Week 2: Giants Head to Jerry World

(Yahoo Sports)

For the last three years, the Giants and Cowboys have opened the season against each other. This year, both teams will meet for the first time in Week 2, each starting 0-1.

I don’t want to start with the “must win” talk quite this early, but Giants fans are eager for the first win under Pat Shurmur, and 0-2 would put the team in a tough position given the remainder of this schedule.

New York’s season opener was pretty much what we expected. The defense looked promising, though they were still charged with 137 yards on the ground, even with Leonard Fournette sidelined for the majority of the game. On offense, Odell Beckham Jr had 11 carries for 111 yards, and Saquon Barkley ran 68 yards on his first NFL touchdown. Despite the loss, there were a lot of positive takeaways from Week 1.

Over in Carolina, Dallas struggled against the Panthers with Dak Prescott taking 10 hits, getting sacked six times. The Cowboys were only able to put up 8 points in their Week 1 loss to the Panthers.

In order for the Giants to walk away with their first win of the season, Landon Collins put it best, “we really just have to focus on stopping Zeke.” It’s what worked for the Panthers last week and granted the Cowboys don’t change their offense, it’s what the Giants will need to do tonight. Since Collins became a Giant, the team has limited Zeke to an average of 87.3 yards in three games. Along with halting Zeke, Collins added they have to, “make sure we [take] the air out of their running game. Put the ball into Dak’s hands and I think we have a better shot at winning.” Putting the pressure on Prescott to beat his opponent is the “secret” to defeating this team. Prescott responded to Collins’ comments by repeating multiple time that he accepts the challenge.

Prescott is coming off a horrendous outing, completing 19 of 29 passes for 170 yards, and producing only four first downs in the first half. To make matters worse, the Cowboys certainly have a weakened O Line with the indefinite absence of Travis Frederick.

In terms of the Giants O Line, last week, Ereck Flowers was matched up against Calais Campbell, which immediately proved to be lopsided. This week, to the Cowboys delight, he’ll be matched against All-Pro pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence. If you haven’t caught on, it’s going to be a very long season of lopsided Flowers match ups. For whatever reason, the Giants believe in him and we shouldn’t hold our breath for that to change.


This week, the spotlight will be on the indirect match-up of Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliot. While last week there was a heavy focus on Odell and Jalen Ramsey lining up against each other, this week’s match-up, of course, won’t be head-to-head. Saquon and Zeke were two of the most decorated college running back’s, and both are eager for a monster game on Sunday. Zeke ran for a nice 69 yards with one touchdown, while Saquon had his first NFL TD on an incredible 68-yard run. While that touchdown is exciting, it’s worth noting that it alone counted for more than 50% of his total yards that day.


-As Collins said, stopping Zeke and forcing Dak to beat the Giants is going to be the main goal tonight.

-The Giants should try and use Saquon as a receiver out of the backfield as much as they can. The rookie was a dangerous threat at Penn State in this position where he averaged 11.7 yards per receptions.

-As easy as it is to blame the O-Line, there were multiple instances last week where they perfectly protected Eli and he failed to make easy completions. He’ll need to be sharp and take advantage of every opportunity this week.

Prediction: Giants win 24-13

Men over boys.


Giants Jaguars Week 1 Notes

(New York Giants / Twitter)

The long awaited start of the 2018 season is finally here. Giants fans have been ready for this day far before last season even ended. Coming off an abysmal 3-13 record came a clean sweep in staffing, the return of a star and the addition of perhaps another, I’m confident in saying that I’m optimistic about this season. Uh-oh.

With the Giants hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars, today marks the first time they’ve opened at home since 2012. Today’s game also marks Tom Coughlin’s return to Met Life. Albeit he returns as an the Executive Vice President of the Jaguars, I’m sure returning players will jump on the opportunity to chat with their former coach.

Cautionary optimism is the theme of tomorrow’s match up (and this Giants season).

In terms of the offense, they can really only go up. Under McAdoo last season, the Giants failed to score 30 points in any single game. This season brings the return of Odell Beckham Jr, the addition of Saquon Barkley and a major revamp of last season’s playbook. Based on what we saw this past summer, expect to see more play action passes and vertical routes.

