the bottom, Torres led off and reached first on an E5. Urshela flew out to the warning track in right. Andujar popped to the infield. Gardner hit to left, but for the second time in a row, Pillar robbed him from a big hit. New York Mets 3 New York Yankees 0, and hitless.

The sixth inning saw Justin Wilson on the mound facing McNeil, who got a base hit to no man’s land in left-center. Peraza singled, making it first and second with no outs for the Mets. Nimmo singled, loading the bases for Lindor, who walked in a run. Smith doubled, driving in two more runs as the Mets poured it on. Alonso faced new Yankee pitcher Micheal King and with two on and still no outs, he struck out. McCann went down swinging. Conforto walked to re-load the bases with two outs. Pillar finally ended the half flying out to Andujar, but the Mets picked up five runs in the inning. Every Mets player came to the plate in the inning.

The bottom of the sixth was led off by LeMahieu, who struck out looking. Judge got the first hit for the Yankees, a homer into the short porch in right. Sanchez flew out to right-center. Stanton singled for the second Yankee hit. Walker did his job allowing only two Yankee hits.  Luke Voit faced the new Met’s pitcher Miguel Castro and walked on a hit by pitch. Torres walked to load the bases with Yankees. Urshela hit a two-run single driving in Stanton and Voit. Castro was taken out of the game and replaced by Jeurys Familia facing Andujar, who struck out, but the Yankees scored three runs in the inning. Mets 8 New York Yankees 3.

Jose Peraza, with King still on the mound, singled beyond short. Nimmo ground out. Lindor was called out on strikes, and Smith struck out swinging. Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the seventh by grounding out. LeMahieu struck out. Judge went down on strikes. Mets 8 New York Yankees 3.

To start the eighth inning, Alonso struck out. McCann reached on a throwing error by Gleyber Torres. Conforto went down looking. Pillar flew out to Voit in foul territory. At the bottom Gary Sanchez led off against new pitcher Drew Smith; he flew out to right. Stanton popped back to the catcher. Voit stuck out swinging to end the inning. Mets 8 Yankees 3.

McNeil led off the top of the ninth with Michael King still on the mound for the Yankees singled to the opposite field. Peraza went down on strikes for King’s seventh strikeout in relief. Nimmo struck out. Lindor also struck out for King’s ninth strikeout in four innings. With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres lined out to right. Gio Urshela went down swinging. Miguel Andujar ground out to second to end the game and the Yankees sixth loss in their last seven games.

The final score was the New York Mets 8 and the New York Yankees 3. The winning pitcher was Taijuan Walker and the loser Jordan Montgomery.

New York Giants: Kenny Golladay could be held in contempt of court before training camp

new york giants, kenny golladay, daniel jones

The New York Giants haven’t had an odd offseason situation in some weeks, but that streak is over as one of their high profile free agents may be held in contempt of court. This free agent is Kenny Golladay, one of the most hyped signings overall that the Giants brought in this year.

The legal case behind all of this doesn’t actually involve Golladay directly. He’s not a party in the civil lawsuit, but nonetheless received a subpoena that would have seen him appear at a virtual deposition last December. Due to missing that deposition, he could be held in contempt of court.

Golladay is a non-party with no potential liability in a civil case in which his former NFL agent, Jason Bernstein, is suing memorabilia company Redland Sports and MVP Authentics for allegedly violating an exclusive rights contract by working with rival NFL agent Todd France to set up an autograph signing in 2019. Golladay played with the Lions at the time and later became a client of France’s at Creative Artists Agency.

It seems, effectively, that Golladay has been caught in the middle of a fight between his former agent and his current agency. Thanks to missing the deposition, he’ll have until July 22nd to provide an explanation for his absence.

That date is cutting it pretty close to Giants training camp, which is set to begin five days later. With that being said, it’s not certain this legal matter will end up having any impact on Golladay’s ability to attend – or prove to be much of a distraction.

We don’t know all the details and it’s quite possible there’s a good reason why Golladay didn’t respond to the subpoena. If there is one, the situation might quickly fade out of relevance without anymore trouble for Golladay or the Giants.

New York Liberty: 3 stars from Saturday’s win vs. Washington

In an utterly symbolic showing, the New York Liberty erased a deficit as high as 20 to earn a big win over Tina Charles and the Mystics.

Independence Day weekend featured the red, white, and blue and some early fireworks at Barclays Center.

The hosting New York Liberty came out clean on the other side, erasing a 20-point deficit to earn an 82-79 victory over the Washington Mystics on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn. The game marked the return of Queens native and all-time Liberty leading scorer Tina Charles. She earned 31 points and 16 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to topple her former squadron. It was an emotional victory for New York, who lost rookie DiDi Richards to a neck sprain injury in the third quarter.

