Friday, August 31, 2012

Mets Take Series Opener Behind Davis and Dickey

Friday, August 31st 2012
Final Score: New York Mets: 3 Miami Marlins: 0
Ike Davis and R.A. Dickey Power Mets to Victory

The good play of the Mets continued Friday night in their series opener against the Miami Marlins, as they took the opener 3-0.  Not much offense was provided by the Mets in the game tonight, but it was not needed as R.A. Dickey dominated the Marlins for his third shutout of the season.

The great performance by Dickey tonight gives him 17 on the season, tying him for the major league lead with Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Cueto and Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez, who also got his 17th win tonight.

Dickey threw a complete game shutout tonight, giving him five complete games on the season; that is the most complete games in a season for a Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1993. 
Dickey was helped out by a move made pre-game by manager Terry Collins, as he inserted Florida native Andres Torres into the starting lineup in centerfield for the game.  Collins cited the spacious outfield at Marlins Park for the move, and it paid off as Torres made a good play with a runner on first and no outs in the eighth inning as the Mets were trying to preserve the shutout and win for Dickey.

On the night, Dickey gave up five hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts.  Dickey improved his season totals to a 17-4 record with a 2.63 ERA.

Ike Davis provided all of the offensive fire power at the plate tonight for the Mets, accounting for all three of the RBI’s.  Davis got the Mets on the board in the 4th inning, hitting a sacrifice fly that scored Ruben Tejada.  Tejada deserves as much credit as Davis for getting the run across the plate, as his aggressive and smart base running put him in position to score on something other than a base hit.

Davis would add the finishing touches in the 7th inning, launching his 18th road homerun of the season and 25th overall on the season.  Davis planted the homerun in the upper-deck in right field.  His 18 road homers are the most in the National League and the 25 are just adding to his career high. 

Jose Reyes went hitless in the game tonight, something that Met fans will undoubtedly take pleasure in as there are still some hostile feelings towards Reyes after he left this past off-season. 

For all of the futility the Mets have faced recently, they have actually been pretty successful on the road.  They have accrued a 73-70 record on the road under Collins, something that should be built off of.  If the Mets can continue to play at or above .500 on the road and excel at home, success should follow soon after.

Next up for the Mets and Marlins is a Saturday night game at 7:10 P.M. ET.  Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.65 ERA) will take the mound against Josh Johnson (7-11, 4.00 ERA).

Jets go Winless in Preseason

Jets vs. Eagles Post Game Recap 8/30

The Jets lost their final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 28-10, but were able to score their first touchdown of the season thanks to third string quarterback Greg McElroy.

Greg McElroy looked very good getting the start at quarterback with Sanchez and Tebow sitting out the final preseason game. McElroy did what Sanchez and Tebow could not in the previous three games, and that was score a touchdown. McElroy was able to get the Jets in the end zone with a 6 yard pass to Terrance Ganaway. McElroy was 12 for 17 with 90 yards passing, and had 5 carries for 33 yards.

Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell got a majority of the carries for the Jets, as McKnight had 9 carries for 38 yards, and Powell had 8 carries for 26 yards.

Newly acquired Jason Smith impressed getting the start at left tackle playing the whole first half. Austin Howard’s second start didn’t go as well as his first, as Howard allowed a sack on the first series. The leash on Howard will be very short, and with Mario Williams lining up against him week one it will be a tough task for Howard to hold his starting spot if he struggles.

Quinton Coples was the stand out player for the Jets defense against the Eagles, and throughout the preseason. Coples had a sack and a half against the Eagles giving him 4.5 sacks for the preseason, as it would seem he can get to the quarterback which is exactly what the Jets drafted him to do.

Nick Folk a few days after winning the starting kicking job over Josh Brown was able to kick a 58 yard field goal quite the accomplishment preseason or not.

