New York Giants: Kyle Rudolph set for injury return in the near future

kyle rudolph, new york giants

When the New York Giants made the move to pick up tight end Kyle Rudolph in free agency, they got more than they were bargaining for. The player ended up on the physically unable to perform list after a foot injury was found during Rudolph’s physical, and it’s looking like that injury could last into the regular season. For what the Giants are paying Rudolph, many would consider his signing a mistake on the part of the team if he does come into the season at less than full strength.

However, there’s signs that Rudolph may be nearing a return come the final week of the preseason. Those signs are in the fact that Rudolph was seen working out on the field before the Browns game, both running routes and catching passes from Daniel Jones.

Pass catching ability is what the Giants will want to see from Rudolph considering his role as a receiving tight end. If he’s back to running routes and bringing in passes, it’s likely not that long before we see Rudolph on the field for real.

It’s important for the Giants that they get Rudolph back before their final roster cut. If he isn’t off the PUP list by then, he’ll have to miss the first six weeks of the season before being allowed to return.

The Giants have one more preseason game, set for this Sunday against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium. It seems unlikely at this point that we’ll see Rudolph then, but there’s a real chance that the tight end is off the PUP list before the final roster cut and available for week 1 of the regular season.

New York Yankees Recap: Giancarlo Stanton powers the Yankees to their 10th win in a row

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

Tonight the New York Yankees started a short two-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia. This after winning nine games in a row and becoming the winningest baseball team in baseball. They are 26-8 since July 17th. Just 4.5 games out of first place in the AL East. Now they face the first-place team in the NL East. The Yankees put Jordan Montgomery on the mound to face the Braves Huascar Ynoa. The Yankees hoped to do quick work out of this series before going on to a west coast swing. The Yankees won their 10th in a row 5-1.

In the first inning, Ynoa faced DJ LeMahieu, who struck out looking. Anthony Rizzo flew out to left field. Aaron Judge singled for his 15th game in a row on base. Judge stole second. The Yankees have more stolen bases in the second half than any team in baseball. Joey Gallo went down on strikes leaving one on base. At the bottom, Ozzie Albies ground out on the first Montgomery pitch. Jorge Soler walked. Freddie Freeman hit into a force out at second. Austin Riley struck out swinging for the final out of the inning. No score.

Giancarlo Stanton led the second, who homered to right field for the early Yankee lead in the game. Gary Sanchez ground out to short Rougie Odor popped out to right-center. Andrew Velazquez went down looking, but the Yankees got a run in the inning. At the bottom, Dansby Swanson got a run tying home run to right. Adam Duvall flew out to Stanton in right. William Contreras walked. Guillermo Heredia flew out to a running Joey Gallo for the second out. Huascar Ynoa struck out swinging. New York Yankees 1 Atlanta Braves 1.

Pitcher Jordan Montgomery led off the third inning by going out swinging. LeMahieu ground out to left. Rizzo went down on strikes for a quick inning for Ynoa. At the bottom, it was the top of the lineup for the Braves. Albies flew out to Stanton in right. Soler flew out to a running Judge in center. Freeman ground out to first to end the scoreless inning, a 1-2-3 inning for Montgomery. Yankees 1 Braves 1.

The fourth inning was led off by Aaron Juge, who ground out to short. Joey Gallo went down swinging. Stanton struck out for a quick inning for Ynoa. At the bottom, Riley ground out to short. Swanson flew out to short. Duvall walked. Contreras struck out. The bottom of the inning was scoreless for the Yankees.

The fifth inning was scoreless for both teams. Jordan Montgomery went five full innings allowing two hits and one run.

At the top of the sixth, LeMahieu singled. Rizzo struck out. Judge flew out to shallow center. Gallo walked bringing up Stanton with two on and two outs; he got a two-run double, scoring LeMahieu and Gallo for the two-run lead by the Yankees. Stanton, with his homer in the second, had scored all the runs in the game. Sanchez struck out swinging, but the Yankees took the lead in the game. At the bottom, Riley against Jonathan Loaisgia struck out swinging. Swanson went down on strikes. Duvall singled to left. With one on and two outs, Contreras ground out to Velazques, who flipped to second for the final out. New York Yankees 3 Atlanta Braves 1.

