New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose 5 straight, lose wild card advantage

luis gil, yankees

The New York Yankees, desperate for a win after losing 4 consecutive games, 2 against the Blue Jays, hoped for a win tonight to at least split the series. The Yankees pitted their pitching sensation, Luis Gil, against the Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah. But, the Yankees, more than anything, hoped their powerful lineup would again awaken and score some runs. Other than Brett Gardner to Yankees hitter were Awol. The Yankees lost the game 6-3 for their fifth loss in a row and slipping out of the wild card advantage.

In his first three starts for the Yankees, Luis Gil had not allowed a run, and the Yankees hoped he would continue that trend. In the first inning, he faced the Jays’ Corey Dickerson, who struck out swinging for Gil’s first strikeout of the game. Marcus Semien walked. Semien moved to second on a Sanchez passed ball. Vlad Guerrero Jr. walked as he appeared to be overthrowing. Bo Bichette flew out to Gallo in left, holding the runners. Teoscar Hernandez struck out to end the scoreless half for the Jays. At the bottom, Brett Gardner led off and ground out to first. Aaron Judge, who has been hitless in his last three games, ground out to short. Anthony Rizzo singled to left field. Giancarlo Stanton singled to right with Rizzo going to third. DJ LeMahieu with men on the corners and two outs flew out to right to strand two Yankee runners. No score.

The second inning was led off by Alejandro Kirk, who struck out. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. struck out on a Gil slider. Jake Lamb struck out as Gil struck out the side. At the bottom, Joey Gallo worked a walk. Gary Sanchez hit into a double play to clear the bases. Rougie Odor gave one a ride, but it was caught at the right-field warning track. No score.

Danny Jansen led off the third inning by walking. Dickerson flew out to Gallo in left-center. Semien walked. Guerrero Jr., with two on and one out, singled to left, loading the bases. Bichette, with only one out and the bases loaded, tapped back to Gil; Gil fired and got the out at home. Hernandez, now with two outs and the bases still loaded, struck out to keep the game scoreless as he worked into and out of trouble. At the bottom of the frame, Andrew Velazquez went down looking. Gardner struck out looking. Judge ground out to second to end the inning. No score.

The fourth inning was led off by Kirk, who flew out to Gardner. Gurriel was hit on the helmet and advanced to first. Lamb walked. Jansen walked to load the bases again, and that was his night as Lucas Luetge replaced him. Dickerson, with the bases loaded, a wild pitch by Luetge scored Gurriel. Dickerson flew out to Velazquez holding the runners. Semien, with two outs, flew to left in front of Gallo. Two runs scored, and Gallo fired to second, catching Semien trying to stretch it into a double for the final out. Blue Jays 3 Yankees 0.

At the bottom of the fourth inning, Rizzo led off by popping out to second. Stanton ground out to first. LeMahieu popped out to first for a 1-2-3 inning for Manoah. Jays 3 Yankees 0.

Vlad Guerrero Jr. led off the fifth inning by grounding to Velazquez at short. Bichette walked. Hernandez walked on the 12th Luetge pitch. Kirk singled, but Odor got the force at third for the second out. Gurriel went down on strikes. At the bottom, Gallo singled to right field. Sanchez popped back to the catcher. Odor walked, making it the first time that a Yankee player had reached second base. Velazquez struck out. Gardner hit a three-run homer to tie the game. Judge ground out to first. New York Yankees 3 Blue Jays 3.

The sixth inning was led off by Lamb facing new pitcher Joely Rodriguez and struck out. Jansen struck out. Randal Grichuk pinch-hitting for Dickerson flew out to LeMahieu. At the bottom, Rizzo flew out to the left-field corner. Stanton singled to left for his second hit of the night. LeMahieu struck out. Gallo walked, knocking Manoah out of the game. Sanchez faced the new Jays’ pitcher Trevor Richards and went down swinging, leaving two on base. Yankees 3 Jays 3.

Semien led off the seven with Clay Holmes pitching by the singling and going to second on an E6 as Velazquez overthrew Rizzo. Guerrero struck out. Bichette ground out, but Semien went to third. Hernandez singled, driving in a run for the Jays lead. Kirk flew out to Gardner to end the half. At the bottom, Odor stuck out. Gleyber Torres came in to pinch-hit for Velazquez and walked. Gardner hit into a force out at second. Judge 0 for his last 22 faced the new Jays’ pitcher Adam Cimber and singled up the middle. Rizzo struck out, leaving two Yankees on base. Jays 4 Yankees 3.

