Saturday, April 30, 2022

Mets Bullpen Falters As Phillies Come Back Late


Eduardo Escobar at bat on a beautiful Saturday night at Citi Field. Photo by Jason Schott.

One night after being no-hit, the Phillies responded with a 4-1 comeback win over the Mets on Saturday night at Citi Field in the second game of their weekend series.

Taijuan Walker was making his second start of the season, and first since he threw two scoreless innings against the Phillies in Philadelphia on April 11 before exiting with right shoulder bursitis. 

The Mets picked this game to slip Walker back into the rotation to give Max Scherzer an extra day's rest after he threw seven shutout innings in St. Louis last Monday night, in which he allowed just two hits and a walk, while striking out 10 in a game the Mets won 5-2, with all five runs coming in the ninth inning.

Walker had an up-and-down first season with the Mets in 2021, as he went 7-3 in to make the All-Star team, and then tailed off in the second half to finish 7-11 with a 4.47 ERA, 159 inning pitched, 133 hits, 84 runs (79 earned), 26 home runs, 55 walks, and 146 strikeouts.  

The big right-hander picked off where the five Mets who no-hit Philadelphia on Friday night left off, as he retired the Phils in order, punctuated by a strikeout of Bryce Harper, in the first inning.

Nick Castellanos led off the second inning with a line drive to left field for the Phillies' first hit of the night (and the series), and then he was promptly picked off first base. J.T. Realmuto was at-bat during the caught stealing, but Walker then got Kyle Schwarber to hit into a double play to end the inning.

Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo made the defensive play of the night in the fourth inning when he scaled the wall to make take a possible home run away from Harper.

The Mets had chances of their own against Phillies starter Kyle Gibson, as Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso got two-out walks in the first inning, but Eduardo Escobar grounded to first base to end the inning. 

In the fourth, Escobar drew a walk with one out, moved to second base on a Jeff McNeil groundout to first, and took third on a hit by Mark Canha down the third base line that Alec Bohm got a glove on, but didn't make the throw to first. Dom Smith then grounded out to second to end the inning. 

The Mets cashed in an inning later, with a rally that began with a Brandon Nimmo one-out walk. Starling Marte was up next, and he hit one back to Gibson, who tried throwing Nimmo out at second, and it went into center field, allowing Nimmo to go to third.

Lindor then lined one to first, and Hoskins tried throwing Nimmo out at the plate, but he slid around the late tag to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Alonso followed with a walk to load the bases and chase Gibson from the game. 

Philadelphia turned to left-handed Jose Alvarado for Escobar, switching him around to the right side, and it worked as he got the strikeout, and then he struck out McNeil to end the inning. To sum up how crazy that inning was, Mets got 1 run on no hits, an error, and three left on base.

That was all for Walker, and his final line was superb: 5 innings, 0 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 73 pitches/44 strikes.

Trevor May was on next for the Mets, and he gave up a double to Odubel Herrera to open the sixth inning. Jean Segura then hit a fly ball to deep right to move Herrera to third with one out.

The Mets had the infield in, and Hoskins hit a sharp one to Lindor, who threw it to third, where Escobar was right on the bag, and with no way for Herrera to come back, they got him in the rundown and Escobar tagged him out. Harper then flew out to left to end the inning.

Adam Ottavino, the Brooklyn native, came on for the seventh, and the Phillies finally broke through. Realmuto drew a one-out walk, and Schwarber then took a down-and-in fastball and deposited it into the seats in right-center field to make it 2-1 Phillies.

Bohm drew a walk, and he stole second, and took third on Mets catcher McCann's throw into center field. Didi Gregorious struck out for the second out on the pitch Bohm made his steal attempt.

Herrera was up next, and for the second straight inning, he laced a double, this one down the left field line, to bring in Bohm and make it 3-1 Phillies, and that was it for Ottavino.

Hoskins launched a solo home run to left-center in the eighth off Sean Reid-Foley to make it 4-1.

Ex-Met Jeurys Familia came on with two out in the seventh to a smattering of boos, probably because of where he went as a free agent, and he got Alonso to line out to second to end the inning, and then got two outs in the eighth.

Corey Knebel pitched 1 1/3 innings, in which he allowed a hit and a walk, while notching a strikeout, to close it out.

Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Mets in the series finale on Sunday Night Baseball.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Mets No-Hit Phillies

Tylor Megill on the mound facing Bryce Harper, with the Mets defense on the shift. Photo by Jason Schott

The Mets made some history on Friday night, as they used five pitchers to no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0, in the opener of a three-game set on Friday night at Citi Field. 

Tylor Megill got the ball rolling with five no-hit innings, followed by Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz to complete the second no-hitter in Mets franchise’s history.

The only other one was about a month shy of 10 years ago when Johan Santana no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals on another Friday night, June 1, 2012.

It’s interesting to note that this was the first Friday night this season that the Mets wore their black uniforms, so they brought them a little luck. 

This was a pitching duel early between the Mets' Tylor Megill and Aaron Nola of the Phillies.

Megill retired the first five Phillies hitters before allowing a walk to Kyle Schwarber. He then retired Alec Bohm on a fly to center field to end the inning, and that began a stretch in which Megill retired eight Phillies in a row before he walked Schwarber again with one out in the fifth. 

Schwarber then stole second, but Megill then struck out Bohm looking before walking Didi Gregorius to give Philadelphia two on base with one out. Odubel Herrera then struck out, chasing a high fastball, to end the inning, and Megill ended up striking the side around the two walks to finish his night.

Nola allowed a single to Brandon Nimmo to open the game, but then got Starling Marte to hit in a tailor-made double play. Francisco Lindor then hit a mile-high pop-up that second baseman Jean Sugura appeared to catch in shallow center field, but it fell out of his glove. Somehow, Lindor was credited with a hit, let's say it was creative accounting.

Then Mets didn't take advantage of that major break, as Nola then struck out Alonso to end the frame. That began a stretch for Nola in which he retired 10 Mets in a row until Educardo Escobar hit a single up the middle through the shift.

After a Robinson Cano strikeout, Mark Canha laced a double down the left field line to give the Mets second and third with one out. Jeff McNeil brought them both home with a single to center field to make it 2-0 Mets.

Megill did not come back for the sixth inning, even though he was throwing a no-hitter, such is baseball now. He allowed just three walks, while striking out five, and threw 88 pitches (53 strikes).

Drew Smith came on for the Mets in the sixth, and he picked up where Megill left out, striking out the side in the sixth around a walk to Bryce Harper.

