Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New York! New York! Baseball Talk!

Had a great time today talking New York baseball with colleague Karen Vankat. In the show we talk about the season thus far for the New York Yankees and New York Mets. Three weeks into the season the Yankees are 11-7 and looking like one of the budding teams in the American League. With a future star like Aaron Judge killing the baseball, there is a lot to like about these Bronx Bombers.

In Queens, things haven't been so rosy for the Mets. The Amazin's are off to a sluggish start this season, and fans are already losing patience. We talk about both teams on this episode of the Open Mike Program.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Time has come for Mets to bench Reyes

The career of Jose Reyes is on the precipice of either reclamation or total collapse.  The former All-Star shortstop who returned to the New York Mets last season as a mea culpa for his past personal demons, is mired an ugly slump to start the 2017 season.

Reyes’ line reads like this: 19 games, 67 at bats, 7 hits, 5 runs score, 2 doubles, no triples, no homers, no RBI, and only 1 stolen base. His batting average a woeful .104, and his on base percentage is equally lacking at .189.

To read the rest click here to visit Mets on Scout

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mets bats silenced, skid hits seven of eight

NATIONALS 3 / METS 1 

The Mets staggering offense couldn't get off the ground against the Nationals on Saturday at Citi Field, as Washington glided to a 3-1 win to send the Mets to 8-10 and 4.5 games out of first place. Perhaps it was fitting that this Saturday afternoon was played in the rain, because the Mets have had their heads in the clouds for well over a week, and now it's catching up to them.

One can blame the injuries, and there are plenty of them to go around. Here is the list in case you forgot: Lucas Duda - hyperextended left elbow; Wilmer Flores - knee injury; Travis d'Arnaud - wrist; Asdrubal Cabrera - hamstring; Yoenis Cespedes - hamstring; and Jacob deGrom - stiff neck.

But, even with that deGrom toughed out the neck problem to pitch against Gio Gonzalez on Saturday, and Cabrera toughed out his leg injury to play the entire game on Saturday as well. In short there are no excuses -- this team has the depth to overcome this, but they just aren't clicking as a team right now. It's as simple as that.

The Mets were hitless against Gonzalez until a sixth inning single by Juan Lagares, an inning which featured the Mets lone run of the entire day.  When the Mets did have opportunities to do something against Gonzalez, their approach was listless and helpless.

Take that sixth inning today as an example. With Jose Reyes and Lagares on base, Michael Conforto struck out swinging on a changeup low and away. After Cabrera singled to center to score Reyes, both Jay Bruce and Neil Walker swung and missed on strike three to cost the Mets any chance of at least tying this game.

It was pathetic.

Worse of all was the fact that the Mets went quietly into the evening with little fight in the final innings. It took Gonzalez and reliever Blake Treinen only six pitches to get out of the seventh inning against New York. Nats reliever Enny Romero needed only 10 pitches to get through the eighth inning. Romero would return for the ninth and proceeded to strike out Cabrera swinging, and jammed Jay Bruce to a lazy fly to left, before Koda Glover closed the show down against a pinch hitting d'Arnaud.

The Mets managed only two hits and were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

As for deGrom, he was good, but not good enough. He got himself into too many deep counts, and wound up walking six batters -- the most free passes his has issued in a game in his entire career. The previous high for walks deGrom issued in a game was five against Pittsburgh back in 2014.

Even with the control issues, and likely the stiff neck hindering him a bit, deGrom was able to strike out 10 batters and got a career high 27 swing and misses from the Nats. It wasn't pretty but, deGrom did his job. Unfortunately the Mets didn't help him.

What is most frustrating for New York is that this now marks the seventh loss in the last eight games for the Amazin's, who now dip to two games under .500 at 8-10. They are 4.5 games out of first place, tied with the Phillies who are 7-9 after their win over Atlanta on Saturday. This team is also 4-7 at home, and is hitting a poultry .218 as a team this year.

