New York Jets: Why Shaq Lawson is a low-risk, high-reward addition

Shaq Lawson doesn’t change the New York Jets’ 2021 outlook, but he can be a solid stopgap in a developmental season.

The New York Jets are fulfilling an offseason promise to put Lawson on their defensive line.

Carl Lawson is done for the year but those designing the Jets’ uniforms can still use the surname’s nameplate. The Jets reportedly welcomed in defensive end Shaq Lawson to the fold on Sunday, sending the sixth-round pick they gained from San Francisco in last year’s Jordan Willis deal. Most recently donning a Houston Texans helmet, Lawson is on to his fourth team after entering the league as Buffalo’s first-round pick in 2016 (immediately before the Jets chose Darron Lee).

Shaq Lawson arrives at an interesting landmark on the Jets’ 2021 timeline. It was previously hinted that the Jets would seek help in the pass rush after Carl Lawson, the Jets’ most expensive offseason acquisition, was lost for the year after rupturing his Achillies during a joint practice in Green Bay. Fellow veteran Vinny Curry was likewise lost for the year after dealing with blood clots. The Jets appeared to have fulfilled that quest with Sunday’s transaction.

What exactly can be expected with Lawson poised to don a green uniform? ESM investigates…

Affordable Redemption

The Jets are desperate enough to write a redemption story for the past decade of fruitless football, much less finally pen a sequel to the Super Bowl III epic. To that end, they can’t concern themselves with co-authoring someone else’s, no matter how talented that player can be. That’s removed them from the conversation on several high-profile stars and, frankly, should’ve steered them away from the expensive Le’Veon Bell gambit in 2019.

Shaq Lawson, at first glance, appears to carry the baggage that a developing team like the Jets should avoid. The Clemson alum has shown flashes but has yet to live up to his first-round billing. New York is his fourth team over the past three seasons and he was playing deep into the second half of the Texans’ preseason contests. His lasting legacy, as of this moment, is perhaps his status as the penultimate premier pick of Buffalo’s ill-fated Doug Whaley era.

But Lawson’s redemption story that the Jets can literally afford to play a supporting role in. If/when the trade is confirmed, the Jets are set to inherit only circa $2 million of Lawson’s salary, with the Texans set to take on nearly $7 million in dead cap. If Lawson were to perform well enough that the Jets want more, his contract allows the Jets to retain him at just under $9 million. Even with the pick from the Willis trade gone, they will have a dozen choices to work with come next spring.

From a football standpoint, Lawson isn’t being called upon to turn the tide in New York. Even with Carl Lawson in tow, this wasn’t going to be a playoff team in 2021. He can work things in relatively peaceful surroundings with the Jets, where defensive storylines will likely linger on Quinnen Williams’ development and what’s going on in the Jets’ secondary. One could argue he had a similar blank slate in Houston, but the Jets seem much more secure in their future (particularly when it comes to comparing the quarterback situations). What Joe Douglas has done this offseason won’t make the Jets a playoff team immediately but he has built a situation that allows the team to take a risk or two in the name of veteran help.

AFC Beast

Lawson potentially enters the Jets in a bit of a prickly situation: the Jets’ preseason slate wrapped on Friday night, giving him just two weeks to cram the Jets’ playbook before they open against Carolina on Sept. 12. But despite Lawson’s lack of a true NFL impact so far, he appears to be on a bit of an upswing.

Whereas the departed Carl Lawson’s hype was partly built on advanced pressure numbers, the incoming Shaq has tried to make a name for himself through more conventional means, traditional numbers that have been sorely lacking in New York in recent times. Lawson has earned 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons, including 6.5 during his final year in Buffalo in 2019. In comparison, only one player (Jordan Jenkins) has reached double-figures in sacks, falling just short of Lawson’s mark with 10. He won’t fully replace the pressure that the unrelated Carl brought in Cincinnati but he is a well-traveled pressure artist in his own right, earning 77 pressures over the last two seasons with the Bills and Miami Dolphins.

