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Mets deGrom Wins Back to Back Cy Young Awards

File photo New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom #48 Neil Miller /The New York Extra

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

What is with it with the Mets and these one-voter outliers?!

Mets ace Jacob deGrom made history Wednesday night, becoming the first Met pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young awards, just the seventh in NL history to go back-to-back and the 12th overall to accomplish that remarkable feat.

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom #48 /file photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

But it wasn’t unanimous.

deGrom got the first-place vote on 29 of 30 ballots. Dodgers left Hyun-Jin Ryu got the lone remaining first-place vote and finished second.

“Words can’t express it,’’ deGrom said on MLB Network. “I said it was a dream to win one, but to win back-to-back, honestly, I’m kind of speechless right now.’’

Which might go for a lot of Mets fans.

Rye (14-5) had a better ERA (2.32) than deGrom (2.43) who went 11-8. But deGrom had more strikeouts (255) than Rye (163) and Mets ace was virtually untouchable in the second half of the season.

After giving up seven runs on nine hits in five innings of a loss to the lowly Marlins, deGrom’s numbers were 3-5 with a 3.98 ERA. This a far cry from his 2018 numbers of 10-9 with a ridiculous 1.70 ERA.

“I feel like I was trying to better what I did in 2018,” deGrom told reporters. “I think that was something I struggled with to start this year, was kind of dwelling on what happened last year. Kind of not focusing on the task ahead as much as I probably should have.”

deGrom regained his focus and posted a 1.89 ERA the rest of the season. Yet it was the same case last season, when deGrom beat out Max Scherzer. De  Grom was not a unanimous winner. He got the first place vote on 29-of-30 ballots.

If this sounds familiar it should. Earlier this week Mets slugger Pete Alonso won the NL Rookie of the Year, getting the first-place nod of 29-of-30 voters. Alonso, who wore black 100-% baseball cap signaling his belief that he should be the unanimous winner.

Justin Verlander won Cy Young in the American League. He and deGrom join Mets legend as the only three pitchers to have won Rookie of the Year and multiple Cy Young awards.

08/29/19 Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets at Citifield Queens ny #48 Jacob DeGrom reacts after giving p a 3 run homer in the 7th inning to #7 Vitor Caratini as the Cubs lead the Mets 4-1 Neil Miller/The New York Extra

 “This year, having that little rough patch, this game will humble you quick,’’ deGrom said. “Last year, I didn’t really seem to have any

. It was kind of smooth sailing all year. But this year, to recover from that little rough patch and figure out a way to get it done and go out there and fix some mechanical things, was good.”

Just not unanimous good.

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All Alonso Needs to do is Keep Playing Like a Rookie

08/27/19 Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets at Citifield Queens ny Mets #20 Pete Alonso hits his 42 home run of the year breaking a Mets record and putting the Mets ahead 1-0 in the 4th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

Now that Pete Alonso has accomplished almost everything a rookie can hope for, here’s our hope.

Peter Morgan Alonso, please don’t change.

Don’t make it habit but if you happen to get your jersey torn off after a post-game heroic, do the interview shirtless.

Continue to honor the victims, heroes and families of 9/11.

07/26/19 Pittsburgh Pirates vs New York Mets at Citifield Queens NY #20 Pete Alonso at ceremony with Tunnels to Towers and Wounded Warriors Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Keep crushing home runs.

And for as long as humanly possible, play baseball like a 12-year-old at Williamsburg, full of joy and passion.

Of course, for the next couple of weeks, take the National League Rookie of the Year Plaque on a Stanley Cup-like run. You can’t plant flowers in it or drink beer out of it but you can hoist a lot of cold ones in Tampa or New York or any else place there’s a Mets  fan.

We’ll set over/under at 53, the record number of home runs Alonso slugged this year. That didn’t break just any record, it broke the record for home runs by a rookie previously held by a Yankee – Aaron Judge.

Trust us. This is huge for Mets fans that spends almost eternal second fiddle to the Yankees.

