Saturday, July 28, 2012

Niese Unable to Handle the Desert Heat

Mets vs. Diamondbacks Post Game Recap 7/27

The Mets were unable to build momentum after a great debut from Matt Harvey on Thursday the Mets lost 11-5 on Friday.

Jon Niese had one of the worst starts of his career giving up eight runs matching his career high. Niese went six innings allowing nine hits, one walk, eight runs six of which were earned due to a throwing error by Niese. The loss moves Niese to (7-5) for the season.

Elvin Ramirez also had a tough time in his one inning of work allowing four hits, and three earned runs in the 7th inning.

Ike Davis was able to go 1 for 4 while hitting his 17th homerun in the 2nd inning of Josh Collmenter.

David Wright was the big run producer for the Mets hitting a three-run shot in the 3rd inning for his 16th homerun of the season, and brings his RBI total to 70.

Leadoff hitter Ruben Tejada continued his good hitting this season going 2 for 5, and scoring a run.

The Mets will look to bounce back on Saturday as Chris Young (2-4, 3.91) will face Ian Kennedy (8-8, 4.20).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yankees Crush Red Sox to Start Series

Yankees vs Red Sox Post Game Recap 7/27

The New York Yankees fresh off a tough west coast trip were able to pick up a 10-3 win over the rival Boston Red Sox to start their home stand on a positive note, and shockingly the game was finished in under three hours a rare happening in a Yankees Red Sox game.

Phil Hughes was able to get his 10th win of the season making him the 4th Yankee starter to have double digit wins. Hughes had a very good start going seven innings allowing three runs, five hits, one walk, and had five strikeouts. The only concern about Phil's start would be the three homeruns he allowed, but they however were all solo shots.

Curtis Granderson was able to have a monster game on Friday night going 3 for 5 with two runs scored, four RBIs, and hit his 28th homerun of the season a grand slam in the 8th inning putting the dagger into the Red Sox.

Yankees left fielder Raul Ibanez also like Granderson had a big game against the Red Sox going 1 for 2 with a two-run homerun in the 3rd inning for his 13th of the season, and added two walks as well.

Russell Martin might finally have something going, as he went 1 for 3 hitting his 11th homerun of the season in the 4th inning, and also scored another run after drawing a walk.

MVP candidate Robinson Cano kept on doing more of the same going 2 for 5, and saw his batting average hit the .320 mark.

Ichiro Suzuki received a warm welcome in his first game at his new home in the Bronx, and went 1 for 4 with two runs scored.

Yankees will be looking for another win over the Red Sox on Saturday as C.C Sabathia (10-3, 3.30) will be facing the struggling Jon Lester (5-8, 5.46).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mets Win as Harvey Shines

Mets vs Diamondback Post Game Recap 7/26

The Mets were able to snap their 6 game losing streak by beating the Diamondbacks 3-1 with a great start from Matt Harvey.

Making his MLB debut 23 year old Matt Harvey was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Mets to snap their losing streak, as they look to try and move back to the .500 mark. Harvey set a Mets franchise record in strikeouts with 11 breaking Tom Seavers previous record. The young right hander would go 5.1 scoreless innings while only allowing three hits, and three walks in his debut.

Jon Rauch gave up the only run of the game for the Mets in the 8th inning, as Justin Upton hit a sac-fly scoring Jason Kubel.

Mets closer Bobby Parnell was able to get his 3rd save of the season despite making things interesting in the 9th inning by allowing two walks, but did have an impressive three strikeouts in the inning.

Lead-off hitter Ruben Tejada was able to reach base safely three times going 2 for 4 with a walk, and scoring a run.

Scott Hairston had the biggest night of any Mets hitters going 3 for 4 with two doubles, and two RBIs continuing his great hitting against lefty pitchers.

Struggling Andres Torres was able to snap out of his 0-17 drought going 2 for 3 hitting his third triple of the year, and scoring a run.

Matt Harvey showed off his hitting skills as well going 2 for 2 off All-Star Wade Miley including a double capping off his great major league debut.

The Mets will look to get a little winning streak going by sending Jon Niese (7-4, 3.59) to face Josh Collmenter (2-2, 3.82).

Knicks Sign Ronnie Brewer

Knicks Sign Ronnie Brewer

The New York Knicks and shooting guard/small forward Ronnie Brewer agreed to a contract Wednesday.  Terms of the contract were not made known by the club per team policy, but it is believed to be a one year deal worth the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million.

This is a good signing just on value alone for the Knicks, as Brewer had seen his per year salary rise his first six years in the NBA, playing for $4.7 million this past season with the Bulls.

