Saturday, August 18, 2012

Giants Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

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 fourth position we will take a look at is quarterback.

The projected starter at quarterback for the Giants is Eli Manning, with his backup expected to be David Carr. 

There are no new editions at the quarterback position, nor any players leaving.

The player to watch for the Giants at quarterback is obviously Manning.  Manning is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and in the prime of his career.  He is coming off his second Super Bowl victory and Super Bowl MVP award and only getting better as a player.  You can not do much better than David Carr as backup, as he provides a veteran presence behind Manning for the Giants in case Manning ever has to miss game time.  The Giants also like third-stringer Ryan Perrilloux, but it is unlikely for him to make the roster unless he beats out Carr as the Giants tend to carry only two quarterbacks as a time.

One strength that Manning provides this team is his ability to make those around him better.  Last season, Manning was charged with working in a new third receiver and starting tight end.  Manning was a big reason for the emergences of Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard as major contributors last season.  To make matters even tougher, he had to do all this behind a revamped offensive line and no team training because of the lockout limiting training camp.  This season, again, Manning is being asked to develop a new tight end and third receiver behind an offensive line that has shuffling parts.  There is no reason to believe that Manning cannot do it again, as players like Martellus Bennett, Bear Pascoe, Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden and Jerel Jernigan are all thought to have more talent that the group last season. 

The potential weakness for the quarterback position for the Giants is the offensive line.  Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has admitted during camp that he is concerned about the line.  He may not be overly concerned, but there are some things that raise some question marks.  Gilbride has an old face in a new place in David Diehl, who is moving to right tackle, and a left tackle in Will Beatty that is dealing with chronic back problems.  Kevin Boothe is being given the responsibilities at left guard and David Baas should improve upon a rocky first season as a Giant that was derailed by injury.  Manning needs to be protected by this line, as they surrendered 28 sacks last season and six in the NFC Championship game in San Francisco

The wild card for the Giants quarterbacks is the running game.  If the Giants are able to get a consistent running game, it will make Manning that much more dangerous.  Last season the Giants finished last in rushing.  Imagine the potential stats Manning could garner with a strong running game to play off of with the deep play action routes the Giants like to use.  Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, carrying the offense without an effective running game to rely on. With an improved running game, Manning may also have some pressure relieved in late game situations, not having to mount as many comebacks with a stronger running game. 

Santana Implosion Leads to Mets Loss

Friday, August 17, 2012
Final Score: New York Mets: 4 Washington Nationals: 6
Santana Implosion Leads to Mets Loss

The game got off to a great start for the Mets, who jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, behind Johan Santana.  That lead did not last long, as Santana suffered yet another implosion, leading to an insurmountable four run deficit by the 6th inning.

After retiring the first nine Nationals in order with relative ease, Santana ran into trouble in the fourth inning allowing three consecutive singles to start the inning to Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.  Michael Morse followed up the three singles with a grand slam homerun, giving the Nationals a 4-2 lead.  Santana was able to retire the next three batters in a row to end the inning, but again ran into trouble in the 5th inning.

Santana surrendered yet another long ball, this time giving up a two-run homerun to Harper.  This lengthened the Nationals lead to 6-2, putting the Mets in a deeper hole.  Santana was able to finish the inning, which ended up being his last of the night.

Santana’s stat line was underwhelming once again, the only positive being that he did not walk a batter.  He ended up throwing five innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and striking out four.

Santana became the first pitcher in Mets franchise history to allow six-plus earned runs in five consecutive starts and the first major league pitcher to allow that many runs in the same span since Mike Hampton, whose futility spanned from 2001 and 2002. 

The loss dropped Santana’s record to 6-9, the lowest he has been under .500 in his career in a single season.  In 2006 Santana opened the season with three straight losing decisions, but rebounded nicely finishing the season with a 19-6 record. 

Santana has been awful since throwing the no-hitter on June 1st, compiling an 8.27 ERA, allowing 68 hits, 13 of which were homeruns, in just 49 innings.  Because of these struggles, the Mets need to really look into possibly shutting Santana down for the remainder of the season or doing something more radical than moving to a six-man rotation. 

