New York Giants: Devontae Booker speaks on scoring vs Cleveland

Devontae Booker, New York Giants

The New York Giants might have lost against the Browns after not playing their starters for the second straight game, but we did get a look at one player who might feature in a prominent role next season. Devontae Booker was active in the early game and will be a player of interest in 2021, due to his position as the likely top backup behind Saquon Barkley at running back.

Booker was brought in this offseason with most projecting that as his role over competing running backs Corey Clement and Gary Brightwell, and he arguably looked like the best running back for the Giants to feature in the Browns game.

While Clement beat out Booker with three more rushing yards to finish with 30 rather than 27, Booker was the only running back to score a touchdown for the Giants. It’s something he spoke about following the game, when asked about the way that he leapt over the line to complete the score.

Devontae Booker’s postgame comments

“Honestly, I just saw everyone on the ground. Typically, I am not a big leap guy, but I tried it today and it worked,” Booker told reporters.

Booker also praised the offensive line, an area of the team that has been a point of contention this offseason due to not having clear improvements from last year.

“They did pretty good. Executed on assignments they had out there, gave the quarterbacks some time and opening up some holes for me. I was just going up there and trying to execute my assignment, and when we all execute our assignments, it is perfect.”

The Giants haven’t executed yet in a way that wins them a preseason game. However, based on the playing time choices, it’s clear that the coaching staff doesn’t care much about winning in the preseason.

There’s not quite cause for panic yet. While the team is 0-2 going into their closing preseason game, the lineups they’ve played so far are a far cry from the one that will be on the field in September.

Individual performances are the thing to look out for during this preseason, and Booker put himself on the map as one of the standouts in this game alongside David Sills V, who continued his good form with the team’s other touchdown.

New York Jets to seek pass rush help after losing Carl Lawson (Report)

New York Jets

With Carl Lawson done for the year, the New York Jets are looking for help from abroad to strengthen their pass rush.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the New York Jets are looking for help from abroad to find pass rushing reinforcements after losing prized acquisition Carl Lawson for the entire 2021 season. Lawson, signed to a three-year, $45 million deal in March, was carted from the field after he ruptured his Achillies during a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday.

The Jets do have a decent pass rush even with Lawson done for the year. They are set to welcome back 2020 breakouts Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, and Foley Fatukasi while former New Orleans Saint Sheldon Rankins also joins the front four. Bryce Huff has likewise earned positive reviews for his training camp efforts.

But the defense struggled without Lawson’s prescience in Saturday’s preseason game against the Packers, allowing a Green Bay offense consisting mostly of backups to score on two of four drives in the first half. The latter scoring drive saw Green Bay embark on a 19-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Kurt Benkert’s five-yard touchdown pass to Jace Sternberger. New York (2-0) also tallied only one sack (via safety J.T. Hassell in the fourth quarter) after earning five against the Giants last weekend. The Jets ranked 25th in pressure rate last season (21.7 percent) and 20th in opposing hurry rate (8.8 percent).

If the Jets were to seek out a late offseason trade, there is plenty of draft capital to work with. New York owns 13 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, including Seattle’s first-round choice obtained through the Jamal Adams deal. A notable name to keep an eye on could be 2017’s sack leader Chandler Jones of Arizona. Jones, formerly of the New England Patriots, reportedly requested a trade from the Cardinals earlier this summer, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

The Jets will conclude their preseason slate on Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, WCBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers morn the loss of ‘Mr. Ranger’ Rod Gilbert

The New York Rangers lost a piece of their heart and soul on a Sunday night with the announcement that Rod Gilbert has passed away.

The New York Rangers announced that Rod Gilbert passed away at the age of 80 on Sunday evening.

Rangers CEO, James Dolan said in a statement,

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Rod Gilbert – one of the greatest Rangers to ever play for our organization and one of the greatest ambassadors the game of hockey has ever had. While his on-ice achievements rightly made him a Hall of Famer, it was his love for the Rangers and the people of New York that endeared him to generations of fans and forever earned him the title, ‘Mr. Ranger.’ Our thoughts are with Rod’s wife, Judy, and the entire Gilbert family during this difficult time. They will always be a part of the Rangers family.”

