Robbie Lawler stops Nick Diaz in the third at UFC 266

Robbie Lawler

On the main card of UFC 266, we saw a rematch that was 17 years in the making. Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) was making his highly anticipated return as he met former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC).

These two first fought all the way back at UFC 47 in 2004. When they first fought, Lawler was the pretty big betting favorite especially if the fight stayed on the feet. However, that night, Nick Diaz showed the world how good he was when he knocked out Lawler on the feet.

Both men went on to have incredible careers. Nick Diaz walked away from the UFC and MMA back in 2015 after a failed post-fight drug test for marijuana saw him get suspended. Diaz has lost his last two fights but those came against Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre.

It’s clear that Robbie Lawler is near the end of his career. The former UFC welterweight champion has lost four fights in a row leading into UFC 266. In his last two fights, he really couldn’t get anything going against Neil Magny or Colby Covington.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The talking starts immediately from Nick Diaz as the UFC 266 middleweight contest kicks off. Immediately pressure from Lawler and he’s landing big shots on Diaz early. Diaz is looking slow here and Lawler is ripping him to the body.

Nice 1-2 lands for Robbie Lawler. Good hook to the body lands for Diaz and Lawler answers. Good 1-2 lands for Nick Diaz and then he lands a body kick. Two good straight shots land for Diaz. Another good rip to the body for Diaz.

Nice left hook lands for Lawler. 1-2 from Diaz finds it’s home again. Now it’s Diaz pushing forward but he lands a good shot from Lawler. Diaz is mixing speeds really well and he’s clipping Lawler.

Lots of volume from Diaz. Huge shot to the body for Diaz  and Lawler is returning much. Another good shot to the body lands for Lawler and Diaz responds with a big combination.

Lawler has Diaz against the fence but Diaz appears to be using it to counter. Nice combinations from Diaz and these two are just boxing. Big moments for both, but I lean towards Nick Diaz based on the second half of the round at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 266 and both can’t wait to get back at it. Lawler starts with pressure immediately and Diaz welcomes it. Good shot to the body lands for Diaz and Lawler responds with a counter.

Good combination lands for Nick Diaz, but a big body kick lands for Lawler and that seemed to hurt Diaz. Pressure from Lawler but Diaz goes right back to work with the boxing combinations.

Both men trade jabs and Lawler is chasing Diaz here. Diaz is landing his short shots and Lawler comes over the top. Another good combination from Diaz who is just constantly throwing.

Nice left hand lands for Robbie Lawler. Diaz gets some space and throws a little more power on a combination as Lawler comes in. More pressure from Lawler who rips to the body.

Robbie Lawler is landing very well near the end of the second round. Body kick lands for Diaz and Lawler counters with a big hook to the body. Big combination and Lawler comes forward to end the round. Great second round from Lawler at UFC 266.

Round 3

This fight is all squared on my scorecard at UFC 266 after two. Lawler starts the third round with immediate pressure just like he has the entire fight. Diaz opens the striking with a few nice shots to the body.

Lawler counters with a combination, but Diaz counters well. A few big shots land for Lawler and Diaz drops to one knee. It appears that Diaz might’ve hurt his knee but Lawler hurt him. Lawler backs away and Diaz doesn’t get up. The fight is called and Lawler gets the win.

Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz by TKO – Round 3

Curtis Blaydes uses takedowns to defeat Rozenstruik at UFC 266

Curtis Blaydes, UFC

On the main card of UFC 266, we saw a big time showdown in the heavyweight division. Two of the very best in the world went head-to-head as “Bigi Boy” Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2) took on Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (14-3).

The two top UFC heavyweights were looking to pickup a big win that could put them in title contention. If you want to look at one of the very best heavyweights in the world who hasn’t fought for a title, look no further than Curtis Blaydes.

Blaydes joined the UFC back in 2016 making his debut against Francis Ngannou. While he lost that night, he’s gone 9-2 since then with the promotion. His two losses coming to Ngannou for the second time and Derrick Lewis.