Santana is owed $31 million dollars next season including a 2014 contract buyout, so the Mets need to act in whatever fashion they see being the best for the team, as Santana could potentially account for  one-third of the Mets payroll.

The Mets had to deal with yet another uniform infraction Friday night, as Santana was forced to cover up the gold logo on his glove two nights after R.A. Dickey was forced to cut the bracelets off his wrist.  Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson said the lights were making a glare off the logo that was bothering him and getting in his eyes.  He then asked the umpire to take a look at the glove and cover the logo, even though none of his players had complained; only he had.

There were some highlights for the Mets tonight, as Kelly Shoppach launched a solo homerun in the 7th inning after going hitless in his first five at-bats as a Met.  Scott Hairston was able to tie a franchise record by hitting three doubles in the game and David Wright added two more hits to his numbers.

The Mets will look to avoid dropping to a season high eight games under .500 Saturday night behind Jon Niese (9-6, 3.67 ERA) against the Nationals’ Edwin Jackson (7-7, 3.47 ERA).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yankees Power Past Red Sox

Yankees vs. Red Sox Post Game Recap 8/17

The Yankees were able to take the series opener with the rival Red Sox beating them 6-4 on Friday night.

Phil Hughes was able to pickup his 12th win of the season bouncing back nicely from his bad start in Toronto. Hughes went seven innings allowing four hits, one walk, and four unearned runs. The third inning was where Hughes saw trouble giving up four unearned after a throwing error on him, the Red Sox were able to rally with Dustin Pedroia doing the major damage hitting a three-run homerun.

Rafael Soriano has become a sure thing in the 9th inning, as Soriano picked up his 30th save of the season putting the Red Sox down in order to end the game.

Derek Jeter was able to extend his hitting streak to 13 games with a milestone homerun for his 250th of his career, and 10th of the season.

Nick Swisher had a big day going 2 for 3 with a walk, and two solo homeruns for his 17th and 18th homeruns of the season.

Curtis Granderson also went deep for his 31st homerun of the season in the 2nd inning, as Granderson went 2 for 4.

Russell Martin went back to back with Granderson in the 2nd inning for his 13th of the season.

Yankees offense has scored in large part due to homeruns this season, and with five solo shots against the Red Sox including Jeter’s 10th of the season the Yankees now have 10 players with double digit homeruns.

The Yankees will look for another win over the Red Sox to continue to bury their playoff hopes, as David Phelps (3-3, 2.53) will face Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20) on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yankees Unable to Sweep Rangers

Yankees vs. Rangers Post Game Recap 8/16

The Yankees were unable to pull of the four game sweep over the Rangers, as the great Texas lineup came alive beating the Yankees 10-6.

Ivan Nova was not able to replicate his last start, as the Rangers bats got to Nova.  Ivan went 5.2 innings allowing seven hits, four walks, and four runs in the no decision.

The bullpen had one of its worse days of the seasons allowing six runs in the final 3.1 innings. Cody Eppley, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, and Clay Rapada all gave up one run with Chamberlain and Logan each giving up two runs.

Derek Jeter was able to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, as Jeter went 2 for 5 with a RBI, and run scored. Jeter did benefit from a hometown call on one of the hits could have been a fielders choice and an error on Elvis Andrus.

Andruw Jones batting cleanup with no Cano or Granderson in the lineup was able to hit a two-run shot in the 6th inning for his 13th of the season.

After a 3 for 3 day with his 20th double of the year, and a run scored Ichiro is now batting over .300 since joining the Yankees making it seem that him batting 8th may not be lasting much longer.

The best rivalry in baseball will add another chapter with the 4th place Red Sox coming to town with their playoff hopes in jeopardy, as Phil Hughes (11-10, 4.44) will face Franklin Morales (3-3, 3.29).

Garcia Shines in Win Over Rangers

Yankees vs. Rangers Post Game Recap 8/15

The Yankees were able overcome a long rain delay to get their third straight win over the Texas Rangers beating them 3-2.