The Jets had a very disappointing preseason only scoring one touchdown with the starting offense looking awful for the most part, and going 0-4. The positive for the Jets is despite how bad the Jets looked in preseason it will mean nothing once they step on the field to face the Buffalo Bills next Sunday to open the regular season.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Giants Win Preseason Finale in Super Bowl Rematch

Wednesday, August 30th 2012
Final Score: New England Patriots: 3 New York Giants: 6
Giants Win Super Bowl Rematch in Preseason Finale

The New York Giants defense of their Super Bowl title is officially underway after closing out the preseason with a 6-3 victory over the New England Patriots Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium.  It was an ugly game for the night, as the Patriots sat all of their starters and the Giants ones played seldom. 

The offense for the Giants looked sluggish, but the main goal was to get through the game healthy heading into the regular season.  This was a more important game for the backups who are fighting for roster spots as the Giants will need to cut their roster down to 53 men Friday.

Hakeem Nicks made his preseason debut Wednesday night, making one catch for six yards.  Nicks has performed well in practice since being cleared from his broken foot in May.  The most important thing was that he made it through the game without any setbacks and looks ready for opening night next week. 

“It felt really good to be out there for the first time this preseason,” Nicks said.  “Went out there, got my feet wet, got a couple reps.  It was exactly what I needed to know that I’ll be ready for next week.”

Nicks continued, “It was pretty much what I expected. No problem with the foot.  It felt good and I’ll be ready to start the season.”

Nicks’ outlook is positive news for the Giants who aren’t without problems heading into the season opener next week against the Cowboys.  The offensive line struggled mightily, as Chris Snee, Will Beatty and James Brewer all sat on the sidelines with injuries.  The running game was unable to get going and three sacks were given up in the first half alone.

Andre Brown was able to put on a good performance in the second half behind good, hard running.  The offensive line still has some work to do if they are to keep Manning clean and have a successful running game.  Left tackle is one position to look at, as Beatty has returned to practice but Sean Locklear has been solid throughout his starts in the preseason. 

The competition in the Giants backfield at running back will go down to the last minute before roster cuts.  David Wilson struggled in his start for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, gaining only 13 yards on eight carries.  Wilson should still open the season as the primary backup behind Bradshaw because of the work he has put in the rest of the preseason.

Brown had an impressive start to the second half, gaining 52 yards rushing and catching a nine-yard reception as well.  But Brown did show some exhaustion, fumbling the ball in the fourth quarter near the Giants goal line that was recovered by Bear Pascoe at the one-yard line. 

D.J Ware came in as the third-down back behind Wilson, but did not get extended playing time as the Giants know what they have in Ware and wanted to see more from Brown and Da’Rel Scott.

Coming up for the Giants is the last roster cut Friday and then the season opener next Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium against the rival Dallas Cowboys.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Giants Drop Third Preseason Game to Bears

Friday, August 24th 2012
Final Score: Chicago Bears: 20 New York Giants: 17
Giants Drop Third Preseason Game to Bears

In what is the biggest tune-up for the regulars before the regular season begins, the Giants had a good performance.  The starters looked sharp for the Giants, performing very well in the two-plus quarters of action they saw.

Eli Manning had a good night for the Giants, completing 17 of 21 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown.  He looked to be in mid-season form and will most likely see very limited or no action in the last preseason game Wednesday night against the Patriots.  Manning’s backfield mate for the game David Wilson was electrifying as well.

Wilson, who was making the start for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, showed many of the qualities the Giants thought he had when they made him their first round pick in this past season’s draft.  Wilson had five carries for 49 yards and two receptions for 26 yards.  He showed the big play ability the Giants are hoping he brings, with a 20-yard run and a 29-yard reception.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/timsmith25s-1-web.jpg

Wilson was impressive, using an array of moves to make plays for the Giants offense.  He looked fasted, broke tackles and was physical finishing off his runs always falling forwards and not being driven back. 

The rest of the running backs did what they were expected to as well, as D.J. Ware was brought in on third downs behind Wilson and Andre Brown got goal line duty, scoring a touchdown.  Da’Rel Scott was also impressive in a strong outing, making an impact on special teams as well.

With the performances in the preseason so far, the primary backup to Bradshaw should be Wilson’s job to lose.  He has performed well and brings the most to the Giants offense of all the running backs.

The receiving core was highlighted by the play of Ramses Barden.  Barden had his best showing of the preseason, snagging three receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.  He also drew a pass interference flag on a fade pattern in the end zone.