Gilbert played over 18 seasons in the NHL, all of them in a Rangers sweater.

During his career, Gilbert established or matched 20 team scoring records, and at the time of his retirement in 1977, was second only to Gordie Howe in points by a right winger in NHL history. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

The Montreal, Quebec native finished his NHL career with 406 goals and 615 assists for 1,021 points in 1,065 games, along with 34 goals and 33 assists in 79 playoff matches. Gilbert ranks first on the Rangers’ all-time goals and points lists, while he is the only Blueshirt to tally at least 400 career goals or at least 1,000 career points. Playing with Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield on the ‘GAG Line’ (goal-a-game), Gilbert established career-highs with 43 goals and 97 points and earned First Team All-Star honors in 1971-72. Over the course of his career, he appeared in eight NHL All-Star Games and was voted a Second Team All-Star in 1967-68.

In 1976 Gilbert received the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” The award was a fitting tribute to the courage and spirit of Gilbert, recognizing the hard work and determination that helped him overcome major back surgery early in his career, including two follow-up spinal fusion operations, to establish himself as one of hockey’s all-time greats.

His time with the Rangers after his playing career spanned 32 years.  He most recently served as Director, Special Projects and Community Relations.

His No. 7 jersey became the first number ever to be retired by the Rangers, when it was raised to The Garden rafters on October 14, 1979. In September 2007, the National Hockey League Alumni Association honored Gilbert with the 2007 Man of the Year Award.

He will be Missed when No. 30 is raised

The New York Rangers have already announced that Henrik Lindqvusts Jersey will be raised to the rafters sometime this season. Gilbert would have been there orchestrating the night on the ice with his fellow Jersey retirees in attendance.

His absence will be noticeable but his spirit will be overlooking the garden doing what he has always done, being proud of wearing the red, white, and blue on Broadway.

Commissioner Batemann’s Statement

Sunday night, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman releases a statement on the passing of Gilbert;

“Rod Gilbert’s impact on the National Hockey League and the New York Rangers over the past 62 years was profound – both on and off the ice,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “As a player, he was revered by his teammates, respected by his opponents and absolutely beloved by Rangers’ fans.  Throughout his 18 NHL seasons – all with the Rangers, he was among the greatest offensive players of his era and truly entertained fans across the League on a nightly basis.  His contributions to the game were appropriately recognized with hockey’s highest individual honor – induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. Rod’s impact on our game was equaled, if not surpassed, in his retirement. For 32 years, he was one of the greatest ambassadors that our League has seen in its 104-year history.  The time that he devoted to countless charitable causes and the passion that he brought to every interaction with hockey fans at not only Madison Square Garden but across the NHL was both incredible and inspiring.


“On a personal level, I will miss Rod’s friendship and love for the game. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Judy and his children Chantal, Justin, Holly and Brooke and his seven grandchildren. The game has lost a true friend.” – NHL.Com

Gilbert is survived by his wife, Judy, his siblings, Jean Marie, André, and Pauline (sister-in-law), his children, Chantal, Justin, Holly, and Brooke, and his grandchildren, Arielle, Owen, Kaya, Jordyn, Lila, Logan, and Damon.

NASCAR: Ryan Blaney holds off powers of Hendrick to win at Michigan

With his win at Michigan, Ryan Blaney has now won multiple NASCAR Cup Series races in a single season for the first time in his career.

Faced with a challenge from Hendrick Motorsports’ finest, Ryan Blaney made sure that Sunday’s Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway was, instead, Penske material.

Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford took advantage of a late restart, taking his first lead of the day at lap 193 of 200. He then held off a furious rally from the HMS duo of William Byron and Kyle Larson long enough to earn his second win of the season and first since Atlanta in March. Blaney held off Byron by 0.077 seconds to secure the win and his first multi-victory season at the Cup level. Larson, leader of a race-high 70 laps, finished third while Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.