The Mets added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth when Pete Alonso launched a solo shot to left field with two outs to make it 3-0. It would have been more if Starling Marte, who singled to open the frame, was not caught trying to steal second base.

Smith struck out J.T. Realmuto to open the seventh, and that was all for his night, as he got all four of his outs via the K.

Joely Rodriguez was next out of the Mets bullpen, and he walked Schwarber (his third BB of the night), and then got Bohm to hit into a perfect 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and keep the no-hitter going.

Rodriguez stayed on for the eighth and he got Greogorius  to ground out before allowing a walk to Johan Carmago.

Seth Lugo came on and got Jean Segura and Rhys Hopkins to both pop out within the infield to close out the eighth inning.

Mets closer Edwin Diaz came on for the ninth, and he struck out Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Realmuto to end it.

Megill earned the win, thanks to the Mets taking the lead in the bottom of the fifth, and he improved to 4-0 on the season and lowered his earned-run average to 1.93.

The right-hander, in his second season with the Mets, took Jacob deGrom’s spot in the rotation and he’s putting up numbers befitting of the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

The Mets improved to 15-6 on the season, the best record in baseball, and have a three-game lead over Miami (11-8) and a five-game edge over the Phillies and Braves, who are both 10-11.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

"Today" Show's Savannah & Hoda At Broadcasting & Cable Hall Of Fame


Hotas Kotb and Savannah Guthrie (2nd & 3rd from left) flanked by their Today show colleagues, including Al Roker (right), who co-hosted the award ceremony. Photo by Jason Schott

The Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame recently held their induction ceremony, and among the inductees were the co-hosts of NBC's "Today" show, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.

Al Roker, the longtime weather and feature Anchor, and Co-Host of the 3rd Hour of "Today," was one of the hosts of the awards ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. Hannah Storm, longtime sports announcer for NBC and currently an anchor for ESPN's Sports Center, was the other host.

Savannah Guthrie was born in Melbourne, Australia, where her father was stationed for his job, and she was named after her great-great-grandmother. When she was two years old, the family moved to Tucson, Arizona. She was one of three children, and the family suffered a tragedy when her father passed away when she was 16. That prompted her mother, who was a homemaker,to return to work. Guthrie later said that her mother was her biggest inspiration.

Guthrie started her television career at NBC affiliates in Missouri, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. She earned a law degree at Georgetown University and became a legal correspondent for Court TV, then NBC News. 

Guthrie joined the Today show in 2011, and within a year was named a co-host of the show in July 2012, replacing Ann Curry.

Hoda Kotb began her broadcasting career right after college, joinging CBS in 1986 as a news assistant in Cairo, where her parents are originally from. She them moved on to CBS and ABC affiliates in Illinois, Mississippi, and Florida before becoming a reporter and anchor for WWL-TV in New Orleans from 1992 to 1998.

Kotb then got her big break, as she joined NBC as a correspondent for Dateline NBC in 1998, and covered some of the biggest news stories in the ensuing decade, including the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, and the War on Terror. She also hosted the weekly syndicated series Your Total Health from 2004 to 2008. 

In September 2007, Kotb began hosting the 10 a.m. hour of the Today show, and a year later, was paired with Kathie Lee Gifford, creating one of the best talk show teams on television. The show is currently hosted by Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, who took Gifford's spot after she left Today in April 2019.

Kotb then became the co-host of today on January 2, 2018, alongside Savannah Guthrie. She has served as interim host after Matt Lauer was dismissed in November 2017 for inappropriate workplace behavior. Kotb and Guthrie won over the viewers, and they quickly surpassed ABC's Good Morning America to become the top-rated network morning show.

The other Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame honorees were: 

Emily Barr - President & CEO, Graham Media Group

Nomi Bergman - Presdient, Advance/Newhouse Investment Partnership 

Brandon Burgess - Former Chairman/CEO, ION Media Networks

Susanne Daniels - Media Consultant & Lecturer - Former Global Head of YouTube Originals

Pearlena Igbokwe - Chairman, Universal Studio Group

Leo MacCourtney - President, Katz Television Group

Dan Mason - Past President and CEO, CBS Radio

Steve Miron - Cheif Executive Officer, Advance/Newhouse Partnership

Steven R. Swartz - Presdident & CEO, Hearst

Curtis Symonds - President, HBCU GO TV/Allen Media Group


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Mets Continue Historic Start With Big Road Trip


Chris Bassitt. @Mets.

The Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0, on Tuesday night, to run their record to a Major League Baseball-best 14-5, and four wins out of five on their road trip in Arizona, where they took two of three over the Diamonbacks, and St. Louis.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Severino Beneficiary Of Friendly Competition Among Yankees Starters


Luis Severino on the mound for the Yankees against Baltimore's Cedric Mullins. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees entered Tuesday night's series opener with the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium with the second-best record in the American League and the reason is due to the other-worldly performance of their starting pitchers.

In the series against the Cleveland Guardians over the weekend, their three starters put on an incredible display, especially Gerrit Cole on Sunday. The Yankees ace, who had an uneven start to the season, went 6 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on four hits and a walk,with nine strikeouts to earn his first win of the season as the Yankees rolled to a 10-2 win. 

Jameson Taillon opened the series with Cleveland on Friday with a superb outing, as he went five innings, and allowed one run while scattering seven hits and no walks (he has allowed just one walk in 145.2 innings pitched) in the 4-1 Yankees win. Nestor Cortez, the secret weapon from the left side, followed on Saturday with a solid performance, as he went 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit, two runs, two walks, and notched eight strikeouts in the 5-4 Yankees walk-off win.

Before that, in Detroit on Wednesday, to start the turn around the rotation, Luis Severino allowed one run on seven hits and two walks, with three strikeouts, in five innings, in a game the Yankees won late, 5-3. Jordan Montgomery pitched the series finale in Detroit on Thursday afternoon, and he allowed just one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out five, in six innings, in a game the Yankees lost to the Tigers, 3-0.

The earned run averages are the best measure to gauge their performance so early in the season, and they are as follows (through Sunday): Cortes - 1.15; Severino - 2.08; Montgomery - 2.51; Taillon, 2.50; Cole - 4.00

Severino is coming back from essentially two years on the shelf due to injuries, with his only action late last season coming in relief. He has reclaimed his ace form pretty rapidly, as he has a record of 1-0 with 13.0 innings pitched, notched 14 strikeuts, and allowed three runs (all earned) 14 hits and 4 walks. 