In addition to crushing those 53 home runs, Alonso drove in 120 runs while hitting. 260. The Polar Bear, all 6-3, 245 pounds even stole a base.

What was stolen from Alonso was winning the award in unanimous fashion, which clearly was on his mind Monday night at the award’s announcement. He wore a black hat inscribed with “100 %.”

 Alonso received 29 of 30 first-place votes. One voter opted for Atlanta rookie pitcher Mike Soroka received the one other first place vote.

If Alonso needs motivation next season, he could look there. Just as he could have used the fact that he barely made the big club coming out of spring training. Surely he was thrilled to make the team and maybe there was some extra mojo.

But this is what makes Alonso such a New York treasure. He doesn’t need a chip on his shoulder because he has laughter in his heart. He loves the game. He knows how few make this dream come true.

Hopefully, Alonso will never forget that. He’ll continue to embrace the big, warm, cuddly Polar Bear persona, player version of Mr. Met. He’ll get just as big a thrill out of a walk-off walk, that led to the bare-chested celebration, as he gets from a walk off homer.

He’ll be that kid that dreamed of one day winning NL Rookie of the Year. And then he did it.

Could An All-Star Team of Jets and Giants Make the Playoffs?

By Lenn Robbins

11/10/19 NY giants VS NY Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. NY Jets #48 JOrdan Jenkins celebrtaes after a sack of NY Giants #8 Daniel jones today Neil Miller /The New York Extra 2019

 The worst place to go for an NFL game is MetLife Stadium.

East Rutherford, N.J. Sunday, November 10, 2019. Darius Slayton makes a catch in front of Jamal Adams. Photo by David L. Pokress/The New york Extra 2019

  The two teams that call this steel and concrete monstrosity home have a combined record of 4-15. Amazingly, they played a somewhat entertaining game Sunday with the Jets beating the Giants 34-27.

  The Jets share the bottom of the AFC East with a 2-7 mark. The 2-8 Giants have a one-half game lead over the truly pathetic Washington Redskins for last place in the NFC East.

East Rutherford, N.J. Sunday, November 10, 2019. Jamison Crowder of the Jets takes Janoris Jenkins along for the ride in the first half. Photo by David L. Pokress/The New York Extra 2019

  Apparently, the Jets offense is quite competent, as long as its playing against the Giants defense. Gang Green averaged 223.5 yards (dead last in football) and 11 points (tied for last) going into the game. They racked up 294 yards and 34 points against the Giants.

11/10/19 NY giants VS NY Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. NY Giants #86 Darius Slaton makes a reception in todays game Neil Miller/The New York Extra 2019

And the Giants offense is competent when playing against the Jets defense. Big Blue averaged 326.8 yards and 19.6 points going into the game. They racked up 287 yards and 27 points against the Jets.

Yep, it was that bad.

 The sobering questioning is this: If you were to draft a team of Jets and Giants, would it be good enough to make the playoffs. Remember, the NFL rewards mediocrity, so we’re not counting on 10-6, 8-8 gets you in, 7-9 might.

So, we put together our All-NY NFL team. Perhaps you should sit.

East Rutherford, N.J. Sunday, November 10, 2019. Jets QB Sam Darnold splits Giants defenders to score a first quarter touchdown. Photo by David L. Pokress/The New York Extra 2019
11/10/19 NY giants VS NY Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. NY Jest #14 Sam Darnold throws in the 1st half today Neil Miller/The New York Extra

QB: Sam Darnold or Daniel Jones – They each get a half. Cop out, I know: Still evaluating. Might be the case for the next five years. Ouch.

RB – Saquon Barkley, Giants – despite yesterday’s performance, second best all-around back in football (Christian McCaffrey).

RB – Le’Veon Bell, Jets – despite this season, once one of the best all-around backs in football.

TE – Evan Engram – Legit. Would start on most teams.

OT – Kelvin Beachum, Jets – consummate pro.

OG – Brian Winters, Jets – had the temerity to get in Darnold’s face after last week’s botched snap count.

C – Jon Halapio, Giants – did not have to be lured out of retirement, like Jets center.