The 6’7” Brewer has career averages of 9.0 points per game on 50.1% shooting in his six seasons in the NBA with Utah, Memphis and Chicago.

The Knicks like what Brewer brings on defense more than what his offensive game is.  Brewer will be relied upon early on to be the stopper, a role left vacant with the injury to Iman Shumpert. 

Brewer should be penciled into the starting lineup, as he has started 267 out of 418 games in the NBA; Him starting would also allow the Knicks to move J.R. Smith back to 6th man, a role both him and the Knicks would benefit more from. 

The Bulls declined his $4.37 million option, letting Brewer to instead test the market.  After not finding many suitors, he settled for a one year deal with a contender in the Knicks. 

Brewer is the latest in a flurry of moves made by General Manager Glen Grunwald this off-season for the Knicks.  With the roster now standing at 14 players, the Knicks are expected to look into adding another veteran power forward.  Keep an eye on Kenyon Martin and Andray Blatche as two potential targets.

Nix Pushes Yankees Past Mariners

Yankees vs. Mariners Post Game Recap 7/25

The New York Yankees were able to finish a poor west coast trip on a positive note with a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners winning the three game series.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was a bit wild on Wednesday afternoon walking six batters leading to a short five inning outing for Nova. Ivan despite the high number of walks only gave up two hits, and two runs in the no decision.

New York’s bullpen was great picking up Nova after a short start going a scoreless four innings. Clay Rapada was the first pitcher in a may have had the most important pitch of the game getting a double play ball after inheriting two runners with no outs. David Phelps came in and got the last out of the 6th, and picked up his second win of the season. Rafael Soriano was the only pitcher in the bullpen to allow hit, but was able to pick up his 26th save of the season.

Yankees Captain Derek Jeter was back in the number two spot where he spent a majority of his career, and had a huge game. Jeter went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, one RBI and hit his 8th homerun of the season a solo shot in the first inning.

Ichiro Suzuki was moved up in the order after batting in the eight spot got moved to leadoff, and went 1 for 5 and was caught stealing for the third time this season.

Jayson Nix had the biggest hit of the night for the Yankees pinch hitting for Raul Ibanez in the 8th inning. Nix hit a bases clearing double his 7th of the season with the bases loaded giving the Yankees a 4-2 lead.

Yankees will be off on Thursday traveling back to New York for a huge weekend series with the Red Sox starting Friday, as Phil Hughes (9-8, 4.09) will face Aaron Cook (2-3, 3.50).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mets Lose 6th Straight

Mets vs Nationals Post Game Recap 7/25

The New York Mets were unable to beat on the majors best pitchers in Stephen Strasburg losing to the Nationals by a score of 5-2 making it a 6 game losing streak now.

The Mets got a good start from Jeremy Hefner but unfortunately he was out dueled by Strasburg and picked up his 4th loss of the season. Hefner went a solid six innings allowing six hits, two walks, three runs only two of which were earned, and had a career high seven strikeouts.

Tim Byrdak had a tough afternoon allowing a monster two-run homerun to Adam LaRoche scoring Bryce Harper in the 7th inning, and put the dagger into the Mets making it a 4 run game late.

Stephen Strasburg was fantastic in picking up his 11th win of the season. Strasburg shut down the entire Mets offense only allowing one run on four hits, and had eleven strikeouts.

Ike Davis was the only Met to do much damage off Strasburg, as Davis was able to his 16th homerun of the season in the 2nd inning.

The Mets will be heading out west for a 11 game road trip, and will be sending top prospect Matt Harvey for his first career major league start against the Dbacks All-Star Wade Miley (11-5, 3.02).

Alex Rodriguez Breaks Hand, Out 6-8 Weeks

Alex Rodriguez Breaks Hand, Out 6-8 Weeks

The New York Yankees suffered a big loss before they actually lost the game to the Mariners, as third baseman Alex Rodriguez was hit in the left hand in the 8th inning by Felix Hernandez.

Alex took a 91 mph changeup from Felix off his left hand in the top of the 8th inning, and it was obvious by his reaction that something was very wrong with Rodriguez as he went down screaming in pain.

Eric Chavez will be the main man at third base for the next 6-8 weeks with Alex out, and Jayson Nix should be seeing some more time there as well as Chavez will need some days off here and there. Chavez is having a great season for the Yankees, as before the Rodriguez injury he was getting a good amount of starts at third base due to his great glove, and his success hitting this year. Eric is hitting .269 with 8 homeruns, and 20 RBIs in 64 games.

Yankees players and staff were all upset to see Alex get hurt, as it will be a tough blow losing a middle of the order hitter.

Ironically Chavez suffered the same injury as Alex "They told me it would be six to eight weeks," Chavez said while recalling his own injury. "It was eight weeks to the day that I got back."

