It was a busy week of New York sports. Let's look at the start to the season for the Mets and Yankees, the start of the NBA playoffs and the Knicks, and the playoff chances of the Rangers.
After getting snowed out 2 consecutive nights in Denver, the Mets dropped both games in a double header against the Rockies last night, 8-4 and 9-8 in 10 innings. Once again their pitching did them in. In game 1 Dillon Gee gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings and is now 0-3 to start the year. In game 2, starter Aaron Laffey surrendered 2 runs but lasted only 4 innings, departing with an 8-2 lead. The bullpen then proceeded to stink it up. Josh Edgin was first and gave up 4 earned runs while recording only 1 out. Bobby Parnell gave up the 2 to tie it but his were unearned, the result of a 2 out throwing error by shortstop Reben Tejada. Greg Burke, who gave up 2 runs in the first game, was responsible for the winning run in the 10th. The Mets did show up ready to hit, despite the 30 degree temperature scoring 12 runs in the 2 games with 2 home runs by David Wright, and 3 RBIS each by Tejada and Marlon Byrd. The Mets are scheduled to conclude their series with the Rockies tonight with Jeremy Hefner and Jon Garland are the probable starters, however, they expect to get snowed out yet again, as there is a 100% chance of snow in Denver.
The Mets are 7-6 to start the season, and although title contention is highly unlikely, especially with Atlanta getting off to such a hot start at 12-1, the Mets should still be a fun team to watch for Met fans with young talent like Matt Harvey, Tejada, Ike Davis and Jonathan Niese. They will eventually be joined by highly touted pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis D’Arnoud getting to the bigs in mid-season.
The Yankees have righted the ship after a bad start and are 7-5 after beating the Diamondbacks at home last night. Robinson Cano hit a 3 run homer, Ivan Nova picked up the win, and Mariano got the save. Tonight, it’s CC Sabathia vs. Wade Mile in game 3 of the series against Arizona.
The Bombers are still racked with injuries as Derek Jeter is not close to returning; he reportedly lightened his workload and, according to Girardi, will need close to a full spring training before getting back to the majors. Andy Pettite threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is apparently ready to start Friday in Toronto. He skipped his last start because of a sore back, which is common in geriatric men. Texiera and Granderson are all still on the DL and a ways away from returning, and Arod may never play again due to either his hip injury or impaired judgment as it was revealed this week that he tried to buy and destroy his records from the steroid clinic where he got his juice. He could get suspended by MLB even if does recover from his hip injury.
Turning to the NBA, the Knicks will be the second seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the NBA playoffs which start Saturday. They have a record of 53-28 with one inconsequential game tonight against the Hawks. On Monday, the day after securing the second seed, they lost to reigning worst team in the NBA, and the current lowest win percentage Bobcats 106-95. The Charlotte loss came with Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Ray Felton, Tyson Chandler and a few others on the bench, as Coach Mike Woodson rested his stars for their opening series. The Knicks will have home court advantage again the 41-39 Boston Celtics in the opening round. New York took 3 of 4 against the Celtics in the regular season. If they get past Boston they are 1 series away from the Heat who dominated this year, recording an NBA best 65-16 record. If Melo and JR Smith can keep up the scoring, Chandler dominates the boards, and Felton keeps racking up assists, the Knicks offense can definitely give Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James a test. However, their biggest problem they face is that Amar’e Stoudemire wants to return from Injured Reserve for the playoffs and if they try to force him into this line up they are in big trouble. This team plays better without Amar’e, and they have been hot down the stretch. He has been out over 8 weeks and will be rusty. His return is the recipe for a Round 1 or 2 exit. Stay on IR Amar’e and do your team a huge favor.
Not that it matters, but Melo wrapped up the NBA scoring title averaging almost 29 points a game. Hopefully he has some energy left after hoisting up all those shots this season.
On the ice, the Rangers are battling for a playoff berth in Cornell grad Gary Bettman's lockout shortened season. Their 21-17 record and 46 points tie them with the Winnipeg Jets as the 8th and final seed in the eastern conference. They have 6 left to play and every point is precious. Tomorrow they host the struggling Panthers and Friday they travel to Buffalo. They trail the 7th seed Islanders by 3 points and the 6th seed Senators by 4, and would love to avoid the 8th slot and a first round matchup with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Other than Pittsburgh the East is wide open and every team is beatable. Last year as the 1 seed, the rangers lost to the evil Devils in the Eastern conference finals.
Speaking of the Devils they are currently in 12th with 40 points and will probably have to win out and get some help to sneak into the playoffs. Good riddance.
As mentioned the Islanders are surprisingly playing well and barring a collapse should make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Pittsburgh in the East and the Chicago Blackhawks out west appear to be the dominant teams however with hockey you never know. A hot goalie and few lucky bounces and almost anyone can make a run. Nothing like playoff hockey.
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