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone was asked if Severino has been helped by how strong all the pitchers in the rotation have been, and if he could sense a competition among them, and he said, "Yeah, I think there's something to that, no question, and I always think when that manifests itself on a team, whether that's with position players, competition amongst each other, certainly a pitching staff from a starting standpoint, and in a relief standpoint, you know it's like, next guy up with the ball, it's like, 'I gotta get it to the next guy in good shape' and I think our guys take a lot of pride in that, and I am seeing that, I feel like, build in a really good way."

Severino's signature outing so far was on Thursday, April 14 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks, while striking out six, in a 3-0 Yankees win.

That night, Severino showed a ton of emotion, punctuated by fist pumps after strikeouts, as he dominated arguably the strongest lineup in baseball. Boone said of how valuable Severino's passion on the mound is, "I think it's been great because, I think it's been tough for a starting pitcher to pitch with that kind of emotion all the time, but I think there's periods where it's good to let it out, and that's kind of been consistent with who Sevy's been, not only this year, but throughout his career. You know, he has that big moment in the game where he makes a pitch and gets out of an inning or something, that's kind of his signature release. 

"I think he's just done a really good job here early in the season, you know, and obviously missing the bulk of a couple of seasons and to come out of gate so much in control, while also flashing his really good stuff, I just feel like he's done a really good job kind of navigating that. It's been fun to see him go out and do it, and really, I think his delivery's been really consistent, and it allowed him to pitch consistently so far."

Severino took the hill Tuesday night against the Orioles, and he threw a solid six innings, and flirted with perfection, in a 12-8 Yankees win. Anthony Rizzo had three home runs and 6 RBI to power the Yankee offense.

The Yankees gave Severino plenty of fun support via the long ball, as Rizzo’s first homer came in the third, a three-run shot to right field to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and Joey Gallo hit a solo shot in the fourth. 

Rizzo was at it again in the fifth, as he launched a two-run homer to nearly the same spot in right to make it 6-0 Yankees.

Through it all, the right-hander retired the first 14 Orioles he faced before allowing a walk to Austin Hays with two out in the fifth. Ramon Urias was up next, and hit a liner that looked sure to be Baltimore’s first hit, but it was snared by Yankees second baseman D.J. LaMahieu.

Severino retired Robinson Chirinos on a pop-up, then alllowed a single to Jorge Mateo to break up the no-hitter, which drew a polite cheer from the crowd. 

Cedric Mullins followed with a walk, and then Anthony Santander launched a three-run homer to left and draw Baltimore within 6-3.

Roughned Odor led off the seventh with a double, and he would be the last batter Severino faced. 

Odor came into score and he came into score on a single by Ramon Urias off Yankee reliever Clay Holmes that made it 6-4.

The Yankees got all four runs back in the bottom of the seventh when Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI single, and Gleyber Torres followed with a three-run triple to make it 10-4.

After Baltimore put up four in the top of eighth, Aaron Judge, the birthday boy, hit a solo shot, Rizzo got one of his own, his third of the night, and league-leading eighth homer of the year, to make it 12-8.

Books: One Of Golf's Great Rivalries Examined In "Tiger & Phil" By Bob Harig


Tiger & Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry

By Bob Harig

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 336 pages; $29.99; available today, Tuesday, April 26th

Tiger and Phil. Their names, first names, bring to mind the last 25 years of golf, filled with plenty of triumphs and trials and tribulations.

Tiger Woods went on an unparalleled run of dominance that began when he burst on the scene at the 1997 Masters, and along with him was the only golfer that came close to being an equal, Phil Mickelson. 

They are two of the most recognizable athletes in the world, Woods in his trademark logo "TW" cap and red-and-black outfit on Sunday, and Mickelson, a left-hander with his long hair flowing out of his cap, and in recent years, Aviator sunglasses, like he wore when he stunned the world and won the PGA Championship at 50 years old, making him the oldest man to ever win a Major.

Bob Harig,'s golf writer and a longtime writer for ESPN and the Tampa Bay Times, has covered Tiger and Phil for the durations of their remarkable careers. He has conducted plenty of one-on-one interviews with each of them, making him the perfect one to write this definitive work on them, Tiger & Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry.

When one thinks of golf rivalries, for quite a long time, the one between Arnie and Jack - Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus - would come to mind. Now, especially among the younger set drawn to golf because of them, the answer is likely Tiger and Phil.

Through all their success, they each has faced adversity, starting with injuries, legal hassles, personal trials, and a love-hate relationship with the press.

While there are many books on Woods (I mean, there is a lot there to warrant the library you could fill on Tiger), there is not nearly as much on Mickelson, let alone his rivalry with Mickelson, making Harig's book a unique one.

Harig begins with the genesis of their rivalry in 1996, when Tiger won his third consecutive U.S. Amateur, while Mickelson won his ninth PGA Tour victory, which nearly nobody noticed. Tiger was the focus, and within days of that victory, he signed $40 million worth of endorsement deals and turned pro. Just four days later, he played at his first pro event, and while Mickelson was also competing, all the talk was about Tiger.

One thing readers will wonder is, how have they interacted with each other through the years? Are they friends off the course, like other rivals, such as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, become over time?

Through anecdotes, it is known that most of Tiger's angst toward Phil was behind the scenes. At the 1998 Nissan Open, which was played at Valencia Country Club, Tiger and Phil played a practice round together. Phil, a reputed gambler, took $500 off Tiger, and paid him in $100 bills. Not content to just win the bet, Phil took a picture of the bills and wrote a note to Woods saying the "benjis" were happy in their new home, and he put it in Tiger's locker. It would take 20 years for them to play another practice round together.

Before Phil won his first major in 2004 - seven years after Woods won his first of eight to that point - Tiger questioned his commitment. He knew Mickelson was an incredible talent, but felt he was wasting his talent and that he was out of shape. However, Tiger didn't mind that the number of majors was 8 to 0 in his rivalry with Phil.

That ledger was put to the test at the 2001 Masters, when Tiger was aiming for his fourth straight Major championship, what was referred to as the "Tiger Slam," and he was matched with Mickelson in the final pairing on Sunday. This was a big chance for Phil to get his first Major and stake a claim in their rivalry, while, for Tiger, it would have been the worst way to see his dream of holding all four major trophies at once, go up in smoke. Tiger pulled it out, while Phil finished third. "He was so friggin' hard to beat at that time," Mickelson is quoted as saying.

