Yankees News, 8/27: Gio Urshela makes an impact, Gleyber Torres’s return spells trouble for one Yankee

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees are on an absolute tear, winning 12 games in a row, with their latest coming against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday evening. Early in the game, skipper Aaron Boone was ejected for poor calls made by the umpire, but the Bombers executed revenge in that very same inning, plastering Oakland starter for six runs. The MVP of the day was lefty slugger Joey Gallo, who launched a 3-run blast and earned a walk on the evening.

Altogether, the combination of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gallo drove in five runs and secured four hits and two homers. Even reserve outfielder Brett Gardner got in on the action, launching a homer in the second inning to complement Stanton’s behemoth blast.

However, the Yankees also enjoyed the return of the starting third baseman Gio Urshela, who went 1-for-4 on the evening with a single to center in the fourth to get on base. His defense, however, was phenomenal as always, proving his value to the team. After fighting his way back from a hamstring injury, Urshela’s presence in the lineup and the infield presents tremendous added comfort for the Bombers, who didn’t need him to embark on 11 game win streak before their victory on Thursday.

The Yankees are preparing to return one more infielder, Gleyber Torres, who is working his way back from a sprained thumb he suffered a few weeks ago.

Torres, who represents the starting shortstop for the team has been supplemented by Andrew Velazquez, presenting a small conundrum for Boone to unravel. Velazquez is hitting .250 with three stolen bases and a .267 on-base percentage. His fantastic defensive abilities and speed on the base paths have made him a valuable player during this winning streak.

The Bronx native has firmly cemented himself in the infield, but the return of Torres should send him down to a reserve spot, potentially even back to the minor-league system.

Based on how well the Yankees are playing right now, Boone shouldn’t make too many drastic changes, especially since Velazquez has been playing phenomenal baseball. His defensive efficiency has covered up a lot of holes that Torres left behind, and simply giving him back the job could be a bit premature.

New York Yankees Takeaways from 12th win while blowing a 6 run lead

After winning 11 games in a row, the New York Yankees entered the Oakland Coliseum to face the Athletics with the hope of getting their 12th consecutive win. But at the same time, they also knew that they hadn’t played well at the massive coliseum, winning one game of their last then there. Nevertheless, they went on to blow a six-run lead but still score that 12th win.

A game filled with firsts

Let’ start with the second inning; with Joey Gallo at the plate, home plate umpire Todd Tichenor called Gallo out on strike, on one of the worst calls I’ve seen recently. It was so bad the usually calm Gallo argued. Manager Boone darted from the dugout to save his slugger from getting thrown out, only to get thrown out himself. Again, the call was egregious, being clearly six inches inside in the computer graphic.

The New York Yankees, although blowing a six to nothing lead in the top of the third inning, still found a way to win the game in the ninth inning via pinch-runner Tyler Wade, who scored on an Aaron Judge single that held up. It was the first time the Yankees have won 12 games in a row since 1961. It was also the first time they won 71 games by a 1 or 2 run margin at this point of the season.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, shaky or not, Aroldis Chapman got the 300th save of his career.

Yankees blow a 6 run lead

By the top of the third inning, the New York Yankees had amassed a six-run lead going 6-0 against the Oakland Athletics. Both Giancarlo Stanton and Brett Gardner homered in the second inning. Then, in the third inning, Joey Gallo hit a three-run bomb giving the Yankees the 6 run lead.

But in the third inning starter, Jameson Taillon, who has been stellar, recently gave up back-to-back home runs. Then loaded the bases causing Taillon to be yanked after just 3.2 innings. Walks will usually bit a pitcher in the butt. Taillon got bit and then walked a run in. The usually dependable Albert Abreu came in and reloaded the bases. Starling Marte ground out to second to end the inning and get Abreu out of the jam.

Clay Holmes just off the Covid list, and Jonathan Loaisiga combined for three scoreless innings before the Yankees called in Aroldis Chapman to close it out.