Rozenstruik is in a very similar position as Blaydes. He’s one of the very best and he’s only lost to the very best. Bigi Boy has lost twice in the UFC and one was to the current interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane and the other was to the undisputed champion Francis Ngannou.

The last time we saw Rozenstruik was back in June when he took on Augusto Sakai. Rozenstruik looked great in that fight and scored a knockout just at the end of the first round.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 heavyweight contest starts with Rozenstruik taking the center. Blaydes is feeling out the striking and gets clipped right away from Rozenstruik. Pressure from Rozenstruik which is a good way to stop the takedowns of Blaydes.

Nice jab from Blaydes who appears to be looking for his takedown opening. Just as I type that, Blaydes shoots in and pushes Rozenstruik against the fence. Almost immediately, Blaydes drags Rozenstruik to the ground.

Side-control for Blaydes and he’s starting to work his elbows. Huge knees to the body for Curtis Blaydes. More good shots to the body for Blaydes. Rozenstruik trying to use the fence to get back up, but the pressure is heavy from Blaydes.

Good shots along the fence from Blaydes. Rozenstruik gest to his fence and he’s able to break the grip and they’re back to striking. Rozenstruik looks a bit more tentative on the feet after getting taken down by Blaydes.

Nice jabs from Blaydes. Two really good straight shots land for Blaydes. Bigi Boy tries to counter but nothing lands. Good opening round for Blaydes at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC 266 and Rozenstruik needs to get a little momentum back. He lands a couple of good shots to start the striking and he’s the one pressing forward to start the second round.

Nice check left hook lands for Blaydes. Rozenstruik is holding the center here and Blaydes is just bouncing on the outside. Not much being thrown here and the crowd is letting them know.

Good low kick lands for Blaydes but he eats a good counter from Rozenstruik. Blaydes tries to get a takedown, but he shot from way too far away and can’t land it. Rozenstruik trying to land hooks, but he’s a little too far away to land his own shots.

Nothing landing from either guy with two minutes left in the round. Both trade left hooks and Rozenstruik lands a big knee. Good hook behind it and Blaydes appeared hurt for a second. However, Blaydes uses Rozenstruik’s momentum and lands a takedown.

Blaydes immediately passes into half-guard and starts working his elbows. Not much lands the rest of the round and that’ll be a tough one to score. Despite the takedown and minute of control, I lean Rozenstruik in the second at UFC 266. It could be tied or 2-0 Blaydes.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 266 and I think this fight is tied up so this round should decide things. Blaydes tries to open with a kick but he whiffs. His eye is almost shut from the big shots he ate in the second round from Rozenstruik.

Both men are too far out of range to land anything in the opening minute and the boos are coming in. Blaydes throws some lefts, but they don’t really land. Nice left hook lands for Blaydes and he follows it with a nice straight right.

Good low kick from Blaydes and he immediately chains it into a takedown attempt. The powerful attempt gets Bigi Boy down and Blaydes settles into the guard. Rozenstruik tries to kick off Blaydes, but he can’t get him off.

Blaydes move into half-guard and starts working his elbows. Rozenstruik tries to get up, but the pressure is very heavy from Blaydes here. 90 seconds left and Rozenstruik needs to do something big or he’s going to lose this one.

Heavy top pressure from Blaydes who’s landing some decent elbows. The crowd doesn’t seem pleased but Blaydes is being very effective. More decent shots from Blaydes and the final bell sounds. Curtis Blaydes will get the win at UFC 266.

Curtis Blaydes def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Merab Dvalishvili survives early scare to finish Marlon Moraes at UFC 266

In the featured prelim at UFC 266, we saw a big time matchup in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger and top contender Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) was trying to get track as he took on the surging Merab Dvalishvili (13-4).

