New York Giants: Saquon Barkley reportedly has “strong chance” to play in week 1

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The longest running storyline of the offseason for the New York Giants may be the recovery of Saquon Barkley. Barkley’s recovery has been in the news ever since it began last year, but we may be close to getting an answer on when the running back will actually return. Despite some worries about Barkley potentially missing weeks of the season, it looks like there’s a stronge chance we could actually see him in the season opener.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has reported that Barkley’s recovery is headed in the right direction and that it’s looking more likely that he’ll play in week 1. However, the team’s final decision isn’t set to come until next week.

The Giants have been careful about speaking on Barkley’s return all offseason so far. While the question of the return date has come up many times, multiple figures associated with the Giants including John Mara, Dave Gettleman, and Joe Judge have claimed there is no set return date for Barkley.

Barkley himself has given similar answers during this offseason, usually claiming that his recovery process is still day to day.

There have been some positive pieces of news recently in Barkley’s recovery process. The most recent is Barkley returning to hard contact drills in practice, a change from when he was wearing a red no contact jersey.

It’s hard to say definitively right now whether Barkley will be back for the opener or not, but if he is on the field, it will be a major break of luck for the Giants. After the team’s top offensive additions sat during the preseason, week 1 may just be our first chance to see the new look offense on the field in full.

New York Yankees Recap: Stanton walked off Judge in the eleventh for the Yankee win

After a disappointing road trip when the New York Yankees went 5-4 and a day off yesterday, tonight they entered a 3 game series with the Baltimore Orioles. With their race to the postseason in jeopardy, the Yankees should win if not sweep a series against a team that will lose 110 games this season. In game one, the Yankees sent Nestor Cortes Jr. to the mound to face the Orioles, John Means. In a game that should have been won easily, it went into the eleventh inning with Giancarlo Stanton walking off Aaron Judge for the Yankee 4-3 win.

Leading off the first inning was the O’s Cedric Mullins, who against Cortes, flew out to Gallo in left. Ryan Mountcastle flew out to Judge in centerfield. Austin Hays went down on strikes for a 1-2-3 inning for Cortes. At the bottom, DJ LeMahiew faced the O’s John Means and ground out to third. Joey Gallo walked. Aaron Judge, who hit over .500 during the road trip, struck out swinging. Giancarlo Stanton went down on strikes to end the scoreless inning.

The top of the second was led off by Trey Mancini, who singled up the middle. Ramon Urias popped out to LeMahieu on the right side. Anthony Santander popped out to catcher Sanchez. Jorge Mateo went down on strike. In the bottom, Anthony Rizzo flew out to the warning track in centerfield. Luke Voit went down looking. Gleyber Torres, in his first at-bat since going on the IL with a thumb strain, struck out. No score.

Jahmai Jones led off the third inning by going down on strikes. Austin Wynns singled in front of Stanton in the right field. Mullins went down on strikes. Mountcastle got the third strikeout of the inning. At the bottom, Rougie Odor led off by striking out. Gary Sanchez ground out to third base. LeMahieu flew out to center for another scoreless inning.

The fourth inning was led off by Hays, who flew out to Stanton in right. Mancini went down on another four-seamer from Cortes. Urias walked. Santander singled, moving Urias to second. Mateo ground out to Odor to end the inning. At the bottom, Gallo led off by going down swinging. Judge flew out in front of the right-field wall. Stanton homered to right (424′). Rizzo followed with a long double to center field. Voit ground out to end the inning. Means had not allowed a Yankee hit until Stanton’s home run. New York Yankees 1 O’s 0.

Jones led off the fifth inning by striking out swinging. Wynn flew out to Gallo in left. Mullins ground out to first with an assist from Cortes. At the bottom, Torres flew out to the warning track in right-center. Odor worked a walk. Sanchez singled with Odor taking third. LeMahieu with men on the corners and one out had a sac fly driving in Odor from third. Gallo struck out, but the Yankees tacked on another run. New York Yankees 2 O’s 0.

