New York Yankees: In baseball you see something new all the time, I’ve never seen this (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees will play 162 games this year after a truncated season last year. But as many games, as they play, one thing is near a surety. Baseball is one of those sports that games last longer than many fans would like, but in many of those games, you see something you have never seen before.

It could be a Derek Jeter flip, a triple play, a bench-clearing fight, two grand slams in the same inning, an inside-the-park home run, and the list goes on and on. One thing that always sparks the interest of game-goers is team managers acting badly or even worse umpires acting even worse.

I’ve been a Yankee fan for 70 years, and over those years there isn’t much I haven’t seen, but last night I saw something for the very first time, an umpire throwing out the entire Baltimore Orioles ground crew. It was the ninth inning with the Yankees’ Brett Gardner at the plate. It started to rain and the Oriole’s ground crew positioned themselves behind the tarp roll in right field territory. For some unexplained reason umpire, Tim Timmons threw the entire Camden Yards ground crew out of the game, ushering them off the field with several gestures.

Brett Gardner hit his game-winning two-run blooper to no man’s land for the Yankees win. As soon as closer Aroldis Chapman finished off the Orioles in the bottom of the ninth, the grounds crew came back out onto the field and unrolled the tarp.

Knicks News: Damian Lillard raves about Immanuel Quickley, what’s in store for the young guard?

immanuel quickley, knicks

It was only a few months ago that the New York Knicks were heavily connected to star guard Damian Lillard in a potential trade scenario. Of course, Lillard elected to stick with the Portland Trailblazers after signing a big extension, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t intrigued by the concept of moving to New York and joining a team that is up-and-coming with fresh young talent.

In fact, Lillard expressed his fandom for Knicks young guard Immanuel Quickley, who is entering his second season in the NBA. Last year, Quickley averaged 11.4 points, 2.0 assists, and shot nearly 40% from the field. He also connected on 39% of his shots from three-point range, tacking on 89% free-throw shooting. Having a player of his quality off the bench is a major benefit for a Knicks team that will be rotating combinations of players to keep their stars fresh for an entire 82 game season.

“Immanuel’s game has that craft and flow. Creativity is hard to guard. He can be that Lou Will or Brandon Jennings for the Knicks. Coming off the bench to cause havoc for the defense. He’s like the new age pure hooper.”

Quickley has the flow and instinct is to be an impact player for New York moving forward. Developing his floater game and learning from veteran point guard Derrick Rose, the former Kentucky stand-out, has the attributes to not only feature as a shooting guard but potentially be a long-term solution at point guard as well.

During Summer League play, the Knicks featured Quickley primarily at point guard, as he averaged 33.5 minutes over five games. He posted 20.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and an impressive 7.8 assists. He ranked second in the entire Summer League competition in assists only behind Payton Pritchard, who posted 8.5.

However, Quickley had a tough time shooting, connecting on just 33.7% of his attempts and shot 24% from three-point range, launching 10 shots per game. Clearly, the Knicks wanted to get him as much action as possible in preparation for the 2021-22 season.

Earning high praise from players like Lillard is a great sign for Quickley regarding his development and potential influence. If he can continue to grow and expand his skill-set, he could end up being a 6th-man candidate for the Knicks and potential starter down the road. At just 22-years-old, he has plenty of untapped potential left to be exposed.

Yankees News: Gleyber Torres responds to losing shortstop job, Nestor Cortes continues to dominate

New York Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr.

The New York Yankees are currently on a three-game winning streak as they try to retain their spot in the Wild Card. However, both Toronto and Boston emerged victorious on Wednesday, leaving the three teams in a tie at the top of the WC standings.

Both Boston and New York barely emerged victorious, as the Red Sox went into extra innings, eventually beating Seattle 9-4, and the Yankees required a 9th inning single by Brett Gardner to take the lead. However, there are changes and shifts being made to the Yankees team, especially with a lack of starting pitching talent currently available.

Thankfully, one of the team’s most underrated players, Nestor Cortes Jr., pitched 6.1 innings against Baltimore, allowing just three hits and one run, striking out 11 batters. Cortes currently holds a 2.60 ERA and has established himself as a primary starter for the team. The bullpen has struggled at times — Chad Green allowed two hits and two runs over 1.1 innings.

It required a bit of luck to steal a win from Baltimore on Wednesday, as Gardern’s single blooped into shallow left field in the pouring rain, making the play even more problematic.

The Yankees are making moves in the infield:

The Yankees have been experimenting with different combinations in the infield, as they have permanently moved Gleyber Torres back to second base. To supplement that move, the Yankees moved DJ LeMahieu to third base and Gio Urshela to shortstop. Torres admitted that he struggled at SS, and he would do whatever it takes for the team to win more games, even if that means changing positions. He’s made 18 errors this season at arguably the most important infield position, which has hurt the Yankees on multiple occasions.