Freddy Garcia was very good against the frightening Texas lineup in earning his 7th win of the season. Garcia went 6.2 innings allowing four hits, one walk, two runs, and had six strikeouts. The only runs Texas was able to manufacture were from MVP candidate Josh Hamilton who took Garcia deep twice for two solo homeruns in the 4th and 6th innings.

The formula worked for the Yankees in the bullpen, as David Robertson pitched a scoreless 8th striking out two batters, and Rafael Soriano was able to pickup his 29th save of the season going thru the heart of the Rangers lineup.

Derek Jeter was able to extend his hitting streak to 11 games going 1 for 4 with a walk, and a run scored.

Nick Swisher was able to drive in another run making it 9 RBIs in the last 4 games, as Swisher went 1 for 5 while hitting his 28th double of the season.

Eric Chavez is making Yankees fans quickly forget that Alex Rodriguez is even hurt, as after a 3 for 3 day with a RBI at the plate Chavez is now hitting .303 on the season.

Ichiro and Jayson Nix were both able to produce from the bottom of the order, as each went 2 for 4 with Nix scoring a run, and stealing his 4th base of the year.

Yankees will be looking for what could be a very impressive four game sweep over the Rangers on Thursday afternoon, as Ivan Nova (11-6, 4.70) will face Derek Holland (7-6, 4.92).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mets get Shutdown by Leake

Mets vs. Reds Post Game Recap 8/15

The Mets were unable to get much offense going for the second game straight losing to the Red 6-1.

Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Leake was great against the Mets throwing a complete game. Leake went the full nine innings allowing four hits, one run, and had four strikeouts.

Cy Young candidate R.A Dickey had one of his worst outings of the year getting his 4th loss of the season. Dickey went six innings allowing ten hits, two walks, five runs, and had nine strikeouts. Dickey did also give up three solo homeruns to Scott Rolen, Todd Frazier, and Jay Bruce. The start did come with some controversy, as the umpires made Dickey remove two bracelets that his daughters made him.

Mike Baxter was able to have a multi-hit game in the leadoff spot going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

Ruben Tejada was the other Met to get a hit off Leake, also having a multi-hit game going 2 for 4.

The Mets will be looking to avoid the sweep, as they send rookie Matt Harvey (1-3, 3.63) to the mound to face Homer Bailey (10-7, 4.08).

Rangers the favorites in the East?
Rangers General Manager Glen Sather made the move that all the Rangers fans wanted to see this off-season, an elite scorer in a Rangers sweater. 

With the acquisition of Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Rangers bulked up an offense that was less than stellar last season. The cost to bring Nash to the Rangers was Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a first round draft pick. 

Dubinsky was a fan favorite and could spark the Rangers with his speed and energy. Unfortunately Dubinsky had one of his worst offensive seasons scoring only 10 goals and recording 34 points for the year. Dubinsky's playoff performance was not much different. Dubi failed to find the back of the net and tallied only two assists in nine games. 

Artem Anisimov was a consistent third or fourth liner who put up respectable numbers for the Rangers. Anisimov netted 10 goals and recorded 30 assists in 79 games for the Blueshirts. 

As hard as it is to see these two players leave, it was obvious the Rangers offense needed serious help, especially the power play. 

Last season, Nash posted 30 goals and 59 points for the NHL worst Blue Jackets. Nash has scored 40 or more goals twice, and has scored 30 or more seven times. 

With Nash on Broadway, it is hard to believe that the Rangers are not the favorite coming out of the Eastern Conference in the 2012-13 season. The Blueshirts are coming off a remarkable season that ended in the Eastern Conference Finals, somewhere no one thought they would be at the beginning. 

Adding a 30 plus goal scorer to a roster with players like Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, and Ryan Callahan, has made the Rangers offense lethal instead of lacking. 

Of course there are teams in the East that can be considered favorites like the Pittsburgh Penguins, barring any injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and the Boston Bruins. The Philadelphia Flyers have suffered severely along the blue line, and could not land Nashville's Shea Weber when the Predators matched their offer sheet. The New Jersey Devils saw their captain Zach Parise leave for Minnesota during free agency, and were content just to re-sign their young talent, and Martin Brodeur is 40 year old goaltender. 