The eighth inning was led off by Gurriel against Chad Green and got a triple off the right-field wall. Lamb flew out to center, but Gurriel scored. Jansen struck out. Grichuk singled. Semien struck out, but the Jays tacked on another run. At the bottom, Stanton went down on strikes. LeMahieu singled up the middle. Gallo struck out. Sanchez popped out to shallow center to end the inning. Toronto Blue Jays 5 New York Yankees 3.

At the top of the ninth inning, Guerrero led off facing Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman and homered to the left-field stands. Bichette flew out to Gardner in center. Hernandez walked. Kirk struck out.  Hernandez stole second. Jarrod Dyson singled, and Hernandez reached third on a Chapman wild pitch ending his night. Wandy Peralta came in to face Lamb, who ground out to end the half, but the Jays tacked on another run off Chapman. In the bottom with last licks on the line for the Yankees, Voit pinch hit for Odor and struck out. Torres ground out softly. Gardner flew out with the Yankees going 2-11 and losing the top wild card slot.

The New York Yankees lost their last five runs. The final score was the Toronto Blue Jays 6 and the New York Yankees 3. The winning pitcher was Trevor Richards, the loser was Clay Holmes, and the save went to Gordon Ramano.

 

 

New York Yankees: Today, Derek Jeter entered the Baseball Hall of Fame

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

It’s September 8, 2021, the day that New York Yankees‘ shortstop Derek Jeter was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame albeit delayed by the coronavirus.  After an illustrious 20 years with the Yankees and hundreds of accolades throughout his career, but the ultimate reward for an exceptional career is induction into the Hall of fame, today he joined that esteemed community.

Between 1:30 and 2 pm, all of the present Hall of Famers were introduced, followed by this year’s inductees: Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons, Larry Walker, and finally Derek Jeter to the roar of the crowd and the chant of Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter. That was followed by a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem led by Bernie Williams on guitar. Next, Joe Torre introduced a video produced to honor 10 fallen members of the Hall since the 2019 induction.

After the other inductees were introduced and made their speeches, a video was played on the remarkable career of Derek Jeter. Then Jeter was asked to receive his Hall of Fame Plaque. Baseball Commissioner Bob Manfred read the inscription on his plaque.

At 3:48 in Cooperstown, New York, Derek Jeter stepped to the podium. In typical Jeter style, he would rather talk about his fellow inductees and those that came before him rather than his own accomplishments. First, he congratulated his fellow inductees, the Hall of Fame staff, and the writer’s “all but one of them,” Jeter quipped. Next, he spoke of playing 20 years with the only team he ever wanted to play for, the New York Yankees. Next, he talked about the importance of family and his dad in his career. Finally, he spoke and thanked all those members of his family who made him who he was and is today.

He spoke of Dick Groch, who first saw Jeter play, he was the scout that said this man will see Cooperstown. He read of many names that he should thank players, coaches to the front office for their help in his development. He thanked Joe Torre and Joe Girardi for their trust in him. He thanks a host of players. He thanked the “Boss” Goerge Steinbrenner and the entire Steinbrenner family. Next, he thanked the New York Yankee fans. He said he lived a dream and is still living it. Finally, he thanked his wife and children and how much he loved them.

He concluded by saying that this is a game of failure to today’s players; he asked that those players respect the game as he has. Not once in his speech did he speak of any individual accomplishment that got him to the Hall of Fame; how fitting!

There is no better time to look back at Derek Jeters’ most memorable moments with the New York Yankees with Jeter’s induction. Although these moments may be biased as a lifelong Yankee fan, they are my 10 most memorable moments of his career.

10. Jeter’s Jeffery Maier Home Run

Under the category of taking it when you can get it, Jeter benefited from a young boy in the stands.  It was the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles. That young boy was Jeffery Maier, surely he didn’t know it at the time, but his Derek Jeter catch or knock into the stands would go down in baseball history.  Umpire Richie Garcia would call it a home run tying the game.  The New York Yankees would win the game 5-4 with a Bernie Williams walk-off homer.

9.  Derek’s Opening Day 1996

Before opening day in 1996 owner, George M. Steinbrenner wasn’t sure Jeter should be the opening day shortstop.  After all, just a few months early, he almost traded him to the Mariners.  He was only 21 and a scrawny kid that had had problems with his defense in spring training.  So what did Jeter do? He made spectacular plays and got a homer in the win against Cleveland on opening day.  The next day he would go 3-3 and stole bases.  In those two games, Jeter turned heads in what would be a Hall of Fame career, all with the Yankees.