Aroldis Chapman gets the job done

With the score of 6-5 at the top of the ninth inning, Giancarlo Stanton hit a single; he was replaced on the bases by the fast Tyler Wade as a pinch-runner. Wade stole second and, on an errant throw, went to third. Aaron Judge singled to center, scoring Wade for the one-run lead in what was to be the winning run. Fans in the stands and at home saw both Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman warming up. With the fan’s nerves on edge, it turned out to be Chapman who would close. Chapman has been unreliable in close games.

Andrus flew out to Gardner in center. Canha struck out. Marte singled and stole second. Finally, Olsen who had 32 home runs on the season, ground out to second, and Yankee fans could exhale. It was the Yankee’s 12th win in a row, the most since 1961.

Note: Tonight at 9:40 pm EDT, New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the Yankees and will face Sean Manaea, as the Yankees got for their 13th win in a row. The game will be televised on the YES Network and NBCSCA.

UFC Vegas 35 Preview: Edson Barboza – Giga Chikadze

Edson Barboza

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 35, we will see a big time fight in the featherweight division. Two of the best strikers in the division will go head-to-head as Edson Barboza (22-9) takes on Giga Chikadze (13-2).

For Chikadze, this is by far the biggest fight of his UFC career. Thus far, the featherweight from Georgia has been perfect inside the octagon. Chikadze made his debut back in 2019 and he’s gone a perfect 6-0.

In his last fight, Chikadze took on the veteran Cub Swanson. In that fight, Chikadze was able to secure his second straight UFC first round finish and that win has vaulted him into this main event against Barboza.

If you want to find a guy who’s done nothing but fought the best of the best, look no further than Edson Barboza. The Brazilian’s strength of schedule is like no other and he finally looks at home at 145 pounds.

For years, Barboza was taking on the murderer’s row at lightweight. But then he moved to the UFC‘s featherweight division and has been instantly successful. If it weren’t for terrible judges, he would be a perfect 3-0 at 145, but instead he’s 1-2.

UFC Vegas 35 Prediction

This is such a fun fight and one that UFC fans should be incredibly excited for. If you can’t get excited for this fight, I’m not sure what to tell you. It’s always fun when you have two supremely technical strikers go head-to-head.

When you look at Chikadze, he looks like a sniper. He loves throwing kicks to the body and he’s always on the outside looking for perfect shots. Meanwhile Barboza is all about speed and explosion.

The speed is going to play a big factor in my opinion. Throughout his UFC career, we’ve seen Barboza stifle opponents who just couldn’t handle the speed of the strikes and he seems to be getting even better.

Now, Chikadze does have the precision to make Barboza think. Chikadze is a good enough striker where if Barboza is sloppy at all, he’s going to pay for it. That said, I don’t think Chikadze has the pop to put Barboza out and he’s not going to win on volume. To me, this is Edson Barboza’s fight to lose.

Prediction: Edson Barboza by TKO – Round 3

Giants’ Daniel Jones details his excitement for his most lethal weapons to return

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants‘ offense struggled to get going during Thursday’s joint practice with the New England Patriots. After starting off 11V11’s with two straight 3-and-outs, the unit bounced back as Jones connected with wide receiver Dante Pettis on a long completion that would’ve been a touchdown in a real game.

Overall, Jones unofficially completed 23 passes on 29 attempts, showcasing one of his better practices of the off-season. However, despite Jones’s success, he’s still working without the majority of his top weapons on offense, barely getting Saquon Barkley involved for the first time on Thursday.

Barkley enjoyed just a few snaps to get his legs moving and a feel for live-action, hauling in several passes. Hopefully, Big Blue activates Barkley more in the receiving game this upcoming season, as, during his rookie campaign, Barkley posted 91 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns.

Coordinator Jason Garrett shouldn’t just rely on Saquon as a check-down option, but design plays to get him open in space and active in the passing game. In fact, they should take a look at the New Orleans Saints from last season and copycat some of their plays to mimic Alvin Kamara’s production.