The Rangers seem to have found the missing piece that would make them a complete team, and a team that can make a Stanley Cup run. The added offense will help take the pressure off of Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist, and will not force Hank to make highlight reel saves game after game. 

The Rangers are a well balanced team that have already shown that they can shut teams down with their defense, and now added the necessary offense to make them a favorite to repeat as Atlantic Division Champions, and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jay Bruce Walk-Off Drops Mets

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Final Score: New York Mets: 0 Cincinnati Reds: 3
Jay Bruce Walk-Off Drops Mets

The Mets six game road trip started like how much of the home stand went; with a loss. Tuesday night they suffered a tough loss against the National League Central Division Cincinnati Reds 3-0.  It is looking less and less likely that the Mets will be playing in October, as anything short of a miracle will have them miss the postseason. 

The lone runs of the game came in walk-off fashion, as Jay Bruce launched a three-run homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel the Reds to victory.  Manny Acosta allowed the first two men of the inning to reach and left Josh Edgin was brought on to face Bruce.

Edgin got two strikes on Bruce, but after fouling off three pitches put the ball into the left field stands for a walk-off opposite field homerun, his 24th of the season.  The struggles of the bullpen have been an on going issue for the Mets all season, often ruining gritty performances by their starters like tonight.

Chris Young had a tough, gritty performance tonight, working in and out of trouble throughout his 5 2/3 innings.  He allowed the lead off hitter to get on base the first three innings of the game, and did not have a 1-2-3 inning all night as he allowed 12 Reds to reach base. 

Young’s final stat line wasn’t great, but he got through it without allowing any runs, ending with 5 2/3 innings pitched, allowing eight hits and four walks while striking out four.

All in all, the Mets pitching staff was able to strand 14 Reds on base throughout the night, but was unable to get out of the last jam of the night in the 9th inning.  There was no perfect inning for the Mets until the 8th inning by Jon Rauch.

The Mets offense left much to be desired tonight, stranding 10 runners of their own, including the bases loaded in the in the fourth and runners on second and third in the ninth.  Ruben Tejada added a double, giving him a hit in 17 of his last 18 games but was unable to come through with men on base on two separate occasions.

Matt Latos was able to dominate the Mets tonight, giving up only five hits and two walks (one intentional) in his seven innings of work while striking out four.  Sean Marshall and Jose Arredondo pitched the two final shutout innings for the Reds out of the bullpen. 

In the second game of the series, the Mets will have R.A. Dickey (15-3, 2.72 ERA) take the mound against Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51 ERA) of the Reds.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kuroda Dominates Rangers

Yankees vs. Rangers Post Game Recap 8/14

The Yankees were able to pull off their second straight win over the Texas Rangers behind a great start from Kuroda winning 3-0.

Hiroki Kuroda was sensational against the best lineup in baseball earning his 11th win of the season. Kuroda threw a complete game shutout while only allowing two hits, two walks, and getting five strikeouts.

Derek Jeter had another multi-hit game going 2 for 4 with a run scored, and now has 156 hits on the season leading the AL.

In a scoreless game Nick Swisher came thru in the 7th with a two-run homerun off Alexi Ogando for his 16th of the season.

Mark Teixeira followed Swisher with a solo homerun for his 23rd of the season, and hit his 25th double of the season earlier in the game.

Third baseman Casey McGehee is looking like a nice pickup filling in for Alex Rodriguez on days when Chavez needs rest, as McGehee went 2 for 4 in the game.

Yankees will look to keep it rolling against the Rangers, as Freddy Garcia (6-7, 4.64) will face Scott Feldman (7-6, 4.92).

Cromartie's Wish Comes True

Cromartie’s Wish Comes True

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie will see his wish come true, as one of the Jets better defenders will be lining up on the other side of the ball to play some wide receiver.

Cromartie has wanted to play a little receiver for years now, and came on ESPN’s show First Take telling them that he was the second best receiver on the team currently causing quite of bit of chatter. New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has made a package for Antonio, and he was practicing on Monday with the receivers. The Jets best receiver Santonio Holmes will miss his second straight game making it likely to see some Cromartie at wide receiver against the Giants.