Odell’s return has only been heightened with the signing of his monster contract, one that suggests he is slated to take on more responsibility and establish himself as a leader on the field. What better way to test this than matching up with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Odell has struggled with trash talking in the past, showcasing his immaturity and making enemies with kicker practice nets. Today gives Odell the stage for his big comeback, as well as the chance to establish himself as a more responsible leader going forward.

As good as this Jags defense is, they’ve struggled with the run in the past. Cue Saquon Barkley. The pressure is certainly on for the second overall pick, and he’ll need a superb start if the Giants want any chance today.

The abysmal right side of last year’s O line has been reconstructed, with Ereck Flowers moving from the left side and Patrick Omameh at guard. Flowers will likely be across from Calais Campbell- who was named to an All-Pro first team last season. Not exactly a reassuring match up, especially after last season. On the left side, the free agent signing of Nate Solder at tackle gives me optimism, followed by Will Hernandez and Jon Halapio. Despite this looking like a strong(er) O Line- this is also a line comprised of all new starters and could take awhile for them to become a cohesive, effective unit.

This game will inevitably come down to a battle between defenses, with Jacksonville boasting one of the best pass rush units in the league. The all new Giants defense will immediately be put to the test, facing Leonard Fournette. The running back finished in the top 10 of all rushing yards leaders, topping out just over 1,000 with 9 touchdowns. The Giants will have to get on him early in the game if they want any chance of coming away with a win. With Damon Harrison and rookie B.J. Hill on the line, the Giants could potentially put up a good fight.

The Giants will surely be missing their top edge rusher Olivier Vernon, who’s out with an ankle injury. In his absence they’ll really need to put the pressure on Bortles. Jacksonville went 2-6 when he threw at least one interception.

The Giants need their newly established O line to communicate well, Barkley to get his openings, and heavy pressure on Bortles in order to come up with the win today.

I’ve seen a lot of people tossing around 24-17 which sounds about right- but I won’t say which way I’m leaning, because picking outcomes gives me a bad feeling.

Let’s go big blue.


This Red Sox team is good; that game was not

If baseball were a 7 inning game, the Red Sox would be 1-0. Unfortunately for Boston, there are 9. Chris Sale went a full six innings, a decent start for the beginning of the season. He had 9 strikeouts, giving up just one hit and no runs. There was no reason for Cora to keep Sale in any longer, given that this was the first game of the season. Remember last year all the whining about how Sale was strained too much during the regular season, and he was worn down by the time October rolled around? I’m totally fine with pulling Sale after six innings of good baseball in March.

What happened next is also not something I’d pin on Cora. It’s easy to point the finger at the manager, especially one in his first game in that role. The bullpen is not a problem created by Cora, rather one he inherited. Finding a middle reliever is a problem that goes back to last season, and today made it clear it’s still something that needs tweaking. (I’m being nice using the word “tweak”).

After the game, Cora told media that he and Kimbrel agreed prior to the game that the closer would not be used unless it was a clean inning. Kimbrel spent the majority of the preseason in Boston with his young daughter as she underwent her second heart surgery since being born in November. Though he worked out nearly everyday in Boston, he pitched just twice in spring training. Even the most irrational baseball fans can understand and accept this. So even the most irrational baseball fans should understand that he might not be ready to come into a game in the 8th inning, inheriting three runners with 1 one out.

Cora felt confident enough in his bullpen to make this decision, and in his defense I would have too. It’s worth noting that Boston’s bullpen was second in the league last year in ERA (3.15) just behind Cleveland (2.89). It’s not so much that we don’t have the talent, it’s that we haven’t found the right places for said talent. Joe Kelly had a 2.79 ERA as a reliever last season, giving up just 3 homers and striking out 52. I was all in on Joe Kelly out of the pen last season, especially after giving 2.2 solid relief innings in the postseason. Carson Smith appeared in just 8 games last season, but posted an ERA under 2. This spring he had 9 innings of relief, finishing a flat 2.00 ERA and 12 K’s.  And not for nothing but we were playing the Tampa Bay Rays. didn’t exactly expect Denard Stan to hit a 3 run triple late in the game.