Nonetheless, Jones is ecstatic about the return of some of his weapons, including Barkley and Kyle Rudolph. However, he knows players like Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are working their butts off to return as soon as possible.

“I know those guys are working hard to get back and are working with the trainers every day to get better,” said Jones. “We’re focused on improving as a group and getting ready for Week 1.”

Rudolph made his first appearance on the football field during Wednesday’s practice after starting the off-season on the PUP list. Rehabilitating from a foot injury, Rudolph spent time before last week’s preseason game against Cleveland catching passes before kick-off. Clearly, he was feeling confident in his foot and is slowly ramping up to live action after missing the past few months of conditioning.

“Good to see him out there,” said Jones. “He’s worked so hard to get back and he’s been behind the scenes a lot helping all of us, helping me, helping the tight ends, and it’s been good to have him out there.”

The Giants’ offense will play the first half against the New England Patriots this upcoming Sunday, but Jones will still be without some of his major pieces. Hopefully, they will be available for him against the Denver Broncos come Week 1 on September 12.

Grading the New York Knicks free agent acquisitions

New York Knicks, NYK

The New York Knicks spent an exorbitant amount of money this off-season to solve multiple positions of weakness. Having secured the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference last season, the team did more than enough to increase their odds of placing even better during the 2021-22 season.

Their free-agent acquisitions will play a big part in taking a step forward this upcoming year, including the retention of three familiar faces that were preparing to hit the market.

Grading the New York Knicks free agent signings:

1.) C: Nerlens Noel

With Mitchell Robinson playing in just 31 games last season, Nerlens Noel was forced into a more significant role. Averaging 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and shooting 61.4% from the field, Noel had one of his best years to date. However, his biggest impact came on defense, where he blocked 2.2 shots per contest and stole the ball 1.1 times on average. He was a maestro in the paint, meeting players at the rim to reject shots.

While Noel’s stats don’t stand out, a lot of his value doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. The Knicks seemingly overspent a bit on his retention, extending him on a three-year, $27.7 million deal. However, it is essentially a two-year contract with the third year not guaranteed. Paying him nearly $10 million is quite a lofty amount for a backup center, but the value he provides cannot go unnoticed.

Grade: B-

2.) PG: Derrick Rose

The very moment the Knicks acquired Derrick Rose from the Detroit Pistons at the deadline, the team took a massive step forward. It is clear that Rose is more than capable of being a starting point guard in the NBA, but age has certainly taken its toll on his stamina. With Elfred Payton offering little to nothing during the postseason, Rose was forced to play more minutes, picking up small injuries that impacted his production and efficiency.

Nonetheless, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 assists, and shot a career-high 41% from three with the Knicks last season over 35 games.

After realizing how much gas Rose has left in the tank, president Leon Rose elected to re-sign him on a three-year, $43.56 million deal. This is another contract that has no guarantees for the third season, and pairing ham with Kemba Walker should mitigate fatigue for the most part.

Grade: B+

3.) SG: Alec Burks

One of the Knicks’ top scorers last season was Alec Burks, who played an essential role off the bench. Serving as a shooting guard and small forward, the former first-round pick from 2011 averaged 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and shot 42% from the field. He also hit on 41.5% of his shots from three, representing another high percentage shooter who curates immediate offense when called upon.

Burks isn’t the most stout defender, but his ability to play multiple positions and rotate in different combinations was enough to convince the front office to keep him on a three-year, $30 million deal. Burks’s contract also has an out after the second season, as the Knicks eye a potential big-name free agent with the opening of more salary space.

Grade: B

4.) SG/SF: Evan Fournier

One of the Knicks’ more lucrative free-agent acquisitions was Evan Fournier, formerly of the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic. Replacing Reggie Bullock as the team’s primary shooting guard, Fournier averaged 17.1 points last season over 30 minutes per game. Attempting 6.7 3-PT shots per game, he hit on 41.3%, a solid clip. The difference between Fournier and Bullock is that the former is able to create shots for himself, which should take pressure off power forward Julius Randle, who also signed an extension this off-season.