In the seventh inning, Odor led off against new Braves pitcher AJ Minter by going down swinging. Velazquez flew out to the warning track in from of the bullpen. Then, Brett Gardner that replaced Judge in center went down on strikes. Heredia led off the bottom of the seventh by tapping back to Loaisiga. Joc Pederson pinch-hitting for the pitcher tapped into Sanchez’s glove for out number two. Albies struck out swinging. Yankees 3 Braves 1.

DJ LeMahieu led off the eighth inning again Edgar Santana and flew out to center. Rizzo ground out to second. Judge got a base hit to left. Gallo walked. A balk moved the runners up. Luke Voit pinch-hitting for Loaisgia walked the bases loaded for Sanchez. Sanchez facing new Braves pitcher Jessie Chavez and singled to left with the bases loaded and two outs, scoring both Judge and Gallo for the Yankees 4 run lead. Odor flew out to center to end the half. At the bottom Soler with Wandy Peralta on the mound, singled to center. Freeman hit into a 5-6-3 double play. Riley doubled to right-center. Swanson stuck out swinging. New York Yankees 5 Braves 1.

The top of the ninth inning was led off by Velazquez, who lined out to left field. Gardner went down looking. LeMahieu walked. Rizzo struck out swinging. At the bottom, with closer Aroldis Chapman on the mound, Duvall was called out on strikes. Contreras ground out to Velazquez at short for the second out. Heredia ground out to short to end the game and get the Yankees their 10th win in a row.

The final score was the New York Yankees 5 and the Atlanta Braves 1. The winning pitcher was Jordan Montgomery, and the loser was Huascar Ynoa.

 

 

 

Carl Lawson to IR among New York Jets’ roster moves

New York Jets

The New York Jets placed Carl Lawson on injured reserve and signed a lineman on both sides of the ball on Monday.

The New York Jets announced a series of roster moves on Monday, headlined by the placement of defensive end Carl Lawson on injured reserve. Lawson, signer of a three-year, $45 million contract over the offseason, ruptured his Achilles tendon during a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers last week.

New York also added defensive end Aaron Adeoye and offensive lineman Isaiah Williams while waiving cornerback and kick returner Corey Ballentine.

A previous report from ESPN Adam Schefter indicated that the Jets would seek pass rushing help in the wake of Lawson’s injury and the arrival of Adeoye appears to be their first step in that endeavor. Adeoye, a basketball player at several Division I programs, has spent the last two seasons in Baltimore’s system, partaking in a single game with the Ravens last season. His previous professional stops include Champions Indoor Football with the Salina Liberty, The Spring League, and the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron. He earned 20 tackles and a forced fumble for the Iron, who had clinched an AAF playoff spot at the time of the league’s shutdown in April 2019.

Meanwhile, Williams has spent time on and off the practice squads of seven NFL teams and also has professional spring football experience through the AAF (Atlanta) and XFL (Tampa Bay). Williams’ most recent NFL time came with the San Francisco 49ers, where he signed in December and was waived on August 10.

The Jets also bid farewell to Ballentine, a former New York Giants draft pick who established himself as a kick returner after joining the team in November. Ballentine averaged 26.2 yards on 12 returns last season and took back a Green Bay kickoff 73 yards in Saturday afternoon’s victorious exhibition. His runback set up the Jets’ second and final touchdown of the day, an 18-yard Zach Wilson pass to tight Tyler Kroft.

New York (2-0) ends its preseason on Friday night at MetLife Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles (7:30 p.m. ET, WCBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

Chicago Bears: Team is making a mistake starting QB Andy Dalton

After seeing veteran quarterback Andy Dalton in action for the first time with the Chicago Bears, a number of questions remain unanswered for the Bears, who continue to insist that Dalton will be the starting quarterback to open the season. Dalton’s struggles in week 2 against the Buffalo Bills were more than apparent. After punting on three of the Bears’ first four possessions, Dalton’s lone highlight of the afternoon was a 73-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rodney Adams.

When rookie quarterback Justin Fields took over in the second half, Chicago once again showed signs of life, however, the Bears were unable to capitalize with just nine second half points. Dalton’s poor performance has led to questions, including a major one that will need to be answered soon: Are the Bears making a mistake starting Dalton?