8. The 5 for 5 in the Division opener

During 2006 in the Division Series against the Detroit Tigers, a series the Yankees would like to forget.  The Tigers took the ALDS from the Yankees in four games.  But in the only game the Yankees won, game one, Derek Jeter went 5-5, including two doubles and a home run while scoring three runs. It would be one of only three games in his career where he would get 10 RBIs.

7. Jeter is All-Star and World Series MVP

In 2000 Jeter put his hame into the history books by becoming the only player in the game’s history to be both All-Star and World Series MVP in the same season.  That record still stands today.

6. Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit

Like so many great Yankee players, Jeter hit many home runs, but he was also a hitting king.  In a comeback year, Jeter was hitting .331, but his signature moment was when he hit his 3,000th hit.  On July 9, 2011, he hit number 3,000 off Rays’ ace David Price.  He wasn’t done in the same game. He had a total of five hits and went 5-5.  Jeter always reached milestones with style increasing his mystique.

5. Jeter’s World Series leadoff homer

In the first subway World series since 1956, the Yankees would take game one in twelve innings. They would survive a comeback and take game two. Moving to the Queens in games 3 and 4, the Mets would win game 3.  In game four, Manager Joe Torres moved Jeter from his familiar hitting spot to lead off.  Jeter launched a home run off Mets starter Bobby Jones into the left-field bleachers at Shea.  The New York Yankees would win the game and ultimately the series with Jeter being named MVP.

4. Jeter becomes Mr. November

Years before, Reggie Jackson was nicknamed “Mr. October” for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the Dodgers and the Yankees. After hitting two home runs in the first five games of the World Series in 1977, Jackson hit three home runs in game six, and the Yankees would win their first World Series in fifteen years. 

Derek Jeter was named Mister November with me in the stands during the ALCS of 2001.  In the tenth inning of a tied game against the Diamondbacks, Jeter came to the plate just as the clock struck midnight, marking the first time Major League Baseball had been played in November.  Byung-Hyun Kim was on the mound pitching. Jeter then hit Kim’s ninth pitch of the at-bat just over Yankee Stadium’s short rightfield wall for a game-winning and Series-tying home run. It was the first walk-off home run of Jeter’s career.  From then on, Jeter was known as Mr. November.

3. Derek Jeter’s flip

Many call it the most fantastic play in baseball. It was the 2001 American League Division Series against the A’s, and the New York Yankees were facing elimination in Oakland in Game 3. Jorge Posada hit a solo home run off Zito in the top of the fifth, and the Yankees carried that 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh in what would be a pitching duel between Zito and the Yankees’ Mike Mussina.

With slow-footed Jason Giambi on third, Terrence Long doubled, and the third base coach signaled that Giambi should take off for home.  Shane Spencer threw an off-line throw to cut of Giambi.  Giambi’s attempt to reach home plate seemed a surety. Instead, the ball went just past the first baseline, but Jeter seemingly popped up out of nowhere to scoop up the ball and flip it to catcher Jorge Posada to catch Giambi by a split second and get the out that would seal the deal on the Yankee 1-0 win.

2. Derek Jeter flies into the stands

Derek Jeter flew into the New York Yankee Stadium fan’s arms with no regard for his own safety.  Trot Nixon popped up down the left-field line in the 12th inning of a tied game against the Red Sox. Derek Jeter, in a dead sprint from his shortstop position, made an over-the-shoulder catch. He had so much momentum that he launched himself over the railing and ended up two rows deep. He emerged with a cut on his chin and blood running from his cheek.  Team trainer Gene Monahan, manager Aaron Boone, and Alex Rodriguez helped Jeter off the field with his parents shocked in the stands. The Yankees went on to win the game in the bottom of the 13th inning on a John Flaherty single.

1. Derek Jeter’s walk-off goodbye to Yankee Stadium.

On the last day, Jeter faced dozens of reporters in the locker room.  All they wanted was for Jeter to talk about his career, something he always hated to do, somehow; he slipped away to a private area, but when he returned, the number of reporters had more than doubled. So Jeter finally relented and said:

“The only thing I’ve ever wanted to talk about is winning,” Jeter said. “When there’s particular attention on you, as opposed to the team, it can be uncomfortable. But I understand it, and I appreciate it.”