Blaney started the afternoon in the third spot but quickly fell out of the top 15. His descent allowed HMS Chevrolets to take over. Chase Elliott won the first 60-lap stage in his No. 9 Chevrolet. Kyle Busch won the second stage for Joe Gibbs Racing but Elliott (8th), Byron, and Larson united to lead 136 of 200 laps. After Elliott faded after the second stage (pitting twice within 13 laps for tires), Byron and Larson appeared to do battle for the final victory.

Two late caution flags, however, set up late dramatics. A brief stop for rain set up a 16-lap shootout which was interrupted by a multi-car get-together that took out Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Christopher Bell, and Josh Berry (who was subbing for Corey LaJoie in the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet due to COVID-19 protocols). Blaney was situated in the fourth spot when the race went green again with eight to go after the chaos.

Using a strong push from Kyle Busch (7th), Blaney managed to clear the front row of Byron and Kurt Busch to secure the lead. He then held off Hendrick’s finest, denying them their 12th victory of the season. Blaney also allowed the Ford Motor Company to keep a dominant streak at MIS alive. Those repping the blue oval have now won seven straight races in Brooklyn.

Sunday’s race at Michigan was the penultimate race of the NASCAR Cup Series’ regular season. All but one spot in the 16-seed playoff field has been clinched as Kevin Harvick (14th) secured his spot on points. One final spot is up for grabs at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the famed Daytona International Speedway on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NBC).

Tyler Reddick (29th) missed an opportunity to expand his hold on the final seed after his teammate Austin Dillon (36th) was involved in a wreck after stage two ended, as contact with Brad Keselowski put him into the wall. Reddick leads Dillon by 22 points for the final spot, though he would lose it if a winless driver inside the top 30 in points managed to win at Daytona.

For full results, click HERE

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: 3 stars from Sunday’s loss vs. Los Angeles

Bookended by brutal turnover tallies, the New York Liberty’s spectator-free experience ended in heartbreak.

Despite making franchise history on Sunday in Brooklyn, a brief return to bubbled setting produced only heartbreak for the New York Liberty.

With fans and media asked to stay home in the wake of Tropical Storm Henri, the Liberty dropped an 86-83 decision to the Los Angeles Sparks at Barclays Center. Rutgers alumna Erica Wheeler led Los Angeles with 17 points, while Nneka Ogwumike provided 16 more.

Turnovers defined the day for the Liberty (11-14), as they lost the ball 10 times in a fourth quarter Los Angeles won by a 20-11 margin. The Liberty must also deal with questions around Sami Whitcomb, as the scorer of a team-high 17 points (tied with Natasha Howard) left the game in the latter stages with an apparent ankle injury. New York will next welcome in the Phoenix Mercury for a two-game set in Brooklyn beginning on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET, YES/NBA TV).

The Liberty’s loss did feature some team history. With 16 successful three-pointers, they set a new franchise record for triples in a single game.

ESM has three standouts from Sunday’s defeat…

Honorable Mentions

  • Betnijah Laney: 10 points, 9 assists
  • Reshanda Gray: 5 rebounds

3rd Star: Bec Allen

15 points, 5 assists, 2 blocks

Allen continued her torrid post-Olympic pace by sinking five triples on Sunday, giving her a career-best 35 for the season and 106 for her career. The latter mark allowed her to move into sole possession of 15th place on the Liberty’s all-time triples list, passing Sophia Witherspoon. She has reached double-figures in three straight games, another personal record.

“It’s (about) understanding your role and how roles have changed during seasons and within a season, too,” Allen said of her evolution from the outside. “I think it’s just having that mental state, that place of being a scorer. It’s always a good thing for me.”

2nd Star: Sami Whitcomb

17 points, 4 rebounds

The Liberty not only lost a crucial game in terms of playoff positioning on Sunday, but they also may have lost one of their most important pieces from both a performance and emotional standpoint. Whitcomb rolled her ankle as the Liberty tried to stage a final push and had to be assisted off the court by Sabrina Ionescu and team trainer Terri Acosta. A statement from the Liberty released in the aftermath revealed that Whitcomb sprained her ankle and will be out for at least the next 10-14 days. New York plays four times in that span, starting with Wednesday’s return to Brooklyn against Phoenix. Whitcomb is the WNBA’s lead in success three-pointers (69), leading her closest competition (Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas) by 12.