“Everything for the team,” Torres said before Tuesday night’s game at the Baltimore Orioles. “I didn’t really do a good job at short. I made too many errors and I feel the way we are right now we can’t make any errors. So, I feel really good to move to second and I just want to be part of the team.”

With one more contest against Baltimore on Thursday evening, the Yankees will closely be watching Boston and Toronto, who continue to win as well. Jordan Montgomery will feature on the mound, hosting a 3.71 ERA over 138.1 innings pitched this year. He’s allowed 127 hits and struck out 137 batters. On the other side, Baltimore will start Chris Ellis, who has a 2.08 ERA this season but has only pitched a small sample size of 21.2 innings. This is a must-win game for the Yankees as they prepare to host Cleveland on Friday night.

New York Yankees 9/16: 3 Major takeaways from another Yankee win (video)

Last night the New York Yankees won a game against the Baltimore Orioles, their second and their first series win after losing five in a row. With the win, the Yankees are now tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the first wild card spot. The Yankees won last night 4-3.

Nasty Nestor is even nastier

If there are any Nestor Cortes Jr. detractors, I don’t know where they are. Cortes has been a reliever turned starter that has been a Godsend for the Yankees. He got the nickname “Nasty Nestor.” Last night he was was absolutely brilliant, proving he could even be nastier, getting a season-high 11 strikeouts and going deep into the game, saving a worn-out bullpen.

At face value, Cortes does not seem to be a great pitcher; he has no blazing fastball, no one put out pitch. His secret is confusing hitters with so many different arm-angle deliveries and so many different pitches thrown at different times. The confusion he insights causes many swings and misses. His confidence is also disarming. He is only 2-2, mostly due to lack of support, but his 2.60 ERA in 12 starts is telling. During September, he has 23 strikeouts over 3 starts and an ERA of 2.00

Brett Gardner “it’s not over till it’s over”

At the end of the 2020 season, many, if not most, Yankee fans felt Brett Gardner’s time with the Yankees was coming to a close. Just days before the start of the 2021 season Gardner still had not been re-signed, but in the final days of the offseason, Gardner and the Yankees came to a deal bringing the 14-year veteran back for yet another year. Most of this was powered by Gardner’s desire to play at least one more year with fans in the stands.

When the Yankees resigned him, the plan was to use him as a versatile bench player. The reality is that he has been anything but that, playing in 124 games to date, mostly due to the need to have him on the field with the many outfield injuries, especially to Aaron Hicks, causing Gardner to be the teams’ everyday centerfielder. But now, in the postseason run, Gardner has become a must-be in the lineup, hitting .325 in September. For some fleeting reason, Gardner has heated up in September and has helped the Yankees reach the postseason in the last three seasons.

Like the heralded legend Yogi Berra once quipped, “it’s not over till it’s over.” Though never the team’s superstar, Gardner shows us he still has much to give the Yankees, excellent defense, excellent baserunning, and, yes, hitting. Last night in the ninth, Brett Gardner’s bloop single gave the Yankees the win. He went 3 for 4 with 2 singles and a double driving in two of the Yankees 4 runs. Mister September?

Torres still troublesome in the infield

The Gleyber Torres experiment that manager Aaron Boone thought might resolve Torres’ problems both in defense and at the plate has not gone as intended. Boone completely realigned the infield to allow Torres to play at second base. The move caused Gold Glover DJ LeMahieu to move to third base and hot corner defender Gio Urshela to shortstop.

Last night Torres in as many games got made his second blunder at second base. Although neither were called errors, the lack o focus could have cost the Yankees big time. Tuesday night Torres bobbled an easy double-play ball. Last night was only worse; he doubled up on his lack of focus by throwing to first instead of second, losing out on another double play that could have lost the game for the Yankees had it not been for Brett Gardner’s bloop single in the ninth.

Someone in management must be wondering if it’s time to cut loose of the infielder that can’t provide adequate defense, no matter where he plays.

Giants’ safety Jabrill Peppers has strong words ahead of Thursday night battle in Washington

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are gearing up for a big Week 2 matchup against the Washington Football Team, and most are coining it a “must-win” game for both teams. After a disappointing loss in Week 1 to the Denver Broncos, the Giants are trying to bounce back in a strong way as they take on backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

After Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury that put him on injured reserve, Heinicke stepped into the game. Over 15 passing attempts, Heinicke tallied 122 yards and a touchdown, recording a 70.1 QBR. Overall, he had a solid performance against Los Angeles, but with subpar arm talent, the Giants have the personnel to take advantage.

