Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New York Giants Off-Season Update

With the NFL Draft now in the rear-view mirror, teams are starting their off-season programs.  With OTA’s already done, soon enough mini-camps will begin and before you know it the pre-season and regular season will be upon us.  For the Giants, the defending on their Super Bowl title is being kicked into top gear.

The Giants have been making some roster and personnel moves recently.  The biggest moves are the contracts situations of defensive end Osi Umenyiora and head coach Tom Coughlin.

Osi Umenyiora’s displeasure over his contract has been publicized plenty over the last few off-seasons.  He has wanted a re-structuring of his contract for multiple off-seasons.  Last season, it resulted in Umenyiora missing practice time, holding out over the contract dispute.  This season, there will be no such problems.  

Umenyiora and the Giants agreed to a restructured contract June 1st.  Umenyiora was entering the last year of a seven year contract in which he would receive $3.975 million.  Umenyiora has outplayed the contract he signed and had every reason to want more money. 
 This resolution is a win for everyone because both sides are happy and get what they want.  Umenyiora gets the extra money he has been looking for and the Giants get to keep one of the best defensive linemen on their team for at least another season.

   As for Tom Coughlin, he also received a contract extension.  The extension will keep Coughlin on the Giants sideline through the 2014 season.  The contract will kick in this year, meaning that total is for three years and $20 million as Coughlin’s original contract was set to expire after this season.  The new contract makes Coughlin one of the highest paid coaches in the league; deservedly so.  Coughlin should be able to come back for as long as he wants to coach, leading the Giants to two Super Bowl victories since the 2007 season. 

The Giants have also made a few roster moves, re-signing defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and cutting tight end Jake Ballard.  Ballard tore his ACL in addition to needing microfracture surgery, suffering the injury in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.  Ballard had failed his physical and was subsequently released.  The thought is that the Giants will bring Ballard back once he clears waivers.  Ballard went onto Twitter to show his appreciation for the Giants and his feelings on the future, “Thanks for the love everyone but don’t worry, it’s a business, I’m on the road to recovery, and I believe I’ll be in a Giants uniform in ’13.”

Not all news this off-season for the Giants has been positive though, as offensive lineman David Diehl was arrested on suspicion of DWI after his car hit multiple parked cars in Queens.  There were no passengers, and Diehl was not injured during the process.  If he is indeed charged, Diehl could be facing a suspension from the NFL. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Recap: Homer Happy Yanks Sweep Rival Mets

The New York Yankees showed New York fans that they are still the number one team in this city, with a sweep of the rival New York Mets.

On Friday night the Yankees took Johan Santana deep early and often. In the second inning, Robinson Cano took the first pitch he saw from Santana, and drove it into the right field seats for a two-run homer.

It did not take long for Cano to get to Santana again. In the third inning, Cano again smashed the first pitch he saw from Santana into the right field seats for another two-run home run, and gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead. Cano saw two pitches in his first two at-bats, and had two home runs and 4 RBI. The next two batters, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones, both took Santana deep in their at-bats, and the Yankees hit back-to back-to back home runs.

The Yankees tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning and took the opening game 9-1.

Johan Santana, in his first start since his no-hitter, lasted five innings, gave up seven hits, six earned runs, and four home runs.

Hiroki Kuroda had another solid outing, going five and two thirds innings before surrendering a hit. Kuroda went seven innings , allowing just the one hit, and striking out seven Mets batters.

In game two, the Yankees again used the home run ball to get passed the Mets.

With the game tied at one in the sixth inning, David Wright took Phil Hughes deep to left center to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. It was Wright's eighth home run of the season, and the 15th home run given up by Hughes this season.

In the bottom half of the inning, with Curtis Granderson on base, Mark Teixeira hit a line drive over the right field wall and the Yankees went ahead 3-2.

Curtis Granderson added a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth off of Bobby Parnell and the Yankees won 4-2.

Phil Hughes went six and a third innings allowing six hits and two solo home runs, and got his sixth win of the season. Hughes has now given the Yankees three solid starts in a row, and besides giving up solo home runs, Hughes has been very strong.

In the series finale, the Mets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on Andy Pettitte. Vinny Rottino singled home Scott Hairston to open the scoring in the second inning. Later in the second, Jordany Valdespin doubled to right scoring Rottino and Omar Quintanilla.

Pettitte held the Mets in check after the three run inning, and allowed the Yankees to mount a come back.

In the seventh inning the Yankees got on the board with a Russell Martin two-run homer, and cut the Mets lead to 3-2.

The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the eighth with a pair of RBI singles from Teixeira and Rodriguez. After back to back singles by Jeter and Granderson, Teixeira laced a ball back up the middle to drive home Jeter. Rodriguez followed with a bloop single down the right field line that scored Granderson.

In the top of the ninth, the Yankees called on Rafael Soriano to close out the game, but Soriano could not. Before Soriano could record an out, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis hit back to back doubles, and the game was tied.  Boone Logan replaced Soriano and did not allow the Mets to score again, leaving the game tied at 4 headed into the bottom of the ninth.

It took just one batter for the Yankees to finish off the Mets, as Russell Martin took John Rauch out to left for his second home run of the game, a 5-4 win, and a series sweep.

The Yankees took all three games against the Mets in the Subway Series, and except for Friday night's blowout, the series was an exciting one for both sides, although Mets fans would have felt better with at least one win.

The two teams will meet again in two weeks at Citi Field, and the Mets will have a chance to get revenge for the three game sweep they suffered at Yankee Stadium this past weekend.