Lawson is coming off a solid, if not uneventful, season with the Dolphins after his career-best campaign in Buffalo in 2019. He’s a better option than free agent question marks like Everson Griffen (who went back to Minnesota after the Lawson injury) and Olivier Vernon and was likely far less expensive than potential trade candidates like Dante Fowler or Chandler Jones. The Jets needed pressure and Lawson, despite his flaws, has been reliable in that regard. As to the potential problems when it comes to a speed course in the New York defense, Lawson got a taste of 4-3 action during his brief time in Houston under defensive coordinator Lovie Smith.

“With this defense, you can just attack,” Lawson said of the 4-3 scheme, per Anthony Wood of SI.com. “You don’t (have) to think about no blocks or anything you’ve got to worry about. I mean, that’s the great part about being in a 4-3 defense.”

Houston head coach David Culley got to witness some of Lawson’s developmental antics as a Buffalo assistant. Asked about his potential to fit with the Texans’ front seven, Culley reminisced about pass-rushing endeavors that have been sorely lacking in green metropolitan circles in recent seasons.

“Shaq was a pass rusher up there,” Culley said, per notes from the Texans. “He’s quick. He has great movement. He’s got a great first step…He plays with good leverage, and he’s got good hands, and basically, what we teach all those guys to do, he has that.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose and split the series with the Athletics

New York Yankees, Chad Green

The New York Yankees entered the game tonight at Oakland Coliseum; the Yankees were looking to start a new winning streak. Yesterday the Yankees broke their 13 game winning streak with a one-run loss to the Athletics. Tonight they hoped to right the ship with Jordan Montgomery on the mound for the Yankees facing the A’s Paul Blackburn. Chad Green allowed a two-run homer in the eight and the Yankees lost 3-1.

The first inning saw DJ LeMahieu leading off for the Yankees; he walked on four pitches. Giancarlo Stanton singled to the middle. Aaron Judge flew out to center, but the runners did not advance. Joey Gallo hit into a double play to end the inning. At the bottom, Josh Harrison faced Jordan Montgomery and ground out to the second base. Marte ground out. Olson hit into the shift to end the inning scoreless. “Monty” got it done with only five pitches.

The second inning was led off by Luke Voit, who struck out. Gary Sanchez flew out to right for the second out. Brett Gardner, with his speed, reached on an infield single to left. Gio Urshela popped out to short to retire the side. Yan Gomes led off the bottom by singling in front of Gardner. Jed Lowrie struck out swinging. Matt Chapman ground out to short. Mark Canha ground out to end the scoreless inning.

Oakland Coliseum is often called Ricky Henderson field. Henderson played 14 seasons with the Athletics with a .288 batting average and with 867 stolen bases. Henderson also played for the New York Yankees during the 1985-89 seasons.

Tyler Wade led off the third inning by walking. Wade was caught stealing for only the fourth time this season. LeMahieu ground out to second. Stanton singled to center. Aaron Judge chopped to third for the Yankee scoreless half. At the bottom, Chad Pinder led off by ground out to third. Elvis Andrus lined out to Voit at first. Harrison singled, but Marte flew out to Judge for the final out. No score.

The fourth inning was led off by Joey Gallo, who ground out into a double play which has only ground out into double plays 9 times in this career in the fourth single. Voit hit into a double play. Sanchez ground out to third to end the half. At the bottom, Olson flew out to left-center on a running catch by Gardner. Gomes singled to left. Lowrie, with one out and one on, singled in front to Gardner moving Gomes to second base. Chapman singled to load the bases with A’s. A hop caused Urshela to not make a double play. It was Urshela’s second error of the year. Canha, with one out and the bases loaded, hit into a double play to get Monty out of trouble. No score. Upon review, Cana was safe at first, and Gomes scored. Pinder struck out, but the Athletics put a run on the board. Oakland 1 Yankees 0.

The fifth inning was led off by Gardner, who ground out into the shift. Urshela was grounded out. Wade singled to right. LeMahieu ground out to short to end the half. At the bottom, Andrus ground out to second. Harrison singled to left. Marte singled in front of Judge. Olson lined out to third. Gomes, with two on and two outs, bounced out to second to end the inning. Oakland 1 Yankees 0.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the sixth and popped out to the infield. Judge ground out to third. Gallo walked. Voit ground out. The bottom of the inning was scoreless for the Athletics.