Just a couple of years ago, Marlon Moraes was looked at as potentially the best bantamweight in the UFC. After submitting Raphael Assuncao in the first round at a Fight Night in 2019, Moraes got a title shot against Henry Cejudo.

After starting well in that fight, Moraes faded badly and it’s been all downhill sense. Cejudo would finish him and then Moraes would go 1-2 in his next three after with the one win being a very questionable decision. In the eyes of the public, Moraes had lost four straight coming into tonight.

While his career has gone down, Merab Dvalishvili’s career has surged. After losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has really taken off. The bantamweight from Georgia has won six fights in a row including wins over Casey Kenney, John Dodson, and Cody Stamann.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 featured prelim kicked off with a touch of the gloves and a yell from Dvalishvili. Moraes started in the center with Dvalishvili bouncing on the outside. Dvalishvili lands a low kick to start his striking.

Moraes answers with a massive low kick that spins Dvalishvili. Another brutal kick from Moraes and that draws Dvalishvili to fire back. The two exchange big shots in the pocket and Dvalishvili lands a takedown.

Moraes defends well and gets back to his feet. Nice 1-2 from Dvalishvili. Huge right hand from Dvalishvili but Moraes seems very composed. Powerful left hook from Moraes stiffens up Dvalishvili briefly but he shakes it off.

Another brutal left hook and Dvalishvili looks out on his feet. Moraes is pouring it on here and Dvalishvili is wobbling all over the octagon. This fight looks very close to being stopped but Dvalishvili is somehow surviving.

Somehow Dvalishvili is going to survive and now you have to question the cardio of Moraes. Dvalishvili pushes Moraes against the fence and lands a takedown. Now it’s Dvalishvili who’s starting to work his ground and pound.

Big shots from Dvalishvili from the guard. Now it’s Dvalishvili who’s nearing a finish. My goodness what a round and I have now idea who should get it. Somehow, Dvalishvili might be up 1-0 at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 266 and all the momentum is with Dvalishvili. Moraes looks a little wobbly to start the second round and he doesn’t look confident at all. Huge right hand from Dvalishvili sits Moraes down.

Dvalishvili settles in the guard and he’s hurting Moraes badly on the ground. Big shots to the body and then he’s coming up top. It’s all Dvalishvili here in the second round. Brutal elbows from the guard from Dvalishvili and Moraes looks broken here.

More elbow from Dvalishvili and this fight looks like it’s going to get stopped. After Dvalishvili takes a little bit of a break, he goes right back to work with brutal elbows. Moraes is just laying there on the guard not doing much to defend.

Hammer fists from Dvalishvili and Moraes explodes to try and get back up. Moraes gets up and presses Dvalishvili up to the fence. However, Dvalishvili reverses and takes Moraes back to the ground.

Big shots from Dvalishvili and Moraes gets warned by the referee to defend himself. Moraes moves but is still taking more shots and this one is over. Merab Dvalishvili has finished Marlon Moraes at UFC 266.

Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes by TKO – Round 2

New York Yankees Recap: Giancarlo Stanton Grand Slams Yankees to another win over the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

With the win over the Red Sox last night and the loss by the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees have a bit of breathing room in holding on to the number two wild-card berth. But, make no mistake about it, the urgency to win today is still their big time as the Yankees want that home-field advantage for the winner takes all wild-card game. So, to obtain that goal and win the series from the Red Sox, the Yankees sent Nestor Cortes Jr. to the mound to face Eduardo Rodriguez. The Yankees won game two 5-3.

At the top of the first inning, Brett Gardner led it off for the Yankees by lining out to short. Aaron Judge popped out to second base. Anthony Rizzo popped out to Devers at short for an easy inning for Pivetta. At the bottom, Nestor Cortes Jr. took the mound facing Kiki Hernandez, who flew out to Judge in right field. Hunter Renfroe flew out to Gardner in left-center. Rafael Devers flew out to Judge as Cortes put down the Sox in order. No score.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the second inning by being the first base runner of the day with a sharp line drive to the right-field wall for a single. Joey Gallo went down looking. Gleyber Torres went down swinging. Gary Sanchez also struck out swinging, stranding Stanton at first base. At the bottom, Xander Bogaerts went down on strikes. JD Martinez went down swinging. Kyle Schwarber flew out to Gallo in left for another 1-2-3 inning for Cortes. No score.