While I can’t say I’m thrilled the Sox blew a 4-0 lead to open the season, it’s important to remember this is 1 game of 162. Plenty of time to turn things around (I’m mostly talking to myself at this point).


Xander Bogaerts was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s.

Eduardo Nunez turned on the GAS and scored us 2 runs on a bloop to center.

Chris Sale is still really good.


Joe Kelly has a 108 ERA


–See ya’ll tomorrow for Price day.

The Official Molls 2018 Red Sox Season Preview

Opening Day is tomorrow, which makes today Christmas Eve. For the first time since 1999, the Red Sox finished with the Grapefruit League’s best record. Just for fun I decided to take a peak at the 1999 Red Sox baseball reference page (even though I was a whole 4 years old and remember it fully anyways). The team finished the regular season with a 2nd place 94-68 record, won the wild card, and moved on to the ALCS where they lost to the Yankees in Game 5. Not bad. While the ’99 season has no bearing on this year’s team, it eerily mimics my expectations for the 2018 Red Sox season.


While all of these “superlatives” are total guesses and can certainly go drastically wrong, picking a team’s finish might be the biggest shot in the dark of them all. Looking at this division, it’s clear the Yankees are the biggest competitors for the Red Sox. I think it could honestly go either way in terms of who lands first or second, and I usually always pick wrong when I’m forced to decide between two things. Therefore I’m picking the Sox to finish the AL East in 2nd place at 92-70. This is a playoff caliber team who I believe will get their shot at a postseason run this year, even if they do it from the wild card spot.


(Boston Herald)

This off-season the Red Sox built on an already pretty impressive roster, adding last year’s obvious missing piece in J.D. Martinez. Though everyone is talking about the Yankees lineup, I can’t help but notice nobody is talking about their rotation. The Red Sox have a solid offense, albeit not one comprised of monster hitters like the Yankees, but they have the edge in their rotation (well, sort of). The season will start with Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez. While that rotation starts with you nodding your head in excitement, it might end with you staring blank faced, or googling “Hector Velazquez”. With Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez starting the season on the DL, and Steven Wright starting the season on the DL and then serving a 15 game suspension, the Red Sox were rather limited in selecting their season starters. Though I’m rather confident in the front end of that rotation, Porcello’s on again off again seasons make me nervous. BJ of course had his complete game no hitter last season, but his lack of reps in the majors leaves me somewhat weary. Velazquez is a guy I watched in Pawtucket multiple times where he posted an ERA under 3 over 19 starts. I’ve got a good feeling about him fitting in as the fifth guy, at least until the others return from their injuries/punishments. My standout starter pick is being handed to David Price. While I expect another knockout season from Sale, I’m confident in Price having not only a strong, consistent regular season but continuing that into the postseason (that’s right we’re playing October ball). Price has nothing and everything to prove, depending on who you ask. Granted it’s hard to compare his 2016 and 2017 seasons as one he started 35 games while the next he was limited to 11, but I was satisfied with Price last season and can only see him going up from here. Price has had his share of run-ins with Boston media/fans, and it seems this off-season he’s re-routed those frustrations from anger to productivity. Less talk, more doing. We shall see.


Plot twist: I’m not giving this one to J.D. Martinez. While I think JD is going to help the Sox improve on their pitiful 2017 home-run figure, I’m going with a different outfielder to give the Sox their biggest push on offense. Andrew Benintendi came out of the off-season last year much bulkier than he left the 2016 team. And it appears Benny Beefcakes was busy in the weight room once again this off-season. Benintendi crushed 20 homers last year, and based on his .391 average, 1.236 OPS and .804 SLG this spring, it appears he’s not taking offense lightly this year. Give me at least 25 dingers from Benintendi, and over 100 RBI’s. (Sidenote: none of these figures are taking into account the haircut, RIP)


Defensive MVP

There is nobody I’d trust to cover right field more than Marcus Betts. You may be familiar with Mookie if you’re an avid bowling fan, but let me tell you this guy can also play baseball. Mookie is consistently one of the best right fielders in the league, often in the same territory as other stars such as Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper. Last season Mookie had the 9th highest FPCT (Fielding Percentage) out of all right-fielders in the league with .987. He also had the highest DWAR (Defensive Wins Above Replacement) among right-fielders at 2.6. Mookie has spoiled Red Sox fans in his ability to cover the grass in RF and manages to consistently rob guys of home-runs. Just ignore the triple he gave up to Kris Bryant in yesterday’s spring training finale.

