New York Yankees Recap: Gerrit Cole ekes out a win against the Angels

yankees, gerrit cole

Today was supposed to be a much-needed day off for the New York Yankees, but they played a makeup game with the Los Angeles Angels tonight. The game was made necessary due to a rainout when they last met in June at the Stadium.  The Angels were 12 1/2 out in the AL West, and the Yankees were 5.5 games out in the AL East; every game is important, and the Yankees would try for another gutsy win tonight with Gerrit Cole making his first start off the Covid list. He was facing the Angels Jose Suarez. It was another one-run win for the Yankees. The final score was Yankees 2 and the Angels 1.

Cole faced Shohei Ohtani in the first inning, who stuck out on a Cole 99mph fastball. David Fletcher struck out looking. Justin Upton hit a home run to the left-field stands to put the Angels on the board first. Jared Walsh struck out. Cole got three strikeouts in the inning but also gave up a run. The bottom was led off by DJ LeMahieu, who flew out to the far right. Aaron Judge singled to right. Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer to the second deck right-field stands for the Yankee lead. Giancarlo Stanton went down for the second out of the inning. Luke Voit got a single right up the middle. Rougie Odor ground out to first on a broken bat. New York Yankees 2 Angels 1.

The second inning was led off by Phil Gosselin, who singled to short. Jose Iglesias tapped back to Cole for the first out. Brandon Marsh went down looking. Max Stassi struck out swinging for five strikeouts for Cole in two innings. At the bottom, Kyle Higashioka struck out swinging. Jonathan Davis was out on an infield dribble. Andrew Velaquez ground out to short. Yankees 2 Angels 1.

Jo Adell led off the third inning by striking out for Cole’s 6th. Ohtani flew out to Stanton in right. Fletcher ground out on a flip play to Cole at first. At the bottom, it was the top of the lineup for the Yankees. LeMahieu ground out on a roller to short. Gallo went down on strikes. Yankees 2 Angels 1.

Justin Upton led off the fourth inning by giving Cole his seventh strikeout of the game. Walsh struck out for number 8 for Cole. Gosselin ground out to end the half.  Stanton led off the bottom and singled to left. Voit hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Odor went down swinging. Yankees 2 Angels 1.

The fifth inning was led off by Iglesias, who ground out to third. Marsh walked, breaking a string of 10 straight Angels put down. Stassi provided Cole with his 9th strikeout. Adell flew out to Davis, who made a tremendous running catch in center. At the bottom, Higashioka flew out to second. Davis struck out. Velaquez struck out. New York Yankees 3 Los Angeles Angels 1.

Shohei Ohtani led off the sixth inning and flew out to Stanton on the warning track. Fletcher popped out to short. Upton reached on a bobbled play by Odor at third, And that was the evening for Cole. Walsh faced the new Yankee pitcher Zack Britton and struck out, making Boone’s decision to bring Britton in the right one. At the bottom, LeMahieu walked on four pitches. Judge walked on four pitches. With two on and no outs, Gallo walked the bases loaded, and that was the night for Suarez. Stanton faced the new Angel pitcher Steve Cishek and went down on strikes to boos from the Yankee faithful. Voit with three on and one out hit into an inning-ending double play, blowing a huge opportunity for the Yankees. Yankees 2 Angels 1.

Phil Gosselin led off the seventh inning at the Stadium by grounding out. Iglesias against Albert Abreu flew out to Davis in center. Marsh went down swinging. Odor in the bottom walked on four pitches. Higashioka flew out to far center. Davis was called out on strikes. Velasquez hitting from the left side, flew out to center field. Yankees 2 Angels 1.

The eighth inning saw Max Stassi at the plate with Abreu still on the mound; he ground out. Adell went down looking and ending the night for Abreu. Ohtani faced the new Yankee pitcher J-ROD (Joely Rodriguez), and Ohtani went down looking to end the half. LeMahieu led off the bottom by walking. Judge singled to left, moving LeMahieu to second. LeMahieu was thrown out, reaching for third. Judge took second. Gallo went down swinging. Stanton faced the new Angel pitcher Junior Guerra and flew out to left. Yankees 2 Angels 1.