In this excerpt, Harig describes the complexity of their rivalry in terms of what each golfer won: "Woods won more majors (15 to 6) and more PGA Tour events (82 to 45) than Mickelson. And while Mickleson never got to No. 1 in the world, he was a constant in Woods' career. On the very day Woods won the third of three straight U.S. Amateur titles in August of 1996 - and just hours ahead of announcing he would be turning professional - Mickelson, then 25, moved to ninth in the world with his fourth victory of that season, his first time cracking the top 10 and securing a space atop the game he occupied fo the next 15 years.

Tiger won early and big as a pro and was No. 1 in the world less than a year into his career, but much of the time the guy right behind him was Mickelson, who spent eight different periods at No. 2 for a total of 270 weeks - all with Woods in the top position.

While Woods won more, one could imagine Mickelson becoming a Hall of Famer anyway. Woods was winning everything, everywhere, but in his professional era, Mickelson managed 36 PGA Tour victories, including six major championships. Mickelson is tied for eighth all-time on the PGA Tour with his 45 victories, but the 36 he captured in the Tiger era is bettered by just 11 others in the entirety of their careers...

Theirs isn't a rivalry in the classic sense. Golf doesn't really work that way. But Woods has always been aware of Mickelson, and Mickelson has certainly been aware of Woods.

'It's been an incredible opportunity for me to play my career against him, but also been incredibly difficult,' Mickelson said. 'I oftentimes wonder what my career would be had he not come along, and I think it could go either way. He's brought out the best of me at times, and it's also been very intimidating and difficult to compete against his level of play.'

Their relationship has run the gamut from frigid to friendly, with some epic moments along the way: that ill-fated Ryder Cup pairing; a highly publicized spat between Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, and Mickelson; Phil's deriding of Tiger's equipment; and an underlying racial bias that seemed to shift some popularity toward Mickelson despite Woods' better record...

Much like Arnie and Jack, Phil and Tiger typically had their 'sides.' To many, you were a 'Phil fan' or a 'Tiger fan' and rarely both. That meant rooting for one at the expense of the other, not unlike Magic and Bird or the Yankees and the Red Sox or Ohio State and Michigan.

And while they might not have always gone head-to-head, they were always there, competing in the biggest tournaments, especially the major championships. In fact, it took until the 2019 Open for a remarkable statistic to emerge: for the first time in 83 major championships in which they both competed, they each missed the 36-hole cut...

Year after year, decade after decade, Woods had Mickelson, and Mickelson had Woods. They pursued championships and No. 1 rankings, but they also pursued each other. Their battles have had an iconic quality to them. Their respective defining shots take up much of the room on any top 10 list. And few players could verbally spar with one another like Woods and Mickelson or compete for the same endorsement real estate, which led to lucrative business holdings for both."

Friday, April 22, 2022

Yankees Hitters "Need to be disciplined to the process," Says Boone

Yankees 1B Anthony Rizzo at bat in the first inning on a beautiful Friday night at Yankee Stadium, in front of 41,062 fans. Photo by Jason Schott. 


The Yankees enter every season with a star-studded lineup of sluggers that lives up to their moniker, the Bronx Bombers. With Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Rizzo, this season was no exception.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Mets, Led By A Dominant Carrasco, Take Finale From Giants


Carlos Carrasco on the mound for the Mets in the first inning on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-2, on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field to take three of four in their big series and run their record to 10-4. They are the first team in Major League Baseball to reach 10 wins.

This is quite a statement for the Mets to have this performance against a team that won 107 games last season. They should certainly be considered among the elite in the National League. 

Carlos Carrasco got the start for the Mets, and he was just as good as Max Scherzer was the other night. He pitched into the eighth inning, and had a stretch in which he retired 18 straight Giants in his longest start as a Met.

The Mets got on the board with one out in the bottom of the first against Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani when Francisco Lindor launched a bomb into the second deck in right field for his fourth home run of the season. It also was his 10th RBI of the young season.

The Giants tied it in the second when Brandon Crawford got hit by a pitch, followed by a single from Wilmer Flores, and an RBI single from Thairo Estrada that brought in Crawford and tied it at 1.

The Giants' rally was halted when center fielder Steven Duggar had to leave after he was left wincing on a 1-2 count, with an apparent injury on his left side. Mauricio Dubon came in to finish the at-bart, and he swung and missed on attempted bunt for the third strike. The strikeout was charged to Duggar, and it was announced during the seventh inning that he suffered a left oblique injury.

Carrasco then got Curt Casali to fly out to center, and Mike Yastrzemski to ground to second to end the inning.

The Mets got right back at it in the bottom of the second, as Eduardo Escobar  hit one that just cleared the fence in right (practically right below Lindor's if you drew a straight line down),  to lead off the inning with his first home run as a Met.

Mark Canha followed with a single, was erased on a fielder's choice hit into by Travis Jankowski, and Luis Guillorme got a single of his own to give the Mets two on with one out. Tomas Nido hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring home Jankowski and make it 3-1 Mets.

In the bottom of the third, Lindor led off with a single, followed by a Jeff McNeil double, and - after a Pete Alonso groundout and an Escobar strikeout - they came in on a single by Mark Canha to open up a 5-1 lead for the Mets. 

DeSclafani finally had a clean inning in the fourth, but he ran into trouble in the fifth. Lindor led off with his third hit of the day, a single, but he was erased trying to take second. He chose to go with two strikes on the following hitter, McNeil, and he struck out swinging, making it basically a double play. Alonso kept the inning alive with a single, and Escobar then walked, but Canha grounded into a force out to end the frame.

That was all for the Giants right-hander, as he completed five innings, and allowed five runs (all earned), nine hits, and a walk, while striking out four. It should be noted that the Mets had the same approach with their starters in this series - Tylor Megill in the first game and Chris Bassitt in the third game - where they ran into trouble, but hung in to give a representative amount of innings and keep their team in the game.

Through it all, Carrasco was cruising. His strikeout of Duggar with two on base and none out in the second began a streak in which he retired 18 in a row. Ironically, it was broken up on a hit by Dubon, who hit one to Lindor at short, and his throw to first pulled Alonso off the bag. 

Carrasco then got Casali to ground into a double play, but then Yastrzemski followed by hitting a solo shot off the facade of the upper deck in right field to cut the Mets’ lead to 5-2.

Mets Manager Buck Showalter came out of the dugout to pull Carrasco, who left to a rousing ovation from the crowd. (Pictures below by Jason Schott)

Carrasco’s final line read: 7 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 0 walks, 7 strikeouts.