Gary Sanchez led off the seventh and walked. Gardner struck out. Urshela struck out. A wild pitch advanced Sanchez to second. Anthony Rizzo pinch-hit for Wade and singled to left, driving in Sanchez to tie the game at one apiece as the A’s committed to errors in the same at-bat.  Rizzo went to second on the play. LeMahieu hit out to third to end the half, but the Yankee tied up the game. At the bottom, Pinder faced new Yankee pitcher Jonathan Loaisgia and singled to center. Andrus bunted out. Harrison flew out to Gallo in left. Marte lined to Urshela, who missed the ball. Pinder went to second. With two on and two outs and the great Ricky Henderson in the stands, Olson walked to load the bases. With four grand slams in his career, Gomes stuck out swinging, leaving the bases loaded and keeping the game tied at 1.

The eighth inning had Giancarlo Stanton at the plate, who lined out to short. Judge ground out to third for the third time on the night. Gallo walked. Voit went down swinging to end the half. At the bottom, Lowrie led off against new pitcher Chad Green and flew out to Gardner in center. Chapman ground out to Velazquez at short. Canha got an extra-base hit just over Gallo’s head in left. Kemp pinch-hitting for Pinder homered for a two-run lead for the A’s. Andrus ground out, but Kemp did the damage with his homer. Oakland 3 Yankees 1.

Gary Sanchez went down on strikes at the ninth, with last licks on the line for the New York Yankees. Gardner went down swinging. Urshela ground out to short to end the game and put the Yankees 6 games behind the Rays.

The final score was the Oakland Athletics 3 and the New York Yankees 1. The winning pitcher was Deolis Guerra, and the loser was Chad Green. The save went to Andrew Chaffin.

 

 

 

New York Giants lose 22-20 in preseason finale to the New England Patriots

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants and New England Patriots faced off tonight in Week Three of the 2021 NFL preseason. The New England Patriots came out victorious. FINAL SCORE: 22-20.

Key stats and takeaways

New York Giants

  • QB Daniel Jones: 17/22, 135 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • WR Damion Willis: 3 receptions, 70 yards, 1 TD
  • LB Trent Harris: 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

The New York Giants’ starters played the first half of tonight’s game. Daniel Jones got his first action of the preseason and turned in a very Daniel Jones performance. He had some nice plays, including a Danny Dime down the seam to Kaden Smith for a 23-yard touchdown. But Jones also struggled to keep the ball out of harm’s way, throwing a terrible interception in the red zone.

Tight end Evan Engram picked up a calf injury and was out for the rest of the game. The severity of the injury is currently unknown. Wide receiver Darius Slayton also suffered an injury. Neither injury is believed to be significant, though the team will undoubtedly be cautious with two of its starters on offense.

The Giants’ defense enjoyed a number of impressive individual performances. Blake Martinez had an incredible interception deep downfield. Dexter Lawrence also got a sack and a tackle for loss. The starters seem to be picking up where they left off from last season. The reserve defenders also turned in some decent performances.

Trent Harris, who has had a great summer competing for a roster spot, continued his positive trend with a nice performance on Sunday. Harris totaled 4 tackles with a sack and a tackle for loss. Rookie sixth-round pick Rodarius Williams also capped off an excellent summer with an impressive performance today. The rookie looked good in tight man coverage and had 4 sacks and a pass breakup.

The Giants’ running game was efficient as the backs totaled 96 yards on 22 attempts (4.4 avg). Fullback Elijah Penny led the team with 35 yards on 4 carries.

The New York Giants offensive line was a major topic of discussion during today’s game. The Giants let up 4 sacks in today’s contest. Daniel Jones was under constant pressure during the first half. Tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart struggled in pass protection and put their quarterback in harm’s way more than once today.

New York Jets acquire Shaq Lawson from Texans

shaq lawson, jets

The New York Jets have replaced an injured Lawson with a healthy one, adding veteran end Shaq Lawson in a deal with the Houston Texans, per multiple reports.

The addition of Shaq Lawson will certainly not fill the entire void left behind by Carl Lawson’s injury, but he’ll make an impact nonetheless.