Jeter took to the field for a pregame ceremony a few minutes before 7 p.m., and following that, a video was played on the center-field video board in which several fans — young and old — thanked Jeter for his years with the Yankees. At the end of the video, Jeter reciprocated, thanking the fans. Then, when Jeter appeared on the board, the crowd roared with applause.

Nothing was more like Derek Jeter than his final game at Yankee Stadium.  It was as if it was a perfectly choreographed game to show off Derek Jeter as the man of the moment he was throughout so much of his career.  Setting the stage, it was Derek Jeter’s last game at New York Yankee Stadium; his parents were in the stands as they were in many important moments in their son’s career.  The game was tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles.

What Jeter and his fans didn’t know was that Jeter’s memorable moments weren’t finished; it was about to get emotional and magical.  Richardson was on first base; Brett Gardner hit a sac fly to center advancing Richardson to second. The game was tied at 5. Then, in his last at-bat in a game that would probably go into extra innings, Jeter stepped to the plate. The eternally patrician Bob Sheppard over the public address announced “number two, Derek Jeter, number two.” The crowd was cheering Der-Ek-Jet-er, Der-Ek-Jet-er. Jeter would go after the first pitch he saw and smack a walk-off single and win for the Yankees in his very last game at Yankee Stadium.  Jeter, who seldom showed emotion, realized he had won the game with a massive smile across his face and raised arms as his teammates swamped him.

It’s moments like this. The Yankees make tears stream down my face.  It happened when I learned Thurmon had died when George obviously ill, handed out the ball at the All-Star Game when Bobby died when Yogi died when Mariano lost it on the mound when Derek and Andy took the ball from him that one last time, and when Derek said goodby with a walk-off win. I can’t help it; I love my Yankees.

After the game Manager, Joe Torres would sum up Jeter’s career perfectly. “What he represents, we don’t have enough of in sports; I’m not just talking about his ability to play baseball, but also what he represents as a man. Sports will cry out for more people as respectful as Derek Jeter.”

Several years later, Jeter’s love of baseball would allow him to be a part-owner and operations manager of the Miami Marlins. He stays today, but now as a National Baseball Hall of Famer.

High standards are the key for Eddie Jackson heading into 2021

eddie jackson, bears

Entering 2021, expectations for the Chicago Bears is that safety Eddie Jackson has a bit of a bounceback season. After two years where production declined, Chicago has a new defensive coordinator in Sean Desai who is expected to implement more single-high safety looks, allowing Jackson to freely roam the field.

When Chicago opted to revamp the secondary by releasing cornerback Kyle Fuller, Jackson quickly became the team’s only starter at defensive back leftover from the 2018 season. The same season, Jackson would have six interceptions but since then, his interception total has been just two since 2019.

Entering year five, Jackson’s standards remain the same as when the former fourth-round pick entered the league in 2017: Be the best possible defensive back on the field, making quarterbacks account for his presence on every play.

“Me personally, I hold myself to a high standard,” Jackson said via the Bears official YouTube channel. “Everyone here does the same. Even though they took away the touchdowns, I feel like there was some things I could’ve did better and capitalized better than just sitting up, tripping over two touchdowns that got called back.”

After signing a four-year extension at the start of the 2020 offseason, Jackson is set to be on the Bears through the 2024 season, giving the former Alabama product at least four more years to prove himself and continue to play safety at a high level.

“If you’re a great one, you’re gonna find a way to make a play,” said Jackson referring to advice that Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack said regarding Jackson.

Jackson is looking to bounceback in 2021 and while Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai will continue to put Jackson in positions to succeed, something that should benefit the fifth-year veteran throughout the 2021 season. Great players in any sport know how to impact the game consistently at a high level and Jackson, who falls in the same category is hoping to do so consistently in 2021.

New York Jets unveil captains for 2021 season

zach wilson, jets

Five New York Jets have earned captaincy patches for the 2021 season, including three newcomers to the fold.

The New York Jets unveiled their five new captains for the 2021 season on Wednesday, as Corey Davis, Foley Fatukasi, Justin Hardee, C.J. Mosley, and Zach Wilson will have a C stitched to their jersey. Davis and Wilson will lead the offense while Fatukasi and Mosley represent the defense. Hardee received the honor on special teams.