“I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I've been waiting for the opportunity to try to play both ways in the NFL for a while. ... It's fun. It's an opportunity to get the ball in your hands and another challenge.”

 "You're not going to have him learn the entire offense, but maybe a couple of plays," Rex Ryan said. "There's no reason he can't do it. Certainly, he can be a weapon (with) the size and speed he brings to the table. We'll see how excited he is when he gets smacked by a safety. If somebody like that hits him, we'll see if that changes anything.”

Swisher's slam leads Yanks past Rangers

Nick Swisher hit his 200th career home run Monday night, a grand slam to be exact, and it pushed the Yankees past the American League West leading Texas Rangers.

The Yankees were trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning when Nick Swisher stepped up with the bases full of Yankees. Swisher took a Ryan Dempster pitch and drove it into the second deck in right field to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. It was Swisher's 15th homer of the season. Swisher finished the game going 2 for 4 with 5 RBI, and a run scored.
The Yankees loaded the bases once again in the third, but could only push one more run across with a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson.

David Phelps put the Yankees in a hole early giving up runs in the first two innings, but that is all the Rangers would get the rest of the game.Phelps went five innings allowing six hits, two runs, and striking out three Rangers batters while picking up his third win of the season.

Newly acquired Derek Lowe relieved Phelps, and went four innings, allowing no runs and recorded his first save since August 2001, a four inning save.

Texas Rangers starter Ryan Dempster has struggled since coming over from the National League. In his first three starts with the Rangers, Dempster has given up 24 hits, and 16 earned runs. In his previous seven starts, while with the Cubs, Dempster gave up only seven runs.

Eric Chavez continued his hot hitting while replacing the injured Alex Rodriguez. Chavez went 2 for 4 with one RBI, and a run scored, and hit his 13th home run of the season.

Chavez has been on fire since replacing Rodriguez at the end of July. Since July 30th, Chavez is hitting .471 (16 for 34), with five home runs, 10 RBI, and 10 runs scored. Chavez's production has help eased the loss of Rodriguez's bat in the lineup, and the power numbers between the two are not far apart.

Chavez has hit 13 home runs in 198 at bats, while Rodriguez has hit only 15 home runs in 352 at bats this season.

The Yankees and Rangers continue their series tonight at Yankee Stadium at 7 p.m. Hiroki Kuroda (10-8 3.24) will be on the hill for the Yankees, while Matt Harrison (13-6 3.31) will go for the Rangers.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Giants Fall to Jaguars to Open Preseason

Friday, August 10th 2012
Giants Drop Preseason Opener in Jacksonville

The first game of the preseason for the New York Giants gave an opportunity for players to show why they deserve a spot on the 53 man roster with the defending champions.  It also gave some reasons as to why some people shouldn’t. 

There isn’t much to take from preseason games other than getting a look at newcomers. 

David Wilson, the Giants first round pick out of Virginia Tech, was the last running back to take a carry on Friday night for Big Blue.  On his first carry he was sandwiched by tow Jaguars and then broke off a 26 yard burst up the middle quick enough that if you blinked you would have missed it. On his third carry he was hammered for a five yard loss.

Wilson also caught two passes, the first of which was a screen play in which he ran over two Jaguars.  In his short appearance, Wilson showed the ability to break the big play and toughness, two things the Giants need from their running game this season that was lacking last year. 

The battle for the backup running back position behind Ahmad Bradshaw looks like it is going to be fierce throughout camp.  In addition to Wilson, the Giants also have D.J. Ware and Andre Brown fighting it out. 

Ware was solid, getting the first crack after Bradshaw Friday night.  Ware got five carries for 30 yards, including a two-yard touchdown, showing elusiveness and quickness.

Brown got the next shot and looked impressive his first two carries which resulted in 19 yards.  He was later stuffed in a third-and-one attempt, finishing with seven carries for 25 yards and one reception for four yards. 

Second round pick Rueben Randle was not to be outshined by his fellow rookie, as he showed some glimpses of his potential as well.  Randle made two receptions on the night, the first a 21 yard catch and the second one a six-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone.  The touchdown reception was a good look at Randle taking the size advantage he has and putting it to use.