In the ninth inning, with the last licks on the line for the Angels, Fletcher against the Yankee closer Chad Green ground out to LeMahieu. Upton struck out swinging. Walsh singled down the left-field line. Gosselin, with two outs and one on, struck out, looking to end the game.

The final score was the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels 1. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole, and the loser was Jose Suarez. The save went to Chad Green (4).

Three New York Giants players headed to injured reserve list

New York Giants, Kyle Murphy

There’s been some concerns about the New York Giants having a thin roster at some positions, and that won’t be aided by the team losing three players to the injured reserve following their first preseason game. While the Giants lost the game on the field, these injuries are a larger concern than the result as all of the players involved will miss major time because of them.

The players in question are offensive lineman Kyle Murphy, linebacker T.J. Brunson, and cornerback Joshua Kalu. Murphy is the most recent player to be placed on the IR list, after Kalu and Brunson were placed on it more immediately.

Based on the current rules, the Giants can bring unlimited players back from the IR list but only players that are on the 53 man roster following the September 1st cuts are eligible to return. Judging from this, it looks like these three players are likely out for the year.

Brunson has an ACL tear, which is well known for being a long term injury and is the same one that has kept Saquon Barkley out for the past year. Kalu has a torn pectoral muscle, which isn’t as long term of an injury but can still take months to recover from. Murphy, who was competing for a place on the roster as an offensive lineman, has an ankle injury with a less clear recovery time.

All in all the injuries are a loss to the team’s depth on both sides of the ball and it’s likely we don’t see any of these players back this season. Given that, the Giants may just have to be more active than even earlier predictions expected when it comes to filling out their roster with free agents.

Zach Wilson’s debut was exactly what he and the New York Jets needed

zach wilson, jets

The quiet yet effective preseason debut of Zach Wilson brought a much-needed aura of peace to the New York Jets.

Welcome back to the NFL preseason: where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.

After a year off, the NFL restored nirvana for the hot take artists of social media last week through the resumption of the summer exhibition slate. Last Saturday was particularly blissful for the premature prognosticators, as the four of the five quarterbacks chosen in the first round of last spring’s draft donned their game jerseys for the first time. The outlier, New England’s Mac Jones, was perhaps too busy penning his Hall of Fame speech after social media put him in Canton after his own debut on Thursday against Washington.

Burdened with a history that has made them the butt of many a gridiron joke, the 2021 New York Jets have been dealing with preseason fortune tellers even before the annual MetLife Stadium civil war against the Giants. Any other locale would be bestowed enthusiasm about Wilson being thrust into a situation that brought in offensive reinforcement, bolstered its pass rush on defense, and hired one of the most coveted assistant coaches in football, Robert Saleh, to oversee the whole operation.

Instead, Wilson (among others) has paid the “Jets tax”, where everyday football struggles are instead hysterical comedy fuel. A brief rookie contract holdout felt like a hostage situation before a tough public intrasquad scrimmage (Wilson completed less than half of his attempts and lost two interceptions) at MetLife Stadium was straight-up apocalyptic.

zach wilson, jets

Wilson continues to navigate a situation where not only the simplest mistake, even factors beyond his control, can become the next viral sensation, but also one where he’s playing in a market that doesn’t take the concept of a rebuild too well. Even the gargantuan task of merely appearing in a Super Bowl isn’t enough…how often have you heard Giants fans speak fondly about the 2000-01 season after the Eli Manning pair? With the Jets holding the NFL’s longest active playoff drought (10 years), their long-suffering fans aren’t interested in witnessing another chapter in the endless saga of rebuilding.

Fans know that the phrase “trust the process” has become such a tired trope. The Philadelphia 76ers’ coining of such a phrase (which has yet to yield a result better than seven games in the conference semifinals) was a gift to front offices everywhere: losing streaks and supposed attempts at tanking could be excused as being part of a greater plan to make things right. But when it came to the state of the modern Jets, it’d be hard to deny that some kind of process…and a massive amount of patience…will be necessary moving forward. The Jets are coming off one of the most, if not the most, cursed seasons in franchise history, sinking to depths that even Rich Kotite’s doomed bunch managed to avoid.

Wilson knew what he was dealing with upon entering camp in late July.