“The best-coached teams are the teams that coach themselves and have especially veteran leadership to step in and voice their opinions and have a thought on how they can make things better,” head coach Robert Saleh said in a statement on the Jets’ website by Randy Lange. “I think that’s always important. It’s a machine, and they’re a big, big part of it. Obviously, I would always appreciate their voice.”

What’s particularly interesting about this new crop of captains is their relative lack of experience in a New York uniform. Fatukasi accounts for 30 of the 32 games in green among them, with Mosley accounting for the lingering pair. The Jets did retain two of their captains from 2020 (keeping tackle George Fant and safety Marcus Maye) but their titles did not return.

Wilson’s inclusion, coming days before his official NFL debut, likely shows the effect and impact he has had on the New York locker room in the early going, as captains are named based on results via a player vote. The early accolade was no surprise to Saleh, however.

I think it’s more of a testament to him and the way he’s been able to conduct himself here,” Saleh said in a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post. “If you go to the cafeteria, he’s hanging out with his O linemen. He’s got an infectious personality. It’s a credit to him and the way he’s handled himself so far.”

The other captains’ lack of games in green are likely offset by their extensive playoff experience: Mosley and Davis were respective AFC playoff staples in Baltimore and Tennessee while Hardee established himself as one of the league’s best special teams coverage names during New Orleans’ recent postseason runs.

Meanwhile, Fatukasi is coming off a breakout season that saw him set new career-highs in tackles (42) and sacks (2). The fourth-year pro is reminding some of the previous defensive captain Steve McLendon, who was dealt to Tampa Bay at last year’s trade deadline.

“He’s been a tremendous friend, mentor, brother to a lot of people. I was fortunate, we were fortunate as players, as friends, to have him around. But as he would tell me, the show’s still going, you have to keep going,” Fatukasi said of McLendon in another report from Lange. “I feel pretty confident, pretty good about us,” he said. “We understand we have a lot of work to get done, we have to keep sharpening our tools. But I feel like we’re coming along, taking the right steps. You know all the guys in our room, I could list all their names, but they’re all selfless. We all care about each other so far and the amount of progress that we’ve made in such a short time knowing each other has been good.”

The Jets will open their season against one of their former captains, quarterback Sam Darnold, when they take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

After dominant win at UFC Vegas 36, what’s next for Derek Brunson?

Derek Brunson

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 36, we saw a middleweight showdown between Derek Brunson (23-7) and Darren Till (18-4-1). Brunson was looking to pick up his fifth consecutive win.

Derek Brunson is the one guy in the UFC I probably underrate more than most. To be completely honest, I’ve picked against him in virtually every fight he’s had in the last few years. When you look at him overall and his skillset, there’s nothing that really wows you.

That said, nobody can deny the improvements he’s made overall since moving to Sanford MMA in Florida. Brunson has gone from a decent middleweight to one of the top contenders in the UFC and he was looking to show that again on Saturday.

In the fight, Till had some good moments on the feet. In fact, Till hurt Brunson in the third round. Brunson doesn’t have the greatest chin and it does seem like he gets hurt in virtually every fight he’s in. However, Brunson does a fantastic job at remaining composed.

Brunson dug deep and was able to secure a takedown after getting rocked by Till. Once the fight was on the ground, it was over from there. Brunson was able to secure a choke and get the submission win at UFC Vegas 36.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 36?

Immediately after picking up the win, Brunson went right over to one of the octagon cameras and made it clear who he wants next. Brunson called out the UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (21-1).

Worth noting that Adesanya was the last man to beat Brunson. The two men fought in November of 2018 at UFC 230 and the fight was not close. Adesanya completely walked through Brunson and TKO’d him in the first round.

That said, Brunson has looked sensational since. He’s now won five fights in a row and he’s ranked fourth in the middleweight division. Brunson said he would be willing to wait things out for a UFC title shot, but is that wise.

Adesanya’s next challenge is a rematch with Robert Whittaker (23-5). Whittaker is also a past opponent of Brunson’s and like Adesanya, Whittaker knocked Brunson out in the first round. Brunson wants to get both of those fights back.

The next UFC middleweight title fight is likely not going to take place until early 2022. That said, Brunson would have to wait until the late spring or early summer. I don’t think it’s a wise decision and if he’s too passive, he might get passed up.

If you’re asking me, I would tell him to either fight Jared Cannonier (14-5) or the winner of Paulo Costa (13-1) and Marvin Vettori (17-4-1). Brunson shouldn’t have to fight again, but the reality of the situation is that he might have to.