The wide receiving corps are set at the top with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, once he returns from injury, but there will be a competition for the third receiver spot.  Randle had a strong showing but will have to hold off veterans Domenik Hixon, who sat with a hamstring injury and is returning from an ACL tear last season, and Ramses Barden, as well as second year player Jerel Jernigan. 

Jernigan just missed making a spectacular play with one hand as it seemed Jaguars corner Williams Middleton was holding down his other hand.  Isiah Stanback did make a highlight reel play later in the game, snagging the ball out of the air with one hand for a touchdown off a pass from David Carr.

Last season’s first round pick Prince Amukamara has some expectation so fill this season especially if he is needed to fill in for Terrell Thomas.  Amukamara struggled in the beginning of the game, being targeted by the Jaguars offense throughout the first drive, getting burned multiple times and eventually surrendering a touchdown to Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts. 

Amukamara would redeem himself the next drive, stripping Shorts of the ball resulting in the Giants recovering the fumble.  Amukamara is the guy the Giants want replacing Thomas if it comes down to it, he just needs to get more reps under his belt after a rocky rookie campaign.

Free agent tight end signed Martellus Bennett has made some waves in training camp with his mouth and backed it up at least for one game Friday night.  Bennett referred to himself as the “Black Unicorn” because of his blend of speed and size and showed off some of those talents reeling in three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown.  The Giants are expecting good things from Bennett not only in the passing game but blocking as well.

The rookies from Virginia Tech, Wilson and cornerback Jayron Hosley, had impressive showings on special teams.  Special teams for the Giants were weak last year, lacking an explosion in the return game; Wilson and Hosley have the ability to change that this season. 

Wilson averaged 38 yards a kick return, highlighted by a 48 yard return in the second quarter.  Hosley made a costly mistake muffing a punt, but did have solid returns before the muff going for 34 yards on three returns.

Hosley was also solid on defense, getting a sack and showing solid coverage skills.  If Hosley is able to limit his mistakes, he has an outstanding chance of being a real contributor this season. 

Other Giants to make positive impacts were Adrian Tracy, looking to make an impact in the spot vacated by Dave Tollefson this season.  Mark Herzlich also looked strong throughout the game at the linebacker position and could potentially push Chase Blackburn for his starting spot. 

Next up for the Giants is a meeting with the Jets at MetLife Stadium August 18th.  It will be the first look for the Giants at Tim Tebow. 

Johan Santana Rocked in Return From DL

Saturday August 11th, 2012
Final Score: Atlanta Braves: 9 New York Mets: 3
Santana Rocked in Return from DL

Johan Santana wishes he could be back making rehab starts in the minor leagues after getting hammered by the Braves Saturday night, resulting in a 9-3 Mets defeat.  The Mets dropped six games under .500 for the first time all season, giving them the worst record they have had all season and falling further and further behind in the playoff races.

Santana’s return off the DL did not go as planned for the Mets.  He matched the shortest start of his career, lasting only 1 1/3 innings and giving up eight earned runs.  This was the second time this season that Santana was pulled after 1 1/3 innings against the Braves; the first occurrence was April 17th at Turner Field.

Santana’s final stat line for the night was 1 1/3 innings pitched, eight hits, eight runs, one walks and two strikeouts. 

Santana joined Al Leiter in 1999 and Pedro Astacio in 2002 as the only Mets pitchers in franchise history to surrender six plus runs in four straight starts.  In those four starts, Santana has allowed 27 earned runs on 36 hits and six walks in only 14 innings.

Since throwing the first no-hitter in Mets history, Santana has been off his game.  Fatigue in his shoulder after throwing a career high 134 pitches could be the culprit, but no matter what the reason Santana has not been producing.  He has pitched to a 7.98 ERA with a .328 opponents batting average. 

Jeremy Hefner was strong in his relief of Santana after allowing Freddie Freeman to launch a homerun to center field past the apple.  Hefner went 3 2/3 innings after, scattering three hits.  It was a much needed performance for Hefner who was spared a demotion only because Garrett Olson was designated for assignment.