Books: "Stolen Dreams" by Chris Lamb


Stolen Dreams: The 1955 Cannon Street All-Stars and Little League Baseball's Civil War

By Chris Lamb

Nebraska; hardcover, 400 pages; $34.95

Chris Lamb is the chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations at Indiana University-Indianapolis. He is the editor, authot, and coauthor of twelve books, most recently Conspiracy of Silence: Sportswriters and the Long Campaign to Desegregate Baseball (click here for Broooklyn Digest's review from September 2021).

Stolen Dreams is the story of the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars and of the early Civil Rights movement. It involves centuries of bigotry in Charleston, Sough Carolina, where millions of enslaved people were brought to this country and where the Civil War began. Segregation lasted here for a century after the war ended, and anyone who dared challenge it did it at their own risk.

In June 1955, there was a baseball tournament set to be played in Charleston, and the eleven- and twelve-year-olds from the Cannon Street All-Stars registered for it, and that put them on a collision course with the forces of integration, as well as segregation, bigotry, and the southern way of life.

This was the first Black Little League team in South Carolina, and white teams refused to take the field with them. The Cannon Street team wound up winning the tournament by forfeit, and went on to advance to the state tournament. The white teams withdrew in protest, so they won that, as well.

If they won the regional tournament in Rome, Georgia, it would have moved on to the Little League World Series. However, Little League officials ruled the team ineligible to play in the tournament because it had advanced by winning on forfeit and not on the field. 

The Cannon Street team's dream of playing in the Little League World Series were dashed, but Little League Baseball officials invited them to be the organization's guests at the World Series. 

The young players were greeted by chants of "Let them play! Let them play!" when the ballplayers were introduced, and it became a national story for weeks. It faded away as other civil rights stories, such as the torture and murder of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, dominated the news.

In this excerpt, Lamb writes: "The story of the Cannon Street All-Stars is inextricably linked to postwar Charleston and a white federal judge, J. Waties Waring, who broke with his aristocratic family and decided in one ruling after another that racial discrimination was unconstitutional. Waties's nephew, Thomas, the editor of the Charleston News and Courier, became the voice of segregation and white supremacy. 

Danny Jones, the director of the parks and recreation department and the state's director of Little League Baseball, found himself between the rules of Little League Baseball that prohibited racial discrimination and the laws and customs of South Carolina that prohibited integration, but then sided with the segregationist. Jones's primary antagonist was Robert Morrison, an African American businessman, who had been a racial accommodationist most of his life; but in the last decades of his life he became a race man. It also is the story of Augustus Holt, who brought the story back to life and redeemed the Cannon Street All-Stars nearly forty years later as he struggled with his own personal tragedy.

Robert Morrison, the president of the Cannon Street YMCA in downtown Charleston, was in his seventies when Little League Baseball approved his application for a league. His tired eyes saw beyond the white lines of a baseball field. He knew there were no Black teams in any of the Little Leagues in Charleston or anywhere else in the state. If youth baseball could be integrated in Charleston, he thought, so could municipal parks, swimming pools, and schools. If there could be equal opportunities for Black kids, there could be equal opportunities for Black adults. Morrison wanted Blacks to have the same opportunities as whites. he intended to use the Cannon Street team and Little League Baseball to further that agenda.

The news of a league for Black boys meant one thing to Morrison but something else top the nine-, ten-, eleven-, and twelve-year-olds who lived on the peninsula, some of whom had been playing baseball with broomsticks and rubber balls that were cut in half. To those boys, it meant wearing uniforms and playing with bats and baseballs on a diamond with bases and chalked basepaths and an outfield fence for home runs and having your family cheer you from the bleachers.

During the early spring of 1954, dozens of boys tried out for one of the league's four teams. When the season ended, the best players from every Little League team were selected for an All-Star team that played against other All-Star teams in district tournaments throughout the state. The winner of the tournament advanced to the state tournament. If you won that tournament you went to one of eight regional tournaments. If you won one of the regionals, you played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Cannon Street YMCA league did not have a team in this year's Charleston tournament because first-year leagues were not eligible.

When Morrison registered the Cannon Street All-Stars for the district tournament the following year, it put Morrison, the All-Stars, and the forces of integration on a collision course with Danny Jones, Thomas Waring, Senator Storm Thurmond, and the state's political establishment. The Brown decision prompted Waring and Thurmond to call for massive resistance against any attempt to end segregation. 'Segregationists believed that any crack in white solidarity constituted an existential threat to white supremacy.' Richard Gergel, a federal judge in Charleston, said.

Jones did not object when Morrison told him he wanted to start a Black Little League because he thought its players would stay on their own diamonds and white players would stay on theirs. Jones supported baseball for African American children, but he drew the line at Blacks and whites playing on the same field. Jones had no reason to think that Morrison would register his team in the district tournament. Morrison's 'dastardly act.' as Jones called it, was an act of belligerence."

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Giants Rebound To Take 3rd Game Of Set From Mets

Brandon Belt running back to the Giants dugout after he crossed the plate on his home run. Photo by Jason Schott.

The San Francisco Giants jumped out to an early lead, and it held up as they beat the Mets, 5-2, on Wednesday night at Citi Field. The Mets, who entered the day with the best record in the National League, fell to 9-4, while the Giants improved to 8-4.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Mets-Giants Game 2: Scherzer Makes His Home Debut A Memorable One


Max Scherzer walking off the mound after one after one of his many strikeouts. Photo by Jason Schott.

Max Scherzer made his Citi Field debut as a member of the Mets after they pulled off an astonishing come-from-behind win in the first game of their doubleheader with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.

Mets-Giants Doubleheader Game 1: Mets Storm Back To Win It In 10

The Mets mob Francisco Lindor after his hit won the opening game of the doubleheader. Photo by Jason Schott.

After a rainout Monday, the Mets and Giants opened their series on Tuesday with an old-fashioned one-admission doubleheader that was a thriller. The Mets came from three runs down to take the opening game, 5-4, in 10 innings.

It was another cold day at Citi Field. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Mets didn't waste any time getting a lead in this one in the bottom of the first, as Starling Marte singled, stole second, reached third on a throwing error on the attempt, and then came home on a wild pitch by Giants starter Alex Cobb.

The Giants didn't take long to respond against Mets starter Tylor Megill. In the second, Joc Pederson launched a home run to center field to tie it, and Jason Vosler got an RBI single to make it 2-1.

In the third, Mike Yastrzemski singled, Brandon Belt walked to open the inning, and then with two out, Brandon Crawford singled them both home to make open up a 4-1 lead for the Giants.

Cobb was cruising with that lead until the 5th, when J.D. Davis singled (he was then erased on a force out by Travis Jankowski) and James McCann doubled. The lineup turned over to bring up Jeff McNeil, and he laced a two-run double to pull the Mets within 4-3. Cobb suffered a hamstring injury coming off the mound and exited the game.