ESM has three game balls to distribute for the victorious Liberty (9-9), who return to action on Monday night against the Dallas Wings (7 p.m. ET, YES)…

3rd Star: Reshanda Gray

11 points, 6 rebounds

On her fifth New York term…her third this season alone…Gray came up big in her first game back with the team. She provided a strong defensive prescience, hindering Charles and providing strong double-teams when she good, and came up with some crucial rebounds. Gary’s late baskets, off assists from Sabrina Ionescu, showcased her cutting abilities in the paint, a vital skill in the Walt Hopkins system. Looking at the way she played on Saturday, it was as if she never left.

2nd Star: Sabrina Ionescu

15 points (6-7 FG), 5 rebounds, 5 assists

Slowly but surely, Ionescu (somewhat stifled by a 25-minute ceiling/pitch count) was starting to look like her old self after missing two games due to what was described as an “overuse” injury. The one thing that was missing, however, was her shooting touch. Though she found other ways to contribute (averaging 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists over her last four games), there’s no doubt the Liberty missed her scoring prowess. After Saturday’s nearly flawless showing, New York is 4-0 when she shoots at least 50 percent from the field.

1st Star: Jazmine Jones

17 points, 5 rebounds

The departure of Richards was particularly tough on Jones, who has taken the second-round pick under her wing. She has likewise united with Richards to create a lively bench atmosphere, making a difference even when she’s out of the ball game. Jones did what she could to make her fallen teammate proud, as immediately after Richards’ departure, she fulfilled her promises of energy with a somersault dive into the Washington bench to go after a loose ball. She then went on to sink a three-pointer and two more at the foul line in the first minute after. Adding to the timeliness of the afternoon…the Liberty acquired Jones with the 12th overall pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft. That pick was obtained through none other than the Tina Charles deal with the Mystics.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Mets have good news to share on Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard, yankees

The New York Mets have been without two of their top pitchers, Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard, for the whole season to this point. The former has dealt with a torn hamstring for months, and the latter recently encountered a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

However, the Mets had good news to share this weekend, as both pitchers were spotted in uniform at Yankee Stadium, when they are playing through Sunday, doing baseball activities.

The Mets shut down Syndergaard with tightness in his elbow during a rehab start on May 25. At the time, they estimated he would need to stop throwing for six weeks. Instead, he was already playing catch about a month later.

Syndergaard was throwing a baseball at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, and has been playing catch off flat ground for about a week, per Mets manager Luis Rojas.

The Mets have a target date for Syndergaard

The skipper announced that the Mets are targeting September 1 as the date for Syndergaard’s return, and it seems feasible if he has no further setbacks.

Carrasco, meanwhile, started throwing bullpen sessions late last month, and he is already in the ramp-up phase of his recovery from a torn hamstring. He had to wait until the muscles on his legs were strong enough to endure the rigors of pitching, but fortunately for the Mets, he is already there.

If everything goes according to the plan, he’ll start a rehab assignment in mid-July and return around the end of the month. “Feels good, looks good, stuff is great,” Rojas said. “But this is where he’s ramping up.”

The Mets are expected to pursue starting pitching help around the trade deadline, which is in July 30, but if they are able to get back the best versions of Carrasco and Syndergaard, that would go a long way into securing some necessary pitching depth for the stretch run.

Mets Game Preview: (7/3/21) @ New York Yankees (41-39)

After Friday night’s downpour pushed back the start of 2021’s Subway Series, the New York Mets and New York Yankees play the first of three games. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium as both teams look to get out of the slides they are in.

After their tough back-to-back losses against the Atlanta Braves, a day off might have been the best thing to clear the mind before heading into the Bronx. They also got healthy bodies back as Jeurys Familia and Brandon Nimmo are officially back with the active roster. Nimmo has always enjoyed hitting against the Yankees Stadium with a 1.007 OPS in 13 games against the crosstown rivals.

The Yankees have dealt with plenty since their ugly loss against the Los Angeles Angels, where they allowed seven runs in the ninth to blow the games. Aroldis Chapman has an ERA over ten since he gave up his first run of the season in late May. Gary Sanchez is coming off an incredible June where he .289 with eight home runs after a slow first two months.

Pitching Matchups

Taijuan Walker makes his 15th start of the season as he takes the mound for the Mets. Walker was once again brilliant in his last start and would have pitched even better if he could get Aaron Nola out. He pitched five innings, allowing three hits, one run, and struck out five. Walker is ninth in the NL with his 2.38 ERA but allowed seven runs (one earned) in 1.2 innings at Yankee Stadium last season.