The simple answer is yes. What the Bears do at the quarterback position in 2021 needs to be predicated upon two factors: Fields and what’s best for Fields. Starting Dalton takes away valuable reps for Fields, who’s proven more than enough throughout practice that the 11th overall pick deserves a chance to play with the first-team. When we say the word “valuable reps”, we are simply referring to reps with the first-team that would give Fields the opportunity to develop chemistry with playmakers such as wide receivers Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, and tight end Cole Kmet.

Head coach Matt Nagy insisted after Saturday’s loss to the Bills that Dalton would remain the starter. When Chicago faces the Tennessee Titans, the gameplan needs to feature heavy doses of Fields as the starter throughout the game. If preseason games are merely dress rehearsals and provide teams with an opportunity to evaluate talent, the Bears should be taking full advantage of the preseason to see what Fields is able to do with extended playing time and not just scripted reps that the coaches had preplanned for.

Zach Wilson passed his first test as a New York Jets QB

new york jets, zach wilson

Parts of the New York Jets’ visit to Wisconsin were downright nightmares. But Zach Wilson’s showing has the team buzzing.

For all intents and purposes, the New York Jets’ business trip to Green Bay resembled Michael Scott’s visit to Winnipeg (ironically, the local of another squad branded with aerial endeavors). Sure they got an important job done: Michael made a sale to an international client while the Jets emerged with a 23-14 preseason victory at Lambeau Field on Saturday.

Yet, each trip left the protagonists a bit hollow and empty inside. Michael’s awkward encounter with the hotel’s concierge left him longing for his lost lover Holly Flax. The Jets, meanwhile, come home without several crucial names on defense: marquee offseason arrival Carl Lawson was carted off the field during a joint practice with the Packers, as was undrafted secondary rookie Zane Lewis. Neither will see the field in a 2021 regular season contest In the exhibition showcase itself, fellow newcomer Jarrad Davis likewise needed the cart to leave the field after sustaining an ankle injury in the second quarter. The former Detroit Lion is projected to miss the Jets’ first five regular season games.

Michael’s conundrum was solved through the magic of television: he and Holly married upon his departure from the series two seasons later. The Jets, on the other hand, are engaged in a playoff drought that has outlived The Office‘s nine-year run. That streak has festered in part due to a lack of a franchise quarterback and poor defensive efforts.

Another poor defensive effort awaited on Saturday, the only segment of the Jets’ Wisconsin visit where stats were officially recorded. The Jets faced a Green Bay team that rested most of their offensive starters. Few expected to see Aaron Rodgers in action but even his indirectly controversial successor Jordan Love was likewise absent, leaving perennial camp body Kurt Benkert to primarily oversee the operation. New York’s defensive starters played deep into the second frame, but a Green Bay unit that more resembled the (Michigan) Panthers than the Packers still earned two touchdown-scoring drives. The latter trek was the ultimate insult: the Packers embarked on a 19-play, 81-yard drive that ate over 10 minutes of clock.

So why are the Jets bursting with momentum after the trip to Titletown? Zach Wilson.

zach wilson, jets

Wilson, the Jets’ lastest savior under center, was coming off a perfect showing against the New York Giants. It was perfection earned not through a statistical sense (6-of-9, 63 yards on two drives that ended in Giants territory) but rather an emotional sense that quelled concerns about his highly publicized struggles in camp and intrasquad scrimmages.

Yet, there was a little something missing in the most recent Snoopy Bowl, a Jets tradition that has taken up residency no matter where the team lingers: adversity.

With the Giants likewise sitting their starters and the Jets’ defense at full strength, last weekend lacked a sense of danger. No one wants to be on the wrong end of the scoreboard in any NFL contest, even one whose box scores are likely eradicated on the flight home. The Jets perfectly took care of that problem against the Giants. They never trailed at any point and allowed Wilson to work. Holes in the system looked like a good fixer-upper instead.

But the Jets faced some good old-fashioned adversity against Green Bay, primarily through a lackluster defensive showing. After Wilson’s first drive yielded a Matt Ammendola field goal, it took Green Bay’s reserve only eight plays to waltz 75 yards into the end zone. The Packers faced only one third down on the drive…the one-yard attempt that led to Kylin Hill’s rushing touchdown.

Wilson obviously wasn’t brought into play defense so there isn’t much he can do to help the unit. All he can do is take care of his own business and take advantage of whatever opportunities are afforded to him. He didn’t let a single one go to waste on Saturday.