The former first-round pick hasn’t lived up to the expectations, only starting 24 of his 64 NFL games. In those games, he has amassed 20.5 sacks, 56 QB hits, 29 tackles-for-loss and 6 forced fumbles.

It is unclear what his exact role will be initially, but he should command substantial playing time alongside Bryce Huff, John Franklin-Myers and rookie Hamilcar Rashed Jr., among others. The Jets’ defensive end group now gets a little bigger and, hopefully, a little stronger.

Lawson, 27, spent the first five years of his career in the AFC East with the Bills and Dolphins before being dealt to Houston in March. He now returns to the division he knows so well.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Giancarlo Stanton, when you’re hot you’re hot

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton spent much of the 2020 season on the IL for the New York Yankees with a hamstring injury; he came back into the lineup during a Blue Jays game on September 15th. On the 16th, Stanton went 4 for 4, including a home run and a double.  He ended the season playing in only 24 games but hit 11 home runs.  During the postseason, he hit 6 home runs in seven games. In addition, he hit a Grand Slam helping the Yankees to a huge win in game one of the ALDS.

This season he had pretty much started as he left off last season. Then, on April 5th against the Orioles, Stanton hit a monster Grand Slam, the Yankee’s first of the season. It was thought at the time, If Stanton can stay healthy, he could be the Yankee’s most dangerous weapon this season. He could come close to replicating his 2017 MVP season.

Giancarlo Stanton has not replicated his 2017, but it’s not for the lack of trying. He is hot right now and hitting the ball as he did in his 2017 MVP season; he is striking out less and being more patient at the plate. After a short time on the IL, he was slow to regain his form, but in August, Stanton has shown that he is a force to be dealt with. For the month, he has 8 home runs and has the team’s highest OPS at 1.032. In addition, he is now playing excellent defense in the outfield, giving manager Boone more options for the lineup, including keeping Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit in the lineup.

During the New York Yankees 13 game winning streak, he hit six home runs driving in 11 runs. There are no other words for this type of performance other than Super Star status.

Lets’ take a look at his career and what he can do for the New York Yankees.

The Baseball superstar Giancarlo Stanton

Like many New York Yankees players, some we know and some we don’t know about their private lives. Stanton is no different, but here is what we do know. He is liked by many Yankees fans because he is a great player and disliked by many because he makes so much money, is frequently injured, and doesn’t always hit the ball.

His early life in California

But back to his early life. He was born to Michael Stanton and Jacinta Garay in Los Angeles, California, on November 8, 1989. He has an older brother and an older sister. He was brought up in the Sunland-Tujunga area of Los Angeles near the San Gabriel Mountain’s foothills.

In Stanton’s mind as a child, he didn’t care for his given name. Friends called him Carlo or Gene; his Mother called him Cruz (his middle name), although she wanted to name him Fidel, the Father objected. So Giancarlo decided he wanted to be called Mike from now on, and so it was until 2012 when he reinstated his preference for his real name Giancarlo. Stanton is of Irish African American descent, although his mother had Puerto Rican ancestry.

The future Yankee Giancarlo was a dominant player in just about every youth league sport he tried, including football. He continued playing sports after enrolling at Verdugo Hills High in Tujunga in 2003. He pitched and played the outfield for the varsity baseball squad. In 2005, as a sophomore, he hit a game-winning homer for the Dons in the city’s quarterfinals.

Unfortunately, Giancarlo’s grades were not measuring up to his stats. So his parents, in the process of a divorce, switched him to a private school, Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, about 30 minutes away. Almost immediately, Giancarlo began coming into his own, both on and off the field. As he approached his final height of 6’6″ and packed on more muscle, few doubted he would make a living in sports. The only question was, which sport? He had accepted a scholarship to play baseball for Tulane and received offers from UCLA, UNLV, and USC to play football.

The Miami Marlins selected Stanton

In 2007 when selected by the Miami Marlins in the second round of the draft, he was happy to receive a half-million signing bonus. He was again considering the Miami location, glad that he was not named Fidel. In 2008, Giancarlo spent the entire season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the Class-A South Atlantic League. Playing for manager Edwin Rodriguez, he was just 18 when the season started, but he torched enemy pitchers for 39 homers in 125 games. Giancarlo followed up his first campaign in pro ball with an outstanding 2009 season as he moved steadily up the organizational ladder.