“I’m just trying to learn every single day, how I can improve and just knowing my plays better, and just the different looks our defense is throwing at us. It’s going to be a process,” Wilson said, per notes from the Jets. “I would say there’s no pressure behind it, it’s just that the game is fast and you just have to be able to get used to it and catch up to it, and how quickly can I process through things.”

Wilson made his professional debut on Saturday in the Garden State’s late summer tradition informally referred to as the Snoopy Bowl. For some, it’s a mock Super Bowl, an excuse for metropolitan football fans to get together for one last summer hurrah. Others…remember Victor Cruz?…take the opportunity to leave not-so-subtle warnings to the rest of the league. Other times, the game leaves fans feeling wary about the future, presumably leading to the cancellation of some Super Bowl travel packages.

Somehow, someway, Wilson took on the best of both worlds: he left a calming aura amongst Jets while acknowledging that the battle back toward relevancy isn’t going to be an overnight conquest.

Wilson ended the day with a 6-of-9 mark for 63 yards, good for an 86.8 rating. He wasn’t sacked despite decent pressure from the Giants’ reserves. The Jets got into Giants territory on each of his two possessions, including one that began inside their own 10. They might’ve gotten further if not for an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out a third-down conversion strike to Jamison Crowder. Wilson did convert two other third downs, including a 16-yard strike to Keelan Cole on third-and-nine while the Jets were still trapped at their own 20.

Despite a decent box score, there was room for improvement. He tried to force a third connection with Corey Davis on a third-down in the red zone. The first toss to Davis picked up eight yards on a mini-rollout, but Wilson looked somewhat stagnant in the pocket, often keeping to the safety of inside the hashes.

But no major mistakes, nothing that will appear on SportsCenter‘s Not Top 10, no fodder for the cackling hyenas of Twitter to pounce on, all on a major metropolitan stage against a notorious opponent and moving the ball effectively…what more could the Jets ask for?

Instead of debating Wilson’s Canton case or dooming him to the unholy brotherhood of busts, the Jets can further cherish some of the positive storylines that emerged from Saturday’s proceedings, like an improved pass rush that took down Giants quarterbacks five times and Denzel Mims reclaiming the narrative on his summer.

Obviously, anyone wearing even the slightest shade of green would’ve loved to see Wilson create multiple touchdowns as Justin Fields did in Chicago. They would’ve love to see him thread the needle on a deep ball, Trevor Lawrence-style. But even a perfect performance wouldn’t have solved anything for the Jets. Now, they know what they need to work on moving toward the next Saturday preseason contest in Green Bay (4:25 p.m. ET, WLNY/NFL Network).

“I thought it was good, still things to clean up, but it was a great experience,” Wilson said in a report from D.J. Bien-Aime of the New York Daily News. In that same report, head coach Robert Saleh was more cautious but equally excited.

“There’s still a lot of things that he’s going to learn from. There’s a lot of opportunities for him to grow,” Saleh said. “Even here in this game, despite the fact that he looked comfortable, there’s still going to be things he can learn from.”

Things have rarely panned out for the Jets since a certain Sunday in South Beach in January 1969. Perhaps it’s a cruel reality that the best-case summer scenario, at least in the opening week of exhibitions, is a sub-100-yard performance and only three points. But part one of the Wilson era produces clarity and groundedness…something that’s ironically been missing from a franchise named the Jets, one that’s so desperate to stick the landing…the Jets will happily get on board.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Obi Toppin says Knicks rookies are showing why they should play next season

The New York Knicks have upgraded their roster via free agency while maintaining their depth to build on the momentum of their first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Knicks went into the NBA Summer League with a primary focus on Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley’s development as leaders, and they are getting more than what they bargained.

Toppin and Quickley have been balling out in their first NBA Summer League after the event was scratched last year due to the pandemic. The Knicks’ sophomores have been included in The Athletic’s NBA Draft analyst Sam Vecenie’s ‘Too Good for Summer League Team,’ while their rookies have shown plenty of promise.

“It’s been great being out there with those guys, leading those guys, and pushing those guys. Everybody on that team has a heart and loves the hustle. When you’re playing with a bunch of dogs, then your team is fun,” Toppin said after the Knicks chalked up their third win in five Summer League games last Saturday.

In a true Tom Thibodeau fashion, Toppin (36.5 minutes) and Quickley (34.5 minutes) lead the NBA Summer League in playing time. Knicks Summer League coach Daisuke “Dice” Yoshimoto has referred to them as leaders of this team.