The sixth inning was led off by Mountcastle, who walked. Hays hit into a double play. Mancini put the Orioles on the board with a homer off the second deck facing in left, and that was the end of the night for Cortes Jr. Jonathan Loaisiga came in to face Urias, who went down on Loaisiga’s 11th pitch. Aaron Judge led off the bottom by doubling to left. Stanton flew out to shallow left. Rizzo walked. Voit with two on and one out went down looking. Torres flew out deep to center. New York Yankees 2 Baltimore Orioles 1.

Santander led off the seventh inning and ground out to first. Mateo just homered to the left to tie the game up at 2. Stewart pinch-hitting ground out. Wynns flew out to Judge to end the inning. At the bottom, Odor went down on strikes. Sanchez ground out to third. LeMahieu tapped out in front of the plate to end the inning. Yankees 2 Orioles 2.

The eighth inning was led off by Mullins, who ground out to left. Mountcastle ground out to Torres at short. Hays hit a double to left-center. Mancini was intentionally walked. Urias struck out swinging. At the bottom, Gallo struck out. Judge reached on an E6 at short. Stanton flew out to center. Rizzo struck out swinging after putting one into the second deck just foul. Yankees 2 Orioles 2.

The ninth inning saw closer Aroldis Chapman on the mound facing Santander, who went down strikes that David Cone called a forkball. Mateo walked.  Kelvin Gutierrez pinch-hitting went down on strikes. Wynns struck out swinging to end the half, leaving a walk-off win for the Yankees a possibility. At the bottom, Voit went down on the ninth pitch. Torres ground out to third. Odor faced the new O’s pitcher Cole Sulser and went down swinging as the game went into the tenth inning. The game tied at 2.

The tenth inning was started with ghost runner Ryan McKenna at second base. Mullins, with Wandy Peralta pitching, struck out. Mountcastle singled, driving in McKenna for the Orioles lead. Mountcastle went to second on the throw. Hays walked. With two on and one out, Mancini hit into a double play to end the half, but the O’s took the lead. The Yankees, with the last licks going into the bottom, had Tyler Wade as the ghost runner. Sanchez struck out. LeMahieu doubled with Tyler Wade scoring to tie the game at 3. LeMahieu moved to third on a passed ball. Gallo flew out to the infield. Judge faced another O’s reliever in Dillon Tate. Judge ground out to end the inning and bring it into the eleventh. Game tied at 3.

Urias faced Clay Holmes with Mancini as the ghost runner; he got a base hit to right, moving Mancini to third. Santander with two on and no outs popped out. Mateo flew out to right, and Stanton fired into home, preventing Mancini from advancing. Kelvin Gutierrez was called out on strikes giving the Yankees another chance of a walk-off win. In the bottom, with ghost runner Aaron Judge at second. Giancarlo Stanton led off by walking off Aaron Judge with a single up the middle for the New York Yankees win.

The final score was the New York Yankees 4 and the Baltimore Orioles 3. The winning pitcher was Clay Holmes, and the loser was Dillon Tate.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder tests positive for COVID-19 (Report)

Crowder’s status for the New York Jets’ opener on Sept. 12 in Carolina likely comes down to his vaccination status.

Per Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, New York Jets receiver Jamison Crowder has tested positive for COVID-19.

Crowder, set to enter his third season in green, had not appeared in any practices this week. Head coach Robert Saleh said he was dealing with a groin issue and was labeled day-to-day, per notes from the Jets. The Jets reportedly believed that Crowder’s diagnosis is an isolated incident.

With just over a week before the Jets’ season opener against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 12 (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Crowder’s kickoff weekend status will come down to his vaccination status. NFL health policies introduced this season have incentivized vaccinations. If an unvaccinated player tests positive, they must sit out a minimum of 10 days before return to the team. Vaccinated players, on the other hand, can be welcomed back to team activities with two negative tests in a 24-hour span.

Crowder is the Jets’ top returning receiver and has likely been the team’s most consistent offensive weapon over the last two seasons (137 receptions, 1,512 yards, 12 touchdowns). Formerly of Washington, Crowder restructured the final season of a three-year deal inked in 2019 this summer. It’s an adjustment that sliced his $10 million base salary in half but now centers on guaranteed money ($4.5 million).