OG – Will Hernandez, Giants – emerged as a nasty, borderline dirty player last week. We like it.

OT – Mike Remmers, Giants – see Beachum.

WR – Sterling Shepherd, Giants – Should not play again this season, if ever. No joke.

WR – Jamison Crowder, Jets – Solid slot receiver.

PK – Aldrick Rosas – He started the season on the roster, unlike the Jets, who didn’t have an NFL-caliber kicker on its roster.

DEFENSE

11/10/19 NY giants VS NY Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets #33 Jamal Jenkins leaps into the arms of Jets defenders after a turnover in today game Neil Miller /The New york Extra

DT – Kyle Phillips, Jets – Each team gets one player with potential

DL – Quinnen Williams, Jets – Slow start, coming on.

DT – Dalvin Tomlinson, Giants – Each team gets one player with potential.

DL – Dexter Lawrence, Giants – Looking like a terrific pick at No. 17.

OLB – Markus Golden, Giants – A delightful surprise. Serious.

ILB – Alec Ogletree, Giants – A little on reputation.

ILB – CJ Mosley, Jets – Amazing one-game season.

OLB – Jordan Jenkins, Jets – Out of options here.

CB – Janoris Jenkins, Giants – Depends of which Jackrabbit shows up.

CB – Darryl Roberts, Jets/DeAndre Baker, Giants – Each gets one half to avoid third-degree burns.

11/10/19 NY giants VS NY Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. NY Jets #33 Jamal Adams sprints into the end zone for a touchdown after stripping the ball from NY Giants Daniel Jones in the 3rd quarter Neil Miller/The New York Extra 2019

SS – Jamal Adams, Jets – He’s the best, just ask him.

FS – Marcus Maye, Jets – He’s very good, but not as good as Adams.  Just ask Adams.

P – Uh, who cares?

Coach – To Be Determined, Jets, Adam Gase/Giants, Pat Shurmur – If they’re both back for 2021 season, season ticket holders deserve refunds. Wait, did I say 2021?  Meant 2020. Sorry for the panic attack.

Does this team make the playoffs? Feel free to write.

Anderson The Entertainer In His St. John’s Debut

Robbins Nest

St Johns caoch Mike Anderson at Tuesdays game /Neil Miller/ The New York Extra 2019

By Lenn Robbins

If Hollywood ever decides to create a remake of the Oscar-winning epic, Gladiator, Mike Anderson should be the one standing in the middle of the colosseum bellowing, “Are You Not Entertained?!”

Anderson made his St. John’s coaching debut Wednesday and the Johnnies pressed, ran, passed and defended Mercer in a 109-79 blowout that wasn’t that close. The Johnnies forced 24 turnovers which led to 30 points.

“I hope our fans enjoyed it,” Anderson told reporters after the game. “It’s an entertaining style of basketball, but it’s winning basketball.”

That remains to be seen in the Big East, where some of the greatest guards that ever played the game took their city handle and carved up opposing defenses. Safe to say Villanova, Seton Hall, Marquette, et al will be better prepared and certainly more skilled to handle the Anderson’s style.

The flip side is that no team in the Big East plays this style. It’s similar to playing Army in football. That option is impossible to prepare for.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, almost as quickly as St. John’s got ahead of Mercer and really never let up. The Johnnies led 15-6 by the first media timeout and the Bears should have begun warming up the bus right there and then.

Anderson’s hire was a bit of a head-scratcher. He has used this swarm-of-wasps style to succeed at Tulsa, Missouri and Arkansas, but he couldn’t tell you where to get a good slice in the city no less the top games in the Grady and Lincoln history.

The Johnnies had one of their own – the best player in school history – on the bench these last four seasons. Chris Mullin left after the death of his brother and a feeling that the administration wasn’t sufficiently backing him and the program.

If there are spirits in Carnesecca Arena than Mullin and St. John’s will both find success.

Certainly, there was spirit in the bandbox on the corner of Union and Utopia. Anderson’s style is right out of the West 4th Street cage and every other proving ground in the city.  The Johnnies got right up in Mercer’s chest. Secondary defenders were eager to help. Mustapha Heron (25 points), LJ Figueroa (18) and Nick Rutherford (14) combined for 12 assists.