"It's nondisplaced, which is good," Girardi said. "But we're going to have to make some changes, which is too bad, because Alex was just starting to feel good again."

"It's too bad about what happened," Garcia said. "It's a big loss for us. The pitch just got away from him. It happens."

Mark Teixeira was one of the more optimistic Yankees when asked about it. "It's unfortunate; it's a huge loss," he said. "But we just picked up Ichiro (in a trade Monday). That means there's going to be more chances for him to play and help us."

Yankees will be playing the final game of the series against the Mariners without Rodriguez on Wednesday afternoon, as they’ll look to survive this injury and keep their lead in the division.

Yankees West Coast Struggles Continue

The Yankees west coast struggles continued in Seattle losing to the Mariners, and ace Felix Hernandez by a score of 4-2.

Freddy Garcia was good for the Yankees going 7 1/3 innings pitched despite getting his fourth loss of the season and second straight. Garcia allowed five hits, three runs, and struck out eight batters.

Getting the final two outs in the eighth inning was and adventure after Garcia struck out Brendan Ryan, as Girardi had to use four pitchers to get the final two outs of the as Clay Rapada, Chad Qualls, Boone Logan, and Cody Eppley all made appearances before Eppley was able to get the final out of the inning.

Curtis Granderson was able to hit his 27th homerun in the first inning off King Felix, and finished 2 for 4 with two strikeouts in the game.

The Yankees suffered another big injury blow as Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken left hand in the eighth inning after getting hit by a pitch from Felix Hernandez who also hit Derek Jeter earlier in the inning, and former teammate Ichiro in the seventh.

Despite not getting a hit, Mark Teixeira was able to knock in another RBI for his 67th of the season with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

In a game where the Yankees weren’t able to muster much offensively, newly acquired Ichiro was able to get another hit, as Ichiro went 1 for 3 in the game hitting his 16th double of the season off Hernandez.

Yankees will be looking to try and salvage the west coast trip by winning the rubber game of the series with the Mariners Wednesday afternoon as Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.10) will be facing Hisashi Iwakuma (1-2, 4.86).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mets Lose, Dickey Suffers First Loss Since April

Tuesday July 24th, 2012
Final Score: Washington Nationals: 5 New York Mets: 2
Dickey Suffers First Loss Since April

The rough second half continued for the Mets, as they fell again to the Washington Nationals 5-2 Tuesday night.  In a rematch from last week, in which the Mets won 9-5, All-Stars R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez faced off; unfortunately they Mets were successful this time around.  The loss puts the Mets a season high three games under .500 and falling fast in the NL playoff races.  The Mets have lost five in a row, 11 of their last 12 and are 1-10 since the All-Star break.

Dickey wishes the calendar never switched from June to July, as this month has not been kind for the 37 year old knuckle-baller.  Since July has started, Dickey has surrendered 21 runs, 19 of which are earned, in 26 1/3 innings, which equals an ERA of 6.29.

Tonight Dickey pitched well for parts of the night but had a lousy final line suffering his second loss of the season and first since April.  His streak of 16 starts in a row without a loss ended, leaving him two shy of the Mets franchise record. 

Dickey cruised through the first three innings before hitting a bump in the road in the fourth inning when he surrendered a two-out RBI double to Danny Espinosa.  He then pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning and retired the first two batters of the sixth before imploding.

Dickey gave up five straight two-out hits before getting out of the inning.  The inning was highlighted by a two-run homerun by Adam LaRoche that ended up in the second deck in right field. 

Dickey finished the night with an underwhelming stat line, going six innings and allowing eight hits, five runs (four earned), one walk and seven strikeouts. 

Jordany Valdespin came off the bench and knocked out his seventh homerun of the season.  It is his fifth pinch-hit homerun this season, giving him the most in the majors and breaking the Mets franchise record for pinch hit homers in a season.

Even with the loss tonight, the Mets did end one streak.  They snapped their 42 inning streak of not leading, with a Ronny Cedeno RBI single in the 2nd inning off Gio Gonzalez.  It was the only blemish for Gonzalez on the night, as he pitched a stellar seven innings. 

The Mets were able to keep phenom Bryce Harper in check tonight, as he went 0 for 4 on the night including three strikeouts. He did walk in the ninth inning, but was thrown out attempting to steal second base. 

Next up for the Mets is an afternoon matinee.  Jeremy Hefner (1-3, 5.85 ERA) will attempt to end the Mets losing streak against flame throwing All-Star Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 2.85 ERA).  

New York Giants Camp Preview: Linebackers

A new NFL season is right around the corner as training camp is quickly approaching.  Leading up to the start of training camp, we will have a run down position-by-position for the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. 