Dominic Leone came in for San Francisco and retired Starling Marte for the second out of the inning on a ground out before allowing a double to Francisco Lindor to tie the game at 4.

Despite the tough start, Megill hung around and gave the Mets six innings, ending his day by retiring San Francisco in order in the sixth. He allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits, with two walks and four strikeouts, in what of those old-fashioned outings that a starter is allowed to work through their issues and have a quality start.

Joely Rodriguez came in for the Mets in the seventh and retired San Francisco in order, and Seth Lugo worked around a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth to keep it tied.

The Mets had a golden opportunity to win it in the ninth when San Frnacisco turned to tall right-hander Camilo Doval. He started the inning by walking Eduardo Escobar and Robinson Cano, and then Luis Guillorme (who was pinch-hitting for J.D. Davis) laid down a perfect bunt to move them over to second and third with one out.

Doval settled down and struck out Travis Jankowski looking for the second out, and did the same thing to Dom Smith, who was pinch-hitting for catcher James McCann, to end the frame.

Adam Ottavino came on to pitch for the Mets in the 10th, and he ran into some trouble when he walked Darren Ruf to give San Francisco two runners on base with one out. He then got Crawford to line one to Cano at second, and then he got Thairo Estrada to ground one to shortstop.

Lindor took a while to get to the slow-moving grounder, and he fired one to first that appeared to pull Pete Alonso off the bag at first, allowing him to reach and Belt (who was the ghost runner) to come around to score.

The Mets challenged the call, basically because they had nothing to lose, and there was a freeze-frame of Alonso having the ball in his glove and foot still on the bag, which got the crowd and players pretty excited. Just as the Mets were about to leave the field, guessing that the call would be overturned and the inning completed, they were proven correct as the umpires announced just that.

In the bottom of the 10th, Brandon Nimmo, who has been out with Covid and came on to play center field in the top half of the frame, served as the ghost runner at second. McNeil grounded out to move him to third, and then Starling Marte walked to give them two on and one out for Lindor, who laced a single to the right-center field gap to bring Nimmo in and give the Mets the 5-4 win.

The Mets improved to 8-3 on the season, while San Francisco fell to 7-3.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Mets-Giants Postponed on Monday Night; Series Starts With Doubleheader Tuesday


Citi Field. Photo by Jason Schott.

The much-anticipated four-game series between the Mets and the San Francisco Giants will now begin a day later, as Monday night's game has been postponded and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Mets Honor Horwitz, Then Shut Out Diamonbacks In Series Finale


Pete Alonso approaching home plate after his home run in the seventh inning. Photo by Jason Schott. 

Sunday was another special day at Citi Field, as the Mets honored one of the most important people in their franchise's history before the game, and they went on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-0, to take the series and improve to 7-3 on the season.

PREGAME CEREMONY - On Sunday, the Mets named the press box in honor of Jay Horwitz, who served as media relations director for 42 years in a pregame ceremony in which the unveiled this plaque, placed right where you enter the box.   

Horwitz, universally known simply as Jay, is one of the most unique people in Mets history, as he achieved celebrity among the fans in a position that does not get much fanfare among the public. 

The Clifton, New Jersey, native joined the Mets in 1980, and served as the PR guru until he stepped down from that job in 2018. His time with the team has captured a lot of Mets history along the way, from the 1986 champions to the Mike Piazza era in the late '90s and the 2000 National League pennant-winning team to the David Wright years.

Horwitz is currently the team's vice president of alumni relations and, most fittingly, the team historian. In 2019, he initiated Alumni weekends, where fans got the chance to meet Mets alumni such as Doug Flynn, Neil Allen, and Rico Brogna.

"If we tried to line up the Mets alumni to speak about Jay, and to convey their love and their feelings for Jay, that line would stretch all the way to where Shea Stadium used to be," said Mets broadcaster Howie Rose, who served as master of ceremonies. 

John Franco, who was the Mets' closer in the 1990s, said that he and  Jay have been friends since Horwitz was the sports information director at Fairleigh Dickinson and actually went out to make a pitching change once. Franco pitched at St. John's in Queens.

"There's nothing that Jay wouldn't do for the players over the years, and over 40 years he did everything from protecting the players to protecting the organization," Franco said.

After the plaque was presented, Horwitz spoke, and he said, "When I started out with the Mets 42 years, I didn't think I would make 42 years, let alone 42 days...When I got the job, people thought why would the Mets hire a guy from a small college in New Jersey? When thinking of my 40-plus years, '86 was great, Sidd Finch was great, 2000 was super, but if you want to put something on my tombstone, would be the time in the City of New York 9/11 when we visited Ground Zero, firefighters, hospitals, police stations. It was great to be part of something where you can give back."

METS GAME SUMMARY The rubber match of this series was a pitching duel early between David Peterson of the Mets and Arizona's Humberto Castellanos.

Peterson was starting in Taijuan Walker's spot in the rotation, the and the left-hander pitched superbly. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing no runs and allowed just three hits and two walks, while striking out four.

Castellanos held the Mets to just one hit, and no runs, in his four innings of work, while walking three and striking out one. 

The Mets broke through in the sixth against the Arizona bullpen, starting with Noe Ramirez. Francisco Lindor led it off with a single, and then was erased at second when Geraldo Perdomo dropped a Pete Alonso pop-up and threw to second base.

Eduardo Escobar was up next, and he laced a double to right that brought home Alonso to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

That was all for Ramirez, and Arizon then turned to the Mets' old friend Oliver Perez, who received a nice ovation during lineup introductions on Opening Day Friday. 

Perez started by walking Dom Smith, then allowed an RBI single to J.D. Davis - who was pinch-hitting for Travis Jankowski - and that brought in Escobar. James McCann followed with a sacrifice fly to left field that brought in Smith to make it 3-0 Mets. Luis Guillorme grounded out to end the chaotic inning.

The Mets blew it open in the seventh when Lindor drew a two-out walk to set up a blast from Alonso to left field, a two-run home run that made it 5-0. 

Chasen Shreve earned the win, as he threw two shutout innings, retiring six straight D-Backs, while striking out two. He relieved Trevor Williams, who threw 2/3 of an inning in the fifth, but gave up a double to Christian Walker to open the sixth.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

K-arrasco Dominates, But D-Backs Prevail Over Mets


Fans entering Citi Field were greeted by the Tom Seaver statue for the first time. Photo by Jason Schott, enhanced on Instagram @DailySchott.