Toppin has been productive, averaging 23.0 points (no. 4 in scoring), 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks while shooting 46 percent from the floor and making 2.2 3s per game.

“Obi put in a lot of time over the summer. And it showed. He’s gonna continue to get better, put time in, and the result will gonna take care of itself,” Yoshimoto said. “This is his chance to showcase who he is. He’s gonna continue to put his time in, work hard, and build the right habits.”

The biggest takeaway here is Toppin can produce when used right. Toppin was able to show his potential as a rim runner, roll man, and pick and pop big man as opposed to his ill-fitted role last season as a floor-spacing big man just waiting in the corner.

On the other hand, Quickley, despite his shaky shooting (38 percent overall, 25 percent from 3) in Las Vegas, has made great strides as a lead guard with his 8.0 assists ranking third behind traditional point guards — Atlanta rookie Sharife Cooper (9.0) and Boston’s sophomore Payton Pritchard (8.7). Quickley also averages 21.8 points (no. 7) to go with 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

Their rookies Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, Jericho Sims, and their pick-and-stash Rokas Jokubaitis, who left for Spain, have followed their lead.

“All those guys are doing great. Quick (Quickley) has been doing a great job with Deuce (McBride) and Quentin (Grimes). Jericho (Sims) has been doing a great job listening to all of us and doing his part. Every rookie on [our] team is doing good, and they’re showing Thibs why they should be on the court next season,” Toppin said.

Heeding the advice of Allan Houston and Penny Hardaway, Grimes finally looked like the 3-and-D guy the Knicks have drafted in their last two games, scoring 15 and 28 points, after groping for form in his first three games.

McBride has been stellar running the point in Quickley’s absence (due to a sore groin) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. McBride scored a personal Summer League-best 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting and handed out five assists while playing solid defense (four rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot).

Through five games, McBride, the 36th pick overall, is averaging 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.4 steals with a 50/46/88 shooting split.

Sims has made his first 10 field goals and is leading the Summer League in field goal percentage (88.2 percent) among players who have played at least three games and attempted at least four field goals per game. In four games, Sims has put up 8.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks.

“They are gonna continue to put their time in and get better. Let’s see where they are at training camp,” Yoshimoto said.

Toppin attributed their great on-court chemistry to the culture they had been building in New York since Thibodeau’s arrival last year.

“I feel like just the brotherhood we’ve built. Everybody on our team is very close. We hang out with each other every single day. And we love to compete. Every time we step on that floor, we give it our 110 percent every game, and we’ve got to continue doing that for the season,” Toppin said.

The Knicks will close out their Summer League play against the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. Monday. Toppin and the Knicks are raring to come out with a bang.

“I think one thing we need to focus on is just lock in defensively — having our best defensive game and just having fun out there,” Toppin said. “So, it’s gonna be our last Summer League game, and we need to make a statement going into the new season.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Dustin Poirier not committed to any UFC offer; Open to either Charles Oliveira or Nate Diaz next

dustin poirier, ufc

Arguably the best lightweight in the UFC gave one of his first interviews today since his big win last month. Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) was the first guest on the return of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour on MMA Fighting this afternoon.

The Diamond has been relatively quiet since his second win over Conor McGregor (22-6) back at UFC 264. After Poirier picked up the win, it was universally expected that Poirier would be next in line for the UFC lightweight title.

However, with everything having gone quiet, there’s been no word on that fight getting finalized. While a fight with Poirier is what Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) is mentally preparing for, it might not be next for Dustin Poirier.

Poirier has always been a lightweight that has gone on his own path. Outside of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Poirier has been the best lightweight in the UFC over the last few years. If you think of any top lightweight outside of Oliveira and Nurmagomedov, Poirier has defeated them.

Originally, the UFC wanted Poirier to fight Oliveira for the title at UFC 262. However, Poirier chased the money fight and cashed in with a second win over Conor McGregor. Now, Poirier is in a very similar position.

UFC Title or Money Fight?

Poirier has been the target of recent callouts from the one and only Nate Diaz (20-13). Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the UFC and he’s been calling for a fight with Dustin Poirier for a long time.