When the defense earned a quick stop after a Braden Mann punt pinned the Packers inside their 15, Wilson had a prime opportunity to move the ball and potentially earn his first scoring drive. They were poised to start at their own 45, but a holding penalty shifted them back 10 yards.

That was of little concern to Wilson, who handled the setback with the maximum preseason swagger. Wilson spent his third drive of the day further fostering the connection between he and Corey Davis, particularly through two strong throws at the end of the first quarter. Two hook-ups totaling 41 yards set the Jets up in the red zone, allowing Wilson to remove “first unofficial NFL touchdown” from his offseason checklist.

The union between Wilson and Davis is a collaboration between two players that are looking to prove different things at the NFL level. Wilson is trying to erase the stigma of not only being a high-profile draft pick from a mid-major program but that of being the New York Jets’ franchise quarterback. Davis, meanwhile, is another mid-major pick from the top five that’s eager to prove he can be a long-term difference-maker in the league. Every time the former Tennessee Titan has been ready to take a vital step in that journey, a situation beyond his control surfaces. A hamstring injury took out a sizable part of his rookie season while a brief stint on the COVID-19 list prevented him from reaching his first four-digit yardage season.

Davis believes the early chemistry he has created with Wilson will help each of them accomplish their goals through a collaborative effort.

“We were setting a tone, but still have some work to do,” Davis said of the Jets’ offense, per team reporter Jack Bell. On his relationship with Wilson, Davis remarked that a lot of “huge strides” have been made.

“I think Zach is a lot more comfortable in the pocket, he’s been more accurate,” the receiver said. “I’ve been getting open and creating space to try and make it easier for him.”

Yet another obstacle awaited Wilson as he tried to lead the Jets into the red zone: a penalty for an ineligible man downfield on a completed pass to Jamison Crowder forced the unit to deal with a dozen-yard second down. When a similar situation arose against the Giants last week, Wilson was able to at least afford the Jets the opportunity to fail on fourth down. He took things a step further on Saturday, finding Tyler Kroft for an 18-yard score, his first in the NFL.

This being the Jets, there was little time to relish the good feelings. The march of the Green Bay reserves featured five third down conversions and an additional new set of downs was earned through a successful fourth down try. It would’ve been understandable for them to hold Wilson out for the rest of the afternoon, let him “live” to fight another day. But when Corey Ballentine’s strong return placed the Jets 30 yards away from another touchdown, another opportunity lingered and Wilson took full advantage.

All it took for the Jets to capitalize was two six-yard runs by Ty Johnson and Wilson’s second scoring toss to Kroft, this one from 18 yards out. A lamentable first half of football for reasons both beyond and within their control ended with the Jets leading the Packers 17-14 before backups on both sides dominated the remainder of the game.

Thanks to Wilson and a little help from his friends, the Jets’ defensive woes are a mere subplot rather than the main attraction. While the showing against the Giants was perfect in a symbolic sense, his outing against the Packers was literally flawless…well, almost. His Saturday passer rating of 154.7 was just short of a so-called perfect 158.3…but the Jets were perfectly fine with that.

Head coach Robert Saleh, for example, was pleased with the way Wilson handled his first true taste of NFL adversity, an intangible perhaps unmeasurable by any part of the passer rating equation.

“I thought he had good command,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said, per Andy Vazquez of USA Today. “I thought he was under control. I thought he handled pressure well. He was good in and out of the huddle. He’s progressing. And just like his bad days, this was a good day, and it’s just another day. And he’s got to continue to stack up and take the good with the bad and find ways to get better.”

Of course, the road doesn’t end with the second preseason game, even the Jets did somewhat use Saturday as the dress rehearsal often reserved for the third preseason game under the old four-exhibition format. Untold challenges lie ahead, but Wilson’s performance and ability to make the best of stressful situations is exactly what a franchise in desperate need of stability needed.

Wilson has passed his first NFL test. The longer it keeps the Jets out of the watchful stare of tweeters and analysts looking to pounce on Gang Green to earn a few clicks, the better.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

NASCAR: Landon Cassill to Run Final Two Cup Series Superspeedway Races for Gaunt Brothers Racing

PRESS RELEASE:

Veteran NASCAR Cup Series driver Landon Cassill will be behind the wheel of the No. 96 Carnomaly Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) at this season’s remaining superspeedway races – Saturday night’s regular-season finale at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Carnomaly, the world’s leading automotive crypto company with an eye on revolutionizing the future of the automotive industry, will serve as the primary partner for Cassill in both races.