Jordan Montgomery starts for the Yankees and has been a consistent arm in a year with nothing behind Gerrit Cole. In 15 starts, he has a 4.06 ERA and has done great at limiting walks with just 2.5 walks per nine innings. Montgomery battled through six innings, holding the Boston Red Sox to three runs on eight hits.

Matchups To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Rougned Odor: 6-for-13 (.462), Home Run, 2 Strikeouts

Jordan Montgomery vs. Kevin Pillar: 2-for-11 (.182), 3 Strikeouts

Who will be called if the Yankees generate a save chance against the Mets? Boone announced his plan

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

It’s not a secret for anybody that New York Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman is currently going through a rough patch on the mound. He didn’t allow any earned runs in April, but has struggled so much as of late that his ERA is up to 3.77, with a mediocre 1.36 WHIP.

The last seven games have been especially bad for him. In that stretch, the Yankees’ fireballer has an 11.12 ERA with nine hits and eight walks allowed in 5.2 frames. His WHIP in those seven contests is 3.00, and that simply won’t get the job done.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone knows his closer isn’t going through the best of stretches right now, and he was asked about him before Friday’s game, which ended up being postponed because of the weather conditions.

If there hadn’t been a rainout on Friday, and if there isn’t one on Saturday, the Yankees’ skipper knows who will take care of any hypothetical save chances, and that guy is Aroldis Chapman.

“If we have a chance to close out a game, I expect (Chapman) to be out there,” Boone said, per NJ Advance Media. “I do think there’s been a couple outings in the last several where he’s still been a little out of line delivery wise and that led to a couple balls and trying to find it out there in the fire.”

The Yankees are letting Chapman work through his issues on the mound

Chapman has struggled mainly with his fastball command, and could be a victim of MLB’s prohibition of sticky substances on the ball for pitchers.

Media present at the stadium asked Yankees’ reliever Darren O’Day whether it would be wise to let Chapman work through his struggles in a less stressful role, at least for a couple of outings.

“That’s a great question,” O’Day said. “The save is a big stat in baseball and sometimes as a middle reliever/high-leverage guy, it’s like the seventh-, eighth-inning job is a little bit harder than the closer because the closer always has the clean inning and never has to come into a tight situation with guys on base.

“But where closers earn their money, and they get paid significantly more, is when they blow saves or they struggle. All that attention is on them. It really is a challenge. I’ve been there where (Chapman) is before. I haven’t done that in New York, but it is a challenge. It really tests your mental skills and your fortitude.

“It’s funny because we’ve all been throwing baseballs for pretty much our entire life — childhood, adolescence, adulthood — but sometimes that skill escapes you.”

For now, it’s going to be Chapman out there if the Yankees are leading by three runs or less in the ninth.

Yankees News, 7/3: Aroldis Chapman’s future hangs in the balance, Aaron Boone must be more disciplined

aroldis chapman, yankees

The Yankees have had two games postponed consecutively due to inclement weather, and that might’ve been the best-case scenario for them as they try to avoid dropping further in the AL East standings. A few days off to rest up and heal is a positive thing, but it seems as if the Yankees won’t be given another day of leisure as they prepare to take on the Mets in a Subway Series at 1:05 PM on Saturday.

However, the Tampa Bay Rays were blown out by the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, but the Red Sox extended their lead in the AL East, securing victory over the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees currently sit 9.5 games back, a seemingly hopeless spot. However, the Rays are in the top spot in the Wild Card, and the Yankees have a chance of catching them at just five games back. They desperately need to string together a few wins ASAP, otherwise, they could see their postseason hopes slip away prematurely.

There have been a few negative factors impacting the Yankees’ sought-after success recently, and one of them is closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has struggled mightily the past few weeks, coincidentally ever since the MLB cracked down on sticky substances.

In fact, over the last five appearances, Chapman has allowed eight hits and seven earned runs, striking out just five batters. He has seen his ERA balloon to 3.77 after having a strong start to the 2021 season.

When a player struggles to this degree, the manager should consider taking a different path toward closing out games, but Boone remains committed to Chapman, which could end up being a negative move.

“If we have a chance to close out a game, I expect (Chapman) to be out there,” Boone said. “I do think there’s been a couple outings in the last several where he’s still been a little out of line delivery wise and that led to a couple balls and trying to find it out there in the fire.”

Of course, the Cuban native is considered one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, but having nearly blown multiple saves the past few games, the Yankees need to be careful and more disciplined — especially with Zack Britton preparing to make a return in the coming days.
Either way, Boone needs to be more creative and disciplined with his decisions, as they’ve ultimately cost the Yankees multiple games this season. At this point, fans are already calling for the firing of Boone and general manager Brian Cashman, so unless they can turn this team around quickly, Hal Steinbrenner might be forced to make a decision he would prefer to avoid. He does seem to be committed to the front office and management, though.