Barden was squarely on the roster bubble heading into the last two games of the preseason, needing strong performances to show the Giants he deserved to stay on the roster.  For at least one game, he stepped up.  Developing chemistry with Manning will go a long way for Barden, who hasn’t been able to get the necessary reps in the pat because of injuries.

The special teams for the Giants were a strong point Friday night as well.  Steve Weatherford had another terrific night punting, and Da’Rel Scott made a big play blocking a punt.  Scott probably cemented his spot on the roster with his performance on special teams, as the Giants value players who can do the little things and making plays on special teams is always a positive.  On the kickoff after the Giants scored off Scott’s block, Mark Herzlich was run into by Eric Weems, causing a fumble that the Bears recovered on their own two-yard line.

All wasn’t positive for the Giants though, as the injury bug bit again in the secondary.  For the second straight week, the Giants lost a starting cornerback to injury; this time it was Prince Amukamara. 

Amukamara suffered a high ankle sprain when tackling Brandon Marshall in the first quarter.  His x-rays taken were negative, but a high ankle sprain can take weeks to heal. 

The injury is a big blow to the Giants, who were hoping Amukamara would be able to step into the hole left when Terrell Thomas was injured.  Thomas remains out indefinitely after re-aggravating his torn ACL and Jayron Hosley is still sidelined with turf toe.  A Hosley return would go a long way for the Giants as he was performing well in the secondary and on special teams as a punt returner.

Michael Coe, Justin Tryon and Bruce Johnson all have a big opportunity to make a name for themselves now that they will be pressed into playing time. 

Mathias Kiwanuka also suffered a strained groin, but he has already said that he will ready for the regulars season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

Up next for the Giants is the Monday deadline to cut their roster down to 75 players and then the preseason finale Wednesday night against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium.

Yankees Bounce Back Against Blue Jays

Yankees vs Blue Jays Post Game Recap 8/28

The Yankees were able to bounce back from a tough loss on Monday with a win on Tuesday over the Blue Jays beating them by a score of 2-1.

Phil Hughes looked really good in earning his 13th win of the season. Hughes went seven innings allowing four hits, three walks, one run, and had 5 strikeouts. Hughes was able to reach a career milestone with his final strikeout in the 7th inning it was his 500th of his career.

Rafael Soriano was able to have a bounce back night after his blown save on Monday. Soriano looked on point and was lighting up the radar gun striking out two batters, and earned his 34th save of the season.

Nick Swisher getting the start at first base for the injured Teixeira was able to keep his bat hot going 1 for 3 with a RBI base hit, and a walk.

Newly reacquired Steve Pearce played his first game in the majors for the Yankees after playing in the minors for them earlier in the season. Pearce was thrown into the cleanup spot showing how weak the Yankees order can be against lefties. He wasn’t able to get a hit going 0 for 2 with a walk, and run scored.

Jayson Nix got the start at third base due to a lefty pitching and Casey McGehee being sent down until September call ups, and was able to go 2 for 3 with a run scored.

Yankees will be looking to take the rubber game on Thursday afternoon, as C.C Sabathia (13-3, 3.44) will face J.A Happ (2-1, 4.15).

Mark Teixeira Injures Calf

Mark Teixeira Injures Calf

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a strained calf in the 4th inning causing him to leave them game after scoring on a base hit by Russell Martin.

The injury was diagnosed as a grade 1 calf strain the same injury that caused Derek Jeter to miss 3 weeks last year. The Yankees are expecting Teixeira to miss around 1-2 weeks which will be a big blow to a lineup that is already missing Alex Rodriguez.

"I don't know; It could be as little as a week," said Teixeira, whose calf was wrapped in the locker room. "Or it could be two weeks, but I don't really know."

The Yankees will have options to fill in for Teixeira at first, as Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez, Casey McGehee, and newly reacquired Steve Pearce can all play the position giving Girardi some options.

Mark Teixeira was hitting .255 with 23 homeruns, and 81 RBIs batting mostly in the cleanup spot for the Yankees.