On the defensive side, the Giants blitzed more in Week 1 than in any game last year, showcasing a shift in strategy. With Patrick Graham attempting to substitute to a more man-coverage-based scheme, the goal will be to get after Heinicke and put him under immediate pressure.

One of the Giants’ key defenders, Jabrill Peppers, struggled in the opening game of the season, as he allowed four receptions on four targets for 34 yards. Peppers gave up several third-down conversions and catches in the red zone, which forced Graham to go in a different direction defensively.

“Subpar,” Peppers said. “I gave up two big third downs. I gave up a catch in the red zone … the standard I hold myself to, those are the routes I usually cover in my sleep. It is what it is, man. I gotta go back to the drawing board, hone in and get better.”

However, Peppers is resilient player and is eyeing a bounce-back against Washington on Thursday evening. Last season, Peppers emerged as one of the Giants’ best playmakers, playing a career-high 912 snaps, tallying 62 tackles, and posting seven pass breakups.
Peppers used some of that fiery energy to express the importance of this upcoming game, which attest to the notion that this is a must-win contest for both teams.

“Well, every game is important. This is a division game. We don’t like them. They don’t like us,” Peppers said. “So that’s where my head’s at right now.”

The Giants have beaten Washington four consecutive times since Daniel Jones took over as the starting quarterback. They will be looking to extend that streak, as Washington’s signal-caller issues presents Big Blue with a great opportunity to smooth over the fan base after an embarrassing loss to Denver.

4 Knicks’ players on the roster bubble as training camp approaches

knicks, kevin knox, theo pinson

With training camp starting in about three weeks for the New York Knicks, several players will be fighting for roster spots and a continued future with the organization.

With plenty of talent on the roster after signing Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker this free agency period, the Knicks also went out and drafted multiple players who can contribute over a longer-term. Selecting Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, and Jericho Sims, all three have their strengths and weaknesses, ranging from shooting and superior athleticism in the paint.

However, there will be a sense of competition during training camp for roster spots, and three players specifically will be eyeing a bench spot this upcoming season.

Three roster bubble players for the Knicks:

1.) Kevin Knox

The fact that the Knicks haven’t traded away Kevin Knox is quite interesting. Knox averaged just 11 minutes per game last year, making 42 appearances and starting zero games. He averaged 3.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, and shot 39% from the field. Given his lack of usage, Knox, who is 22-years-old, could’ve been utilized as a trade piece to add more talent or draft capital down the road.

However, Knox remains on the roster, and with the number of depth pieces the team currently has, it is unlikely he finds himself sitting on the bench once again. There’s still plenty of time for the front office to find a trade partner, and I would imagine that is where Knox’s value will be applied.

2.) Jericho Sims

One of the Knicks’ most impressive Summer League performers was Texas big man Jericho Sims. Showing off elite athleticism around the rim, Sims average 28 minutes per game over five contests. He posted 8.2 points and landed 8.2 rebounds, second on the team to only Obi Toppin with 8.3.

Sims offers plenty of value as a young center with potential, but the Knicks retained Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson this off-season, crowding the reserves with experienced talent. Sims will likely spend his rookie season with the Westchester Knicks in the G League, gaining essential experience as he prepares to take over for Gibson as the team’s third-string center.

3.) Luca Vildoza

The Knicks invested in Argentinian guard Luca Vildoza just prior to the end of the 2020-21 season. Vildoza signed a four-year, $13.6 million deal, but the caveat is that none of it is guaranteed. As a two-way guard, Vildoza also has smooth shooting fundamentals, averaging 10.1 points in the Euro League league last year.

However, the front office retained Derrick Rose, signed Kemba Walker, and drafted Miles McBride, leaving little room for Vildoza to make a name for himself. The team also has Immanuel Quickley as a potential long-term solution at PG, making Vildoza expendable, where they can save a bit of cap room. He will need to impress during training camp to stick around for the upcoming year, or he could be included in a potential trade for draft capital.

4.) Dwayne Bacon

The Knicks quietly signed point guard Dwayne Bacon to a contract this off-season, and at 25-years-old, he’s looking to land a spot on the bench. Averaging 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and shooting 40% from the field last season, Bacon played in all 72 games, starting in 50.

Having his best season to date, Bacon has solid depth potential, but offer little otherwise. Head coach Tom Thibodeau will prefer to go with rookies Grimes and McBride on the bench over fringe roster players, so Bacon will have a tough time making the team. Having played four consecutive years in the NBA, it is entirely possible he latches on with a different club if hid experiment with a knicks fails to develop into anything serious.