Sunday, April 20, 2014

Yankees Split 4-Game Series with Rays

By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays Series Recap

April 17th: Yankees 10 Rays 2; Click here for Game 1 Recap

April 18th: Yankees 5 Rays 11; Click here for Game 2 Recap

April 19th: Yankees 1 Rays 16

April 20th: Yankees 5 Rays 1

The New York Yankees were able to head down to Tampa Bay in a four-game series against the Rays, and leave with a split despite giving up double-digit runs in two of the games. They will are now (11-8) on the season, which is good enough to be on top of the AL East.

Positives:

 In two of the four games the Yankees got really good starts from their Starting Pitchers, as C.C Sabathia and Vidal Nuno both turned in good outings. In Sabathia’s start the Yankees were able to grab the victory for him, which was his second of the season after seven strong innings allowing just two runs, only one of which was earned. Nuno didn’t have the same luck, as he left the game after five shutout innings, but had the bullpen blow the one-run lead he left with in the seventh inning.

Alfonso Soriano was the Yankees best hitter in the four games against the Rays, as he went seven for 16 at plate with one homerun, three RBIs, four runs scored, and two runs scored.

On Sunday the Yankees got to see the return of Mark Teixeira, who has missed most of the season, but was able to rejoin the team and have a pretty good first game back, which is important for a weak Yankees infield. Teixeira went two for six in the 12 inning game on Sunday.

Negatives:
bleacherreport.com

In the Yankees rough loss on Saturday against the Rays they may have suffered a major blow to the starting rotation, as Ivan Nova left the game in the fifth inning with pain in the elbow, and placed on the disabled list very quickly after. The MRI after the game showed that Nova had a partially torn UCL, which usually requires Tommy John surgery. The typical recover time for such a procedure is 12-18 months. Nova will be looked at again in New York, but it certainly doesn’t look good for the Yankees young Starter.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Time For Lucas Duda to Step Up and Produce

Written by Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

On Friday afternoon, the New York Mets made a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, shipping first baseman Ike Davis out of town in exchange for relief pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. Davis will have an opportunity to get his career back on track, as he has not been the same player since suffering an injury in 2011. For the Mets, he is no longer their problem, in turn placing a ton of trust in Lucas Duda.

Where the Mets will miss Davis the most is in the field with his glove. Davis is one of the better defensive first baseman in the MLB; Duda on the other hand leaves much to be desired. The decrease in defense at first base will be made up with an outstanding defensive outfield, as the albatross that is Duda's defense is more easily hidden at first base. But Duda will be able to make people forget about his lackluster fielding if he can hit like he is capable of doing.

Elsa/Getty Images
Duda will now be given every opportunity to succeed for the Mets, as he is the clear-cut starter at first base for the Amazin’s. They chose him over Davis with the expectations that he will give them more production with consistent playing time.

Nets Take Game 1 in Toronto

By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

April 19th, 2014

Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors Game 1 Recap

Final Score: Nets 94 Raptors 87

The Brooklyn Nets were able to head up north of the border to Toronto and take Game 1 against the young Raptors. The experience of the Nets was talked about a lot heading into this game, and with a loud crowd and shot clock issues, it certainly looked like that experience was the difference in the game.

Player of the Game: Joe Johnson

Throughout the game Joe Johnson was the Nets most consistent player on offense from start to finish, and nearly played the whole game, as Jason Kidd only gave him three minutes of rest. Johnson finished with 24 points on eight for 13 shooting, including going a perfect eight for eight from the free throw line. Johnson not only scored well for the Nets, he also led the team in rebounds with eight. He had four assists, and two steals as well to round up a great overall game.

Yankees Bullpen Gets Shelled by Rays

lockerpulse.com
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

April 18th, 2014

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays Post Game Recap

Final Score: Yankees 5 Rays 11

Coming off a big night on offense in Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, it was the Yankees pitching staff that got shelled on Friday, as in the loss the Rays scored 11 runs. The loss moves the Yankees to (10-7) on the season, and they are still atop the AL East by one game.

The Yankees offense got off to a quick start for the second straight game, as they chased Rays Starter Erik Bedard from the game quickly. Bedard lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and one walk.

Scott Sizemore was the man to do most of the damage off of Bedard, as in the second inning with the bases loaded, Sizemore cleared them with a three-run double. Later in the inning Sizemore would score on a Brett Gardner fielder’s choice.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Yankees Crush David Price in Tampa Bay

zimbio.com
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

April 17th, 2014

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays Post Game Recap

Final Score: Yankees 10 Rays 2

The New York Yankees were able to head down to Tampa Bay and start off their four-game series with the Rays on a positive note, notching a 10-2 victory. The victory moves the Yankees to (10-6) on the season, which keeps them atop the AL East by two games.