The second position we will take a look at is linebacker.

The projected starters for the Giants at linebacker are Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka as the outside linebackers, flanking middle linebacker Chase Blackburn.  Projected reserves expected to make an impact this season are Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones and Spencer Paysinger.

The Giants had some additions to this unit, as they traded for Rivers from the Cincinnati Bengals and added Jake Muasau.  There will be no linebackers from last season that are not returning this season.

The player to watch in the linebacking corps is Rivers.  The Giants acquired him this off-season from the Cincinnati Bengals for a fifth round pick.  It is a low risk move for the Giants, as Rivers has not been able to live up to expectations in Cincinnati as the ninth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, suffering a rash of injuries.  A change of scenery may be all that Rivers needs.!/httpImage/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.JPG

Rivers will open the season in the second unit but has a real chance to finish the season as a starter at any of the three linebacker spots.  Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said that he plans seeing what versatility Rivers brings, potentially using him at middle linebacker at times during camp.  Rivers still has some things to learn about the defense, but the Giants are hoping they had added yet another versatile and athletic linebacker that is capable of playing both the pass and run.

The linebacking group has the potential to be a strength for the Giants this upcoming season.  They are a deep bunch, giving the Giants more versatility than they have had in recent seasons.  The competition will be fierce as players like Clint Sintim, returning from his second serious knee injury in as many seasons, will be fighting for a roster spot. 

The added options give Fewell the ability to play different types of defense.  He says that he is more comfortable using three linebackers this season, opposed to the three safeties he has used in most sets the past two seasons. 

Boley and Blackburn have become defensive coordinators on the field for the Giants, relaying whatever Fewell says on the sidelines to their teammates on the field.  Communication was a problem at times for the Giants defense last year so having more than one player capable of relaying information from the sidelines and setting the defense is important. 

The rookies Williams, Herzlich, Jones and Paysinger will look to expand on their roles from last season and also continue to contribute on special teams.

The potential weakness from this group is stopping the run.  Last season, the Giants were not strong against the run, making that a point of emphasis entering training camp and the regular season.  In recent seasons the Giants have been using three safeties on the field instead of three linebackers; something that is probable to change this season with veteran safety Deon Grant remaining unsigned and Fewell being more comfortable with his pieces this season.  Training camp will be the time that Fewell and head coach Tom Coughlin figure out which combination of players works out best for the Giants.  Having so many talented players is a good problem to have as the Giants have turned a position thought to be a weakness from last season into a potential strength. 

The wild card of this group is Kiwanuka.  General manager Jerry Reese refers to Kiwanuka as a “joker” because of the versatility he possesses.  Kiwanuka has improved his pass defense while still being a menace rushing the passer from either linebacker or defensive end.  He is becoming more and more comfortable in his hybrid role and could see more time as a pass rusher with the departure of Dave Tollefson.  Versatility like Kiwanuka has is what makes game-planning against the Giants defense so difficulty for opposing teams.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg

Mets Demote Lucas Duda

Mets Shake up Roster, Demote Lucas Duda
The New York Mets have struggled mightily in recent weeks and have been looking for ways to shake up a team in need of a spark.

The calling up of top prospect Matt Harvey was the first move and dominoes needed to fall afterwards for that to happen.

The next domino has fallen, as the Mets have decided to option struggling outfielder Lucas Duda to Triple-A Buffalo.  It had appeared that Duda dodged a bullet when Pedro Beato was sent back down, but ultimately that decision did not impact Duda.

Duda is batting only .190 (19-100) in his last 29 games, getting only four extra base hits in that span.  He has had his troubles in the month of July, hitting only .140 with 16 strikeouts in 43 at-bats.

Duda entered the season as the Mets starting right fielder and has accumulated a .241 batting average with 12 homeruns and 44 RBI’s thus far in the season. 

The Mets hope that Duda can figure things out with less of a spotlight on him at Triple-A and come back later in the season being able to contribute and have a positive impact.

Yankees Win in Ichiros Debut

Yankees vs Mariners Post Game Recap 7/23

The New York Yankees were able to snap their 4 game losing streak after being swept by the Oakland Athletics by beating the Mariners 4-1

Hiroki Kuroda was great in picking up his 10th win of the season going seven innings allowing three hits, one walk, one run, and struckout nine batters.

Yankees closer Rafael Soriano was able to get right back on track a day after blowing his second save of the season, Soriano put the Mariners down in order to earn his 25th save of the season.

The big news before the game was the trade between the two teams that sent Ichiro to the Yankees for two prospects. Ichiro was batting 8th and wearing the number 31 for the Yankees, and wasted little time getting his 1st hit in pinstripes in his first at bat. Ichiro stole second right after the hit for his 16th stolen base of the season as he went 1 for 4 in his Yankee debut.