The Yankees will be entering a tough spot in their schedule with lots of important division games, and will try to hold on to their slim 3.5 game lead over the Orioles while they try to get healthy.

Yankees Lose to Blue Jays in Extras

Yankees vs. Blue Jays Post Game Recap 8/27

The Yankees suffered a tough extra innings loss to the Blue Jays losing to the Jays 8-7 in 11 innings after having the lead most of the game.

David Phelps did a good job filling in for Ivan Nova, as Phelps left the game in position to pick up the win. Phelps went 6.1 innings allowing five hits, one walk, four runs, and had seven strikeouts. The long ball did hurt Phelps a bit, as he gave up a solo shot to Adam Lind, and a two-run shot to Yorit Torrealba.

It looked like the Yankees were on their way to the win with a two run lead in the 9th and Rafael Soriano on the mound but he was unable to get it done. Soriano gave up a three-run homerun to Colby Rasmus which gave the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead at the time.

Derek Lowe picked up the loss in extras, as a costly error by Lowe on a pickoff attempt to first base allowed Mike McCoy to go to third base and later scored the game winning run.

Captain Clutch Derek Jeter was able to come thru in a big spot hitting a game tying solo homerun in the bottom of the 9th inning for his 14th homer of the season.

Nick Swisher was able to hit a two-run shot in the 5th inning for his 20th homerun of the season, but was 1 for 6 in the game with three strikeouts.

Robinson Cano is heating up at the right time for the Yankees now, as Cano was able to hit two solo homeruns for his 26th and 27th homeruns of the season.

Eric Chavez when in the lineup continues to play well going 3 for 4 with a walk, and run scored.

The Yankees may have suffered another big injury blow to the team as Mark Teixeira left the game in the 4th inning with a grade 1 calf strain and is expected to miss some time.

The Yankees will look to rebound after the tough loss, as Phil Hughes (12-11, 4.15) will face Ricky Romero (8-11, 5.63).

Jets Fall to Panthers in Third Preseason Game

Jets vs Panthers Post Game Recap 8/26

The New York Jets lost their third game of the preseason to the Carolina Panthers by a score of 17-12, as the Jets weren’t able to score a touchdown yet again.

Mark Sanchez was unable to get the Jets a touchdown this preseason, as he wont be playing in the fourth game. Sanchez did look ok against the Panthers though passing for 123 yards on 11 for 18 with an interception that bounced of the hands of Stephen Hill. Sanchez also was let down by Santonio Holmes who dropped a pass that would have netted a nice gain.

Tim Tebow didn’t look very good throwing the football on Sunday night, as he threw for 55 yards on 4 for 14 passing with a head scratching interception that hit Reggie Smith in the numbers. Tebow did show that great running ability that he has rushing for 45 yards on 5 carries including a 20 yard rush that got the crowd excited.

The Jets rushing offense continued to struggle, as Shonn Greene only rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries for a mere 3.6 yards a carry. Backup running back Bilal Powell didn’t have much success either rushing 8 times for 29 yards also only 3.6 yards a carry.

The Jets receiving core was at full strength against the Panthers with Santonio Holmes, and Jeremy Kerley back in the lineup. In his first game of the preseason Holmes caught 1 pass for 8 yards, and had one bad drop. Stephen Hill was targeted the most out of the Jets wide receivers making 5 catches for 68 yards with one 32 yard catch. Hill did however had a costly drop that hit off his hands right and bounced right to the Panthers for a interception. Dustin Keller did start the game with a nice catch for 24 yards but came up hobbling with a hamstring injury and week 1 is in question for him.

The offensive line did look much better protecting the quarterback as Austin Howard was impressive not allowing any sacks, and doing a very good job on a good defensive end in Charles Johnson. Wayne Hunter did get some playing time with the second unit, and proceeded to allow Tebow to be sacked.

The Jets defense did look very good again holding one of the bright young stars in the NFL in Cam Newton to a sub-par game. Cam was only 6 for 15 with 60 yards passing, and rushed twice for 16 yards. LaRon Landry had another nice game for the Jets showing that if he can stay healthy and on the field he will be a great add. Landry had his 2nd interception of the preseason, and had 4 tackles. Bart Scott also looked good recovering a fumble, and had 3 tackles. Jets rookie Quinton Coples seems to have a knack for getting to the quarterback, as he was able to get another sack against the Panthers.