The UFC is going to try and make the biggest title fight possible after Whittaker and Adesanya fight again. If Brunson just sits and waits, he might not get the nod.

Struggling Yankees’ slugger isn’t affected by boos: ‘Fans want a winning product’

joey gallo, yankees

The New York Yankees gave up four prospects to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Joely Rodriguez and the prize of their trade deadline: outfielder Joey Gallo. The hulky slugger is streaky, but is a premier power source, takes lots of walks, is sneaky athletic and boasts a terrific glove.

However, Gallo has been slumping, and the Yankees’ offense badly needs his contributions. Over his last seven games, he is hitting .040/.200/.160 with 13 strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. His struggles extend to his last 15 contests (.096/.266/.250) and also to his last 30 (.135/.302/.346).

Gallo is never going to hit .300, but it’s pretty clear he is not performing right now. He only has one hit in his last 25 plate appearances for the Yankees.

Fans are starting to let him know he is not playing well, with boos. However, the left fielder says he is not letting them affect him.

“It is what it is,” Gallo told reporters on Tuesday, according to NJ Advance Media. “You play in New York, you understand that’s going to be part of it. They want a winning product. It’s just part of the business. We’re professional baseball players. You’ve got to go out there and do your job and do it to your best. It’s not anything I’m not too upset about or anything.”

A rough time with the Yankees

During his 35 games with the Yankees, Gallo is hitting just .130 with 61 strikeouts in 123 at-bats. He does have six homers, but has posted a .617 OPS. With the Rangers, it was comfortably above .800.

Gallo says he has been working to get back on track. “Just trying to get back into the feel I was having earlier in the year. That’s about it. Just getting my swing back to where I feel good, let the ball travel. Just getting back to that,” he said.

Despite the calmness with which he speaks, it’s clear he has been disappointed with his recent performance. He cares.

“I mean, obviously, I want play well. Especially coming to a new team. But at the same time, it’s not the first time. It’s baseball. You’re going to struggle some times. Obviously working hard to get back to where I know I can be and help the team win. So, it’s frustrating not winning games, but that’s part of baseball and I’ve just got to keep working through it and figure it out,” he stated.

Breaking down the UFC’s hot start with the Contender Series in 2021

UFC, Dana White

Last night we saw another episode of Dana White’s Contender Series. It was the UFC‘s second episode of the season and featured five fights. Ten prospective fighters were ready to go all out to earn themselves UFC contracts.

Last week, Dana White handed out five contracts during week one. In all the years of DWCS, it was the first time the UFC gave out a contract to both fighters featured in one of the bouts. The fight was so close that White gave the winner and loser a shot.

With five fresh faces added to the roster, attention turned to The Contender last night as well. The action did start relatively slow in the bantamweight division. Given how stacked 135 is for the UFC, I figured the bantamweights needed to go all out.

Chad Anheliger (11-5) took on Muin Gafurov (17-4). Anheliger was a massive underdog, but he was riding an eight-fight win streak. His constant pressure and activity was enough go get a split decision. After the performance, I didn’t think he’d get a contract, but Dana White surprised me and added the Canadian bantamweight to the promotion.

UFC Contender Highlights

After that first fight, we saw some tremendous action the rest of the night. CJ Vergara (9-2) looked like a flyweight destroyer last night in his bout with Bruno Korea (12-4). Vergara stormed out of the gate and finished Korea with a brutal knee to the body in the opening minute.

After that fight, we saw a war in the bantamweight division between Saimon Oliveira (18-3) and Jose Alday (14-6). Oliveira got the nod on the cards and was given a UFC contract by Dana White.

After that, we had back-to-back finishes to close the night. Nigerian middleweight Chidi Njokuani (20-7) dominated and stopped Mario Sousa (12-2) in the third round. Then the attention turned to the featured bout of the evening.

Josh Quinlan (6-0) took on Logan Urban (5-2). Quinlan was a huge favorite and he showed why. He completely overwhelmed Urban and stopped him in the first minute to stay perfect and earn a UFC contract.

Yes, you read that right, the promotion gave out five new contracts last night for the second straight week. Ten fighters have now been added to the UFC roster through two weeks on DWCS. Given how many fights the promotion puts on, it’s not surprising to see so many new additions right away this year.

Mets provide details of Jacob deGrom’s elbow injury

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets haven’t had their ace, Jacob deGrom, throw in an MLB game since early July. His absence coincided with a rough patch that saw the Mets give away first place in the NL East division. It’s not easy to replace a starting pitcher with a 1.08 ERA, after all.