Former Mariner Alex Rodriguez was able to show off his power that landed him a big contract against his former team. Rodriguez went 2 for 4 hitting his 14th double of the season, and his 15th homerun.

Mark Teixeira was able to tack on to his team lead in RBIs with a double in the 4th inning for his 66th of the season, as Mark had a great night at the plate going 3 for 4 with two doubles.

Curtis Granderson was the odd man out in the Yankee lineup as he was the only starter who was unable to get a hit off Mariner pitching going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Former Yankee Jesus Montero who was traded for Michael Pineda didn’t fair very well in the series opener going 0 for 4 with a strikeout, and grounded into a double play.

Mariners will see another familiar face on Tuesday night as Freddy Garcia (4-3, 5.37) will be on the mound for the Yankees against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (5-8, 2.82).

Mets Fall to Nationals Suffering Meltdown in Extras

Monday, July 23, 2012
Final Score: 10 innings, Washington Nationals: 8 New York Mets: 2
Mets Suffer Meltdown in Extras, Fall to Nationals

On a soggy night at Citi Field the Mets once again fought valiantly against the division leading Washington Nationals to once again suffer a meltdown in extra innings, losing 8-2.  The loss drops the Mets to a season-high two games under .500 and fading fast in the wild card and NL East division races.  The Mets have now trailed for 40 straight innings and are 1-10 since the All-Star break.

Tonight the culprit out of the Mets bullpen was Pedro Beato.  Beato inherited two runners of Tim Byrdak and subsequently surrendered the tie-breaking single to Bryce Harper with the bases loaded.  Ryan Zimmerman added on with a bases clearing double and Michael Morse launched a two-run homer to finish the scoring in a six run frame for the Nationals. 

The Mets should have been in much better shape, but Ruben Tejada dropped a throw from Byrdak on a tailor made double-play ball after Roger Bernadina led off the inning with a single.  Tejada was spiked on the play and was checked out by trainer Ray Ramirez but remained in the game.

Tonight’s performance was the most runs given up in an extra inning in Mets franchise history.  Five of the six runs were earned, giving the Mets back to back nights in which their bullpen gave up five or more runs in an extra inning.  The bullpen’s total ERA now sits at an appalling 5.16, easily the worst in the majors.

Chris Young was able to give the Mets a strong start even if the beginning was rocky.  Young surrendered a leadoff single to Steve Lombardozzi to start the first and then followed that up by serving up a two-run homerun to Bryce Harper.  Young would allow one more hit that inning then go on to retire 14 Nationals in a row. 

Young matched a season high throwing seven innings, giving the Mets the exact performance they need from their starters if they expect to have any change at the post season.  Young finished the game with a final line of seven innings pitched, three hits, two earned runs, three walks and seven strikeouts. 

The Mets were able to answer for Young, showing some power of their own with two solo homeruns by David Wright in the fourth inning and Ike Davis in the seventh inning.

Wright and Davis are tied for the team lead with 15 homeruns each.

Jordany Valdespin hit in front of Wright tonight and finished the night 0 for 4, but should expect to see lots of playing time in the coming games in the outfield.  He figures to get a good look against right handed pitching with Lucas Duda being rumored to be sent down to clear space for Matt Harvey.

Ruben Tejada was able to get back on track, getting three hits tonight in his four at-bats.  Daniel Murphy also stayed hot, getting two hits of his own in his four at bats.

Next up for the Mets and Nationals is a re-match of All-Stars from last week in D.C. between R.A. Dickey (13-1, 3.32 ERA) and Gio Gonzalez (12-5, 3.32 ERA).  The Mets were able to get their only win of the second half in this match-up last week 9-5.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yankees Trade for Ichiro Suzuki

Yankees Trade for Ichiro

The New York Yankees got a big name outfielder by trading for Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki a few hours before they start a three game series in Seattle. The trade will be sending two Yankee pitching prospects in D.J Mitchell, and Danny Farquhar to Seattle, and will be sending the 10 time All-Star Ichiro to the Yankees.

Ichiro has seen a decline in his hitting over the past year and a half, as his averaged dropped to .272 in 2011, and is only at .261 this season with a OBP under .300. Mariners have not had much protection for Ichiro or have then been very competitive so a move to a contender maybe just what Ichiro needs to get back on track as he is an all-time great hitter. Ichiro does however bring some speed back to the Yankees right now, as Ichiro has 15 stolen bases while on being caught twice this season.