Jets special teams was pretty solid as Nick Folk won the kicking job going 3 for 3 on his kicks, and Josh Brown who went 1 for 2 was let go on Monday. T.J Conley was able to bounce back from a tough game against the Giants with 2 punts for 113 yards for a whopping 56.5 yards per punt. Joe McKnight continued his last season kick returning success returning 3 kicks for 98 yards including a 42 yard return.

The Jets will be playing their final preseason game of the season as they look to score a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jets Trade Wayne Hunter to Rams

Jets Trade Wayne Hunter

The New York Jets have decided to trade recently benched, and struggling right tackle to the St. Louis Rams for former 1st round pick tackle Jason Smith.

Wayne Hunter was benched a couple days before the Carolina game for Austin Howard who certainly played better than Hunter in the starting spot. Hunter also allowed a sack with the back up unit in the 4th quarter of the Carolina game.

Jason Smith has also like Hunter seen his struggles as the former 2nd overall pick in the 2009 draft was benched by the Rams. Smith has battled poor play and injuries with a few concussions, and the Rams felt it was time to move on. Smith has played in 29 games with 26 starts in his three seasons with the Rams.

The starting right tackle spot should be safe for Austin Howard after the Carolina game, but a trade for Smith will provide some depth to right tackle spot in case Howard struggles moving forward. Jets fans will be happy to see Hunter gone after his poor play last season, and this preseason.

Ike Davis Blasts Mets to Win

Sunday, August 26th 2012
Final Score: Houston Astros: 1 New York Mets: 2
Ike Davis Blasts Mets to Walk-Off Win

It was not a successful home stand by any means for the Mets, but they were able to end it on a high note winning 2-1 Sunday afternoon.  The win makes it two in a row for the Mets, who won only their second series since the All-Star break. 

Ike Davis supplied all the offense for the Mets today, launching two solo homeruns in the course of the game.  In the fourth inning, Davis hit is first homer to right field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Davis hit a walk off with another shot to right field.  Davis now has 24 homeruns and 70 RBI’s on the season, which offsets his woeful .223 batting average, .293 on-base percentage and .447 slugging percentage.  Davis may be underwhelming with the batting average and on-base percentage this season, but has more than respectable power given where he plays home games.  He will be a key part of the Mets future as they will need people to mash the ball and Davis is a good fielder.

Starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner should not be overlooked.  He had a strong performance, coming within three outs of a complete game shut out.  He was hurt by a dropped ball in leftfield by Lucas Duda, but nonetheless had a good performance. 

Hefner dominated the Astros through eight innings, giving up only three hits and striking out seven over that span.  During that same stretch, the Astros were only able to get one runner even into scoring position. 

Hefner’s final line was 8+ innings, five hits, one earned run, one walk and seven strikeouts. 

As mentioned, Duda made his return to the major league club and played a big role in his first game back.  He gave up a run unable to make a catch in the 9th inning, but did not let that get to him as he saved the Mets later in the inning by throwing out Marwin Gonzalez at the plate and preserving the 1-1 tie. 

At the plate, Duda went 0 for 2 with a walk, making his first appearance in the majors since being sent down July 24th

After being demoted earlier in the day, Jordany Valdespin may never actually make it to Buffalo.  He was sent down to get some work at his natural position of second base, but there is now a need at second with Daniel Murphy suffering an injury.

Murphy left the game in the top of the ninth inning after being visited by a trainer during his at-bat in the bottom of the eighth.  Murphy was able to finish his at-bat, but was replaced in the field by Ronny Cedeno. 

The Mets will be back on the road for a nine-game road trip starting Tuesday night in Philadelphia against the Phillies.  Chris Young (3-7, 4.33 ERA) will be opposed by Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06 ERA).  The Phillies enter the series two games ahead of the Mets for third place in the NL East.  