The third inning was led off by Rougie Odor, who played at third due to DJ LeMahieu’s groin issue. He was robbed of a home run by Renfroe, who caught his flew ball just over the right-field wall. Gio Urshela ground out to Devers at short. Gardner ground out to second. Bobby Dalbec led off the bottom by going down looking. Kevin Plawecki hit a homer up into the green monster of the light tower. Jose Iglesias popped back to Sanchez. Hernandez flew out to Judge in right, but the Red Sox got on the board. Red Sox 1 Yankees 0.

Aaron Judge led off the fourth inning and tapped back to the pitcher. Rizzo flew out to left. Stanton went down on strikes against Pivetta, who has pitched far better than his stats would suggest. Renfroe led off the bottom by singling up the middle. Devers went down swinging. Bogaerts flew out to Gardner. Martinez flew out to Gardner in center to end the inning. Red Sox 1 Yankees 0.

Joey Gallo led off the fifth inning by going down swinging. Torres struck out. Sanchez contributed to another strikeout of the side for Pivetta. At the bottom, Schwarber singled to right field. Dalbec hit one over the right-field wall that Judge amazingly caught. Plawecki singled to center, and that was the day for Cortes Jr. Iglesias faced the new pitcher Michael King and reached on a slow roller down the left infield. A wild pitch by King allowed Plawecki to score. Hernandez went down on a King curveball.  Renfroe struck out swinging, leaving two Sox on base, but the Red Sox tacked on another run. Boston 2 New York 0.

Rougie Odor led off the sixth by flying out to left field. Urshela got a one-out single to left. Gardner doubled moving Urahela or third base, concluding Pivetta’s day on the mound. Aaron Judge faced new Sox pitcher Hansel Robles. A Robles wild pitch let Urshela score. Judge reached on a fielder’s choice with Gardner out at home. Rizzo popped out to second, but the Yankees cut the Red Sox lead in half. At the bottom, with King still on the mound, Devers singled to center. Bogaerts lined out to Gardner in center. Martinez lined out to Judge, bringing in new pitcher Lucas Luetge to face Schwarber, who lined out to first to end the inning. Boston Red Sox 2 New York Yankees 1.

The seventh inning was led off by Giancarlo Stanton, who walked. Gallo walked, Torres, hit into a double play. Sanchez went down swinging. At the bottom, Dalbec facing Luis Severino, struck out on a slider. Plawecki walked. Iglesias hit into a force out. Hernandez went down on a Severino changeup. Red Sox 2 Yankees 1.

Rougie Odor led off the eighth inning by going down on strikes. Urshela struck out swinging. Gardner walked with Judge coming up. Gardner stole second. Aaron Judge, with one on and two outs, walked. Rizzo faced new pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez and got hit by a pitch loading the bases. Giancarlo Stanton grand slammed, putting the Yankees ahead by three runs. The ball over the monster went 452′ into the Boston night. Gallo struck out. At the bottom, Renfroe against Severino struck out. Devers flew out to Gallo in left. Martinez struck out swinging for a dominant two innings for Luis Severino. New York Yankees 5 Boston 2.

The top of the ninth inning was led off by Torres, who ground out to third. Sanchez ground out to third. Tyler Wade pinch-hitting for Odor struck out. With last licks on the line for the Red Sox Yankee closer, Aroldis Chapman took to the mound facing Schwarber, who ground out softly to Chapman. Dalbec got a solo home run over the green monster. Plawecki was hit by a pitch and taken out of the game. He was pinch-run by Christian Vazquez. Iglesias struck out. Hernandez ground out to end the game.