The addition of Ichiro was brought on in large part to the season ending elbow injury for Brett Gardner. Ichiro has been mostly in right field or center field in his career, as he is a great defender and making a switch to left will definitely be an adjustment for the gold glover.

If Ichiro is here to play left field like it would seem this will lead to a decrease in at bats for Andruw Jones, and Raul Ibanez who are both playing very well right now. Jones has 12 homeruns with 26 RBIs, and Ibanez has 12 homeruns as well with 42 RBIs both providing a lot of power.

The Yankees and Mariners will be playing tonight in Seattle, and it is being reported that Ichiro will be in the lineup playing his first game in pinstripes against his now former team the Mariners. It is unclear where Ichiro will be batting as Joe Girardi wanted to talk with him about it privately.

New York Giants Camp Preview: Defensive Line

A new NFL season is right around the corner as training camp is quickly approaching.  Leading up to the start of training camp, we will have a run down position-by-position for the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. 

The first position we will take a look at is the defensive line.

The projected starters along the defensive line are Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty and Linval Joseph.  Projected reserves expected to make an impact are ends Osi Umenyiora, Justin Trattou and Adrian Tracy and at tackle Rocky Bernard, Marvin Austin, and Shaun Rogers. 

The new additions to the line are Rogers and Markus Kuhn, as the Giants saw defensive end Dave Tollefson and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy leave.

The player to watch out of this group is Pierre-Paul.  Pierre-Paul had a breakout season in 2011-2012, racking up 16.5 sacks.  He joined Michael Strahan and Lawrence Taylor as the only Giants to ever get 16 or more sacks in a season.  Pierre-Paul will have all eyes on him as teammates and opponents will be looking out to see if he can have another successful season piggybacking off his first Pro Bowl appearance.

Duplicating his previous season will be no small task for Pierre-Paul, who made big plays on more than just defense.  Giant fans have fond memories of Pierre-Paul blocking the Dallas Cowboys field goal attempt to seal a win.  

It is scary to think that Pierre-Paul is still coming into his own and growing as an NFL player.  He is just still scratching the surface of his potential and it will be interesting to see how he grows and develops this season against teams that will surely be game-planning against him this season.

The Giants have arguably the best pass rush in the NFL and there is no reason to believe this strength will change this coming season.  Umenyiora for the first time in what seems forever will actually be in camp not complaining about his contract after agreeing to a restructuring earlier in the off-season.  Tuck has fixed his shoulder which gave him problems last season and is highly motivated to reach the level of play he is accustomed to playing at before injuries ravaged him.  JPP is an emerging star and factor in Mathias Kiwanuka being a situational pass rusher, the pass rush of the Giants remains their biggest strength nest to Eli Manning.

With every great thing, there is almost always a negative to follow and the same goes for the Giants defensive line.  Stopping the run is potentially a problem for this unit; opponents topped the 100 yard mark in 11 of 16 regular season games.  Canty and Joseph are solid tackles and with Bernard back and Austin returning after missing his whole rookie season should help shore up the run defense.  Rogers is a veteran and can handle himself.  The use of more linebackers on the field should also help in stopping the run game, as the Giants should look like a more traditional defense this season using three linebackers instead of three safeties.

The wild card of this group is Marvin Austin.  Austin has not played in a football game in two seasons, having to sit out his last year at North Carolina University and suffering an injury his rookie season in camp.  The Giants are eager to see what they have in Austin, as they used a second round pick on him last year with the thinking that he was a first round talent had it not been for the NCAA violations.  Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is excited to add Austin into the mix, saying he adds a dimension to the team with quickness that could proof troublesome for offensive lineman from the defensive tackle position.

Jets Trade for Jeff Otah

Jets Trade for Jeff Otah

The New York Jets were able to acquire Right Tackle Jeff Otah from the Carolina Panthers, by sending an undisclosed conditional draft pick for the 26 year old Otah.

Otah will be competing for a job with last years starter Wayne Hunter who is coming off a very bad season, as he was a glaring weakness on the line all season allowing 8 ½ sacks, and 11 penalties.

The trade for Otah will instantly start a competition for the starting spot, as the trade for Otah shows that the front office doesn’t have much faith in Hunter. Hunter does however have one supporter as offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has given Hunter a vote of confidence.

"This guy is the starting right tackle," DeGuglielmo said at the time. "Until they tell me otherwise, until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office, that son of a gun is going to be the starting right tackle. And he's going to play well."

Jeff Otah does come with a big question mark about his health as he has missed 31 of the last 35 games due to knee injuries. Otah has also recently tweaked the same knee that cost him to miss so much time in OTAs, but a MRI showed no damage.