Defensive is a lot easier to sell when it turns into offense. The Johnnies  score 40 fastbreak points.

For one night, Anderson sold his vision better than Popeye’s is selling its chicken sandwich. The 109 points were the most for a St. John’s coach making his debut.

“For two hours every game, we are going to provide sheer entertainment,” Anderson told reporters earlier this week. You won’t even want to take a bathroom break.”

Four Things We Learned From the Champions Classic

credit twitter

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

  By now you have learned certain things in life are meaningless.

  The fortune inside the cookie. Meaningless.

  The LCD boards in every subway station. Meaningless.

  ToyotaThon…You get it.

  Such is the case with preseason college basketball rankings. Pathetically, utterly meaningless.

   Michigan State, one of the nation’s premier programs, came into the season with its first-ever preseason No.1 ranking under coach Tom Izzo. That lasted all of one game.

  The Spartans were upended by No.2 Kentucky, 69-62, Tuesday night in the Champions Classic in The Garden. No. 4 Duke technically upset No.3 Kansas, 68-66, in the other game.

“There’s a chance we could be ranked No. 1 for the first time in the history of our school to start out the season, which means — unfortunately — nothing,” Izzo said at the team’s media day.

Why the sport continues this tradition isn’t a mystery. The angst of the rankings makes for a lot of headlines and handwringing. A lot of diehard college hoop fans don’t start paying attention until January so this is good for the sport – theoretically.

The coach of the team picked No.1 usually reacts in one of two ways:

Exasperated indignation: “Obviously no one has seen us practice. If they did, we might not be in the Top 25.”

Or, outright dismissal: “Doesn’t mean a thing. If we’re No.1 at the end of the season, then I’ll be excited.”

The early rankings are more meaningless than ever, fortunately, because they don’t matter when it comes time to select the 68 teams that make the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA, masters of making the simple complicated, introduced the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) last season. Although it relies too much on analytics for my taste, it is as objective as an IRS accountant.

The NET is comprised of five valuations – team value index, net efficiency, winning percentage, adjusted win percentage and scoring margin.

The team value index rewards teams that beat good teams. It takes into account the opponent, location and outcome.

Net efficiency is a team’s offensive efficiency minus its defensive efficiency. Waaay to nerdy for me.

Winning percentage is just that.

Adjusted win percentage factors in location of games and result.  A road win is worth 1.4. A home loss is -1.4. A neutral site loss, such as the Champions Classic, is +1 or -1

Scoring margin is a team’s total points minus its opponent’s points. The winning margin was capped at 10 points per game so it doesn’t matter if the Spartans beat Binghamton by 12 or 50 in its next game. (Disclaimer: author is a Stony Brook grad).

So what did we learn about the nation’s top four  ranked teams. Oops, those rankings.

Izzo has decided to challenge the best player on what might be his best team. After guard Cassius Winston scored a game-high 21 points (1-of-7 on 3’s) and had just four assists, Izzo had this to say to ESPN.

 “Cassius was a little tired tonight,” he said. “I was surprised because he’s in really good shape.”

 Calipari said he didn’t start freshman Tyrese Maxey because he wanted his five-star recruit to come off the bench firing. Maxey had a game-high 26 points on 7-of-12 shooting. More impressive is that the freshman got to the line 10 times in his first college game, making nine.

His 3 with a minute left proved to be the game winner. Don’t expect Maxey to be coming off the bench for long.

“What I saw today is what I saw in high school,” Calipari said. “I [had] not seen it to this point. I’m in practice, where’s the sniper that I recruited? … But the two days prior to this, all I talked about was you be that sniper — play. We need you to get baskets for us.”

Duke has been a perennial power under Coach K because of one word – defense. Yes, teams usually look bad on offense this early in the season but that doesn’t excuse the 28 turnovers Kansas committed.