Yankees Reacquire Steve Pearce

Yankees Reacquire Steve Pearce

The New York Yankees were able to get first base/outfielder Steve Pearce back from the Houston Astros for cash.

Pearce was on the Yankees playing in the minors until June 2nd before he was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles. Pearce was playing very well in Scranton hitting .318 with 11 homeruns, and 30 RBIs. He was designated for assignment by the Orioles, and picked up by the Astros where he hit .254 with 8 RBIs.

In order to make room for Pearce the Yankees designated Brandon Laird for assignment. The Yankees will hope Pearce can give them a right handed bat off the bench, as they have struggled hitting lefties since Alex Rodriguez went to the DL.

Nick Folk Wins Kicking Job

The New York Jets decided to stick with kicker Nick Folk for another season releasing Josh Brown on Monday.

Josh Brown who was brought in after being cut by the Rams probably did himself in on Sunday by missing a 45-yard field goal against the Carolina Panthers, and Brown was out played in camp by a little bit too as the Jets were leaning towards Folk heading into Sundays game.

 Special team’s coordinator Mike Westhoff last Friday called it "absolutely the most efficient, competitive battle I've ever seen. I've had some great kickers in my career, but no one's had a better camp than these two guys have had. It's the best kicking competition I've ever seen."

Nick Folk was able to hit all four of his attempts this season but does lack the touchback power on the kickoffs that Josh Brown had. Last season for the Jets Folk was 19-25 on his attempts, but the Jets will hope he can get some more touchbacks during regular season.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yankees Take Rubber Game Against Indians

Yankees vs. Indians Post Game Recap 8/26

The New York Yankees were able to beat the Indians by a score of 4-2 to take the rubber game in a series that the Yankees really need to win after being swept by the White Sox.

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia was ok in picking up the no decision but surely Girardi would have liked to him last longer in the game. Garcia went 4.2 innings allowing four hits, two walks, two runs, and had six strikeouts.

The bullpen was great for the Yankees and that started with Boone Logan in the 5th inning getting out of the jam he was brought into he then proceeded to pitch another 1.1 innings without allowing a run. David Robertson was brought in next and finished up the 7th inning and got the first two outs in the 8th.  Rafael Soriano was able to pick up his 33rd save of the season by getting the final four outs of the game.

Nick Swisher has found his groove batting in front of Cano, as Swisher went 3 for 4 hitting his 30th double of the season, and knocking in his 73 RBI.

Robinson Cano was able to have his second straight multi-hit game going 2 for 3 with his 36th double of the season, and a walk.

Curtis Granderson was able to hit his 200th career homerun in the 6th inning off Tony Sipp, and it was Granderson’s 33rd homerun of the year.

Ichiro was able to have another nice game in the 8th spot going 2 for 4 with a run scored, and knocked in his 42nd RBI of the season.

The Yankees will be heading home to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, as David Phelps (3-4, 2.69) will be taking Ivan Nova’s spot in the rotation and will facing Ricky Romero (8-11, 5.63).

Indians Snap Losing Streak Against the Yankees

Yankees vs. Indians Post Game Recap 8/25

The New York Yankees were hoping to sweep the Indians who were on a 9 game losing streak, but the Indians behind a great start from Justin Masterson beat the Yankees 3-1 on Saturday.

Hiroki Kuroda looked like he was on his way to a really bad start after allowing a three-run homerun to Michael Brantley in the 1st inning, but was able to settle down and give the Yankees a solid start despite getting his 9th loss of the season. Kuroda went eight innings allowing four hits, two walks, and the three runs on the homerun by Brantley.

Derek Jeter was able to do it again with another multi-hit game going 2 for 5 with a run scored, as Jeter continues to lead the majors in hits.

A good sign for the Yankees is that it looks like Robinson Cano is out of his slump, as Cano was able to go 2 for 3 with a walk, and his 35th double of the season.

Hitting with runners in scoring position was a problem for the Yankees, as the team went 1-7 loading the bases twice and only getting one run out of it on a Mark Teixeira sac-fly for his 81st RBI.

The Yankees will look to take the rubber game of the series against the Indians, as Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96) will face Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59).