Biggest Surprise

If you know me then you’re probably well aware I’m the biggest Hanley defender on the planet. After the 2016 season, Hanley’s numbers took a drastic plunge. Perhaps he felt a bit too inclined to take over and be the next Papi in the clubhouse. Every time Hanley stepped up to the plate last year you knew he was swinging for the moon on every pitch. His career low .242 and just 23 homers proved that maybe not every one of your at bat’s is going to result in a ball hitting the mass pike. Alex Cora has Hanley batting third to start the season, perhaps one of the more puzzling lineup moves so far. Though he’s new to managing, Cora is no stranger to baseball and I trust his decision here in hoping we get 2016 Hanley this season. I don’t expect him to remain in that spot after Pedroia returns and the lineup is shaken up once again. Hanley will be moving around quite a bit, as he platoons with Mitch Moreland at first base and will undoubtedly occasionally fill in for JD at DH. Giving Hanley the three spot might be a move to boost his confidence and give him some assurance for this season. While I think we can expect a big bounce back from Hanley this year, either way I’m happy to have this sunflower seed throwing, camera loving, dancing character on this team.


Biggest Concern

I’ll be honest; I’m worried about Xander Bogaerts. It’s not that he has been especially terrible, it’s that he’s been just “meh”. Bogaerts falls in the lower half of the MLB’s shortstops in terms of fielding percentage (.969) and all too frequently falls in and out of slumps on offense. In the first half of the 2017 season, Bogaerts hit .303 compared to .235 in the second half. I’m not expecting some monster season from the shortstop, just hoping for a consistent one at the least.

I’m surprised that (in my opinion) I didn’t drop any crazy hot takes in these predictions. I think it’s safe to say these are all fair assumptions and nothing I wrote is too out of reach. But playing it safe is boring so I’ll leave you with one toasty take: Devers hits 20 home-runs this season.

Breaking down the 2018 Sox Giveaways

Today is February 14th and you know what that means. That’s right, pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers today- even though most of the team has been there for days already. It’s the “official” start to spring training, slightly more exciting than Truck Day since there’s actual baseball things happening. Unfortunately we’ve still got a ways to go until those spring games start rolling in.

There’s not a whole lot to talk about this first week or so of spring training, though believe me, the media tries. It’s good to see everyone back on the field, but not much comes out of this first week story wise.

So I’m going to take the time to talk about a very important subject, one that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Let’s talk about the Red Sox 2018 promotional games, and rank this seasons giveaways.

Here we go.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.03.09 PM.png

15. Coming in at dead last is the Red Sox “Sock” giveaway. There are only 15 promotional items, and I’d rank this one 50th. This is too easy, Red Sox. First of all socks are the lamest gift you could ever give or receive. How many of us have gotten fuzzy socks in a Secret Santa/Yankee Swap, likely because our gift giver had zero clue what our interests were and figured everyone needs socks? Not to mention I can’t stand when players are referred to as a “Red Sock”. Fenway will be littered with these cheap socks in their plastic bags following this game.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.03.23 PM.png

14. Moving on to an almost equally bad promo. Ah yes, the infamous puzzle cube. Less commonly know as….a Rubik’s cube. I’ve got a lot of issues with this one. The main one being: how could this possibly be Sox themed? Isn’t the entire point of a Rubi- excuse me, “puzzle cube” to make each side a different color? Actually, I might finally be able to solve this cube if the only colors are red and white. Finally, I have a cool and definitely not lame or annoying talent to show off to people at parties.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.03.58 PM