He spent 50 games with the Jupiter Hammerheads and hit .291 with 12 homers. Then, Giancarlo started the 2010 season back in Jacksonville. That May, in a game against the Montgomery Biscuits, he hit a ball that cleared the scoreboard in left-centerfield later to be found to have gone 500′ from home plate. A month later, Giancarlo had surpassed 20 homers in just over 50 games. Finally, he got the call from the big club and was in the lineup at age 20 on June 8 against the Philadelphia Phillies with a $325 million contract.

In Stanton’s first major league game, he went 3 for 5 with two RBI’s. After that, he continued to have success after success and award after award: two Silver Sluggers, two Hank Aarons, two home run Leaders, four All-stars, until he reached the MVP of the National League in 2017.

Giancarlo Stanton becomes a New York Yankee.

After the 2017 season, the Marlins dumped salary, Giancarlo Stanton was traded to the New York Yankees after a 59 home run season. The trade was for cash considerations, and the Marlins got Starlin Castro and minor leaguers. In 2018 he made his New York Yankees debut hitting two homers in his first game. He ended up the year with 38 homers and 100 RBIs. Although he carried the team during Judge’s injuries and others, many fans criticized him for his team-leading 211 strikeouts.

On April 1, 2019, in a cruel April fool’s joke, placed on the 10 days IL with a bicep strain. He returned to the lineup on June 20 to go back to the IL seven days later with a knee injury that limited him to just nine days on the playing field last season. With the Yankees’ unrelenting injuries in 2019 and the departure to the IL of Hicks, Tauchman, and Encarnacion, the Yankees looked forward to returning to the outfield. Manager Aaron Boone was hoping Giancarlo could have a big impact on the postseason.  He came back to play in nine games in September but then went back on the IL.

Stanton came back from a knee ailment in time to play in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, he wasn’t much help in three games; he hit .167 with no home runs and only 1 RBI.  During Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros, Stanton suffered a right quad injury while running out a single in the second inning. He hit a home run in the sixth during the Yankees’ 7–0 win before the club realized after the game he was injured.

Stanton played in only one game during spring training before going on the IL with a calf strain.  He was expected to miss the start of the regular season, but when the start of the season was held back, the coronavirus Stanton was given the time to heal. He came down with a hamstring injury after an August 8th game at Tropicana Field, keeping him away from the field until September 15th. He came back for the IL and played masterfully.

This spring, in 13 games, he had one home run, 3 doubles, and 11 hits and had the second-highest batting average of .314. In his first six games of the new season (he has played in 5), He has a Grand Slam, 5 hits, and driving in 5 runs. There is no question the talent is there; it’s all about if he can stay healthy.

The Athletic says: He bashes the baseball harder than anyone in the sport. His home runs come off the bat as line drives. He is the poster boy of easy power; no one seems to work less to impact a ball more than he does.

Giancarlo’s personals:

As I have said before, Stanton’s private life is pretty private; he is not married but has been attached to several beautiful women over the years. He supposedly has a main squeeze right now, but it is doubtfully not the only one based on the previous history. On the lighter side, women know and appreciate Stanton as a sex symbol. In 2013 he posed gold clad and nude for ESPN’s body issue, something Bryce Harper of the then Nationals, Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots, among others, have done as well. Other than that, there are no scandals attached to his name.

In September 2019, he was featured as the love interest in singing star Lexy Panterra’s “Deep End” video. However, the star says they are just good friends. As if for now, the media beam is pondering the strong rumors of him dating a brunette beauty, Terez Owens. Owens is a model and sports blogger. But now, his attention has seemed to turn to Chase Carter, who he has been dating off and on for three years. The superstar baseball player appears not ready to settle down.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Sports Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Taj Gibson and Julius Randle prove how the Knicks have changed their culture for the better

new york knicks, rj barrett

It was only a year ago that the New York Knicks were an undesirable destination for free agents and big names. However, in just one season, they’ve turned their entire organization around from the bottom up.

Elevating the culture and creating a winning environment has sparked players’ interest around the league, which led to a successful free agency for the team this off-season, bringing in Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, two players who significantly increase the talent on the roster.