The Duke alum played sparingly in the preseason, earning only a single four-yard reception. He is nonetheless expected to reprise his role in the slot alongside a revamped New York receiving corps. The Jets welcomed in Corey Davis and Keelan Cole through free agency and drafted Elijah Moore in the second round of April’s draft. Crowder is joined by fellow active roster returnees Denzel Mims and Braxton Berrios.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

UFC Vegas 36 Preview: Derek Brunson – Darren Till

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 36, we have a battle of top ten middleweights. Derek Brunson (22-7) will be looking to continue his winning streak as he takes on the popular Darren Till (18-3-1).

Brunson will be looking for his fifth straight win in the UFC tomorrow night. His career really started to turn around when he made the move to Sanford MMA a couple of years ago.

Back in 2018, Brunson was knocked out by Israel Adesanya. However, since that knockout loss, Brunson has rattled off four consecutive wins including wins over Ian Heinisch, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Kevin Holland.

Standing in his way tomorrow is Darren Till. A few years ago, Till was unbeaten and looked like he was going to be a UFC welterweight champion. He got his shot at the 170 pound title in 2018. However, since that fight, he’s just 1-3.

After a knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal, Till moved up to middleweight. He won his first fight against Kelvin Gastelum, but lost a decision to Robert Whittaker last July. He’s been out win injuries since then which has caused the longest layoff in his UFC career.

UFC Vegas 36 Preview

What makes the UFC Vegas 36 main event difficult for me is Derek Brunson. When I look at Derek Brunson the fighter, there’s really nothing about him that blows me away. Over the last few years, I find myself picking against him in almost every fight.

He doesn’t have good striking, he doesn’t chain things together well, and he doesn’t have the best chin. All that being said, he continues to prove me wrong and he’s continued to win. However, can he do that at UFC Vegas 36.

In this matchup, I really like the style of Darren Till. I believe Till is going to be able to hurt Brunson on the feet and I do think he can keep the fight up enough to do damage. That said, I think Brunson will be able to get some takedowns in here and there.

I think this fight is ultimately going to get stopped. In the third round, I expect a sloppy shot from Brunson is going to be met with a flush counter from Till. In Till’s UFC return, I’m expecting a statement finish. Then again, Brunson has a habit of proving me wrong.

Prediction: Darren Till by TKO – Round 3

Yankees: Aroldis Chapman still has control issues, but is slowly turning things around

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

After a perfect first month and an excellent performance in May (0.75 ERA), New York Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman had a rough June, with an 11.42 ERA in 8.2 innings. After MLB started checking pitchers for foreign substances on the ball on June 21, he was never quite the same.

June and July were ugly months for Chapman. We have no evidence to say he was using sticky stuff before the crackdown (lots of pitchers did), but his performance started to dip considerably and his command and control began to disappear.

Yes, some pitchers use foreign substances on the ball to increase spin rate, but others do it for control and command. Sticky stuff provides the hurler with a better grip on the ball, and that’s what Chapman has been failing miserably since June: his walks have skyrocketed, and he was never a control artist to begin with.

He was unusable for a stretch. The Yankees had to endure some ugly outings. But right now, the pitcher seems to be pointing in the right direction, albeit still with some control issues.

The Yankees’ closer has been living on the edge, but is improving

Consider that the Yankees’ stopper has a 6.23 ERA in his last 30 games, a span covering 26 innings. He has handed 24 free passes over those 26 frames, which is simply unsustainable.

However, he has been better in his last 15 games (1.88 ERA with a 9/21 BB/K ratio in 14.1 innings) and in his last seven (2.84 ERA).

He seems to be taking baby steps while he works through his issues in a Yankees’ uniform. For the look of things, he could have a blip or two with walks in this new era of pitching without the help of sticky substances, but at least there have been some positive signs recently.

Some of his recent outings with the Yankees have been hard to watch. He has had to be taken out of the game a couple of times after getting some traffic on the bases via walks. But let’s also consider the fact that he has a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 inning since July 6, when things started to click for the Bombers.

 

Baby steps.

New York Giants: Is Will Hernandez primed for a breakout season?