The final score was the New York Yankees 5 and the Boston Red Sox 3. The winning pitcher was Luis Severino, and the loser was Tanner Houck, with the save going to Aroldis Chapman (29). The Yankees won the series and now share the number one berth with the Red Sox in the wild-card after winning five games in a row.

 

 

 

Knicks News: Leon Rose details ‘aggressive’ approach, team signs Wayne Selden to camp roster

wayne selden, knicks

The New York Knicks have entirely changed course after hiring new president Leon Rose to help steer the ship in a direction that better represents New York City. With a tough defensive mentality under head coach Tom Thibodeau, players are beginning to view the Knicks as an appealing destination in free agency, despite missing out on several big-name players like Damian Lillard and Chris Paul. However, the front office has been working diligently to add talent to an already strong team.

Rose indicated that they consider every opportunity aggressively, which hints at their mentality this offseason eyeing blockbuster trades. Nonetheless, while Lillard remains with Portland and Paul sign an extension with Phoenix, the Knicks walked away with Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, two players that should contribute significantly moving forward.

The mentality toward growth and development is what should spark fans’ excitement. The team finally has a front office that is not making premature moves and decisions that would set the franchise back, but they are remaining diligent and progressive.

“We’re gonna be aggressive as far as knowing what’s going on and as far as being on top of things and looking at opportunities,’’ Rose said, per The New York Post. “But at the same time, we’re going to be prudent and disciplined in decisions that we make that are going to take into account positives and negatives, short term, long term, all those factors in a decision-making process.”

The front office has failed to remain disciplined over the past few years prior to the 2020-21 season, making premature moves and signing players without an established plan has hurt the team’s progression and draft selections. After a strong first season under Thibodeau, they backed up their words with several improvements to the roster and a strong draft class, including Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

The players have adapted this disciplined mentality also, partaking in intense scrimmages before training camp even begins in a few weeks.

The Knicks are signing a few players as camp bodies, including Wayne Selden, who agreed to a non-guaranteed training camp contract, per Keith Smith of Spotrac.

Selden has spent three seasons in the NBA, enjoying 124 games of action. He averaged 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Selden spent the off-season with the Knicks playing in the Summer League, and while he’s a long shot at making the roster, you can never have enough bodies competing to start the season.

The Yankees’ win against the Red Sox was ‘a good first punch to the series’

New York Yankees, NYY, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees struck first in The Rivalry, taking an 8-3 victory in the first game of the series at Fenway Park. The Bombers came out firing right out of the gate, and took a 7-0 advantage by the third inning thanks to a run-scoring double by Aaron Judge, an RBI groundout by Giancarlo Stanton, and a single by Gleyber Torres in the first inning; and a three-run shot by Stanton and another RBI single, this time by Kyle Higashioka, in the third.

Torres added a solo blast later in the game. Gerrit Cole was dominant for five innings but allowed a three-run homer by Rafael Devers in the sixth. Still, it was a quality start just when the Yankees needed their ace the most.

The Yankees are trending up

Stanton, who said that the win was “a good first punch to the series,” was the star of the night once again. The Bombers pulled within a game of the Red Sox for the first Wild Card spot and have a two-game advantage over the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners for the second.

“The feeling in the clubhouse is good, of course, but we’re right back at it tomorrow (today) with more work to do,” Stanton told MLB.com. “We’re in a great opportunity to erase that whole roller coaster we’ve been on and start a new one. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

The Yankees have won four games in a row and snapped a seven-game winning streak by the Sox.

“They’re all important,” Boone said, about the wins. “It’s one, though. We’ve got to shower this one off. We’ve got another big one tomorrow. We know it’ll be a challenge, but we look forward to it.”

With a win today, the Yankees would tie the Red Sox at the top of the American League Wild Card standings, with another game between the two teams on Sunday.