Manny Acosta, Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco combined to finish the last four innings of the game, giving up only one hit and striking out six Braves.

Kris Medlen had a strong performance for the Braves, limiting the Mets to only one run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. 

Ruben Tejada lost his hitting streak Friday night against the Braves, but got right back in the hit column with two more Saturday night.  Andres Torres had another nice night at the plate, going 2 for 4 with an RBI.  David Wright added an RBI of his own in the 8th inning as well.

The series between the Mets and Braves will end Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.  Jon Niese (8-6, 3.82 ERA) will take the mound against Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41 ERA). 

Yankees Unable to Sweep Blue Jays

Yankees vs Blue Jays Post Game Recap 8/12

The Yankees had their 4 game winning streak snapped by the Blue Jays who were able to avoid the sweep beating the Yankees 10-7.

Yankees starter Phil Hughes had a very bad start against a lineup that he should have dominated losing his 10th game of the season. Hughes was only able to go four innings allowing nine hits, one walk, and seven runs.

New call-up Ryota Igarashi didn’t pitch very well coming in after Hughes letting the Blue Jays extend the lead even more. Igarashi pitched two innings allowing three hit, one walk, and three runs.

Blue Jays left fielder Rajai Davis had a career day against the Yankees going 2 for 5 with five RBIs, a run scored, and a stolen base. Davis also make a spectacular catch robbing Casey McGehee of a homerun in the 7th inning.

Derek Jeter continues to his hot hitting going 3 for 5. Jeter ripped his 23rd double of the season knocking in a run, and hit a solo shot in the sixth inning for his ninth homerun of the season.

Robinson Cano was also able to hit a homerun in the sixth inning, a two-run shot scoring Nick Swisher for his 25th homerun of the season.

Nick Swisher was able to have a nice multi-hit game going 2 for 5 while scoring a run, and knocking in Jeter for his 58th RBI of the season.

Catcher Russell Martin was the only Yankee starter that wasn’t able to get at least one hit going 0 for 4, as he had a shot to get above the .200 mark in the game but was unable to get a hit.

The Yankees will be heading home to start a big seven game home-stand against the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. The Yankees will start the series with Texas on Monday as it is believed David Phelps (2-3, 2.42) will take C.C Sabathias start, and will face Ryan Dempster (1-0, 6.35).

Eric Smith to Miss Rest of Preseason

Eric Smith to Miss Rest of Preseason

In the loss to Cincinnati the Jets also lost safety Eric Smith for the rest of the preseason with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

The injury occurred in the second quarter on a punt, as Smith is one of the Jets best special team’s players.

Smith wasn’t figured to be a starter before the injury but was going to be playing on defense in different formations. Smith was also the main backup for starting safety LaRon Landry who is coming of an Achilles tendon injury, and has been on a limit on how much he can play still.

The Jets may need to make a move if they think Smith might miss some regular season games, and may look to bring back Brodney Pool who was cut by the Cowboys last week, and would be familiar with the defense due to playing on the Jets last two seasons.

Yankees Win Fourth Straight

Yankees vs. Blue Jays Post Game Recap 8/11

The Yankees were able to make it four straight wins on the road trip by beating the Blue Jays 5-2.

Ivan Nova who has been awful since the All-Star break may have found his old self in picking up his 11th win of the season. Nova was able to go 7.2 innings allowing five hits, one walk, and two runs. The biggest thing for Nova in this start was he located his slider and curveball using them both to get 9 of his 10 strikeouts.

The final five outs went smoothly for the Yankees, as Robertson got the final two outs in the 8th, and Soriano pitched a 1-2-3 9th to earn his 28th save of the year.

Derek Jeter with another multi-hit game going 2 for 5 was able to reach the 150 hit mark for the season, and also knocked in 35th RBI.

Casey McGehee had his best game in pinstripes going 2 for 4 while hitting a three-run homerun in the 4th inning, and scoring a run in the 6th inning.

Catcher Chris Stewart continues to hit when he plays going 1 for 4 hitting his 7th double of the season.

Yankees will look for the sweep over the Blue Jays, as Phil Hughes (11-9, 4.10) will face J.A. Happ (0-1, 6.35).