New York Giants, Will Hernandez

The New York Giants have had plenty of trouble along the offensive line over the past few years. Young, promising draft picks seldom seem to pan out on the offensive line. For example, 2018 second-round pick Will Hernandez has yet to establish himself as a high-quality starter.

In 2020, Will Hernandez was benched in the second half of the season after starting the first eight games for the Giants at left guard. Shane Lemieux took Hernandez’s place as the starter. Entering the 2021 season, both Lemieux and Hernandez are projected to start on the Giants’ offensive line. This year, Will Hernandez has made the switch to right guard and looks primed for a breakout season.

Why Will Hernandez will break out in 2021

After spending the first three years of his career at left guard, Will Hernandez has now made the switch to the right side of the line. In preparation for his new role, Big Will dropped 20 pounds. He is in the best shape of his career and looks like he is moving with far more fluidity than he has in the past.

Hernandez enjoyed a solid 2018 rookie season. Since then, however, Will has regressed on a year-to-year basis. Despite this, 2021 looks to be the year that the trend of regression ends. Will Hernandez enjoyed a phenomenal 2021 preseason playing right guard for the New York Giants.

In the Giants’ preseason finale versus the New England Patriots, Will Hernandez put together a phenomenal performance that could be looked at as the exclamation point at the end of a great summer. Hernandez posted a 92.2 overall PFF grade on 39 snaps at right guard.

Across his 57 total snaps this preseason, Will Hernandez recorded an elite 87.0 overall PFF grade. He looks like a far better player than he did a year ago. In a crucial fourth season for Will Hernandez, it is important he breaks out and establishes himself as a high-quality starter in this league. It appears Will Hernandez is ready to do just that for the New York Giants in 2021.

Yankees: Derek Jeter’s Hall induction only a few days away; he’s still working on his speech

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

New York Yankees’ legend and current Miami Marlins’ CEO Derek Jeter had to wait a little longer than expected to get to the Hall of Fame. He was, after all, elected a little more than 19 months ago with the second-highest percentage ever (99.7%.) The pandemic got in the way in 2020, and the induction ceremony had to be suspended for obvious reasons.

This time, however, everything is set for the former Yankees’ captain to enter the Hall and be on the same level as some of the legendary players in the sport. He will officially be a Hall of Famer on September 8, when the ceremony in Cooperstown takes place.

Jeter is trying to remain calm, even though he is obviously anxious. He has waited long enough.

“I don’t want to jinx anything,” Jeter said to MLB.com. “It’s been postponed, so I’m hoping that it happens next week. There were so many things going on in the world that for the first year or so, I really didn’t think about it much. Early on, I was getting excited for it, then it was canceled and then your mind goes in other places. I am looking forward to getting up there next week, hopefully — I’m knocking on wood. It’s been a long time coming,” he said to MLB.com.

The Yankees’ legend is still fine-tuning his speech

Jeter was able to attend his Yankees’ teammate Mariano Rivera’s induction ceremony in Cooperstown two years ago. As a result, he knows what to expect.

“As strange as this sounds or may sound, I’m trying not to think about it because I just want to go there and experience it for the first time,” Jeter said. “I’m looking forward to getting up there, going to the museum and meeting with all the Hall of Famers and spending some time with them. Obviously the ceremony and the speech, those are things that I’m trying to keep out of my mind because I want to go in there with no preconceived notions of what may happen. I want to experience it and try to enjoy it.”

The Yankees’ captain, who finished his career with 3,465 hits and a .310 batting average, says he is still working on his speech. He’s keeping it private.

“In terms of addressing the crowd, I’ve done that before, but this is a little bit longer,” Jeter said. “You’re talking about a speech that’s 10-15 minutes. It’s kind of hard to cover your entire career in that short period of time, but I’m still working on it.”

WATCH: Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley shows off handles in workout video

immanuel quickley, knicks

The New York Knicks are expecting big things from second-year guard Immanuel Quickley after a successful rookie campaign. After being selected 25th overall in the first round last year, Quickley established himself as a primary offensive threat.