Yankees News, 9/25: Bombers take big step forward in Wild Card, good injury news for Taillon

yankees, gerrit cole

The New York Yankees walked away from Friday evening with an essential win over the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a three-game series. Securing an 8-3 victory, the Yankees now sit just one game back for the top spot in the Wild Card, as the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays remain two games behind Boston and New York.

The Yankees punished starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who has had a solid season this year but couldn’t handle a potent batting order that has sparked recently. Eovaldi allowed seven hits and seven earned runs over 2.2 innings, quickly being relieved, but the damage had already been done.

Giancarlo Stanton recorded three hits and four RBIs, showcasing his power, specifically in the third inning when he launched a three-run blast to double the Yankees lead.

Starting second baseman Gleyber Torres also recorded three hits and two RBIs, singling to center in the first inning, driving in Aaron Judge. Torres also homered in the seventh inning to increase the Yankees’ lead to five.

Despite the win, skipper Aaron Boone remained focused on the goal at hand, winning out the rest of the season to guarantee themselves a playoff opportunity.

“They’re all important,” Boone said. “It’s one [win], though. We’ve got to shower this one off. We’ve got another big one tomorrow. We know it’ll be a challenge, but we look forward to it.”

Luckily for the Yanks, pitcher Gerrit Cole bounced back after a tough performance against the Indians last week, where he gave up ten hits and seven runs in just 5.2 innings. Cole lasted 6.0 innings against Boston, giving up five hits and three earned runs, including a homer to Rafael Devers in the sixth inning. If not for that one bad pitch, Cole would’ve walked away with confidence, but his performance was that of an ace, and the team desperately needed him to put together a strong outing in one of the most critical series of the year.

“He’s a great pitcher. He’s our ace. He’s a horse,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “There’s a very short list of people you’d rather hand the ball to.”

Boone also said there’s a good chance that starting pitcher Jameson Taillon returns to the team against Toronto next week, coining a significant addition in the middle of the team’s playoff push.

New York Yankees Analysis: Has the Yankee organization ruined Gleyber Torres?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Before the 2020 season, the New York Yankees didn’t want to pay Didi Gregorius for his services as a shortstop and let him go to Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies. Instead, they chose to move the second baseman Gleyber Torres to be the team’s new shortstop. Ever since then, the bright young star once heralded as the Yankee’s new superstar has struggled both in his offense and defense. It should have lit up caution signs in the front office, but they didn’t see them or failed to act on them.

This has caused immense pressure on the young man. The question that should be asked is how much blame for his poor play should fall at his feet, and how responsible the New York Yankees have been for his poor play. When he was moved back to second base, his natural position, the Yankees have in their own way admitted that the entire experiment had been a failure. Has that failure ruined him, or will a full season at second bring him back to the player he was in 2018 and 2019 when he had 62 home runs?

Unfortunately, the problem for the Yankees has become much more complicated with the long-term contract they offered Gold Glover DJ LeMahieu. With moving Torres back to second, the Yankees are experimenting with LeMahieu at third and taking excellent third baseman Gio Urshela to fill the shortstop position. Unfortunately, neither LeMahieu nor Urshela is tearing up in the hitting department. So are they repeating the mistake they made with Torres?

To fully understand the Torres problem, you must know what has got him to where he is now. Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela, in a middle-class family headed by Eusebio Torres and his mother, Ibelise. He is 24 years old. Gleyber started playing baseball at the age of four. He started in his early years as an outfielder, but shortstop was more suited to his game. His love of the game was propelled by watching games on TV.

He played both basketball and baseball in high school, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with strong connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

In 2013 at the age of just sixteen, he signed a $1.7 million contract with the Cubs as an international free agent. He played in the minors for the Cubs organization; He made his pro debut in 2014 with the Arizona Cubs. In fifty games, he hit an average of .297. In 2015 he played for two minor league teams. In 126 games between the two clubs, he hit .287 with three home runs. In 2016 the Cubs traded Torres with Adam Warren and two other players to the Yankees for a desperately needed Aroldis Chapman. Torres played in the minors but missed most of the 2017 season for an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but still recorded a .287 season with seven home runs.