Top Mets Prospect to Make Debut Thursday

Mets Top Prospect Matt Harvey to Make Debut

The New York Mets season is quickly falling apart, losing nine of ten games since the All-Star break and seeing their record drop under .500 for the first time all season to 47-48.

Help is on the way in the form of top prospect Matt Harvey.  Harvey will be in New York Monday and will be activated to the roster Tuesday.

Harvey will make his MLB debut Thursday night in Arizona against the Diamondbacks, the first game of a 10 game west coast trip for the Mets. 

Harvey, 23, has a 7-5 record with a 3.68 ERA this season pitching for Triple-A Buffalo.  He also has 112 strikeouts in his 110 innings of work. 

Harvey was the Mets first round pick in 2010 and will replace Miguel Batista, who was designated for assignment over the weekend, in the rotation for the foreseeable future. 

Rangers Acquire Rick Nash

Rangers Acquire Superstar Rick Nash

There will be a Nash playing home games at Madison Square Garden this season after all, as the New York Rangers have acquired winger Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Rangers traded away forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, blue line prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.

Nash is a seven-time 30+ goal scorer and will add some much needed offense to a Rangers team that lacked firepower, especially in the postseason when they averaged only 2.15 goals per game.

Dubinsky was a fan favorite of the Rangers faithful, but had an off year offensively after signing a four year $16 million contract before the season.  Dubinsky managed only 10 goals and 24 assists for the season in 77 games and was even less effective in the playoffs, managing only two assists in nine games.

 Anisimov scored 16 goals and added 20 assists in 79 regular season games and three goals and seven assists in 20 playoff games.

Erixon is said to have the highest ceiling of any player going to Columbus in the trade.  The 21 year old played in 18 regular season games as an injury replacement, accumulating two assists.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yankees Lose in Extras, Swept by Oakland

Yankees vs Athletics Post Game Recap 7/22

Yankees suffered a tough extra innings loss in the 12th inning to the Oakland Athletics by a score of 5-4, as the Yankees got swept as well to start their west coast trip.

Sabathia was pretty good in his second start off the DL in the no decision allowing six hits, one walk, three earned runs, and struck out six batters in his seven innings of work. Sabathia did however allow two solo homeruns to Athletics hitters, as Brandon Inge, and Kurt Suzuki both took C.C deep.

Rafael Soriano blew his second save of the season in the 9th inning as Seth Smith hit a solo shot to Center Field to tie the game.

Cody Eppley had a tough time in the series in Oakland after losing his first game of the season on Friday lost his second game on Sunday with another walk-off hit this time by Coco Crisp.

Curtis Granderson had big day in the lead-off spot with Jeter Getting the day off, as Granderson went 2 for 5 scoring a run in the 1st inning, and hitting his 26th homerun of the season in the 4th off former teammate Bartolo Colon.

Mark Teixeira saw himself in the second spot in the order for the second time this season and hit better there this time than earlier in the year going 2 for 6 with a RBI for his 65th of the season.

Robinson Cano was able to bounce back a day after he saw his 23 game hitting streak snapped by going 2 for 6.

Alex Rodriguez knocked in the other two Yankee runs with a RBI double in the 3rd inning, but it was his only hit of the game as he finished going 1 for 5 with three strikeouts.

Yankees will be heading north to Seattle to play a three game series to finish off the west coast trip, as Hiroki Kuroda (9-7, 3.46) will look to stop the losing streak against Kevin Millwood (3-7, 4.15).

Mets Swept By Dodgers, Fall Under .500

Sunday July 22, 2012
Final Score: 12 Innings, Los Angeles Dodgers: 8 New York Mets: 3
Mets Swept by Dodgers, Fall Under .500

The Mets lost to the Dodgers Sunday afternoon 8-3, resulting in a sweep of the series.  For the first time all season, the Mets record falls under .500 with the loss as their record drops to 47-48.  The Mets now sit five games behind the Atlanta Braves for the wild card and 8.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East division race.  The Mets have now lost eight of the nine games since the All-Star break and nine of ten overall.

Two other times this season, the Mets had been .500 entering a game and had been able to pull out a win, but not this afternoon.  The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Mets, as they finish the home stand against the Washington Nationals then head out west for a 10-game west coast trip with series against San Francisco, Arizona and San Diego.

Once again the Mets bullpen was tagged with the loss, something that is becoming too often of an outcome.  Ramon Ramirez imploded with two outs in the 12 inning, suffering the loss while surrendering five earned runs.  Ramirez surrendered three straight hits with the bases loaded to blow the game open.  The Mets bullpen had thrown four shutout innings prior to the meltdown, but once again was unable to hold the game.