The Knicks landed Fournier on a four-year, $73 million deal. The team has an out after the third season, giving them a bit of flexibility down the road.

Grade: B

5.) PG: Kemba Walker

One of the biggest surprises of the off-season was the signing of Kemba Walker. Having landed him on a two-year, $17.9 million deal, the Knicks couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams he would be available at such a great price point. Having struggled to stay healthy last season with a degenerative knee issue, Walker was only able to play in 43 games.

After the All-Star break, his statistics skyrocketed, but the injury lingered and eventually forced him to miss more time. At 30 years old, Walker was most recently an All-Star in 2020.

The veteran point guard averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and shot 42% from the field last year. Finding an efficient way for Walker and Randle to play cohesively will be a challenge for New York but can’t be any worse than Payton running around aimlessly like a chicken with its head cut off.

As stated above, the duo of Rose and Walker should be great for limiting minutes and keeping both healthy for a full 82 game season.

Grade: A

6.) Taj Gibson

Gibson’s role on this team falls into two categories, extra reserve, and leadership. Gibson is an all-effort type of player who contributed valiantly during the postseason after Noel picked up an ankle injury. His value as an offensive weapon is next to none, but Taj plays relentless defense and sets the tone for the rest of the team. He signed a two-year, $10.1 million deal with the Knicks, but the 2nd year is non-guaranteed.

Grade: B-

New York Jets: Attainable goals for Friday’s game vs. Philadelphia

zach wilson, jets

ESM’s New York Jets experts believe Gang Green should spend the preseason finale accounting for their defensive absences.

Never mind Labor Day. For New York Jets fans, the unofficial end of summer arrives when the Philadelphia Eagles show up on the preseason ledger.

The Jets’ late-summer showcase with the Eagles resumes on Friday night at MetLife Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, WCBS). New York (2-0) has faced Philadelphia (0-2) in every preseason finale since 2001. The streak was interrupted only by the cancellation of last year’s preseason proceedings but resumes on Friday night in what goes down as the Jets’ only official home game of their 2021 exhibition showings (they were the designated road team in the opener against the Giants).

ESM’s Jets experts conjure up an attainable goal for Gang Green to fulfill as the preseason comes to a close…

new york jets, zach wilson

Geoff Magliocchetti: Keep the Offensive Momentum Rolling

Losing Carl Lawson for the year (and Jarrad Davis for at least the first five weeks) shouldn’t awaken the Jets from their dreams of development this season, but the first showing sans the former Bengal wasn’t pretty. Missing Lawson wasn’t the biggest issue against Green Bay last weekend…missing tackles and lost coverage battles were far more troubling…but the top unit still looked out of sorts against a Packers offense resting most of its starters (including top throwers Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love).

The ultimate insult came when the Packer reserves ate up ten minutes of second quarter game time and embarked on a 19-play, 81-yard drive. Six of those plays were conversions on third or fourth down, including the touchdown that capped things off. Since that drive came with a good portion of the Jets starters on the field, the team faces some major questions.

The best defense could be…a good offense.

Even if their conquests have come against defensive reserves, it’s hard not to be enthused about the progress of the Jets offense, especially with Zach Wilson leading the charge. The team has drifted so far behind the times in this NFL dominated by offense: this is a unit that failed to reach a mere 300 yards in all but five of their games last season. Wilson has embarked on six drives this season: the Jets have scored on four of them and all but one has ended in opposing territory. The outlier produced a conservative punt on a one-yard fourth down at the Jets’ 49-yard-line.

Wilson has made the most of his summer opportunities. He has built chemistry with his receivers, namely Corey Davis (6 receptions, 88 yards) and Tyler Kroft (49 yards on a trio of receptions, including two touchdowns in Green Bay). He has responded well to adversity, erasing two deficits at Lambeau through responsive scoring drives.