Yes it is early, it's only April 22, but the Mets are quickly putting themselves in a deep hole that they may struggle to get out of, because the warning signs are so stark. Not to mention all 10 of these losses are against teams in the NL East. If the Mets fancy themselves a contender, they are blowing their best opportunity to get off to a fast start in the division.

If the Mets want to save some face, they have to win on Sunday night. They will need their bats to find a way against Max Scherzer -- one of the games best, and hope that Zach Wheeler continues to improve on the hill. If they don't and fall to 5.5 games out before welcoming in the Braves next week, the Mets could be on their way to a dark and gloomy finish to the month of April.

Friday, April 21, 2017

New York Jets and Giants Schedules Finalized

The 2017 NFL Schedules were finalized on Thursday night in a primetime special on ESPN and the NFL Network.

Here is the Jets 2017 Schedule:

9/10 @ Buffalo .... 1:00 CBS
9/17 @ Oakland ... 4:05 CBS
9/24 MIAMI ........ 1:00 CBS
10/1 JACKSONVILLE ... 1:00 CBS
10/8 @ Cleveland .... 1:00 FOX
10/15 NEW ENGLAND ... 1:00 CBS
10/22 @ Miami ......... 1:00 FOX
10/29 ATLANTA ...... 1:00 FOX
11/2 BUFFALO ........ 8:30 NFLN
11/12 @ Tampa Bay ... 1:00 CBS
11/19 Bye Week
11/26 CAROLINA .... 1:00 FOX
12/3 KANSAS CITY ... 1:00 CBS
12/10 @ Denver ....... 4:05 CBS 
12/17 @ New Orleans ... 1:00 CBS
12/24 L.A. CHARGERS ... 1:00 CBS
12/31 @ New England .... 1:00 CBS

I'll react in a moment, but first here is the Giants schedule:

9/10 @ Dallas .... 8:30 NBC
9/18 DETROIT .... 8:30 ESPN
9/24 @ Philadelphia ... 1:00 FOX
10/1 @ Tampa Bay  ... 4:05 FOX
10/8 L.A. CHARGERS ... 1:00 CBS
10/15 @ Denver .... 8:30 NBC
10/22 SEATTLE ... 4:25 CBS
10/29 Bye Week
11/5 L.A. RAMS ... 1:00 FOX
11/12 @ San Francisco ... 4:25 FOX
11/19 KANSAS CITY ... 1:00 CBS
11/23 @ Washington ... 8:30 NBC*(Thanksgiving)
12/3 @ Oakland ......... 4:25 FOX
12/10 DALLAS  .......... 4:25 FOX
12/17 PHILADELPHIA ... 1:00 FOX
12/24 @ Arizona ......... 4:25 FOX
12/31 WASHINGTON ... 1:00 FOX

A couple of notes: 1) For the first time ever perhaps the Jets and Giants will not only play at the same time, but will swap networks on the same weekend (Week 5, October 8). The Giants play host to the Chargers on CBS, and the Jets visit the Browns on FOX. Typically when the Giants are on CBS, the Jets either have a bye week, or are in primetime; but since Gang Green is so toxic, the NFL decided to do a first and swap channels for both teams. 

2) The Jets get four games on Fox for the first time, ever! The Jets usually have two games tops on FOX, both of which are at home against NFC opponents. That tradition continues, with games against Atlanta and Carolina, however, FOX will also broadcast Jets-Dolphins and Jets-Browns. 

3) The Giants get three games on CBS this year. Outside of facing AFC opponents Kansas City and Los Angeles, the Giants will face the Seahawks on CBS on October 22, meaning that the Jets and Giants will not only swap networks once, but will do it twice. That same weekend the Jets visit Miami. That game will be on Fox. 

4) The Giants head to DC on Thanksgiving. It will be Big Blue's first Turkey Day appearance since 2009 when they got destroyed by Denver. For the Skins, this will be their first ever home game on Thanksgiving. They are so used to traveling to Dallas whenever they get a Turkey Day game. This will be fun. 

5) The Giants get Dallas week 1 again... ugh...