After a stirring Opening Day on Friday for the Mets, they suffered a tough 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Mets Get A Big Outing From Bassitt & A Few Blasts To Take The Home Opener

The Mets and Diamondbacks lined up on the baselines for pre-game introductions. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Diamondbacks, 10-3, on Friday afternoon in the home opener at Citi Field, as they got a tremendous start from Chris Bassitt, and home runs from Francisco Lindor, who hit two; Robinson Cano, and Starling Marte. The Mets are now 6-2 to start the season.

In Unveiling Seaver Statue, Cohen Says He "Transformed the Mets, transfixed New York"

The Seaver statue that will greet fans entering Citi Field. @Mets.

On Friday morning, the Mets unveiled the long-awaited Tom Seaver statue ahead of Opening Day against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Sevy Coming Back Into Form; Yanks Earn Split With Jays In Wild Finale


Luis Severino with some swagger as he shuts down Toronto. @Yankees.

Luis Severino was one of the biggest question marks for the Yankees entering the season, and he has put a lot of those to rest with his strong start to the season. 

The onetime ace of the staff missed the past two seasons, aside from making a cameo in a relief role last September so there were concerns he would replicate that dominance. 

The right-hander made it through spring training healthy, aside from concerns about soreness, which would not have been a concern for most pitchers, but with Severino, couldn't blame the Yankees for worrying.

Severino made his season debut in the second game of the year (yes, he is slotted in the rotation second behind ace Gerrit Cole) against the Boston Red Sox, and he turned in a fine outing in his first start since September 2019, as he went three innings allowing two runs on five hit and no walks, while striking out five. He threw 65 pitches, 41 of which were strikes.

Next up for Severino was a major test on Thursday against the high-powered Toronto Blue Jays offense, and he turned it up to 11.

Severino through five innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and two walks, with six strikeouts, as the Yankees went on to win 3-0 and split the series with the Jays. Though it's the first week of the season, this felt like a pivotal game in the tight American League East, as the Yankees improved to 4-3, same as Toronto. 

This was Severino's first victory since September 22, 2019, which was also against Toronto. Ironically, that night he also held Toronto scoreless over five innings. Thursday night was the 13th time that Severino held a team scoreless in his outing. 

The highlight of the night for Severino was that he struck out Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., and per the YES Network, the first pitcher to complete the feat against one of the most disciplined hitters in baseball.

The Yankees gave Severino the early lead in the third inning in a wacky way. With one out, Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined one to third base that third baseman Santiago Espinal misjudged. Espinal went to his left, thinking the hit would go into the hole, and instead it went toward the line over his outstretched glove.

With Kiner-Falefa at first, Jays pitcher Kevin Gausman was called for a balk, that Toronto looked at questionably as it was called due to the patter of his left foot on his windup.

With Kiner-Falefa at second, Yankees catcher Jose Trevino singled him home to make it 1-0 Yankees.

Then, in the fifth, the pair of old Texas Rangers teammates struck again, With two outs, Kiner-Falefa doubled and Trevino singled him home to make it 2-0. 

It stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth when the Yankees manufactured what turned into a major insurance run.

Aaron Judge, who made a rare appearance in center field, led off the inning with a double to centeer field, then moved to third on a groundout by Anthony Rizzo, and came into score on another groundout by Giancarlo Stanton to make it 3-0. This was a perfect example of how the biggest bats in the Yankees order can play small ball.

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman came on to close it out in the ninth, and he did not have his characteristic pinpoint control. He walked Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, and Matt Chapman, who was pinch-hitting for Bradley Zimmer. While Chapman was up, he threw a wild pitch allowing the first two runners to move up to second and third, and accentuated that he didn't have it.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone proceeded to make the guts move to go get his closer and turn to big right-hander Michael King to get them out of it as Toronto's line-up turned over.

King responded with a strike out of George Springer, and then induced Bo Bichette to hit into a double play to end the game in stunning fashion. 

That capped a tough night for the top of Toronto's lineup, as Springer went 0-for-4 with a strikeouts, Bichette went 1-for-5 (his lone hit was a double in the first inning), and Gurrero, Jr. went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts (3 against Severino and 1 against Clay Holmes.

It was King's first career save, as he continues the strong start to his season. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Mets' Home Opener Friday, Full Of Festivities, After 5-2 Road Trip To Open Season


Citi Field during the "New in '22" event on March 31. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Phillies, 9-6, on Wednesday afternoon, to finish their season-opening road trip at 5-2, with the home opener set for Friday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Yankee Stadium’s Exciting New Menu For 2022 Season


All photos by Jason Schott.

The Yankees and Legends Hospitality held their 2022 Food & Beverage Media Preview on Tuesday morning at Yankee Stadium, and there are plenty of new and exciting dining options for fans checking out the Bronx Bombers.

Books: Kostya Kennedy Gives A Unique Look At Jackie Robinson's Life In "True"


True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson

By Kostya Kennedy

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 288 pages; $29.99; available today, Tuesday, April 12

Friday, April 15th marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson debuting for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, and breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Yankees Thrown Into The Fire To Open Season


Yankees Manager Aaron Boone (at left, holding bat), watches Anthony Rizzo take batting practice Monday. (Photo by Jason Schott)

The American League East is quite possibly the strongest division in Major League Baseball, with the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays pretty evenly matched. 

You can make the case that, with the new playoff format, where there are three Wild Card teams, that they all can make the playoffs. Three of them - the Yankees, Tampa Bay, and Boston - made it last season, with Toronto just one game behind the Yankees and Boston.

The phrase "every game counts" is particularly apt, even in a sport where you play 162 games.

The Yankees got thrown right into the fire, as they opened the season with a seven-game homestand at Yankee Stadium, with three games against the Red Sox - in which they took two of three - and they opened a four-game series with Toronto on Monday night.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, when asked if he relished a chance to gain an edge on his division rivals, said in his pregame press conference on Monday afternoon, "It's a tough opening homestand, that's for sure, but we know these are the teams - a couple of the teams anyway - that we're going to be battling with all spring and summer long, and into the fall.

"We know how tough the division is, so I guess it's a little bit of a measuring stick here early, but you also keep in mind that you've got to play well over the long haul, and any time you're playing a team like the Red Sox, or now the Blue Jays, you know you've got to go play really well if you're going to have a chance to beat them."

The Yankees want to show Toronto that it won't be like last season in The Bronx. The Blue Jays took the season series from the Yankees last season, 11-8, and won eight of the 10 games they played at Yankee Stadium, most notably a four-game sweep in early September that catapulted the Jays back into the playoff race.