Torres made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. Then, on May 4th, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. In 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team. He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936.

On June 29, 2019, he hit the 39th home run of his short career. Then, on August 2nd, he hit his second Grand Slam. To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his three years in the majors, he has been a New York Yankees All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination. He finished the 2018-19 campaign with 62 home runs for his three-year career and 167 RBIs.

Torres played well in the 2020 spring training and the later summer camp. The New York Yankees had great hope for their young, new shortstop would repeat his excellent performance. The Yankees hoped for the best as he tried to follow in Yankee all-time star Derek Jeter’s footsteps and  Didi Gregorius, who is now a Philadelphia Philly.

Fast forward to the coronavirus shortened baseball season. All the 2019 magic disappeared from that new guy at short? Well, it appears there certainly have been some struggles that he has suffered, from both behind the plate and at his new position. Before Torres went on the IL with both calf and hamstring strains, he led the league in errors at short and was hitting just .231 with only one home run and a measly six RBIs.

On August 21, 2020, Torres went on the 10 day IL. Upon his return, he had three at-bats and managed a double in a game. At the time, they hoped that was a good sign for the remaining weeks of the season, but it was not to be. Torres ended the 2020 season hitting just 3 home runs with an average batting average of .243.

2021 has not been better for the young man constantly under the pressure of not holding down his position as he should. You can only imagine the damage to the psyche when one is constantly being criticized for his play. It makes you work too hard to be good, and the result has not improved under pressure. The Yankees finally decided to move him back to second base. He immediately made two bad errors and a couple of bonehead plays. Now in his old position for a time, he seems to be settling in; he has even shown some power at the plate.

One must keep in mind that the 24-year-old is still very young and has plenty of time to improve. One or two seasons does not make a career. This season has given his detractors even more ammunition that he will never make stardom. The question now is can he return to the player he was? Whether winning in the postseason or not, the New York Yankees will have many questions to answer in the offseason.

This offseason, there will be a slew of shortstops on the market. Some of those include the expensive Marcus Semien, Trevor Story, and Carlos Correa to a cheapy Jose Iglesias. When considering these names, don’t forget the Yankees farm system and Andrew Velazquez and Anthony Volpe. Should the Yankees decide not to bring Anthony Rizzo back, that could put DJ back at first and Gio back at third while keeping Torres at second and looking for a new shortstop. Questions abound.

 

 

New York Yankees 9/25: 3 Major takeaways from win over the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Last night the New York Yankees entered one of their most critical series of the season to hold on to a wild-card berth in the postseason. The New York Yankees opened a three-game series with their traditional age-long rivals Boston Red Sox, at Fenway Park in Boston. The Yankees put ace Gerrit Cole on the mound to face one of the Red Sox’s most successful pitchers Nathan Eovaldi in that effort. The effort came up big as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-3.

Gerrit Cole gets the job done

New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole took the mound at Fenway Park last night against one of the best Red Sox pitchers, Nathan Eovaldi, with the hope of bouncing back from one of his worst losses of the season. He did that, although certainly not with dominance. Instead, he had a lot of run support right off the bat with the help of Eovaldi, who just didn’t have it.

Cole went six innings giving up three earned runs and walking 3 for an ERA in the neighborhood of 4.50, not anything to brag about. What should be somewhat disturbing to the Yankees is that Cole had his best months during April and May. During June and July, he was just okay. Unfortunately, September hasn’t been as good pitching really well in only two of five games started. Going into a possible postseason, the Yankees and fans can only hope he can rise to the occasion and has not tired.

It takes a team to support a pitcher

Last night a phenomenon took place that has been absent in so many games this season. The pitchers and players acted like a complete team, with everyone doing their job. And that became evident very early in the game. The Yankees in so many games have relied on late rallies to win nail-biting games. Last night the Yankees made a quick statement by scoring 3 runs in the first inning.