The fight with Nate Diaz is something that Poirier has also wanted for a long time as he told Helwani today. Diaz has lost two consecutive fights, but neither fight has done anything to diminish his star power. In fact, his star power has seemingly become even greater.

He last fought at UFC 263 when he fought Leon Edwards at 170 pounds. Edwards was considered one of the best in the welterweight division and Diaz wanted to fight him because of how good he was.

Edwards controlled most of the fight, but Nate Diaz came on strong and almost finished Edwards in the final minute. While Edwards got the win, all the talk was about Nate Diaz after UFC 263.

Diaz and Poirier were once scheduled to fight and the fight fell through. Since then, both have gone back-and-forth with each other over social media. A fight between the two men seems inevitable.

Helwani told Poirier today that he believes the money fight for Poirier would be Diaz. However, the legacy fight would be for the UFC title. In reality, the ball is in Poirier’s court just like it was earlier this year. What will he do: Fight Charles Oliveira or Fight Nate Diaz? Time will tell on this one.

Mets Game Preview (8/16/21) @ San Francisco Giants (76-42)

The New York Mets fly across the country after a disappointing sweep to the Los Angeles Dodgers and face the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have the best record in baseball, while the Mets cannot seem to get out of their own way by creating new heartbreaking ways to lose. Playing on the west coast means a late-night start of 9:45 p.m. ET from Oracle Park.

The struggles on offense were evident in the series against the Dodgers, where they went 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position. Their inability to hit for power has hampered any offensive rallies they put together. The Mets have a .380 slugging percentage this season which is fourth worse in baseball. They are the only team in the bottom five who is not in last place.

The Giants are a complete 180 of where the Mets are. Expectations were minimal in a division where the Dodgers and San Diego Padres were supposed to reign supreme. The Giants flipped the odds against everyone and have become a powerhouse, leading the NL with 176 home runs despite playing in their spacious home ballpark. Their pitching has also propelled them to success with a 3.22 ERA which is the second-best in baseball.

Pitching Matchup

Rich Hill looks to bounce back after his last outing against the Washington Nationals. After the game was suspended after one inning, Hill took over in the second for Carlos Carrasco. Hill only lasted three and allowed the same amount of runs while striking out four. Over 18 innings with the Mets, he has a 5.00 ERA and struck out 12 batters. In eight career starts at Oracle Park, Hill has a 3.21 ERA.

Kevin Gausman is the Giants starter and is putting together the best season of his career. The 2021 All-Star has a 2.29 ERA which is sixth in MLB to go along with a .182 average against, the second-best in baseball. Gausman is in the middle of a small skid with a 5.16 ERA in his last five starts and has only gone more than five innings once.

Matchups To Lookout For

Rich Hill vs. Brandon Belt: 6-for-15 (.400), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Buster Posey: 10-for-20 (.500), Double, Home Run, Walk, Strikeout

Rich Hill vs. Wilmer Flores: 4-for-12 (.333), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 5 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Brandon Crawford: 6-for-18 (.333), 5 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Kevin Gausman vs. Kevin Pillar: 14-for-39 (.359), Double, 2 Walks, 10 Strikeouts

Kevin Gausman vs. Jeff McNeil: 4-for-6 (.667), Double

Conor McGregor guarantees 2022 return; Eyeing immediate UFC title shot

Conor McGregor, UFC

Last month at UFC 264, Conor McGregor (22-6) suffered arguably the toughest loss of his career. Not tough in terms of suffering a loss, but tough in terms of the injury that caused the fight to stop and his career to hit pause.

McGregor was taking on Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) in the installment of their rivalry. Both men had finished the other by knockout in the first two fights. The third fight perfectly encapsulated the first two fights within one round.

Early on in the first round, McGregor was doing incredibly well. He was blasting Poirier with leg kicks and at one point seemed to hurt Poirier with strikes. However, Poirier quickly turned the tables and started pushing forward.

McGregor went for a guillotine choke which proved to be a grave mistake. Poirier ended up on top and dominated most of the round from that top position. Late in the round, Poirier let McGregor up and the two started striking.

The former UFC two-division champion threw his patented straight left hand and missed. When he stepped back, his leg snapped. The fight was declared over in between rounds and McGregor suffered another loss at UFC 264.

