Monthly Archives: August 2009

Mark Sanchez…Starter?

Going into the training camp the Clemens had the advantage as he was the veteran and Sanchez was the rookie. The thought was that there was no way Sanchez would be ready right away and it would be better for him to learn from the sidelines; however, throughout training camp and the preseason Sanchez has clearly outplayed Clemens and while the Jets might want to be careful about rushing Sanchez, if he presents himself as their best option to win it will be hard for the Jets to keep him on the sideline.

The first preseason game was one to forget for Clemens as while his completion percentage was good he did not throw for many yards and even had a fumble. Things did not get any better for Clemens when Sanchez came in as right out of the gate Sanchez made a beautiful downfield strike and continued to perform well enough to earn the start in the upcoming preseason game.

If Sanchez is able to play well the rest of the preseason there is a good chance he will be under center to start the season. Now quarterbacks that come out after their junior season at college have not faired well recently in the NFL. Something that should be magnified as Sanchez only started one season at USC. While this seems troubling it is not like no Junior has ever left and played well in the NFL. In fact one quarterback that came out made it to the league championship that year and has continued a good career winning two Superbowls already in his young career, that quarterback being Ben Roethlisberger.

The Jets do have the looks of a very good defense around Sanchez and have done a good job in recent years to build a very talented offensive line to keep Sanchez on his feet. He the AFC leading rusher from the previous season in Thomas Jones, and playmakers in Leon Washington, Jerrico Cotchery and Dustin Keller. While no one can expect him to come out and lead the Jets to the AFC championship it is not out of the question for him to lead them to a playoff berth.

Impending Series With Boston

The last time the Yankees and Red Sox played the Yanks swept the long time rivals in a four game set at home. An interesting development since the Yanks had yet to win a game against the Red Sox this season starting the season 0-8 against them. The series win really solidified the Yankees as the best team in baseball as they were not only able to beat the Red Sox by putting up a ton of runs but were even able to beat the Red Sox in a pitching duel.

Recently the Red Sox offense has gone into a slump and they have fallen to only a game up over the Rangers in the Wild Card race to go along with six and a half games out in the division. Needless to say the Red Sox need this a lot more than the Yankees as another sweep here puts them close to ten games back and almost certainly lands them behind the Rangers in the Wild Card.

While the Yankees are in better position here they do have to show up for this series. For one it would be nice to see the Yankees beat the Red Sox in Boston but at the same time you don’t want the Red Sox to find themselves back in this race. As long as the Yankees win one of these games they are in good shape.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The Mets started to make some noise and beat both the Astros and Rockies climbing back into the race. To follow this up the Mets lost three of four to the Diamondbacks, one of the few teams with a worse record from the Mets. It seems the Mets always do something like this, following up an impressive winning streak with a very disappointing losing streak.

The main point to get from this is even with the Mets finally playing good baseball and putting some streak together the Mets have only been playing .500 ball since Francoeur was acquired. Something Gary Cohen said as if it was a great accomplishment on one of the Mets telecasts. Now I believe he said this referring to the plan of playing .500 ball, or “keeping afloat” until the injured stars get back on the field to make a run. The problem is that plan was supposed to last only until the All-Star break with the intention of staying at .500 overall, something the Mets may never reach. The Mets are eight games back in the Wild Card behind seven teams….500 ball is not going to earn them a playoff birth.

The Mets have an easy stretch of games coming up that includes another series against the Diamondbacks and the Padres. Without success in this series it is hard to call this an “easy stretch” anymore. The worst part about this series is how poorly the pitching faired. Both Pelfrey and Perez couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, Figueroa couldn’t get out of the second with the best pitching performance coming from Livan Hernandez, a pitcher most fans hope will not return next season. Like mentioned in an earlier article the Mets rotation was not hit hard by injury and so there is no excuse why it should be performing so poorly, especially against an offense as poor as the Diamondbacks are.
With the Mets offense as injury ravaged as it is, the onus was supposed to be on the rotation to keep games close for the Mets to win. If the performances of these pitchers continue this way the Mets have no hope for getting back into this race even when their injured stars return.

Yanks Avoid the Four Game Sweep

The Yankees won the final game of a four game series against the White Sox preventing a four game sweep. The series loss puts them only half a game up over the Red Sox, a team they will be playing to end the week in another four game series.

This series against the White Sox should not raise too much alarm as it was unlikely the Yankees were going to continue to win nine of every ten games they play and so a series loss is acceptable especially since it’s the first one they lost since the All-Star break. The reason why it should cause concern though is the fact that they lost against the White Sox, a team that while not leading in any playoff spot, is still a contender this season. The Yankees have had trouble against possible playoff teams this year with poor play against teams like the Angels and Red Sox.

This series did not look good for the Yankees as their pitching was really exposed throughout with the White Sox hitting them hard. Their best performance of the series came when Andy Pettitte was pitching, with the rest of the series the Yanks giving up 10, 14, and 5 runs, the last game being pitched by their ace Sabathia. Not something encouraging for a team with enough rotation question marks that they heavily pursued Brian Bannister and Jarrod Washburn before the trading deadline.

The next two series they play are against the Blue Jays and the Red Sox, two important divisional series. If the Yankees can sweep the Jays in the shortened two game series and at least split with the Red Sox it should be considered a successful week. The season has reached August and it is about time the Yankees show they can beat the Red Sox. Not only that but they must show that this past series was just a fluke after a long hot streak.

Jets Offseason Part 2

Like I mentioned in the last Jets article, for the second year in a row the Jets made a big splash in free agency, and this includes more than just one linebacker. Following the signing of Scott the Jets worked hard to try to get a corner to pair opposite their pro bowl corner Darrell Revis in an effort to shore up their pass defense. The player they wound up acquiring was Lito Sheppard formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sheppard had recently fell out of favor with the Eagles as the Eagles went out last offseason and replaced him with Asante Samuel, a move that paid off as the Eagles made the conference championship game last season. Prior to that season Sheppard had been a pro bowl player; however, this past season Sheppard plummeted so far down the depth chart that he was no longer used as the nickelback and barely saw the field. He is still a young player and prior to this past season the main knock on Sheppard has been his injury problems so the Jets are hoping the change of scenery will be enough to get Sheppard to return to the form he showed earlier in his career, and if he does the Jets could have one of the best sets of starting corners in the league.

The Jets did not stop here as they wanted to upgrade their safety position too not being enamored with their starter opposite Rhodes. To make the upgrade they picked up another former Raven in Jim Leonhard. Leonhard is another young player to add to the secondary and while he isn’t a former pro bowl player like Sheppard he is still a good player and an instant upgrade over Elam. These moves help to solidify a secondary that fill the Jets last needs for a defense that looks ready to implement Ryan’s schemes and be a dominant defense in the mold of the Ravens, something that is needed for an offense that saw no real improvements and even lost a starting receiver in Coles.

If these moves pan out for the Jets, and except for maybe Sheppard there is very little risk in these moves, then the Jets should have a pretty good defense improving on their great performance last season. While there weren’t any big moves on offense during free agency there was a huge one on draft day, something that will be talked about in the next article. Also Ryan is a former defensive coordinator and for him to want to stock up on the defense is not unexpected. Jet fans should expect the games to be similar to when Edwards was head coach, tight defensive games with tons of running where the winner is usually the team that turns the ball over less. The difference being the Jets defense is more talented than it ever was under Edwards and there will be an aggressive 3-4 scheme as opposed to the basic cover 2.