What was so impressive was the Yankees got those three runs with energetic, aggressive play and not via the home run. It’s called small ball. The Yankees did get their homers in the game. The increasingly hot Giancarlo Stanton got a two-run shot in the third inning, and Gleyber Torres got his in the seventh inning. Those runs counted for 3 of the Yankees 8 runs. These rest were achieved by old fashion good baseball. Each Yankee got at least one hit, with Stanton and Torres leading the attack with three apiece.

The Yankees inch closer to the postseason

With the win last night and the Toronto Blue Jays loss, the Yankees inched closer to a sure berth in the wild-card round. With the win over the Rangers in the last game of that series and the win last night, the Yankees are now in sole possession of the second wild-card berth. Also, with the win, the Red Sox are just one game up on them for home-field advantage. If the Yankees can sweep the Red Sox on their own turf, they will have that number one spot and home-field advantage, going into a three-game series with the Blue Jays that are lagging by 2 games with only 8 games remaining in the regular season.

Notes: Game number two of the Red Sox series will be today at 4:10 pm at Fenway Park. Nestor Cortes Jr. will be on the mound for the Yankees and Nick Pivetta for the Red Sox. The game will be televised on the YES Network, NESN, and MLBN out of market. Join me today in the Facebook Yankees group “Yankee fans R US!!” and chat about the game in our live game thread. So Check-in early and hit join!

Knicks’ president Leon Rose side-steps Mitchell Robinson contract extension question

Mitchell Robinson

Confidence in New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has never wavered, and the coaching staff remains optimistic he will be a part of their long-term plans. Robinson has one year left on his rookie contract, which will pay him $1.8 million. However, if Robinson can remain healthy for the 2021-22 season, there’s a good chance he is signed to an extension, and the team is hoping it is more friendly than foe.

Robinson managed to play just 31 games last year, averaging 27.5 minutes during those contests. He contributed 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and shot 65% from the field. His numbers took a slight dip, but with a larger sample size, there’s no doubt his offerings would’ve been more adequate.

The 7-foot big man has a unique skill set as a defender, containing the qualities to guard at the perimeter and drop down into the paint with his physicality. All-Star power forward Julius Randle used the word “brolic” to describe Robinson and his muscular gains this off-season.

Considering the hard work that Mitchell has put into his development, it is obvious why the Knicks brass still considers him a big part of the team. However, President Leon Rose was careful not to provide any contract expectations, according to SNY.

Knicks’ president Leon Rose side-stepped a question on a contract extension for Mitchell Robinson, providing a positive review instead:

“It’s a work in progress and as far as contract goes, we love Mitchell Robinson and we look forward to seeing him play,” Rose said.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau raved about Robinson’s performance last year before suffering a broken hand. Upon his return, the high-energy center went down with a fractured foot, limiting his statistical output for the remainder of the season.

“Mitch, I thought last year, was really starting to take off when he got hurt,” Thibodeau said. “And then obviously, he had the set back. And this summer he’s put in a lot of time. He hasn’t been able to play. He’s put a lot of time into conditioning, strength and conditioning and whatever he’s allowed to do – being in the pool, weight training, form shooting, watching a lot of film.”

The Knicks retained Nerlens Noel after a successful campaign last season with the Knicks. Noel was looking for a new home, establishing himself as an elite shot blocker. Having two centers capable of featuring in different scenarios is ideal, as Noel can contribute nicely against less physical interior offensive teams. Robinson, with his added muscle, will likely handle players like Clint Capela, whom the team struggled with during the postseason.

Nonetheless, it is nice to see the front office sticking with their young talent and providing encouragement rather than resentment. While the 23-year-old has dealt with injuries in the past, the Knicks are hoping to reverse that negative narrative and start a more positive trend.