 If the Dukies, who shot 35.9 percent from the field (Kansas shot 46-percent0 weren’t this relentless on defense, they don’t eke out the two-point win. Which means Duke’s offense has a loooong way to go. Freshman Cassius Stanley was the only Duke player to shoot 50-percent or better from the field.

‘Overall, we were able to stay fairly fresh defensively,’’ said Krzyzewski. “And that’s gonna have to be a key for our basketball team.”

Bill Self certainly wasn’t laughing on the inside after those 28 turnovers. When asked if it was a positive sign that his Jayhawks only lost by two, he quipped, “I guess if you are Tony Robbins you could look at it that way.”

Kansas has NBA-type height in the 7-foot Uduke Azubike, 6-10 David McCormack, 6-9

Silvio De Soussa, 6-8  Tristain Enaruna and 6-5 Marcus Garrett.  The Jayhawks outrebounded Duke, 40-30.

But if the Jayhawks don’t get better point guard play, that height gets negated. Devon Dotson (six turnovers, one assist) was outplayed by Duke’s Tre Jones (seven assists, three turnovers).

Beltran Will Have to Learn to Drive Fast

04/06/16 Houston Astros vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.YNew York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran #36 at batting practice today File photo Neil Miller / The/New York Extra

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely – John Dalberg-Acton.

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

 The Mets have hired a manager that has never managed before.

Carlos Beltran isn’t the first to make this jump. Aaron Boone has been pretty darn impressive since taking over the Yankees. Yes, Boone inherited a team replete with talent, resources and culture, but there is a long list of coaches/managers that have failed in similar scenarios.

09/19/15 N.Y.Yankees vs N.Y.Mets at Citifield Queens N.Y. New York Yankees lead 3-0 after 2 innings New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran #36 hits a 3 run homer in the 1st innning File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Beltran’s Mets should have a solid corps of talent but we don’t know what resources the Wilpons are willing to invest in this team. And the culture of the Mets has been one of dysfunction.

10/04/16 New York Mets wild card work out day jeff wilpon at work out today File photo Neil Miller / The New York Extra
File Photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

 Enter Brodie Van Wagenen who the Mets hired last season as GM despite the fact that he had no front office experience. The results have been mixed.

Van Wagenen made several aggressive moves (some think too aggressive) acquiring Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and Marcus Stroman. The Mets were in the playoff race until the final two weeks of the season and it was electric.

02/04/19 truck sendoff day at citifield for the NY Mets, queens ny File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra Mets gn brodie van wagoner talks to fans at the truck send off today at citifield

 Van Wagenen seems to have been granted tremendous power by the Wilpons. The question is, is it unchecked power? Is it the limitless power the Mets will be paying for if Van Wagenen’s ‘Forward Charge!” approach doesn’t work?  

Some of the most notorious military leaders in history have led their troops to disaster. George Custer, who graduated at the bottom of his class from West Point, led the 7th Calvary to disaster in the Battle of Little Bighorn. James Brudenell, the earl of Cardigan, lost everything but his sweater when he ordered the charge of the light brigade.

The GM with no previous management experience has hired a manager with no managing experience.

Risky? Sure.

Exciting? Yep.

Beltran only wanted to coach the Mets, and, according to published reports, did not interview for any other openings.

As is the case with Boone, Beltran, who retired in 2017, should relate to the players.

File photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

There were eight managerial openings after last season. Six have been filled. Beltran is the only minority. MLB needs to look at that because fair or unfair (read, unfair) Beltran might face extra scrutiny and certainly more attention. If he succeeds it bolsters the case for more minorities to be hired.

Beltran is walking into a unique scenario. For the first time since 2016, the Mets will enter a season with legit expectations to make the playoffs.

Van Wagenen has shown his desire to floor the accelerator, which means Beltran first ride will be in the fast lane.

This makes the Mets, with slugger Pete Alonzo and a terrific rotation, a must-watch.

08/05/19 Miami Marlins vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #20 pete alonso celebrates on a go ahead homer in the 7th innning Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Start your engines Mets fans. The Mets might be the most intriguing story in baseball next season.