“It’s an awful thing to say you don’t want any of your teammates to go down,” Allen said of Whitcomb’s departure. “Sami’s obviously a big part of our team so I just hope that she gets better soon. Obviously, she needs to focus on her health and getting it right. But it didn’t happen in a good moment for us at all.”

1st Star: Natasha Howard

17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals

As Betnijah Laney struggled through another tough shooting night (2-of-12), Howard improved to 6-of-13 after a tough night on Friday against Seattle and earned a double-double for the second straight contest. She has averaged 17 points and over seven rebounds in her first four games back from a sprained MCL sustained in the pre-Olympic slate. Howard claimed that she’s “starting to feel like (herself) again”, which could be big as the Liberty prepare to make one last push for the playoffs.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re locked in at every moment because every moment counts,” Howard said as the Liberty try to clinch their first playoff spot since 2017.  “We’ve got to make sure we do what we need to do, play against speed…we have to throw this game against LA behind us. Our focus is now on Phoenix.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants fall to Cleveland Browns 17-13 in second preseason game

david sills, new york giants

The New York Giants spent the last week in Cleveland, Ohio, enjoying joint practices with the Browns. The week culminated in a preseason matchup today. In this Preseason Week Two matchup, the Cleveland Browns came out on top with a final score of 17-13.

Key stats and takeaways

  • QB Brian Lewerke: 11/19, 108 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • TE Rysen John: 3 receptions, 58 yards
  • LB Carter Coughlin: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL

New York Giants

The Giants’ starters did not see the field in this week’s matchup. Daniel Jones and the starting offensive linemen were held out of the lineup for today’s game. The starters are expected to play about a full half of football next week against the New England Patriots in the preseason finale.

Newly-signed backup quarterback Brian Lewerke had a decent showing. The young signal-caller showed some mobility and the ability to sling the ball downfield. Tight end Rysen John went down with an injury late in the fourth quarter but had an impressive game as a downfield receiving threat. Linebacker Carter Coughlin turned heads once again, racking up a sack for the second game in a row.

Cleveland Browns

  • QB Kyle Lauletta: 14/23, 152 yards
  • RB John Kelly: 9 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD
  • DT Malik McDowell: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL

The Cleveland Browns also held the majority of their starters out of this game. It was a close one that came down to the wire, but the Browns came out on top and improved their preseason record to 2-0 as the Giants fall to 0-2.

Mets Game Preview (8/22/21) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (78-46)

The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers play the final game of their four-game weekend series as the Mets look to avoid a sweep. While the weather is ugly on the east coast, the weather in Los Angeles is a typical 72 degrees and sunny. The first pitch from Dodger Stadium is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. as the Mets finish off their road trip.

The big question surrounding Sunday’s finale is whether Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez will be activated off the IL and immediately inserted into the lineup. As of 2:10 p.m. ET, the Mets have not released their starting lineup, which means both will be game-time decisions. It has been clear the Mets lack energy on the field, and any production from their bats will be welcomed with open arms.

The Dodgers have found ways to be a little bit better than the Mets throughout their season series. Outside of their 14-4 blowout, every game has been a close, down to the wire matchup. The difference is the Dodgers’ ability to wear pitchers down on offense to get clutch hits and their abundance of home runs. The Dodgers have clubbed ten homers against the Mets while the Mets have just four, and Pete Alonso has half.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman continues his amazing 2021 campaign after his gutsy outing against the San Francisco Giants. Stroman battled through seven innings, allowing three runs, struck out nine, and threw a season-high 114 pitches. He has been the most consistent Mets starter with a 2.84 ERA and leads the team with 139.1 innings pitched. Stroman may not win the Cy Young but is certainly putting himself in a position to earn a few votes.