Time will tell how the Jets, and their 31 NFL compatriots, approach the third preseason game under the adjusted, shortened summer format. Under the previous quartet, the third game was often treated like a dress rehearsal, with starters playing most, if not all, of the first half. Head coach Robert Saleh was vague on his starters’ playing time during joint practices with the Eagles this week but stressed his desire to see a lot of Wilson. It won’t be “more than a half”, per team reporter Ethan Greenberg, but Saleh believes that there’s a prime opportunity for the newcomers on offense to make of the most of the final tune-up of what’s been a successful preseason.

“I want to play (Wilson),” Saleh said in Greenberg’s report. “I do, so we’re talking about it. But right now, I’m leaning towards playing at least the starting offensive line, quarterback, and a majority of the defensive payers…We got a ridiculously young team and they are growing and learning and all of these experiences are so important to them. I feel like they’ve gotten so much better from the first day of camp until now and to pull off now, I think we’d be doing them an injustice.”

If the Jets emerge from this preseason feeling good about themselves, the offense is providing a majority of those good vibes. Keeping up the offensive is more important than ever with so many question marks filling up slots on the defensive depth chart.

Friday also presents a big opportunity for some players to secure premier roles on the team. Who will be the top rusher? Veteran and two-time Super Bowl participant Tevin Coleman is currently slotted in the top rushing role on the official depth chart but Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, and La’Mical Perine have each looked strong at different points of the summer. The backup quarterback debate has yet to be resolved as well. Mike White has been quiet if not consistent but sustained a rib injury in Green Bay last weekend. James Morgan has struggled and veteran Josh Johnson has yet to see the field.

Brendan Carpenter: Fill the Hole Jarrad Davis Leaves Behind

Well, it’s here. The final 2021 preseason game and, believe it or not, there is still one important question that needs answering: what’s going to happen at linebacker behind C.J. Mosley?

The linebacking situation seemed set. It was going to be Mosley and Jarrad Davis manning the main two inside spots. However, with Davis going down for about two months, there’s a hole. The news wasn’t wanted by anyone, but with the injury comes new opportunities for other players. These opportunities could be exciting too, as rookies Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen will have prime chances to impress.

Sherwood, Nasirildeen, and the veteran depth at linebacker (i.e. Blake Cashman, Noah Dawkins) need to help create some post-Davis clarity on Friday night. If the Jets linebackers can show some ability to make impactful plays and stand tall with the added adversity, it’ll end the preseason on a relatively high note. Well, as high as it could be now.

Expect the linebackers to rotate in and out frequently and to get a glimpse of everything they have to offer. Hopefully, they will be able to achieve the goal of clarity somewhat quickly.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Yankees blow a 6 run lead but get 12th win in a row

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees entered last night’s first game with the Oakland Athletics after winning 11 straight games and looking for their 12th, for the first time since 1961. The Yankees are 10-0 in their last ten games and the Athletic 2-8 in their last ten, losing their last four games in a row. The Yankees could not be complacent as the A’s are a hazardous team at Oakland Coliseum. Jameson Taillon was on the mound for the Yankees and James Kaprielian for the A’s. The final score was the Yankees 7 and the Athletics 6.

In the first inning, DJ LeMahieu faced Kaprielian and went down on three pitches. Next, Anthony Rizzo went down on strikes. Aaron Judge also went down on strikes for a 1-2 -3 inning for Kaprielian. At the bottom, with Taillon on the mound for the Yankees, he faced Mark Canha, who went down on a Taillon hook. Starling Marte flew out to Gardner in center. Then, matt Olsen flew out to left as Taillon put down the A’s in order. No score.