6) The Giants close out the season with three divisional games in the final four weeks, all of which will be at home. Talk about an advantage. 

7) The Jets are not going to be good this year, we get it. But, look at the Jets schedule in the second half of the year! They won't get a bye until November 19, and when they come out of that bye, they will face Kanas City, Carolina, Denver, New Orleans  LA (formally San Diego), and New England. That is murders row, and if the Jets are destined for a top pick in the 2018 draft, this stretch pretty much guarantees they won't win a single game in the months of November and December. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

NY Jets 2017 Schedule Leaked

While this is not expected to be a overly memorable season for the New York Jets, their 2017 schedule is starting to leak out details by the minute. The Jets will open the season on the road for the first time since 2009, when they take on the Buffalo Bills. The Jets ended last season with a 30-10 win over Buffalo, and now they get to open the season against them. Too bad Rex Ryan is no longer in Buffalo, because the game has zero sizzle.

The Jets will remain on the road in Week 2, when they travel to Oakland, for likely the final time ever, to face the Raiders. 

The Jets close out the season against the Chargers at home in Week 16, and at the Patriots in Week 17. There are also rumors that the Jets will host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8 on October 29. The Jets also have a Thursday night match-up at home against Buffalo, but the date hasn't been revealed as of 3:25 p.m. ET.

5:25 p.m. ET, it is revealed through the Miami Dolphins leaks, that the Jets will host the Fish in their home opener in Week 3. Also, according to NJ.com, the Jets will host the Patriots in Week 6 at MetLife Stadium.

6:00 p.m. ET it is revealed that the Jets will visit the Saints in Week 15. If the Jets are destined to have a top 3 draft pick in 2018, facing Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Tom Brady to end the season might just guarantee it. 

Jets 2017 Schedule 
9/10 @ Buffalo 
9/17 @ Oakland
9/24 MIAMI 
10/1
10/8
10/15 NEW ENGLAND
10/22
10/29 ATLANTA 
11/5
11/12
11/19
11/26
12/3
12/10
12/17 @ New Orleans
12/24 L.A. CHARGERS
12/31 @ New England 

* Thursday night vs. Buffalo TBA 

NFL Schedules Giants vs. Cowboys in Week 1 ... Again

Oh, the NFL really has no imagination does it? As leaks of the NFL schedule are starting to pour out by the minute, the entire New York Giants schedule has been released, and for the fifth time in the last six seasons, the Giants open the season against the Dallas Cowboys. YAWN. For the third straight year, the Giants are on the road in Dallas to start the season. MAJOR YAWN.

What the heck, NFL? How does Giants-Cowboys have more appeal than having the NFC Champion Falcons open their new stadium in primetime on Sunday night? I just don't get it.

The Giants have now opened the season on the road for five straight year, and have not hosted a season opening game since 2012 when they played ... you guessed it ... the Dallas Cowboys.

In fact the Giants haven't hosted a week 1 game at 1 p.m. since 2010 when they played the Carolina Panthers.

At some point, the NFL has to not schedule Cowboys-Giants to open a season. It is driving the fans of both teams nuts.

Anyway here is the rest of the Giants' schedule

9/10 @ Dallas .... 8:30 NBC
9/18 DETROIT .... 8:30 ESPN
9/24 @ Philadelphia 
10/1 @ Tampa Bay 
10/8 L.A. CHARGERS 
10/15 @ Denver .... 8:30 NBC
10/22 SEATTLE 
10/29 Bye Week
11/5 L.A. RAMS 
11/12 @ San Francisco 
11/19 KANSAS CITY
11/23 @ Washington ... 8:30 NBC*(Thanksgiving)
12/3 @ Oakland
12/10 DALLAS 
12/17 PHILADELPHIA
12/24 @ Arizona
12/31 WASHINGTON

Another oddity of the schedule is the fact the Giants face three NFC East opponents all at home in the final month of the season.

As for the Jets, they will open the season on the road for the first time since 2009, when they travel to Buffalo to take on the new look Buffalo Bills. The Jets will have one primetime game this year, also against Buffalo, on a Thursday night later in the season.