Thanks to mentorship from veteran point guard Derrick Rose, Quickley saw his floater game improve dramatically as the season progressed. During Summer League play, he showcased it as one of his strengths, going on to average 20.2 points over 33.5 minutes.

It is clear that the 22-year-old player has lofty expectations for himself moving forward, working diligently this off-season to improve portions of his game that were considered weaknesses in his first season as an NBA talent. However, he started off extremely well as a rookie, averaging 11.4 points, 2.0 assists, and shooting 39.5% from the field. He connected on 39% of his shots from three-point range, averaging 4.7 attempts per game. He was also an 89% free-throw shooter, showing his efficiency in multiple scoring categories.

One of his primary tasks this off-season was to work on his ability to drive to the rim and convert layups. Only 23.8% of his points came in the paint last year, a number he will be looking to increase with added versatility driving to the rim.

Another category he’ll be looking to improve in is percentage of points from mid-range shooting. Only 6.6% of his overall point production was from the mid-range, a category that showcases solid interior shooting. Take a look at the clip below, as Quickley is clearly working on maneuvering in the paint to avoid defenders and get to the rim seamlessly.

Adding stutter-steps to his repertoire and hesitation moves should help him drive to the rim more efficiently. It seems that Quickley hasn’t given up on the idea of playing point guard, which will require him to expand his vision on the floor. The Knicks signed Kemba Walker to a two-year deal and Derrick Rose to an extension, but Quickley spent the majority of his offseason working at PG during Summer League play.

It is entirely possible that when Kemba and Rose’s contracts expire in two years, the Knicks could look to Quickley as a long-term solution at point guard. He has the tangible traits to be a fantastic player in that regard, but just needs more refinement and experience at the position before he can be trusted with the job.

Do you think that Quickley could be the starting PG for the future? Comment below!

Yankees News, 9/3: Announcer John Sterling pulled from car during floods, Gleyber Torres nearly injured again

new york yankees, john sterling

One of the New York Yankees’ most beloved announcers is John Sterling, and after Wednesday night’s game, Sterling required assistance from one of his colleagues as the highway he was driving on began to flood due to the storm.

The flooding stretched from New York to New Jersey, putting some homes underwater and completely overcoming major roads and highways. Cars were unable to move, as Sterling found himself stuck between 25 or so cars trying to reach his apartment half a mile away. Luckily, one of his colleagues, Rickie Ricardo, the Spanish radio play-by-play caller, came to his rescue in a jeep.

“I’ve seen how bad it gets flooded on River Road in Edgewater, and with the kind of rain we had, I can only imagine,” Ricardo said, via ESPN. “So I said, ‘Suzyn, I’m on my way. I more or less know where he lives. I’ll figure out where he’s at and see what I can do.'”

Ricardo pulled Sterling from his vehicle and safely drove him to his apartment out of harm’s way. They were forced to ditch Sterling’s car, but the 83-year-old attested to the heroics of his friend.

The Yankees are expecting Gleyber Torres to return this weekend despite near setback:

After spraining his thumb sliding into second base several weeks ago, shortstop Gleyber Torres is nearing a return this weekend. On the season, Torres has struggled to get going at times but is still hitting .253 with six homers and 42 RBIs. After hitting 38 homers in 2019, the Yankees are still looking to extract his true power at the plate, but settling for contact hitting isn’t a bad thing either. However, Torres has taken a nice jump in his defensive WAR this year, posting a positive number for the first time in his career (5.0).

On Thursday, though, Torres was plunked in the hand with a pitch toward the end of the game, but luckily, he managed to escape without any significant damage.

“Fine. No issues. No problem. Good to go (health wise),” RailRiders manager Doug Davis said via Conor Foley of The Scranton Times-Tribune. “It didn’t get him real good, but you never know when it’s around those fingers. Fortunately, he’s fine.”

In the meantime, the Yankees have rolled with Andrew Velazquez, who is hitting .228 with one homer and six RBIs this season. While he’s more of a defensive player, Velazquez offers plenty of value on the basepaths as a speedy runner. He has contributed significantly in the absence of Torres, but he will once again be relegated to a spot on the bench once the star infielder returns.