It is clear that the Knicks have restored their image, and two of their own players back up that assessment. Veteran center Taj Gibson, who spent the second half of the season last year with New York, signed a two-year extension to stay with the team. While Gibson understands he might not be a priority on the floor, he’s looking to serve as a mentor and help the team in any way possible. But his comments on hitting free agency and his desire to stay with the Knicks are eye-opening.

“It was real frustrating, but it was a good frustrating,” Gibson said of the free agency experience. “But at the same time, I knew I made the right decision. Money doesn’t move me, I just wanted to be a Knick.”

Comparably, All-Star power forward Julius Randle signed a four-year extension this off-season, and similar to Gibson referenced his desire to be a Knick over the amount of money he’s making. The team has created an atmosphere that players want to be a part of, rather than cashing in and passing on the opportunity to build a franchise. The Knicks are not only rewarding loyal players, but they are also encouraging them to do what’s best for the team and not themselves as an individual.

“The money was one thing, but for me, it was more about the situation as far as my happiness, the basketball situation, my family, just being stable and being in New York and really just continuing to build this thing up,” Randle said Friday. “When I signed here two years ago, this was my vision, to be able to lock in something long term and build something from the ground up. That’s what we’re doing. All hands on deck.”

A culture shift has been a long time in the making, and the Knicks are finally pointing in the right direction. With plenty of veteran talent on the roster and young players to complement, this upcoming season could prove to be just as exciting, if not more, than the 2020-21 campaign, which surprised even the most pessimistic fans.

Yankees News, 8/29: Nestor Cortes takes shot at umpiring in loss to A’s, Aaron Judge is on fire

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees saw their 13 game winning streak come to an end on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics. Losing 3-2, the Yankees offense simply couldn’t get them over the edge, despite and Aaron Judge’s ninth-inning home run. Recording just five hits on the day, Oakland starting pitcher, Frankie Montas was stellar, striking out six batters and allowing two hits over 7.0 innings.

The Bombers featured Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound, who lasted 5.1 innings and gave up four hits and three earned runs before turning it over to the bullpen. Cortes hosts a 2.77 ERA this season and is one of the biggest surprises for a Yankee team that desperately needed starting pitching support with the loss of several players due to injury.

However, Cortes endured a few bad calls from the umpires, including one made by the third base ump who wasn’t in a position to make the correct call. After the game, Cortes took a shot at the decision and how the Yankees would likely still be in a position to steal a victory.

“At first I didn’t know what I did,” Cortes said. “I usually hang up and try to read the runner and stuff like that. I was very surprised that the third base umpire was the one that gave the call. It cost us a run. Right now we’d be tied in the ninth inning.”

Despite the loss, slugger Aaron Judge has been performing at an incredible level lately. Judge recorded three hits on four at-bats in the loss, including two RBIs on the night thing. This month alone, Judge has 34 hits, including six doubles and eight home runs over 98 at-bats. In his last five games, Judge has 12 hits and two homers, hitting over 50%. He currently hosts a .295 average with 29 homers and 72 RBIs. He ranks ninth in the league in OPS with a .929 percentage.

Despite his offensive success, Aaron was still frustrated by the loss and is already thinking about the team’s next winning streak.

“A loss is a loss. It’s time to start another streak, that’s all,” Judge said. “We didn’t get the job done, so it’s time to turn the page. (The streak) showed what we’re capable of. This team is capable of a lot of great things.”

New York Yankees Analysis: The “Evil Empire” has been resurrected

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees for several years has been a team in the rearview mirror. A team that was less hated because it couldn’t even get to play in a world series for the last eleven years. The Yankees have won the East only 3 times since 2009, and in each of those times, they lost in the ALDS or ALCS. Then, it was a team that would fail in the end even though it could reach the postseason. More recently, it seemed to be a team in somewhat disarray without cohesiveness, many times due to a ridiculous number of injuries. Well, friends make no mistake about it the “Evil Empire” is back!

The New York Yankees of today are a team that is mostly healthy, more healthy than they have been since 2017. It’s a team that is clicking on all cylinders. The Yankees put the baseball world on notice at the trade deadline that they meant business. They did the most of any team to add key parts to the team by adding three pitchers and two lefty hitters that would change the lineup for the rest of the season that would be more difficult for opposing pitchers with a new right lefty look that would be much more difficult to navigate.