“I’m proud to bring Carnomaly into the sport and into the NASCAR Cup Series,” Cassill said. “They’ve been a great partner of mine and eRacr, which is the esports arm of what I do with Parker Kligerman. We put on big events on iRacing and Carnomaly was the sponsor of an event earlier this year called the Carnomaly 500, which was at Daytona on iRacing. I’m really looking forward to bringing Carnomaly to real racetracks at Daytona and Talladega with Gaunt Brothers Racing.”

For Carnomaly, whose fleet of tech solutions is designed to bring digital innovation to the automotive industry through the power of blockchain and crypto technology, the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona will be its first appearance as a primary team partner in NASCAR. Through the company’s innovation, Carnomaly is on a path to change the way consumers buy, sell, shop, report and finance new or used vehicles.

“I’m incredibly excited about the partnership with Landon Cassill and Gaunt Brothers Racing,” said Scott Heninger, Founder and CEO, Carnomaly. “Landon is at the forefront of cryptocurrency’s use in the auto racing industry. He’s the perfect partner to team up with on this endeavor in order to further revolutionize the auto finance industry and expand our consumer base.”

Cassill is currently competing fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JD Motorsports. The 32-year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was the Xfinity Series’ rookie of the year in 2008 and has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2010.

“Marty Gaunt is someone who I’ve always believed in,” Cassill said. “We’ve had a really good relationship for a long time and we’ve talked about working together many times over the years. This is really good timing and a perfect opportunity to get in his No. 96 Toyota Camry and see what we can do.”

Gaunt Brothers Racing was founded in 2010 and began in the Canada-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series and the U.S.-based NASCAR K&N Pro Series. After seven years competing in NASCAR’s development divisions, Gaunt Brothers Racing stepped up to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017.

“Landon and I have often talked about finding a way to work together. He’s a scrappy, determined racer and I’m thrilled to finally have him in our racecar,” said Marty Gaunt, President, Gaunt Brothers Racing. “Daytona and Talladega are two tracks where it’s supremely important to stay out of trouble and be there at the end for any chance at success, and that’s one of Landon’s strong suits. Being able to bring Landon back to the Cup Series while introducing Carnomaly to our sport is something we take a lot of pride in.”

-GBR-

Former NBA star Monta Ellis to conduct private workout with 3 NBA teams in Las Vegas

Former NBA star Monta Ellis is set to camp out in Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball this week as he ramps up his training in his latest comeback bid.

The 35-year old Ellis will fly to Las Vegas on Tuesday and is scheduled to conduct private workouts in front of at least three NBA teams until Saturday, according to his business manager Derrius Nelson of Dagger Basketball agency.

“I have reunited Tae and Joe. They have come a long way since Tae’s early years in the NBA,” Nelson told Empire Sports Media.

Ellis is rekindling his partnership with Abunassar that started when the former McDonald’s All-American player went into the NBA straight from high school.

Since his pre-draft workout, Ellis had been a regular at Impact Basketball during the offseason, including the year when he became the league’s Most Improved Player in 2007 that set him off to NBA stardom.

There are still about 17 roster spots left to be filled in the NBA, with the Los Angeles Lakers leading the way with three. Other playoff contenders with open roster spots are the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns. Young teams that may need veteran leadership like the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Oklahoma City Thunder also have roster openings.

Nelson believes that Ellis can provide veteran leadership to a young team or a complementary piece — another shot creator and playmaker — to a playoff team.

“Tae is still a reliable source and a dominant factor to any NBA team organization,” Nelson told Empire Sports Media.

“When you talk about how can he fit in on any NBA team right now, he can play the pick and roll game, and he can add playmaking, score in transition, run lanes without the ball. He’s defensively fast and dangerous offensively if he gets going. He can still light up the scoreboard just as well any of them, like when he had 38 against the late Kobe Bryant in a dog fight battle back when he was playing with Golden State and had 48 points against Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. He still can do the same damage as he did before.”

Ellis has career averages of 17.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals. He has recorded nine 40-plus points games building a reputation as one of the premier shotmakers and playmakers throughout his career.