13. Up next we have batting gloves. This is listed under the “Kids giveaways” so I won’t even be eligible for these bad boys. I’m actually really glad they made these just for kids. There’s already too many adult hardos wearing Oakleys and Phiten necklaces carrying gloves around trying to rob kids of foul balls, the last thing we need is them equipped with batting gloves.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.02.56 PM.png

12. I’m the biggest JBJ defender there is so this poor ranking has nothing to do with #MyCenterFielder. But come on…the bobble-head game has come way too far to give us such a plain Jane one like this. Where’s the pizazz? Give me JBJ flying over the center field wall while wearing a glove made out of real gold. Then I’ll consider bumping this promo lower on the list.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.02.31 PM.png

11. This promo lost a lot of stock when Benny decided to selfishly chop his flow (RIP). Also, unless this is signed by Benintendi or has been graced by his luscious locks, this is simply a headband. Grade: D-

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10. Did everyone get sick of bobble-heads or something? Are gnomes the new hip thing to collect? I’m not sure I’m all in on it. Also, Vazquez? Interesting move guys. The only thing that makes bobble-heads acceptable and not totally creepy is that their heads shake. Take away the bobble and you’re left with a bizarre figurine, make him a gnome and now things are just getting weird.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.03.32 PM.png

9. Same as above except Devers gets bumped one higher because he’s a jolly little 21 year old stud who hit an inside the park home-run during the ALDS and energized Fenway for about 30 seconds in an otherwise dim and depressing atmosphere.

8. 7. 6. We’ll group these together since they come as a set. And there’s their first flaw, bobble-heads given away as a set means you pretty much have to get all 3. Although I’m confused by this grouping. Maybe they feel like they overplayed the Killer B’s outfield group. Two outfielders and a shortstop just seems like an odd set to me. Also, what’s with the splash? Unless it has to do with the fact these giveaways are sponsored by Coca Cola, I must have missed something.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.01.53 PM

5. I’m not exactly sure what this bobble-head is going to look like, but the “K-counter” intrigued me. The Red Sox have beaten “Sale Day” to a pulp so I’m glad they didn’t incorporate that into this promo. I’m also glad this one is early on in the season when Sale is still hot and hasn’t been used and abused so heavily his arm is barely hanging on.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.04.06 PM.png

4. It’s about damn time Wally got the recognition he deserved. I’m in the market for a new pair of headphones. And after seeing these I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Beats or any other brand. Catch me in the gym with these chunky (probably green) beats by Wally probably getting my ear drums blown out by the poor quality. Sidenote, stop trying to make Tessie happen. Is Wally not enough for you?

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3. It’s Wally’s year. The guy must have said something this off-season because his value has gone WAY up. Kids pillow? That’s cute, I’ll take six.

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2. Alright now we’re talking. I have absolutely NO idea what this is supposed to be? I’m hoping for some Chia pet type deal. When you look at him, Kimbrel is actually the least intimidating looking person on this roster. Take away the beard and you have a smiley ginger who looks like he wants to sell you cookies rather than throw absolute heat and strike out the side.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 10.03.48 PM.png1. THIS is what I’m talking about Red Sox. Completely changing the bobble-head game. For those who don’t remember:

Whoever came up with this giveaway, hit them with a raise. Perhaps $100 mil over 5 years.


The everlasting courtship between Boston and JD Martinez


First off, it’s been over a year since I’ve written anything. There was no real reason for stopping, just got caught up in things going on in my life and writing fell to the back burner. I’ve decided it’s time to get back into it, especially with the season around the corner. What better way to dive back in than by addressing the Red Sox and JD Martinez relationship, and whats to come.

Earlier today it was reported by Ken Rosenthal that JD Martinez was, “fed up with the Red Sox’s inflexibility”. My first thought after reading this was whether or not these were Martinez’s words and feelings, or those of his agent, the infamous Scott Boras.

We’ve seen this a hundred times but let’s review what Martinez (and Boras) are looking for. Seven years and $210 million for the right handed outfielder. At the beginning of the off season there were multiple teams interested in Martinez, most of whom have fallen off as contenders after signing other FA’s. The Red Sox in theory remain the number one contenders, with 5 years and $125 million on the table.

Now $125 million versus $210 million is quite the gap, but it is also the closest offer Martinez has seen. It may be the closest, but Martinez is apparently still, “fed up”. As are members of Red Sox nation. Just look at the replies to any of the official Red Sox twitter pages tweets, and you’ll see for yourself. Many fans are quick to blame Dombrowski, and rag on the front office for not fulfilling Martinez and Boras’ demands. But is Dombrowski really to blame?

As of now the Red Sox have offered Martinez the best deal, albeit not the exact deal he’s looking for. Until another team comes forward and puts up a better offer, why should the Red Sox cough up more money? If the Sox were to meet Martinez’s offer, I’m sure Red Sox fans would react incredibly appropriately and not overreact at all. Sox fans love when their team shells out money to free agents (ha). In terms of pleasing the fans, it’s a lose lose for the Sox front office. Give the man his money, and they’ll come out of the woodwork like the money is coming from their pockets. Wait it out and they’ll continue to respond to every Sox tweet with a sarcastic “get a bat” reply.

If Martinez is to be fed up with anyone, it would be with other MLB teams. He’s a talented player, who numerous teams would benefit from adding him to their rosters. It makes no sense to be fed up with the one team who’s gotten closest to your demand, especially considering we’re one week out from pitchers and catchers. Which leads me to believe this is a stunt by Boras to try and light a fire under this market and put an end to this stalemate before spring training is underway.

The Red Sox “inflexibility” is entirely fair, until other teams step forward and make better offers. Dombrowski also pointed out how unique this off season is, with multiple deserving free agents still on the market including Darvish, Hosmer, Arrieta, Moustakas, Cobb, Lucroy, Lynn, Walker, Morrison,  Holland, and many more. Once those guys start signing, it’ll be interesting to see who budges first: Dombrowski or Boras. My money is on Dave, but quite frankly I don’t care who caves first, as long as Martinez is in a Red Sox uniform this season.


Farewell DC, and thank you

My final piece for UConn’s newspaper, The Daily Campus. Summing up my four years at the paper, and how it helped me become a better writer.

Just over four years ago, I was starting to think about what I wanted to study at UConn. I grew up in a journalism house, with both my parents working for The Providence Journal. I entered my freshman year undecided despite having a pretty good feeling I’d end up following my parents’ footsteps. During the fall of my first semester, I came across The Daily Campus booth at the involvement fair, and attended what would be my first of many meetings for the newspaper. I had always been interested in sports, both playing and watching, but the DC helped me realize how important a role sports would play in my life.

I left my first meeting as the new MLB columnist, with absolutely no idea where to start. My first few columns read like game summaries; essentially recaps of Sox games containing zero opinion or personality; the exact opposite of what a column should be. Each semester, I received more advice and feedback from editors both within the DC and back at home (wish my dad didn’t have access to red ink). I began to develop my own style of writing, and became more confident in my ability to use my voice. My takes got hotter, and my column gradually became more personable and opinionated.

Not only did my involvement with the DC help me develop my writing, it encouraged me to learn more about a sport I grew up loving. I was no stranger to the Red Sox, as my fandom started long before working at the DC. The column helped me evolve from just a Red Sox fan, into an all-around baseball fan. Some weeks I’d know right away what I wanted to write about, while others I would stare at a blank Word document for hours. One of my favorite things about living in Connecticut is having access not only to NESN, but also YES and SNY. In addition to watching every Sox game, I began watching Yankees games, Mets games and anything else I could find. The more I watched, the easier column topics came to mind.

Though I’ve decided to take my journalism career down the broadcast route, I want to thank the DC for giving me the opportunity to practice my writing every week, and develop my voice. As a female in the sports industry, I used to second-guess myself. I’d double and triple check something I was 100 percent sure I knew, in fear that I would l embarrass myself. The work I’ve put into my columns has helped me feel more confident in both my writing, and in general sports conversation. While broadcast and print are entirely different when it comes to writing, I feel more comfortable in my delivery as a result of learning how to show my personality through my work.

These 500 words a week started as just a job, and then gradually helped me shape my voice (and pay my nickel covers). To anyone who read my writing over the last four years, thank you, and let’s go Sox!