Former Cy Young winner David Price takes the mound and is back in the starting rotation after starting the season in the bullpen. The change of roles has not deterred Price as he finds ways to put together solid outings. In 31 outings (10 starts), Price has a 3.62 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched. In his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he pitched 4.2 innings and allowed two runs. Price should not last long as he only has two outings of five innings or more and has one outing above 70 pitches.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Albert Pujols: 5-for-14 (.357), Double, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

David Price vs. Kevin Pillar: 3-for-22 (.136), Double, Home Run, Walk, 8 Strikeouts

David Price vs. Jonathan Villar: 4-for-21 (.190), 4 Strikeouts

NASCAR: Erik Jones to return to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2022

Erik Jones announced his return to Richard Petty Motorsports next season in a media availability at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. He’ll enter his second season driving the famed No. 43 car for Richard Petty in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Jones, 25, is in his fifth full-time Cup Series season. He spent 2017, his first full-time season, driving for Furniture Row Racing. Jones picked up 14 top-10s and five top-5s while teammate Martin Truex Jr. won the series championship.

After Matt Kenseth’s first retirement, Jones transitioned to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018 to drive the No. 20 car. He spent three years with the team, picking up two victories and 48 top-10s. Jones made the playoffs in both 2018 and 2019 but failed to advance out of the Round of 16 in both seasons.

After a winless 2020 season, Jones was out of a ride at Joe Gibbs Racing in place of young phenom Christopher Bell. Jones signed a deal with Richard Petty Motorsports for 2021, replacing the departing Bubba Wallace. In 24 starts this season, Jones has three top-10s, including a 7th place finish last weekend at the Indianapolis Road Course. He sits 24th in the points standings, meaning the only way he can make the playoffs is to win at either Michigan or Daytona.

Jones will look to bring Richard Petty Motorsports their first win since 2014 when Aric Almirola won for the team at Daytona. The organization has five victories, dating back to Kasey Kahne’s two wins in 2009. In addition to Almirola and Kahne, Marcus Ambrose has a pair of victories for the team at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012.



Yankees News, 8/22: Andrew Velazquez puts the cherry on top, Gerrit Cole strong, Voit is on fire

andrew Velazquez, yankees

The New York Yankees are currently on a nine-game winning streak, dominating their opponents with offensive efficiency and solid defense. Over their last three games against the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees have recorded 24 total runs and given up eight, showcasing just how amazing their turnaround has been.

On Saturday, the Bombers featured Gerrit Cole on the mound, who picked up the win, allowing five hits and zero earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched. He currently holds a 2.92 ERA on the season, and after struggling before testing positive for COVID-19, it seems as if he’s turned things around with the rest of the team.

With the offense finally picking things up, the Bombers combined for eight hits and seven runs on Saturday, with Giancarlo Stanton, Tyler Wade, and Luke Voit posting two hits apiece. Voit has been on an absolute tear since returning from the injured list, recording nine hits over his last five games, including three doubles, two homers, and 11 RBIs. He struck out just four times during that sample size, representing a tremendous addition to the team after the Yankees traded for Anthony Rizzo to take over at first base.

Voit‘s injury forced general manager Brian Cashman to make a move at first, and with Giancarlo Stanton playing in the outfield once again, the team has featured Luke in the designated hitter spot, which has allowed him to operate purely as a hitter. On the season, he has elevated his average to .266 with seven homers and 28 RBIs, including a .790 OPS.

The combination of Rizzo and Voit is deadly, and it seems both sluggers are complementing one another instead of creating animosity. One low-key infielder who has provided a spark is Andrew Velazquez, who picked up one hit and scored a run in the victory over Minnesota.

The cherry on top of the cake was a solo homer by Velazquez and the eighth inning, his first in pinstripes. The Bronx native has been waiting for this moment his entire life, as his family shed tears in the outfield as the ball flew over the fence. This team feels rejuvenated and is undoubtedly headed toward a playoff appearance. However, they remain 4.0 games back in the AL East and have taken a two-game lead over the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Socks in the Wild Card.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Andrew Velazquez, a real spark (videos)

andrew Velazquez, yankees

Today, we follow Velazquez’s path to the Yankees. On January 5, 2021, the New York Yankees signed Bronx native Andrew Velazquez to a minor league contract. However, in the Morris Park section of The Bronx, the young man is determined to make it to Yankee Stadium this season. He recently said: “I’ll bust my ass to get on the Yankee roster.”