2017 NFL schedule leaks are coming ...

The leaks are coming! The leaks are coming!

Ah, yes, finally the NFL schedule is about the come out. While the entire slate of 256 regular season games won't be "officially" revealed until 8 p.m. tonight, the leaks are starting to pour out for the upcoming schedule.

We can confirm that the New York Giants will play the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day night. It will be the first time Big Blue will play a Turkey Day game since 2009, when they got smacked around by the Denver Broncos. For the Skins, it will be their second straight appearance on Thanksgiving. Last season, they lost a shutout to the Dallas Cowboys. Of note, however, this will be the first time ever that the Redskins will host a Thanksgiving Day game at home.

Other rumors out there revolve around the Patriots. New England is expected to open up the season against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night football, September 7. The Patriots are also expected to the play the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders on November 19 in Mexico City. Many expect that to be a Sunday night game.

The Atlanta Falcons are expected to christen their new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Week 1 on Sunday night. There has been speculation that the opponent will either be the Cowboys, Packers or the Minnesota Vikings. I'll guess that it will be the Cowboys. Why? Jerry Jones influence to play in a new stadium. The Cowboys equal TV ratings. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot playing against the defending NFC Champs.

UPDATE 10:22 AM

According to Mike Klis on Twitter, the Denver Broncos will open the 2017 season at home against the San...er...Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football. No word if this will be the second game on the MNF double-header, or whether ESPN will do the double-header again this season.




League Network source: Broncos to open 2017 season at home vs LA Chargers on Monday night.

Friday, April 14, 2017

d'Arnaud and Mets stun Marlins in 16-Inning Classic

METS 9 
MARLINS 8

One thing is very apparent in this early season for the New York Mets of 2017: they have tremendous guts. The Mets not only beat the Marlins for their fifth consecutive win that pushes them to 7-3 on the season, but they sent a direct message around the league that they are a team that is going to be reckoned with all season.

While, no one should be surprised by the Mets early season success, it wasn't that long ago people came into the season thinking the Mets were an enigma. Well, maybe they still are an enigma in many respects. Surely the Mets aren't perfect. But a 9-8 win in 16 innings was impressive, and if anything, it should give Mets fans confidence this team can do some big things.

The hero of the night is easy: Travis d'Arnaud. d'Arnaud caught all 16 innings of this ball game in South Beach and had one of the best nights at the plate of his major league career. He was 4-for-6 with 3 runs scored and 4 RBI. He opened the game with a huge bases clearing triple in the second inning that erased a 4-0 deficit.

In the eighth inning, with his team trailing 8-7, d'Arnaud connected on a two-out single to center, and came all the way around to score the tying run on Michael Conforto's RBI double.

For the next eight innings the Mets and Marlins remained tied, and again it was d'Arnaud who came up in the clutch. He took the second pitch he say from reliever Adam Conley and crushed to the left-center field for a solo home run. It was, dare I say, Piazza-esq from the moment, to the swing, to the power. It was gorgeous.

In case you are wondering, d'Arnaud is hitting .333 with two homers, nine RBI and four walks in nine games. If anyone came into the season with more questions, it was d'Arnaud. Many had speculated that the Mets were done with him after a poor season last year with throwing runners out, and his very soft bat the past couple of seasons. There was even speculation in the off-season that the Mets would trade him, or acquire a veteran catcher to take his job.  While the sample size is incredibly small, this tremendous start by the Mets catcher should leave a smile on the face -- because seeing a man succeed when everyone doubted him is the greatest comeback of all.

Speaking of silencing the doubters, how about Hansel Robles? Robles found a way into and out of trouble in the 15th and 16th innings to get the W for the Mets. The was the fourth straight game Robles has pitched. He was clearly on fumes in the 16th, but gutted it out to get through the middle of the order and get the win.