C.C Sabathia was able to avoid his woes in Tropicana Field on Thursday night, as a place that has been a nightmare for him the past few seasons was friendly to him this time around. While earning his second win of the season, Sabathia went seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits, two walks, and was able to strikeout six batters.

For the Rays their ace and former Cy Young award winner David Price just wasn’t on against the Yankees, as a rare bad outing for Price led to his first loss of the young season. Price finished going just five innings allowing six runs on 10 hits, and one walk.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Knicks Defeat Raptors to End Season on High Note

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

In the last game of the season for each team, the New York Knicks were able to end the season on a high note, defeating the Toronto Raptors 95-92. It was a strong finish to a disappointing season for the Knicks, who won four straight to end the season, even though they had been eliminated from the playoffs prior to the last three. It was nice to see the Knicks play with some heart and pride, as all four games they won to end the season came against playoff teams that were still playing for seeding. Here are some takeaways from the last game of the season for the Knicks, who will be watching the playoffs from home like the fans.

Player of the Game: J.R. Smith

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Series Recap: Mets Sweep Diamondbacks In The Desert

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Series Recap, April 14th-April 16th

April 14th Mets: 7 Diamondbacks: 3
April 15th Mets: 9 Diamondbacks: 0
April 16th Mets: 5 Diamondbacks: 2

Check out the post game recap for the Game April 15th HERE.

Christian Peterson-Getty Images
The New York Mets were able to sweep the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving them a successful ending to a productive road trip. The three victories against the Diamondbacks gave the Mets a 6-3 road trip, moving them above .500 for the first time this season at 8-7. On the contrary, the Diamondbacks now hold the worst record in MLB, at 4-12. The Amazin’s dominated the series against the D-Backs, as they got outstanding performances from multiple players throughout the series.

-Positives

Series Preview: Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors

nba.com
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

Eastern Conference Playoffs

Series Preview: Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors

The Brooklyn Nets will be heading into the playoffs for the second consecutive season, as after a strong inaugural season in Brooklyn, the Nets loss a tough series to the Chicago Bulls. This postseason they will be looking for their first playoff series win as the Brooklyn Nets against the team they were chasing the whole season in the Atlantic Division, the Toronto Raptors.

Match-Up of the Series: Deron Williams vs. Kyle Lowry

In what has been a great season for the Toronto Raptors, one of the major contributors to that has been Kyle Lowry, who has had an All-Star worthy season. Lowry is one of the more complete all-around Point Guards in the NBA, as this season he is averaging 17.9 points, 7.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. Against the Nets this season Lowry has been very efficient and effective scoring in four games this season, as he is averaging 22 points on 50% shooting from the field. Deron Williams has certainly had a disappointing season for the Nets, as he is averaging just 14.3 points and 6.1 assists per game, but if the Nets are going to do anything in the playoffs they need Williams to step it up and that has to start against Lowry.

- Debut for DeMar

Raptors Shooting Guard DeMar DeRozan is having a season of firsts, as in February he made his first All-Star team, and now after a bunch of losing season will be making his playoff debut after playing the best basketball of his career so far. Nationally, DeRozan may not be a household name like some players, but this season DeRozan is averaging 22.7 points per game, which puts him in the Top 10 in scoring for the NBA this season. DeRozan will be given the chance to shine on the National stage in the postseason, and something big to watch and that could go a long way to deciding the series is whether he rises or falls to the biggest challenge of his NBA career.

- Youth vs. Experience

The experience differential is eye-pooping in the series between these two teams, as in total the Raptors roster has 156 games of playoff experience. In comparison Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have played in a combined 267 career playoff games. A major concern for the Raptors has to be that their playoff inexperience comes mostly from their starting lineup that has three starters that have never played in a playoff game. TThe two starters that have, Lowry and Amir Johnson have combined to play in 24 playoff games, but neither has started a playoff game.

- Center Dilemma

For most of the season size has bothered the Nets in large part due to the absence of Kevin Garnett, and Jason Kidd using a small lineup with Paul Pierce at the Power Forward position, and although the Nets avoided Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls, they will have to deal with Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas is playing very well in April, as he is averaging a double-double in eight games with 16.8 points and 11 rebounds per game. Against the Nets this season he has been solid averaging 10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. A major question going into the playoff is what is the realistic expectation of what Garnett will be able to give the Nets? The amount of minutes Garnett will be playing is unknown and even if it is more than he has been since returning from the back spasms, there hasn’t been a whole of court time to see how effective he will be. If Garnett is ineffective or can’t play much, Kidd does have the luxury of going with Mason Plumlee and Andray Blatche off the bench.