McGregor’s UFC return

The former UFC champion had surgery to fix his broken leg and he’s been rehabbing ever since. He’s been documenting his progress and McGregor is fully focused on returning to the octagon in 2022. 

Make no mistake about it, McGregor is planning on returning to the top of the UFC. In fact, he plans on going right into a title shot. McGregor had a Q&A session on his personal Twitter today where he took fan questions.

In one response, he said that he plans on walking right back into a UFC title shot. Personally, I can see it happening if Poirier is the lightweight champion. With the way the last fight ended, there still appears to be some unfinished business there.

However, McGregor talked about the fact that he’s interested in the UFC’s welterweight title. McGregor said that he would spark Kamaru Usman (19-1) which prompted a quick response from the UFC’s welterweight champion.

It’ll be interesting to see where McGregor goes upon his return. I would recommend that he returns to lightweight, but with The Notorious one, you truly never know what he and the UFC are cooking up.

New York Yankees: Two teams, four games, here’s the preview

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Today was supposed to be a much-needed day off for the New York Yankees, but today they will play a makeup game with the Los Angeles Angels. The game was made necessary due to a rainout when they last met in June at the Stadium. Tomorrow the Yankees will start a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. The Angels are 12 1/2 out in the AL West, and the Yankees are 5.5 games out in the AL East; every game is important, but if the Yankees can sweep the Red Sox, they will take over second place in the East division.

Tonight, August 16, 7:05 pm:

Tonight, at Yankee Stadium, we will see the return off the Covid list of Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. Cole had not pitched since July 29th, when he lost to the Tampa Bay Rays. While on the Covid list, although he hasn’t pitched, he could throw the ball at home during his time away. This season he is 10-6  with a 3.11 ERA and an incredible 176 strikeouts. The Yankees hope Cole will return to form in tonight’s game.

Cole will be facing the Angels Jose Suarez, a lefty that is 5-5 with a 3.90 ERA for the Angels in 15 games. He is coming off a loss on the 10th against the Toronto Blue Jays. Suarez typically gives up a lot of run and home runs as well. The Angels have lost 8 of his starts. DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton have hit well off Suarez.

Tuesday, August 17, 1:05 pm., game one:

On Tuesday, the first game of a day-night doubleheader will feature pitching sensation prospect Luis Gil on the mound for the Yankees. The righty is 1-0 with a Zero ERA and 14 strikeouts in two starts against the Orioles and Mariners. Gil has been the replacement for Gerrit Cole while he was on the Covid list. He has given the Yankees more than they could have asked for and now earns another start.

The Red Sox has not announced a starter for the game. The game will be televised on the YES Network, NESN, and MLBN out of market.

Tuesday, August 17, 7:05 pm., game two:

The night installment of the doubleheader will see the return of Jordan Montgomery from the Covid list. The lefty is 4-5 with an ERA of 3.69 and 115 strikeouts. “Monty” pitches much better than the record would suggest. He has gotten very little run support in most of his games. The Yankees hope the rest will allow Montgomery to have a good start tomorrow night. He is coming off of two wins, one against the Rays and one against the Marlins.

The Red Sox have not announced a starter for this game either. The game will be televised by WPIX and its affiliates in the New York area, NESN, and MLBN out of market.

Wednesday, August 18, 7:05 pm:

In this game, the tables are turned on the Red Sox as they have announced their starter, but the Yankees haven’t. This is largely because the Yankees don’t have a reliable starter for the game. It would normally be Andrew Heaney’s start, but that will likely not be the case with how poorly he has pitched. So instead, it could end up being a bullpen game started by either Lucas Luetge or Wandy Peralta. For both, it would be their second start.

The Red Sox will start Nick Pivetta, one of their best starters. He is a righty with a 9-5 record, an ERA of 4.20, and 139 strikeouts. He is coming off a six-inning outing win against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have not faced Pivetta this season. DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton have both hit well off of Pivetta in the past. Wednesday night’s game will be nationally televised on ESPN. It will also be on the YES Network and NESN.

Former New York Jets head coach Joe Walton dies at 85

Walton’s 54 wins as a head coach are good for second in New York Jets history and he also spent four seasons as a tight end for the Giants.