Yo Power: The power of left-fielder Yoenis Cespedes was on display yet again, Thursday. Cespedes belted two more home runs that helped launch the Mets to a 7-4 lead in the middle innings. Cespedes now owns six homers and 10 RBI just 10 days into the season. The man is on pace for a monster 40+ homer campaign if this keeps up.

NEXT: The Mets (7-3) continue their four game series in Miami on Friday night. Thor A.K.A. Noah Syndergaard gets the ball for New York. First pitch is at 7:10.

Monday, April 10, 2017

NFL Preseason Released for 2017

If it's April it means football is in the air. Wait? What? Football? Yes, with the NFL draft nearing in three weeks, the League is starting to release its 2017 schedule. The NFL regular season is slated to be rolled out sometime between the 17th and 21st of April.

However, the NFL preseason schedule is out and about.

Here is the link: 2017 PRESEASON

Below is the Jets and Giants schedules for the summer. Times and dates are not official.

 Jets Preseason Schedule 
TENNESSEE ..... 7:00 CBS
@ Detroit ........... 8:00 CBS
@ NY Giants ..... 7:30 CBS
PHILADELPHIA ... 6:00 CBS


Giants Preseason Schedule 
PITTSBURGH .... 8:00 NBC
@ Cleveland ...... 8:00 ESPN
NY JETS ............ 7:30 NBC
@ New England ... 7:00 NBC

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mets Top Braves Thanks to Syndergaard Gem

As seen via my article on Scout.com

METS 6 
BRAVES 0 

 Noah Syndergaard was Thor-esque in his season debut as the front man of the New York Mets five man band that is their pitching rotation.
While Syndergaard didn’t ge a decision in the Mets 6-0 win on Monday afternoon, and left the game after 86 pitches with a blisters on his middle finger and thumb, his performance was an encouraging sign for a rotation that must find a way to stay healthy all season long.

In a word, Syndergaard was dominant. The slider that worked so well for him last season was pure fire against Atlanta on Monday.

It took Thor only seven pitches to get through the first inning. He struck out Atlanta center fielder Ender Inciarte swinging on a fastball low and away in the dirt; got phenom Dansby Swanson to bounce back to him on two pitches for the second out, and got Freddie Freeman to fly out to end in the inning.

Thor’s slider kept breaking on hitters into the second inning. He fooled veteran slugger Matt Kemp on two straight changeups that had a sinking action to it, setting up the count to 1-2, before he got Kemp to softly bounce to second for the first out. Thor then came back to fan Nick Markakis with a couple of sinkers low and away to plow through that inning.
No matter the situation, the Atlanta Braves had no answer for Syndergaard, and that was just fine with the Mets, because they needed Thor to be at his best.  Much like the Wild Card Game last October against San Francisco, Syndergaard found himself in a scoreless tug of war with another ace, this time in the form of Julio Teheran.  

Teheran flustered the Mets lefty-dominated lineup. While Teheran threw more pitches than Syndergaard, he still kept the Mets off the scoreboard for six innings, leaving many to wonder if this game was going to be a re-run of that infamous night in early October last year.

But give Syndergaard credit, he again showed why the pressure moment is where he is at his best. In the fourth inning, he surrendered a one-out triple to Freeman that the slugger just barely missed a home run on. Undeterred, Syndergaard struck out Matt Kemp swinging on that slider on just four pitches.

Next, the Mets ace came back from 3-1 count deficit to strike out Markakis to strand Freeman at third and preserve the scoreless tie.

Fast-forward to the sixth inning, the apparent blisters that burst on Syndergaard’s pitching hand started to take its effect. Even on the radio, Mets play-by-play voice Howie Rose noted that Syndergaard looked off his game slightly in the sixth.
With one out, Syndergaard surrendered back-to-back singles to Swanson and Freeman to set up first and third for Kemp and Markakis.
Yet, the big right-hander found a way out of a tight jam inspite of it all.  He got Kemp to foul off the first two pitches to start the count at 0-2. After missing with a fastball on 1-2, Syndergaard came back to strike out Kemp swinging for the second out.