“So he’s definitely will be a reliable source for anybody. He’s hit game-winners with Golden State, Dallas, Milwaukee, so he’s definitely clutch. Just think about him with the Nets, Lakers, Clippers, Bucks, or even with the Warriors. How much — offensively and defensively — will open up for them with Tae’s experience, abilities, and leverage that will lead to at least the conference finals.

The playoff-tested Ellis has 38 games in the postseason under his belt, averaging 13.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 steals.

During his NBA hiatus, Ellis kept himself fit by coaching kids under his AAU club, Ellis Elite, and training with Dallas-based NBA trainer Djamel Jackson. Jackson will stay in Dallas to attend to Ellis’ AAU club while Ellis pursues his NBA comeback.

In Las Vegas, Nelson said Ellis would conduct a workout simulating live game situations to show how ready and serious he is about this comeback bid.

Ellis said in a previous interview with Empire Sports Media when he announced his NBA comeback bid that he could still play for five years.

At this point, money is no longer a motivation for Ellis, who turned down a lucrative offer to play in China last season and is still set to earn $2.25 million this season from the Indiana Pacers, the last year of his salary stretch provision when he was waived in 2017.

“My main thing is, just bring me in and give me a look. Like you could make the decision on me. I just want a shot. I ain’t asking for a contract to get $5 million, $10 million, or even $1 million. All I’m asking is, give me a look. That’s all and let my game speak for itself. I just want an opportunity, a workout, and that’s not the end of the world, that’s not gonna hurt anybody,” Ellis said. “I will pay my own plane ticket and hotel to go to a workout.”

Now, Ellis is finally getting his shot. And he doesn’t want to miss it.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Where does Kelvin Gastelum go after loss at UFC Vegas 34?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 34, we saw a big time headliner in the middleweight division. Top contender Jared Cannonier (14-5) was taking on former interim title challenger and Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum (17-8, 1 NC).

It’s been an interesting few years in the UFC for Kelvin Gastelum. In May of 2018, Gastelum edged out Jacare Souza and that win put him in line for a title shot against Robert Whittaker.

Gastelum was supposed to fight Whittaker in Australia, but Whittaker had to pull out the day of the fight. The UFC then created an interim title and had Gastelum fight Israel Adesanya. To date, Gastelum has still had the best fight against Israel Adesanya at 185 pounds.

That said, Gastelum fell short. That loss started a streak where Gastelum went just 1-4 in five fights. On Saturday night, he was looking to get back into the title picture with a win over Cannonier. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

At UFC Vegas 34, Cannonier was just a step ahead of Gastelum for three rounds. Gastelum was incredibly competitive, but couldn’t put it together enough to win three rounds. All three judges gave the fight to Cannonier with a 48-47 scorecard.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 34?

With this latest loss, Gastelum is now just 1-5 in his last six UFC appearances. After winning The Ultimate Fighter, Gastelum attempted to move down to the welterweight division. That seemed to be the division the UFC wanted him in and the one he’s best suited for.

However, after constantly struggling to make the weight, he moved up to 185 pounds. He started strong there with wins over Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort although the Belfort win was overturned due to THC in Gastelum’s system.

After the Belfort fight, Gastelum is just 3-6 in the UFC’s middleweight division. Granted, half of those losses were to UFC champions and the other half were to contenders ranked inside the top ten.

Now, you really have to think about what’s next for Gastelum. I’m with the UFC’s original plan in that I wish he could make 170 pounds. I don’t see any scenario where Kelvin Gastelum becomes at champion at 185. However, he would be a problem at 170 if he could do it.

That said, we know he’s not likely going down that path. So, what should the UFC do with him next? Well, I think it’s time for a bit of a reset. One option could be a fight with Brad Tavares (19-6). Tavares has won two straight and he’s just outside the top ten.

This would give Gastelum a ranked opponent still, but it would be the step back in competition he needs. Another option could be the winner of the upcoming matchup between Kevin Holland (21-7) and Kyle Daukaus (10-2).

These two are scheduled to fight in October and whoever wins will likely be looking for a ranked opponent. This is another potential matchup that makes sense for Gastelum. At the end of the day, if he’s staying at 185, it’s time to step back in competition.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone makes strange starting pitching decision ahead of Atlanta series

yankees, luis gil

The Yankees have been constantly dealing with injuries to the pitching staff. For a while, it seemed like every week, the Yankees were adding a new arm. Most of them have had a positive effect on the team. One of them still hasn’t allowed a run in almost 16 innings of work.