New York Yankees: Yankees start three games with the Orioles, here’s the preview

The New York Yankees are back at Yankee Stadium after a road trip to Atlanta and the West Coast. The Yankees went 5-4 over the span. This evening at the Stadium in the Bronx, the Yankees have their first game of three in a weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles. With the loss of 4 games during the road trip, the Yankees had slipped back in the AL East standings. However, while the Yankees were idle yesterday, they gained on the Tampa Bay Rays as they lost to the Red Sox. They are now 6.5 games behind the Rays.

This is an important series for the Yankees as they chase the Tampa Bay Rays for the lead in the AL East with only 28 games left to go in the regular season. To help the Yankees accomplish that, they must sweep this series over a team that will lose 110 games this season. The Rays steamrolled them early last week, and even the Red Sox swept them, scoring 30 runs to their 5. Sweeping the Orioles will give the Yankees good vibes entering a difficult four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

After the Blue Jays, the Yankees will face the crosstown New York Mets for a weekend series. After that, they will have another 3 game series with the Orioles. Then to close out the season, they will have 3 with the Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, the Blue Jays again, and finally the last 3 of the regular season with the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. If the Yankees can win more games than the Rays over the span, the season could come down to those last three against the Rays at the Stadium.

Tonight, September 3, 7:05 pm:

Tonight, the New York Yankees will start a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. Nestor Cortes Jr. will be on the mound for the Yankees. Cortes Jr. has been a Godsend for the Yankees during Corey Kluber and Domingo German’s injuries issues. Cortes, reliever turned starter, is 2-2 with an ERA of 2.77 and 64 strikeouts in 9 games, of which the Yankees won 6 of them.  Few Orioles has seen Cortes pitch, but those that have are hitless of him.

Cortes Jr. will face the Orioles John Means, who is 5-6 with an ERA of 3.46 and 104 strikeouts. The Yankees are very familiar with Means, having faced him many times in recent years. However, means is coming off a horrid August with the Orioles losing all of his five starts. Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton have hit best off of Means. In multiple at-bats, Gardner has a .429 batting average off him and Stanton .500 in 8 at-bats.

Saturday, September 4, 1:05 pm:

Yankee lefty Jordan Montgomery will start Saturday’s matinee. “Monty” is 5-5 with an ERA of 3.52 and 126 strikeouts. He has pitched much better than his record would indicate. Of all Yankee pitchers, he has gotten the least run support. Nevertheless, the Yankees won 3 of his 4 starts in August. His last start was a loss from the Athletics when he went six innings with the Yankees giving him zero run support. He gave up no earned runs in his outing.

Montgomery will face the Orioles Chris Ellis, who is a righty. His record is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA. Ellis’s only win this season came as a reliever for the Tampa Bay Rays before he was traded to the Orioles. As an Oriole, he has pitched in two games. With the Orioles needing starters, he got his chance to start games but has only gone a maximum of 4.1 innings in his last outing, a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. However, he has a bit of an edge going onto this game as no Yankee has ever seen him pitch except in videos.

Sunday, September 5, 1:05 pm:

Sunday’s matinee will feature Corey Kluber’s second start back off the injured list while suffering a shoulder ailment. In Kluber’s first start, he showed a considerable amount of rust after pitching the Yankees only no-hitter earlier in the season. After missing three months of the season and not pitching for nearly two years before being acquired by the Yankees, the rust is not a surprise. Kluber is 4-3 with an ERA of 3.61 and 61 strikeouts in eleven games. The Yankees won 4 of his 5 starts in May, including his complete-game no-hitter on May 19th against the Rangers. Therefore, the Yankees will look for an improvement this outing.

Kluber will face the Oriole’s Keegan Akin, a lefty with an elevated ERA of 6.90 with 68 strikeouts in 20 games, 13 as a starter. He is coming off a win against the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Orioles have lost 12 of the last 13 games he pitched in. He lasted only three innings in a loss to the Yankees on August 3rd. Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Tyler Wade, and Kyle Higasioka have hit .500 off them this season.

Note: All three of these games will be televised on the YES Network and MASN. Saturday’s matinee will also be available on MLBN out of market.