At the time, his injury was referred to as right elbow inflammation. After some time passed, a recent MRI showed significant improvement and he was given the green light to begin throwing again. He is currently throwing from flat ground, but won’t graduate to mound work until mid-September, complicating his prospects of returning this year.

However, it turns out the Mets’ star was dealing with more than just ‘inflammation’.

Team president Sandy Alderson said deGrom has been nursing a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but as he detailed to the Mets’ official site, it has healed and the ligament is “perfectly intact, based on the MRIs and our clinical evaluations through our doctors.”

The Mets say the issue has resolved itself

Alderson also said that the word sprain was a “technical term … another term for a very mild ligament condition,” and he called deGrom’s injury “a very low-grade thing that has resolved itself.”

The Mets don’t know where deGrom’s elbow issues came from.

“I don’t think we know exactly what has caused the problem, but if you were to look at it generally throughout baseball, I think velocity has something to do with a lot of these injuries,” Alderson said. “Whether it’s true in his case or not, I don’t know. I’m not a doctor, I haven’t done all the research. But I suspect there’s a correlation between the velocity that pitchers exhibit today and the rate of injury, which is a concern.”

DeGrom is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in baseball, clocking up to 101 mph with his four-seam fastball.

How different is the Knicks’ point guard unit compared to last year?

New York Knicks, Elfrid Payton

The New York Knicks made it a priority to overhaul their point guard position this off-season, but they put forth an interesting plan that will rely on two starting-caliber players to balance each other out during a long 82-game regular season.

However, the group is far different than it was just a year ago when head coach Tom Thibodeau was preparing to embark on his first season as the  Knicks head coach.

Knicks’ point guard unit at the start of 2020-21 season:

-Elfrid Payton

-Frank Ntilikina

-Dennis Smith Jr.

-Jared Harper

Some categorize former rookie Immanuel Quickley as a point guard, but these were the primary players the Knicks were working with at the position at this time last year. Of course, by the end of the season, they had traded for Derrick Rose, supplanting Payton as the primary starter.

Payton, who was signed in 2019, played in 63 games last season, averaging 10.1 points, 3.2 assists, and shooting 43% from the field. However, he was an abysmal three-point shooter, connecting on less than 29% of his shots from range. He was also a 68% free-throw shooter, showcasing awful numbers. The former first-round pick was quickly forgotten about once Rose joined the ranks, and despite Thibodeau trying to work him in to start a group, he played himself out of any potential minutes.

In fact, Thibodeau looked to Quickley toward the end of the season to offer scoring production rather than Payton, who could barely run the offense as a floor general. The team realized they must take a different approach to the position, allowing Payton to walk in free agency and focusing their sights on big improvements. I would also be remiss not to mention the Dennis Smith Jr. experiment, as the Knicks traded him to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Rose, which ended up being an absolute steal.

Knicks’ point guard unit at the present day:

-Kemba Walker

-Derrick Rose

-Miles McBride

-Immanuel Quickley

Fast forward to the present day, and the Knicks have a unit consisting of two starting level players, one solid rookie out of West Virginia, and Quickley, who spent the Summer League running the offense and working on his game in the paint.

The addition of Walker will prove to be massive for a team that lacked a true scorer at the point guard spot. Last season, Walker only played in 43 games, but he averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and shot 42% from the field while on the floor. The balancing act between Rose and Walker will prove to be a massive positive for a team that’s tasked with mitigating fatigue for both veteran players.

Rose averaged nearly 15 points per game during his time with New York last season, and combining his production with Walker will far outweigh the value that Payton brought to the team. In addition, the roster also has depth at PG now, instead of relying on players like Alec Burks to supplement deficiencies as injuries popped up throughout the 2020-21 season.

Having a player like McBride, who looked sharp during Summer League play, is a massive benefit for the team. McBride average 27.7 minutes over six games this summer. He posted 15.2 points, shooting 53% from the field and 50% from three-point range. He also shot 87.5% from the free-throw line and tallied 3.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per contest.

In addition, McBride is known for his defensive attributes, having the longest wingspan and hand size of any point guard in the most recent draft class. While he is raw in some portions of his game, the Knicks could rely on him to offer solid play if called upon due to injury.

The two units aren’t even comparable, as the Knicks roll into the season with strong points that were weaknesses just a few months ago.

Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

Will the New York Jets’ first game of the Robert Saleh era bring about immediate change on the scoreboard or further heartbreak?

  • What: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
  • Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
  • When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
  • Watch: CBS

new york jets, robert saleh

Geoff Magliocchetti

The New York Jets undoubtedly became a better team this offseason. On paper, the arsenal that the Jets have surrounded Zach Wilson with is better than anything Sunday’s aerial opponent Zach Wilson ever had. Head coach Robert Saleh was a hire praised by on-field constituents both domestically and abroad, rather than the hot-take artists.

But Jets fans must realize something, especially in the early going: Saleh and Wilson have been brought in as long-term project overseers, not miracle-workers made to bless the metropolitan area with an instant fix. The Jets’ somewhat dire 2021 outlook, one where making the playoffs remains a tall task, is more of an indictment of the Adam Gase era than anything else. It’s simply asking a lot for this team to take out several established contenders in what’s ultimately an ill-fated attempt to reach the AFC postseason bracket. That also applies against a Carolina team that wasn’t as garish as its 5-11 mark from 2020 indicated.

The powers that be, true to their nature, did little favors for Gang Green: the first game of the Saleh era comes in Carolina, where ex-Jets Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson can prey on an inexperienced Jets secondary. Carolina as a whole is looking to make a statement of sorts, one that will remind observers not to forget them as they try to make noise in a division ruled by Tom Brady until further notice. Eight of the Panthers’ 11 defeats from last year came by eight points or less. Most of those games were staged without the services of star rusher Christian McCaffrey, who is set to make his return on Sunday. Granted a home opener against a Jets team lacking defensive clarity (thanks to the inexperienced secondary and Carl Lawson’s injury), the Panthers’ offense has a prime opportunity to state its intentions for 2021.

As it stands, the Jets aren’t a team that can waltz into another team’s home and steal a momentum-shifting win. It’s very possible Saleh can mold them into such a squad by the end of the year, but asking them to do so in Week 1 is, again, a little too much to ask for at this point on the franchise timeline.

Panthers 23, Jets 17

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

Brendan Carpenter

Who better for the New York Jets to faceoff against than the Carolina Panthers to open the 2021 NFL season?

Zach Wilson and Sam Darnold in a 1 p.m. ET matinee will surely be a sight to see. Darnold’s unit is ahead of Wilson’s in the preseason power rankings, but that could easily change Sunday. The season-opening result will rely heavily on the Jets’ defensive front. They have to pressure the quarterback because the young corners could get torn apart all game. The Panthers will be missing their starting right guard, John Miller, so Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins need to push the inside. The matchup to watch will be, without a doubt, Carolina’s blockers vs the Jets’  defensive line.

Jets 24, Panthers 20

robby anderson running a touchdown against the carolina panthers
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Dylan Price

Well, here we are Jets, the game we’ve all been looking towards since last season ended. On Sunday, the Jets fly to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. The game holds extra weight as the team faces their demons of the past: the Panthers are coached by former Jets target Matt Rhule while Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson, and Frankie Luvu are among the former bearers of green on the current roster.

The Panthers will undoubtedly be looking to make a statement out of Gang Green and spoil the debuts of Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson. Ultimately, this game is a hard one to predict, but the Jets have a fresh start and a decent amount of momentum coming out of the preseason. I expect the team to come out fast out of the gate and to start the season strong. It’s going to be a tight game, but I think the Jets have what it takes to emerge victoriously.

Jets 27, Panthers 21

Best of the Rest 

Magliocchetti Carpenter Price
Dallas @ Tampa Bay (Thu.) Buccaneers Buccaneers Buccaneers
Arizona @ Tennessee Titans Titans Titans
Jacksonville @ Houston Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars
LA Chargers @ Washington Chargers Chargers Football Team
Minnesota @ Cincinnati Vikings Vikings Vikings
Philadelphia @ Atlanta Falcons Falcons Falcons
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo Bills Bills Bills
San Francisco @ Detroit 49ers 49ers Lions
Seattle @ Indianapolis Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks
Cleveland @ Kansas City Chiefs Browns Chiefs
Denver @ NY Giants Giants Broncos Giants
Green Bay @ New Orleans  Packers Packers Packers
Miami @ New England Patriots Dolphins Dolphins
Chicago @ LA Rams Rams Rams Rams
Baltimore @ Las Vegas (Mon.) Ravens Ravens Ravens

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags