The New York Yankees offense is alive well again after experiencing a three-week power outage.
On Tuesday, the Yankees extended their winning streak to six games after thumping the Toronto Blue Jays 20-6 at Yankee Stadium.
The 20-run output nearly doubled New York’s prior season best — 11 runs against the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 15 — and as many keen observers have noted, it’s also higher than the New York Jets and New York Giants outputs during Week 1 of the NFL season.
We’re not sure if that’s more encouraging for the Yankees or discouraging for New York’s football squads. The Jets fell 27-17 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon. The Giants were soundly defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-16, on Monday Night Football.
Worth noting, the New York Mets also accomplished this feat when they scored 18 runs against the same Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in Buffalo. Perhaps the biggest takeaway here then is that Toronto’s pitching staff is having the worst week ever.
Yankees’ fast turnaround
It was at this time last week when we started pondering the Yankees postseason odds. They had just fallen back to .500 (21-21) after beginning the season 16-6. A once seemingly secure postseason was slowly slipping through their fingers as rebuilding teams like the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers gained ground in the standings.
In fact, Toronto briefly held a three-game lead over New York for second place in the AL East.
Since then, the Yankees have outscored their opponents 48-11 while ripping off their third winning streak of at least six games this season. Tuesday’s win put them a half-game up on Toronto. As for the Orioles and Tigers, they’ve gone a combined 2-10 since, which includes a Yankees four-sweep of Baltimore over the weekend.
Once again, New York’s place in the postseason picture looks secure with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season. They hold a five-game lead over the Seattle Mariners, who are now the next closest team in the wild card standings.
Luke Voit takes over MLB home run lead
The Yankees hit six home runs in Tuesday’s outburst.
Two were slugged by first baseman Luke Voit, who now holds the MLB lead with 18 on the season.
Voit entered the day tied with Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout. He now holds a two home run advantage. The Yankees also got home runs from DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier and Gary Sanchez.
Also of note, Tuesday marked the return of Giancarlo Stanton, who had been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a hamstring strain. Stanton was the only Yankees’ starter to not record a hit or score a run in Tuesday’s win. He went hitless in four at-bats, but did draw one walk.
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Dion Waiters could get a ring no matter who wins NBA Finals
Dion Waiters could get a ring no matter who wins NBA Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
After getting released by the Grizzlies without playing a game following a troublesome end in Miami, it looks like it’s now a real possibility Lakers guard Dion Waiters could get a ring no matter who wins in the NBA Finals.
Waiters played 10 games for the Miami Heat this season before the infamous “gummies overdose” and panic attack on a team flight incident got him suspended and out of favor with Eric Spoelstra’s squad. Now that the Heat earned themselves the chance to compete for an NBA championship against the Lakers, it’s possible Waiters has found himself in a win-win scenario.
That is, of course, if the Heat are gracious enough to give Waiters a ring should they pull off an upset. Waiters commented with a few laughing emojis when seeing the possibility for himself.
RELATED: Why the Miami Heat may have a model the Wizards can follow
There’s plenty of past precedent that the champions aren’t obligated to send rings to players they’ve dealt away at some point during their title-winning campaigns.
When CJ Miles, who last played for the Wizards earlier this season, was traded by the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors to the Memphis Grizzlies last year, he unfortunately did not get a ring. Miles played in 40 games for the Raptors before being dealt, along with Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright, for Marc Gasol.
Though Waiters was more a of a contributor on past Miami teams, his output for the Heat this season wasn’t all that much.
Waiters signed with the Lakers back in March just before the season was temporarily shut down, and has since played in seven games for LA, usually in non-meaningful action. For Waiters to get a ring from the Heat would be an incredible show of good-will.
The much more likely outcome, however, is that Waiters gets his first-ever ring on the back of LeBron James, who is looking for his fourth.
Erik Spoelstra ‘worked his way up from the tombs’ — the video room
Erik Spoelstra is a ‘mini-Pat Riley’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
Miami’s Erik Spoelstra has walked a long, long road to his fifth berth as a head coach in the NBA Finals. Spoelstra, who has won two championships, took an unconventional path in what appears to be headed toward a Hall of Fame career.
Recruited out of Beaverton’s Jesuit High school, he was a four-year starter at the University of Portland, earning WCC Freshman of the Year honors his first season.
After two seasons as a player-assistant coach in Germany, Spoelstra caught on as video coordinator with the Miami Heat in 1995, held the job for two years before combining it with roles as assistant coach, advance scout and player personnel jobs under Pat Riley. In 2008, Riley retired as head coach, moved into the front office and hand-picked Spoelstra as his head coach, saying, “He’s a man who was born to coach.”
Indeed, Erik was born with a sports legacy. His father, Jon, was general manager of the Trail Blazers and worked in the front office for the Buffalo Braves, New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets. His grandfather, Watson Spoelstra, was a long-time sports writer for The Detroit News.
Ron Culp spent nearly four decades as an athletic trainer, in Cleveland, Portland and Miami and logged more NBA games in that capacity than anyone else in history. He was the Trail Blazers’ trainer during the championship season of 1976-77 and first laid his eyes on Spoelstra when the latter was “about 10 or 11.”
“I had a Volkswagon van and Erik’s mom and dad borrowed it for a little trip to Bend or somewhere in central Oregon,” Culp said. “That’s my first recollection of him.”
Culp was working in Miami when Spoelstra was hired as video coordinator for the Heat.
“He is a mini-Pat Riley,” Culp said. “No detail goes un-diagnosed. There is nothing about his efforts and drive that he leaves to chance. It’s just the way Eric is. If there’s a coach in the area who does seething unique, he seeks him out. Whether it’s basketball or another sport. He’s always trying to get better.”
And make no mistake, Spoelstra started at the bottom.
“He definitely worked his way up from the tombs,” Culp said. “That’s the video room.”
Larry Steele was a Trail Blazer whose number hangs in the rafters of Moda Center. He played for three coaches — Jack Ramsay, Lenny Wilkens and, in college, Adolf Rupp — who are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He was Erik Spoelstra’s college coach at the University of Portland and looks back at one big mistake he made during Spoelstra’s four seasons as a point guard for the Pilots:
“I should have consulted with him much more,” said Steele Monday. “There is no doubt, and I’m really being serious about this, he understood the game so well. He was always looking to improve, in all aspects of everything he did, but primarily around basketball.”
Steele saw in Spoelstra something special, right from the start.
“His success has been no surprise to me because of his extraordinary love for the game,” Steele said. “Pat Riley must have seen in him what i would have seen in him — an elite dedication to the game, on top of his personality and love for the game.
“I think people, whatever profession they’re in, there’s people who come along that you just know they have what it takes. I have to give credit to Pat Riley — who I’ve never talked with, other than playing against him — and people in charge of making decisions, for promoting him and seeing what he has, who he is and what he is.
“And the players he’s coached, whatever his relationships were when he first went to the Heat, that allowed him to continue his progress.
“His personality and his leading by example. There was nobody working any harder than Erik Spoelstra. He is the ultimate gym rat, leading by example because that’s who he is. I’m positive that was picked up by the players when he was video coordinator. I’m sure it has continued throughout his career.
“I’m really impressed.”
Steele said he can’t take any credit for his former player’s success.
“He didn’t learn anything from me,” Steele said with a laugh. “Except that I played him a lot. He was a very, very smart basketball player. His success is not a surprise.”
And Culp said, “He’s earned every minute of it.”
Chiefs injury updates following Week 3 vs. Ravens
The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t escape their Week 3 victory over the Baltimore Ravens without injury.
Ahead of the game, the team lost RG Andrew Wylie for the duration of the game due to a serious illness. The team had to rush him to the hospital over what was believed to be appendicitis according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Andrew Wylie was scratched right at the last minute there with a stomach illness,” Chiefs HC Andy Reid told reporters after the game. “They took him and hurried him to the hospital and did some tests on him. Things worked out OK, but he’s not feeling very well.”
During the game, Chiefs starting left cornerback L’Jarius Sneed suffered a collarbone injury when he was diving for an interception.
“Sneed hurt his right shoulder,” Reid said. “He’ll have some more things done on that tomorrow. We’ll just see exactly what needs to happen there.”
Sneed is probably going to get imaging done on his shoulder to see if there’s any significant damage. The standout rookie cornerback took to Twitter after the game and shared a message that didn’t seem too optimistic.
Sneed has been absolutely sensational to start the season and losing him would be a huge blow to this defense. Bashaud Breeland doesn’t return from suspension until Week 5, so this could be a big storyline for the Week 4 game against the New England Patriots.
Toward the end of the game, star DT Chris Jones left the game. Reid said that Jones “tweaked his groin.” Jones had dealt with a groin injury during training camp. Perhaps it’s just a minor reaggravation of that injury, but it’s certainly something to monitor on a short week.
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