After a listless start of the season, the team playing today is a different team, one that has won 13 consecutive games before last night’s one-run loss. Then, it was a team that couldn’t score runs. That is no longer the case. Today it is a team that can pile on the home runs and wins games at what should be an alarming rate for its rivals.

Here are some changes that have dramatically changed the team’s outlook. Number one is that the old guard is functioning well. Slugger Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both healthy and on the team at the same time. Plus, they are both hot at the same time. The duo, during August, both have 8 home runs. Judge’s OPS is 1.029, Stanton’s is 1.032. When Judge and Stanton both hit home runs in a game, the New York Yankees are 12-1 in those games.

Another plus for the team is that Aaron Boone is managing better than he ever has. Using his bullpen well and making the right decisions at the right times. This is partly due to him having more options. He also can put out a complex lineup that he has not been able to employ in several years.

The Yankees have also been able to use sparks previously not available to them. Lefty hitter Rougned Odor has changed the look of the Yankees and provided new energy not seen before. Tyler Wade, given playing time, has shown that he can be a star player too. His running and base stealing has added new challenges to opposing teams. Also adding energy and excellence defense to the team is Andrew Velazquez. Joey Gallo in left field has improved the outfield defense. The Yankees now have a defender at first base in Anthony Rizzo, the best defender since the Yankees had Mark Teixeira.

Don’t get me wrong; this is not a team without problems. Their closer situation is very iffy at best. After giving up only one run in the first half of the season, Aroldis Chapman has become a big question mark failing to get the job done in close games. But the Yankees, to a degree, have found a way to mitigate that situation with so many options available to Boone. Jonathan Loaisiga, Lucas Luetge, Chad Green, and Wandy Peralta closed games during August for the Yankees.

Getting back to the 13 game winning streak, the Yankees didn’t do it against fluff teams. They have won against the number one AL Central White Sox, the number one NL East Atlanta Braves, in addition to the Minnesota Twins, Red Sox, and Oakland Athletics. The New York Yankees are now 30 and 9 since July 17th. In their return to the Evil Empire, they are now the winningest baseball team over the term. And friends, it may get better.

All winning streaks end, and it ended for the Yankees when they fell short a run yesterday. But as we advance, they have a good chance of a new winning streak. After tonight’s game, they go on to a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees are 2-2 against the Angels this season, but the Angels will face a very different Yankee team this time. After the Angels, the Yankees get back to Yankees Stadium to face the Baltimore Orioles for six games over two weeks. Finally, sandwiched in is a series with the Blue Jays and the lowly Mets.

If the New York Yankee can get by the Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays, they may have an excellent chance at taking the AL East. But, as I have said before, the Rays must cooperate. During the 13 game winning streak, the Yankees have only gained 2 games on the Rays. The Yankees, with the loss yesterday, are 5 games behind the Rays. The Yankees are 9-1 in their last 10 games; the Rays are also 9-1 in their last 10. The Rays must lose more games during September than the Yankees by five. If they continue to match the Yankees, the Yankees will have to settle for the wild card.

There is one thing for sure, the month of September will be the most exciting baseball for Yankee fans since 2009. Go Yankees!! It is a season that may be determined in the last three days of the season at Yankee Stadium.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

Boxing Preview: Tyron Woodley – Jake Paul

jake paul

Tonight the world is finally going to see the boxing match that we’ve been waiting months for. Internet celebrity turned boxer Jake Paul (3-0) will have his toughest test to date as he takes on former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (19-7-1 MMA).

This will be Woodley’s first professional boxing match. The former UFC welterweight champion fought out his contract earlier this year when he fought Vicente Luque in March. Woodley lost the fight to Luque which was his fourth consecutive loss.

At the beginning of 2019, Woodley was building his legacy as one of the greatest welterweights of all time. Then he lost his title and proceeded to finish out his UFC career having lost four fights in a row.

After Woodley lost his last fight, he was a free agent and could choose his next path. He decided to choose the path that put him in front of one of the most polarizing figures in all of combat sports, Jake Paul.