The Mets have averaged five runs a game since the All-Star break, and looked like they were going to surpass that today. They were able to get 20 men on base today thanks to 16 hits and four walks but couldn’t make anything of them; the hitters just could not cash in.  The Mets stranded 14 runners on base, going 4 for 19 with runners in scoring position.  Multiple times the Mets had a chance to put this game away but were unable to come up with timely hits to knock in the go-ahead runs.  Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Lucas Duda and Josh Thole were the players to get the hits with runners in scoring position. 

It was another good outing for Jon Niese that was wasted and went for nothing.  Niese received the no-decision while tossing seven-plus innings surrendering only three earned runs.  He gave up eight hits, with the two big ones both coming in the sixth inning as Juan Rivera knocked his fifth homerun of the season over the wall and an Andre Ethier RBI single. 

Niese is taking full advantage of the injuries the Mets are suffering to their rotation by making the most of his chance at the number two spot.  Niese has allowed three or less earned runs in five of his past six outings and in his two starts since the break he has given up only four runs in 14 innings.

The Mets look to get back to .500 when they start a series against the first-place Washington Nationals at Citi Field Monday night.  Chris Young (2-4, 4.11 ERA) will attempt to stop the Mets losing streak against Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (7-6 2.35 ERA). 

Darrelle Revis Not Expected to Holdout

Darrelle Revis Not Expected to Holdout

Jets got good news that All-Pro Cornerback Darrelle Revis will be reporting to camp in Cortland on Thursday, as it was hinted by Revis at mini camp that he maybe holding out for the second time in three seasons.

If Revis didn’t show up to camp his wallet would have definitely felt it, as he would have forfeited a one million dollar reporting bonus, and would have been fined 30k per day.

The 4 year $46 million dollar deal was mostly front loaded with Revis only earning $13.5 million over the next two seasons, as the deal was believed to be a band-aid contract and that it would be addressed again this off-season.

Revis is one of if not the best Cornerback in the NFL, and Jets will need him him to anchor the secondary if they hope to get back to having one of the more dominant defenses in the NFL, and back into the playoffs in the AFC.

Mets Designate Miguel Batista for Assignment

Mets Designate Miguel Batista for Assignment

Miguel Batista will no longer be a part of “the best team in baseball,” as the Mets designated him for assignment before this afternoon’s game.

Batista, 41, is 1-3 with a 4.82 ERA making five starts and appearing in 25 other games as a reliever. 

Batista last pitched Saturday, suffering the loss after lasting only three innings and surrendering four earned runs.

“It was very tough,” Mets manger Terry Collins said of the decision.  “Miguel’s done a great job here.  He’s a first-class guy and brings a lot to the party as far as his clubhouse presence, especially that Dominican presence with [Jordany] Valdespin and a couple young guys.  He’s been great helping those guys mature at this level and he’s done a good job.”

Batista’s presence in the clubhouse might be missed, but not his performance on the field.  Designating Batista for assignment does cause some more problems for the Mets.  They are now in need of another starter to pitch Thursday’s game in Arizona as that was Batista’s next scheduled start.

This will add fuel to the fire of Mets top prospect Matt Harvey being called up to make the start.  Harvey did struggle in his start for Triple-A Buffalo Saturday, but his manager said that Harvey was not in the game.  It seemed more that his head was in New York than Buffalo with the rampant rumors that he would be called up.

“Hopefully he clears [waivers] and decides to stay and goes down and pitches a little bit more,” Collins continued to say before the Mets took on the Dodgers Sunday afternoon.

Right-handed reliever Elvin Ramirez was called up from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Batista for the time being. 

Yankees Shutdown again by Oakland Pitching

Yankees vs Athletics Post Game Recap 7/21

Yankees offensive struggles continued in Oakland as they lost to the Athletics for a third straight game by a score of 2-1 on Saturday.

Phil Hughes gave the Yankees a good start but with a lack of run support picked up his 8th loss of the season. Hughes went 7.2 innings allowing only four hits, two walks, and two earned runs while striking out six batters. The long ball hurt Hughes again as Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Inge both took Hughes deep for Oakland’s two runs.

Oakland’s rookie Jarrod Parker was able to keep the Yankees bats in check only allowing one run, and five hits in eight innings of work picking up the win.

Robinson Cano saw his 23 game hitting streak come to a end on Saturday night, as Cano went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

Alex Rodriguez was one of the few Yankees to have a good day at the plate going 2 for 4 with run scored, and his 11th stolen base of the season.

Raul Ibanez was the only Yankee to knock in a run with his base hit in the 4th inning scoring Alex Rodriguez for his 41st RBI of the year.

Yankees will try to avoid the four game sweep in Oakland on Sunday, as C.C Sabathia (10-3, 3.27) will face former teammate of last season Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88).