Former New York Jets head coach Joe Walton passed away on Sunday at the age of 85. His passing was confirmed through an announcement from Robert Morris University athletics. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Walton spent seven years (1983-89) at the helm of the Jets, posting a 54-59-1 record (including 1-2 in the playoffs). His 54 wins are the second-best tally in team history behind only Weeb Ewbank’s 71. Walton previously served as the Jets’ offensive coordinator for two seasons (1981-82).

“Joe Walton poured his heart into this franchise for nine seasons,” the Jets said in a statement. “Joining us as an offensive coordinator before taking over as the Head Coach [sic], Joe fielded some of the franchise’s most productive offenses and helped the team to four playoff appearances during his tenure. He was a good man, who cared for his players, and loved the game of football.”

Walton entered the NFL in 1957 as a second-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins, following in his father Frank’s footsteps. The younger Walton, a defensive end and later a tight end, had been a unanimous All-American at Pittsburgh before his NFL entry. He went on to play 82 games over seven seasons and was traded to the New York Giants in 1961. Walton’s most notable moment as a player came in 1962 when he caught Y.A. Tittle’s record-tying seventh touchdown pass in a single game, a 49-34 win over Washington.

After retiring due to injuries in 1964, Walton became a Giants scout (1965-68) and later the receivers’ coach (1969-73) before going back to Washington as the running backs coach (1974-77) and offensive coordinator (1978-80). He ended his NFL tenure as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive coordinator after his Jets tenure ended (1990-91).

Despite his success in the NFL, Walton is perhaps best known for his endeavors at Robert Morris University. He built the Colonials’ football program from scratch at the Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) level and guided the team to Northeast Conference championships in each of its first five seasons as a member, a stretch that included a perfect 10-0 record in 2000. In 2010, Walton and the Colonials earned the NEC’s first FCS playoff berth with an 8-3 mark.

RMU’s athletic stadium, which opened in 2005 bears Walton’s name. He would spend 20 seasons as the program’s head coach before retiring after the 2013 campaign. Walton was inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame in that same here, his induction hosted by former NFL protege Joe Theismann. Other notable names to work under Walton’s watch included Fran Tarkenton and Ken O’Brien.

“Joe loved football. In a career that spanned six decades, he served as a player, scout, and coach-all while making a positive impression on the people he crossed paths with,” Jets owner Woody Johnson added in another statement. “While he did everything he could for this franchise, his legacy is that of a person who gave his all to the sport, going on to help grow the game by starting a football program at Robert Morris University and giving many others the opportunity to be part of the game.”

Walton is survived by his second wife Patty (his first wife Ginger passed in 2007) and their three children, Jodi, Stacy, and Joe.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Yankees News: Zack Britton takes one for the team, Cortes continues to shine

zack britton, yankees

After Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit home runs in the ninth-inning in the Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, closer Zack Britton was called to finish off the contest. Unfortunately, Britton blew the save, allowing Tim Anderson to smack a walk-off homer in one of the most exciting games of the season and will come to be a historical event.

Britton was devastated by his performance, indicating he’s not at full strength and still fighting to regain his form after missing time to open the year. He demanded that Aaron Boone give another pitcher is an opportunity to close games, taking one for the team.

“I told him I don’t deserve to be out there in the ninth inning; other guys deserve it,” Britton said Saturday before the Yankees’ 7-5 win over Chicago in Game 2. “I haven’t been pitching the way I should be to be out there when the team needs wins. I told [Boone] I want to pitch, whenever you need me I’ll be ready, but I don’t deserve to be out there in those situations.”

Luckily, the Yankees were able to close out the next two contests, securing victory over the White Sox. The Yankees called upon Albert Abreu in Game 2 and Wandy Peralta in Game 3. Although, Lucas Luetge tried his best to ruin the day for the Bombers, Britton’s plan worked to near perfection, as the Yanks extracted two victories with him giving up the closer a role.

However, in the win on Sunday, the Yankees posted five runs on nine hits, but picked up 16 strikeouts. Joey Gallo struck out four times, Rougned Odor three times, Kyle Higashioka four times, and Tyler Wade three times. Luckily, Aaron Judge continues to rake, picking up three walks. Luke Voit smashed a two run homer in the ninth-inning, doing enough to push the Yankees over the edge. The team’s reserve first baseman is trying his best to make an impact before the return of Anthony Rizzo from the COVID list.