Toronto sent Alek Manoah to the mound on Monday night, returning to where he won his Major League debut last season. On May 27, 2021, Manoah threw six shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out seven, as the Jays notched a 2-0 win. He became the first Blue Jays pitcher to throw 6.0+ innings, 7+ K's, and 0 runs allowed in his MLB debut.

Manoah went 9-2 last season, with a 3.22 ERA, as he made 20 starts, threw 111.2 innings, striking out 127 hitters, and allowing 77 hits, 40 earned runs 12 home runs, and 40 walks. The 24-year-old hurler led all rookies, who had a minimum of 10 starts, in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched with 1.05, opponents' average (.192), and opponents' OPS (on-base plus slugging) at .604, while second in ERA, third in K rate (27.7 percent), and fourth in strikeouts/9 innings at 10.24.

The Yankees sent Jameson Taillon to the mound on Monday night, looking to follow up a strong first year in pinstripes. Last season, Taillon made 29 starts, and went 8-6 with a 4.30 ERA. He threw 144.1 innings, with 140 strikeouts, and allowed 130 hits, 73 runs (69 earned), 44 walks, and 24 home runs. 

After missing time in Septemeber, Taillon pitched in the season finale against Tampa Bay, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, a walks, and notched two strikeouts, in the 1-0 Yankee victory that clinched a playoff berth.

Boone said of Taillon ahead of the game, "I thought he did a good job last year, first and foremost coming off missing, really, a couple of seasons, of just physically getting himself in a good place to go out and give us probably more than we even expected form an innings standpoint. I thought he got better as the season went along, I thought he did a good job of making adjustments along the way with some of his pitch arsenal, but basically just continue to build off. He's an outstanding big league pitcher, has been when he's been healthy, and hopefully last year's a stepping stone to him continuing to get a little bit better with us."

Toronto's Alek Manoah gets ready to throw to the Yankees' D.J. LeMahieu to open the game. Photo by Jason Schott.

On Monday night, Toronto did pick up where they left off, as they shut out the Yankees, 3-0, with George Springer accounting for all their runs. 

Taillon had a fine start to his outing, as he sailed through the first two innings. He ran into trouble in the third when Santiago Espinal laced a one-out single ahead of Springer, who took an off-speed pitch and lined it into the left field corner for a two-run home run. 

Those were the only two runs Taillon would give up, as he went five innings, and allowed five hits and no walks, with five strikeouts.

Michael King came on next for the Yankees, and Toronto tacked on a run in similar fashion, as Espinal singled, and Springer doubled him home to make it 3-0.

Manoah had another solid outing in The Bronx, as he threw six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and four walks, with seven strikeouts.

The only threat the Yankees had against him came in the third inning when Marwin Gonzalez. Anthony Rizzo, and Aaron Judge drew walks, and Giancarlo Stanton came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Stanton hit a broken bat grounder into the hole at shortstop that looked like trouble, but Bo Bichette fired a rocket across the diamond to retire Stanton and end the inning.

With Manoah out of the game in the seventh, the Yankees rallied against Toronto reliever Trevor Richards, as Gleyber Torres singled and Aaron Hicks walked. Richards then got Kyle Higashioka to fly to right field before he was lifted.

Toronto turned to sidearmer Adam Cimber, and he induced pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson, who was up for Gonzalez, to hit into a 4-6-3 double play that was spectacularly turned, with Bichette making a spin move on the throw to first base to complete it and end the inning. 

The Yankees then tried to get something going in the ninth inning against Toronto closer Jordan Romano, as Joey Gallo led off with a single into the right field corner, but Torres hit into a double play. Then, Hicks hit one into nearly the same spot down the right field line for a single of his own, but Higashioka struck out to end it.

The Yankees are now 2-2 on this homestand, with games that have a lot more tension than you usually see in the first week of April, and have three more chances to gain an edge on their rivals.

Tom Seaver Statue To Be Unveiled Prior To Mets Home Opener


Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets will unveil the highly-anticipated Tom Seaver statue on Friday morning in a pre-game ceremony ahead of their home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 1:10 p.m.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Boone’s Bet Pays Off As Rizzo Opens Season With Pair Of Dingers


Anthony Rizzo. @Yankees.

Anthony Rizzo came to the Yankees at the trade deadline last July, and while he brought the professional qualities they needed to help them make a late run to earn a playoff spot, it took a while for him to mesh in the lineup.

It was assumed the Yankees would bring him back, but they did not sign him until after the lockout was completed in mid-March, and they signed him to a two-year, $32 million contract. They also showed tremendous faith in Rizzo by trading Luke Voit, who manned first base for the Yankees since he came over in a trade deadline deal with St. Louis in 2018.

That faith has been rewarded immediately in the Yankees' first two games of the season, wins over the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

In the opener on Friday afternoon, after Boston put up three runs in the top of the first against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, Rizzo launched a two-run bomb off Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi to get the Yankees right back into it, on their way to a 6-5 win in 11 innings.

On Saturday, the Yankees found themselves trailing early again after Alex Verdugo hit a two-run home run in the second inning. 

A couple innings later, Rizzo hit a two-run homer off Boston starter Nick Pavetta to tie in in the fourth, and the Yankees took the lead for good when Giancarlo Stanton got a two-run shot of his own off Pivetta in the sixth, and they held on for a 4-2 win.

Stanton also homered in Friday's win, making Rizzo and Stanton the first pair of Yankees teammates to homer in the Yankees' first two games of the season. They are just the ninth set of teammates to do it in the Modern Era of baseball history, with two instances of it occurring last season when Buster Posey and Evan Longoria of the San Francisco Giants, and Whit Merrifield and Michael A. Taylor of the Kansas City Royals did it.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone's decision to slip the left-handed Rizzo into the third spot in the lineup between the two big right-handed sluggers - Aaron Judge in the two spot, and Stanton hitting cleanup -has proven to be very significant.

This has forced Boston pitching to challenge Rizzo, who you couldn't ever take lightly, but he certainly has gotten better pitches than last season, when he would hit fifth or sixth, ahead of one of the Yankees' weakest 7-9 in their order in recent memory. 

Rizzo has homered in the opening two games of the season for the first time in his career, and he is the 11th Yankee to accomplish the feat. It is the third straight year a Yankee has done it, as Stanton did it in 2020 and this season, and Gary Sanchez did it last year. Stanton is the second Yankee to homer in the first two games of a season twice, joining Lou Gehrig (1932 and '33) in that elite company.