The top of the second saw Joey Gallo at the plate for the Yankees; he struck out on a way outside pitch. Gallo argued, Boone argued, and was thrown out of the game. Giancarlo Stanton answered with a long home run to center. Gary Sanchez was out swinging. Then, Brett Gardner hit a homer to the right-field stands. Gio Urshela ground out, but the Yankees took a two-run lead in the game. At the bottom, Jed Lowrie flew out to Gallo in left. Josh Harrison ground out to Urshela at third. Mitch Moreland flew out to Gardner in deep center to end the inning and give Tailon another 1-2 -3 inning. New York Yankees 2 Athletics 0.

At the top of the third, Andrew Velazquez got a head slide double to center. LeMahieu ground out, but Velazquez moved to third. Rizzo got an RBI double to the center-field warning track scoring Velazquez. Judge walked. Gallo hit a three-run homer as the Yankees poured it on. Stanton went down on strikes. Sanchez flew out to the right-center to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up 4 runs. At the bottom, Matt Chapman led off for the A’s and hit a homer to get the A’s on the board. Sean Murphy hit a back-to-back homer. Elvis Andrus flew out to Gardner. Canha ground out to Urshela. Marte struck out to end the inning. New York Yankees 6 A’s 2.

Brett Gardner led off the fourth and flew out to far center. Urshela singled to center. Velazquez struck out. LeMahieu flew out to center to end the half. Olsen in the bottom walked. Lowrie struck out. Harrison got a base hit, moving Olsen to second. Moreland walked the bases loaded. Chapman walked in a run. Murphy struck out. Andrus got a two-run single to center to get the A’s within one of the Yankees. Those runs knocked Taillon that has been so good, out of the game. Andrus stole second. Albert Abreu came in to face Canha, who walked reloading the bases. Marte ground out to second to end the inning, but the A’s picked up 3 runs in the inning. Yankees 6 A’s 5.

The fifth inning was led off by Rizzo, who popped out to left-field foul territory. Judge went down swinging. Gallo ground out to first to end the half. At the bottom, Olson struck out swinging. Lowrie struck out when he couldn’t hold up. Harrison homered to tie up the game at six apiece. Moreland flew out to Gallo in left to end the inning, but the A’s tied up the game. Yankees 6 Athletics 6.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the sixth inning by popping out to third base. Sanchez singled to the left side. Gardner hit into the force out at second. Then, Urshela went down swinging on a ball way out of the strike zone. At the bottom, Chapman led off with a single to center. Murphy stuck out. Andrus struck out. Canha struck out to end the inning. Yankees 6 Athletics 6.

The seventh inning was led off by Velazquez, who tapped back to the pitcher. LeMahieu ground out to third. Rizzo had a sky-high pop-out to short. Marte in the bottom tapped back to Loaisiga pitching. Olsen ground out to LeMahieu. Lowrie flew out to Gallo to end the inning. Yankees 6 Athletics 6.

Aaron Judge led off the eighth inning and doubled to right field. Gallo walked. Stanton flew out to centerfield. Sanchez walked the bases loaded. Gardner popped out to the infield holding the runners. Urshela just off the IL today, and with the base loaded and two outs ground out to third, leaving the bases loaded with Yankees. At the bottom, Harrison against Loaisiga struck out. Moreland ground out to third for the second out. Chapman walked. Murphy struck out for two scoreless innings for Loaisiga. Yankees 6 A’s 6.

In the ninth inning, Velazquez led off and flew out to left-center. LeMahieu flew out to right. Rizzo walked on four pitches. Tyler Wade in as a pinch-runner. Wade stole second and, on an errant throw, went to third. Judge singled to center, scoring Wade for the one-run lead. Judge tried to steal second, and on review, was out. At the bottom, The Yankees send out Aroldis Chapman to close it out. Andrus flew out to Gardner in center. Canha struck out. Marte singled and stole second. Olsen who had 32 home runs on the season ground out to second for the Yankee’s 12th win in a row the most since 1961.

The final score was New York Yankees 7 the Oakland Athletics 6. The winning pitcher was Jonathan Loaisgia, the loser Lee Trivino, with the save going to Aroldis Chapman (24).