Jake Paul made his professional boxing debut in 2020 when he fought another YouTuber. From there, he’s made incremental steps up in competition. He’s fought a YouTuber, a former NBA player, and a former MMA world champion.

That champion was Tyron Woodley’s close friend Ben Askren. Askren and Paul had a boxing match in April and it didn’t go well for Askren. Jake Paul knocked him out in the first round. The seed was planted that night for a Paul and Woodley boxing match.

Boxing Preview: Who will win?

Part of me is still amazed that this boxing match is actually going to happen. When breaking down the fight, there are a number of different things to consider. One thing to consider is the fact that this is a pure boxing match.

Tyron Woodley has some highlight reel knockouts in the UFC. He definitely has power in his hands, but he’s not going to be able to use any form or wrestling tonight. In the UFC, Woodley’s hands looked even better than they were due to the fact that his opponents had to think about takedowns.

Jake Paul doesn’t have to think about that. All Jake Paul has to think about is the boxing skills of Tyron Woodley. Say what you want about Jake Paul, but the kid does have some pretty decent skills on the feet and he packs a helluva punch.

He’s also younger and bigger than Tyron Woodley. Paul is also dedicated his life to his boxing career and you know that he’s going to come prepared for battle tonight. That said, I just can’t pick against Tyron Woodley in this one.

At the end of the day, we’ve never seen Jake Paul in there with someone that can hurt him. Woodley can hurt him and hurt him badly. Jake Paul might pass this boxing test with flying colors, but I’m going to have to see it to believe it. My prediction is that Tyron Woodley emphatically ends that Jake Paul drama tonight.

Prediction: Tyron Woodley by TKO – Round 3

Giants News: Positive Kadarius Toney injury update, two receivers battling for roster spot

new york giants, kadarius toney

New York Giants’ 20th overall pick Kadarius Toney has found himself in an interesting position ahead of the first regular-season game on September 12. Having yet to take any live reps during practice and appear in a preseason game, Toney is still reportedly dealing with COVID-19 drawbacks, having recovered but not fully gained his stamina back.

Toney has endured a bumpy first training camp in the NFL, but according to Tom Rock of Newsday, the Giants are optimistic he will be available for their Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

The number of things the Giants can do with Toney on offense is not even conceivable. Lining him up next to Saquon Barkley in the backfield or utilizing him as a gadget player are just two creative ways the Florida product can make an impact moving forward.

Last season with the Gators, Toney recorded 1,145 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. With a unique center of gravity and unexplainable balance, Toney runs like Alvin Kamara but catches passes like a true receiver. The versatile pass-catcher is an extremely unique style of player, and most would look at the Giants’ offensive scheme and wonder how on earth they will manage to extract the most value from the rookie.

However, all we can do is wait and see after the Giants hired Russ Callaway from LSU and elevated Freddie Kitchens to a senior advisor role on offense. Hopefully, that was enough to spur a bit more creativity and imagination with the playbook.

To overcome a strong Denver defense, the Giants are going to need all of their premium weapons. The expectation that Kadarius will be available is a huge bonus for Daniel Jones. After 2020’s embarrassment, Jones can use all the moving pieces he can possibly muster.

The Giants have one position battle unfolding:

Speaking of pass-catchers and weapons, two receivers who are battling for a roster spot are Dante Pettis and David Sills. Two different styles of catchers, Pettis offers a more speedy option compared to Sills, who stands at 6’4″ and has presented himself as a great red zone threat this off-season. Pettis is the only one of the two to have legitimate experience in the NFL, with 652 yards and a touchdown to his name over three seasons. He played two games with the Giants toward the end of the 2020 campaign, hauling in four receptions for 76 yards and a score.

Sills, on the other hand, followed Daniel Jones around the country this off-season, presenting him with a pair of hands to connect with. That type of work ethic is noticed by head coach Joe Judge, who commended him for his desire to improve.

At this point, Sills has a slight advantage over Pettis, but Sunday’s preseason game against the New England Patriots should give us a final answer. Luckily for both receivers, Kenny Golladay, Toney, and Kyle Rudolph will all be absent, giving secondary options more reps to work with.