Luis Gil has been dominant since his MLB debut against the Orioles. In three starts, he’s allowed zero runs, nine hits, and has tallied eighteen strikeouts. He’s the first pitcher in Yankees history to not allow any runs in each of his first three starts. Gil has been a huge spark in New York’s historic month of August.

Yesterday, the Yankees were supposed to go for the series sweep against the Twins. Gil was scheduled to start as New York went for their tenth straight victory. However, because of Hurricane Henri, the game was postponed to a later date. Then, the Yankees flew to Atlanta to prepare for their next series. 

Shortly after arriving, Aaron Boone announced the starters pitching against the Braves. Jordan Montgomery is slated to pitch tonight and Andrew Heaney tomorrow. With the way Gil has been pitching, it’s odd they didn’t schedule him today. Instead, they skipped right over him. 

Gil’s dominance so far has led to some important victories. His shutout performance against the Red Sox allowed New York to overtake Boston in the standings. Gil has proven he can pitch well in big spots. So why not give him a chance against Atlanta?

The Braves are not a lefty-heavy lineup. At the most, they will start two left-handed bats against New York. The Yankees are going to be starting two left-handed pitchers. It’s very odd that Boone wouldn’t give Gil a shot against a righty dominant lineup. Many think that Gil has a shot at making the playoff roster. It turns out that the Yankees might not be so high on him.

Why aren’t the Yankees using Gil?

I understand that Gil has only appeared in three games. It’s hard to determine a player’s value in a small sample size. However, could Gil have pitched any better? It’s obvious he’s doing something right. Pitching Heaney on Tuesday against a very good home run hitting lineup doesn’t make sense to me. Personally, I would rather have Gil pitch tonight and Montgomery tomorrow. 

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees plan on using Gil. He’s turned into a very strong option for New York. 

Tune in tonight as two of the hottest teams in baseball both try and win their tenth straight! The Yankees and the Braves will start a two-game series at 7:20 pm EST!

Yankees News: Bad injury news for Zack Britton, Miguel Andujar fighting his way back

zack britton, yankees

The New York Yankees are preparing to take on the Atlanta Braves on Monday evening in the first game of a two-game series which will conclude on Tuesday. Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery will take the mound, hosting a 3.77 ERA with 9.13 strikeouts per nine this year. Over 22 games, Montgomery has pitched 119.1 innings, more than his past three seasons combined.

In Jordan’s last outing on August 17 against the Boston Red Sox, he lasted 4.2 innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs, striking out six batters. Over his last five starts, Montgomery has given up just four runs, which has helped the Yankees tremendously in their quest to make a comeback in the AL East.

However, the Bombers are dealing with a few injuries this week, as they placed left-handed pitcher Zack Britton on the ten-day injured list with a left elbow sprain. Britton hosts a 5.89 ERA this season over 22 appearances.

This has been his most tumultuous campaign to date, recording a career-high 6.87 walks per nine and 0.98 home runs per nine. Unfortunately, his fastball is being delivered 2+ mph less compared to his 2020 FB. Hovering around 92.6 mph, a drop in speed has allowed batters to take advantage.

In Britton’s place, the Yankees reinstated right-handed relief pitcher Clay Holmes from the COVID-19 list. They also recalled outfielder Jonathan Davis from Triple-A Scranton.

Utility player Miguel Andujar returned from a rehab assignment and was transferred to the 60-day injured list. With Giancarlo Stanton finally taking reps in the outfield and Tyler Wade playing supplementally at third base, Andújar will have a tough time cracking the roster once again.

Consistent injuries have derailed his career and momentum, but he will be looking for another opportunity if injuries arise once again at third/second base or in the outfield.

The Yankees made the following moves prior to Monday’s game against Atlanta:

•Placed LHP Zack Britton on the 10-day IL (retro to 8/20) with a left elbow sprain.

•Recalled OF Jonathan Davis (#36) from Triple-A Scranton/WB.

•Reinstated RHP Clay Holmes (#35) from the COVID-19 IL.

•Returned INF/OF Miguel Andújar from his rehab assignment and transferred him to the 60-day injured list.