Velazquez says he was a Yankee fan ever since he was a baby. He attended Fordham Prep, where he was a star player. He was a seventh-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2012. He committed to Virginia tech but went pro right out of high school. When he was in the minor leagues, he said:

“I always made sure I got to Yankee Stadium for a game,” Velazquez said. “I was a fan since I was a baby and I also used it as motivation. I never really envisioned having the opportunity to play for the Yankees at a young age, but this is part of my journey now.”

The infielder and third baseman made the Major Leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. In 2020 he got to play in 40 games in the shortened season with the Baltimore Orioles before signing with the New York Yankees during the offseason. Being a Yankees was a childhood dream for the 26-year-old, but he never thought it would come true.

“My trainer lives right next to Yankee Stadium, so I’m picturing myself there when I drive by every day, trying to manifest it and think about what it would be like to play for them there,’’ Valazquez said.

During 2019 with the Rays, he got to play three games at Yankee Stadium; he said he had so many ticket requests from family and friends that he ended up playing those games for free. He said his favorite player with the New York Yankees was Derek Jeter, but not for the reasons you may think.

“It was by chance,” Velazquez said. “I wore No. 2 in tee-ball and I was watching a Yankee game with my Dad and saw someone wearing that number, so I decided he’d be my favorite player.”

As he approached his teen years, he saw more and more games at Yankee Stadium. Finally, when he was ten, his family had his birthday party there. Recently he was asked why he chose to play with the Yankees.

“It seemed like the right fit,” Velazquez said. “One thing that steered me to them was what happened with [Gio] Urshela. Every player is different, but he was kind of in the same position as me before he got there. He’d been designated for assignment and got an opportunity with the Yankees. I don’t know if they changed his swing, but you could see how he took off after he got there.”

Andrew Velazquez is a talented young player. He’s an outstanding defender, but he will have to improve his hitting if he hopes to play in the majors with the Yankees. Last year for the Rays, he hit only .159 for Baltimore. However, if the Yankees coaching can get him back to how he hit for the Tampa Bay Rays (.300) in 2018, he might have a chance to play for the Yankees at some point during the 2021 season.

As I said earlier, the New York Yankees signed Velazquez to a minor league contract on January 5, 2021. As the 2021 minor league season began, Velazquez did nothing less than impress, not so much for his hitting but his agility and excellent defense as a shortstop. When shortstop Gleyber Torres jammed his thumb and went on the IL, the Yankees gave the now 27 years old a short at the Major leagues.

He played his first game at short on August 9th, making a few excellent plays. The very next day, he scored his first run on a wild pitch. While being up with the team, he has been a spark in every way, with some timely hitting and excellent defense. Some say he is better than Gleyber Torres, although it may be a little early to make that determination.

As said earlier, Andrew is a Bronx native-born and brought up just a few miles from the Stadium. Now with the big team, he is staying with his parents and sleeping in his childhood bed every night. Some have called him a local hero, with broadcasters called him “The Bronx Kid,” although his real nickname is “Squid.” Whatever the case, he cemented himself as a Yankee in the 3 game series against the Red Sox.

He got three run-scoring hits in seven at-bats with 4 RBIs (one run of his own and a stolen base). After closing out the final game with a diving catch at shortstop and a difficult throw to first base from deep in the hole, his teammates awarded him the well-deserved “game belt” for his performance. Yesterday in a game against the Minnesota Twins, he scored his first Major League home run with his family in the stands.

When shortstop Gleyber Torres returns from the IL, it is unknown what will happen to Velazquez, he will probably be sent back down to Scranton, but it will not be because of his lack of trying. Whatever the case, this young man has a great baseball career ahead of him.’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. You can follow him on Twitter @parleewilliam.