Now against Markakis, Syndergaard again fell behind the former Oriole, this time 3-0. Thor toughened up. He came back thanks to a foul strike and a swing and miss to bring the count full at 3-2. Two pitches later, Syndergaard jammed Markakis on a fly ball to a waiting Yoenis Cespedes in left to end the threat.
Syndergaard’s final line: six innings, five hits, no runs, no walks, seven strikeouts. Pure fire!
All in all it was a brilliant effort by Syndergaard. A combination of power pitching, his fastball toped 100 mph on multiple occasions, and guile in the sixth inning gave the Mets the ultimate chance to win the game.

The only concern of course is the blister. Word is Syndergaard will be pushed back a day for his next start, but the Mets don’t foresee any issues moving forward.

If we can gleam anything from this opening performance it is how important Syndergaard and the rest of this starting rotation will be to the Mets success this season.

The Mets offense left plenty of unanswered questions on the field today, needing a total implosion by the Braves bullpen in order to score runs. So it is fair to say the Mets needed Noah Syndergaard to brilliant to get through today. He was. Now they need him to stay healthy and be brilliant every fifth day moving forward.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Yankees Stumble Out of Gate in Season Opener

RAYS 7 
YANKEES 3

It was a rather inauspicious start for the new look New York Yankees on Sunday. A team that features a collection of promising young position players, the biggest question coming into the season was the viability of the Yankees starting rotation. Little did anyone think that those problems would start with Mashahiro Tanaka. 

Tanaka who gave up only one earned run in 23 innings this spring, was downright bad against the pesky Rays on Sunday. He couldn't locate, and his fastball had no zip to it. Result the Rays teed-off.

You knew Tanaka was in trouble early when he gave up a single to Corey Dickerson and a double to Kevin Kiemaier just seven pitches into the ball game. After an unrecognizable Evan Longoria hit a sac fly to right to bring home the game's first run, Tanaka got into more trouble. Brad Miller singled, Steven Souza walked on four pitches, and Logan Morrison slapped a single through the hole to drive in two runs to push Tampa Bay to a 3-0 advantage.

Unfortunately for Tanaka and the Yankees, his troublesome first inning had little to do with first inning jitters. Tanaka just didn't have it. Longoria's two run blast off Tanaka with two out  in the second inning confirmed that. Logan Morrison's solo blast an inning later sealed the Yankees fate.

Tanaka was pulled with two outs in the third inning. He allowed seven runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He became the first Yankees starter to allow seven plus runs and two homers in an opening day start.

Aaron Judge: There was one good story to come out of the Yankees Opening Day defeat and that was the hitting of rookie Aaron Judge. Judge crushed a RBI double to left in the top of the third inning to get the Yankees on the scoreboard for the first time. Judge hit in the eighth spot in the batting order as Joe Girardi wants to ease him into the lineup. Swings like that however only prove that it won't be long before Judge ends up in the clean-up spot.

Yankees bullpen: The Yankees pen has been picked by many to be one of the strongest in the majors this year.  Give the unit credit, they did their job on Sunday. The combination of Tommy Lane, Adam Warren, Jonathan Holder, and Chasen Shreve held Tampa Bay to five hits over the final 6.1 innings of play. They kept the Rays off the scoreboard and gave New York every opportunity to crawl back into the game.

Turning Point: The true turning point of Sunday's game occurred in the top of the seventh when Tampa Bay ace, Chris Archer was able to jam Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez into a inning-ending ground out with the bases loaded. Sanchez worked the count to 2-2 before Archer was able to fool him on a changeup, and the catcher gently bounced out. The Yankees would not challenge again.

Speaking of Sanchez, he had a rough day at the plate overall. In addition to grounding out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, Sanchez went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. More importantly he was 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position.

Opening Day Horrors: The 7-3 loss on Sunday marked the sixth consecutive opening day loss for the Yankees that dates back to 2012, when they lost to ... you guessed it ... Tampa Bay.  New York has also opened 0-1 in eight of the last nine seasons.