Starting Tonight, Nets Must Show They got the Message

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

MEMPHIS, TN – OCTOBER 27: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 27, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

If the NBA season ended today, the Brooklyn Nets would not make the playoffs as would the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Folly, of course. The Nets have another 79 games so the above statement probably will turn out to be ridiculous.

Here’s what is not ridiculous: If the Nets don’t learn from their 134-133 OT loss to the Memphis Grizzlies then they are staring at a season of struggle.

The Grizzlies are in full rebuild, just as the Nets once were. Few teams have written a better rebuild story than Brooklyn. Through the smart workings of GM Sean Marks and positive energy of coach Kenny Atkinson, the Nets have risen from doormat to one of the most intriguing teams in the league.

credit twitter

And when Kevin Durant returns from his surgically repaired Achilles tendon, there’s a real chance this franchise can win its first-ever NBA title. But not if they don’t a few things.

The Nets dug a 14-point hole in Memphis but rallied to take the lead. They couldn’t hold a late eight-point lead. They allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 48.5-percent from the field and 42.4-percent on 3’s.

credit twitter

 “We could never get stops,” Atkinson told reporters after the loss. “I don’t know how many straight possessions they scored, but I never felt like we could get the requisite stops to win this game.

“It started in the first quarter when we gave them 14 free throws, a lot of silly mistakes, putting them on the line. Got in a hole again, down 14. We could look at the end and say this and that, but really we didn’t deserve to win the game.”

That’s as honest and accurate an assessment as you’ll ever read.

Atkinson’s words, “Really we didn’t deserve to win the game,” might find a place in the Nets training facility. This team won 42 games and made the playoffs last season because, more often than not, they deserved to win. They outworked, outhustled, out-defended and out-willed the opposition on many nights.

It’s not easy to do. But it’s a little easier when teams view you as the new kid on the block. Before last season’s resurgence the Nets won 69 games over the previous three seasons.

A lot of eyes turned toward the Nets last year. And then, of course, came the Lotto free agency trifecta of Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. Even knowing that Durant will likely miss the season, the addition of Irving along with the development of young players make the Nets a must-watch team.

No longer will opposing teams see ‘Brooklyn’ on the schedule and crack a smile. Nope, you better come ready to play, unless, of course the Nets do not, as was the case in Memphis.

Every team that builds toward a championship run has to learn this lesson, learn what it’s like to have to come be at your best every night because that ‘target on the back’ cliché’ holds a lot of merit.

 “We digressed a little bit where just individual pride, keeping your man in front of you, simple sort of backside rotations whatever it might be, just sort of a little bit off at this point,” Joe Harris told reporters. “It starts with taking individual ownership and being able to guard your man.”

Starting with Wednesday night’s home game against the Indiana Pacers, the Nets need to get back to doing that. They need to fully grasp that with greater expectations come greater challenge every night.

If the Nets do that, they will be one of the better NBA stories. If not, what seemed ridiculous in October may be of real concern in April.

Will Jones, Darnold Survive Their Inept Franchises

Robbins Nest

East Rutherford, N.J., Monday, October 21, 2019. Jets QB Sam Darnold fumbles the ball while being sacked by John Simon of the Patriots. (Photo by David L. Pokress)

By Lenn Robbins

This might not be fair to Daniel Jones. It surely isn’t fair to Sam Darnold.

09/29/19 Washington Redskins vs N.Y. Giants at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. #8 Dan Jones right and #10 Eli Manning on the bencg in todays game

But this is one of many burdens that come with playing in a media market that hoists the Empire State Building on one shoulder and the Chrysler Building on the other.

Heavy load.

Jones, the sixth player taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, has started a mere six games in this, his rookie season. Some already are wondering if he has a better chance of developing into a franchise quarterback than Darnold.

Darnold, the third player picked in last year’s draft, made the 17th start of his career in Sunday’s 29-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s 22 years old, which means there’s a lot of progressing still to come, hopefully positive.

Unless, of course he’s not broken before he can reach his potential, which is the bigger concern than which quarterback is playing better now.

Darnold posted a three-interception game for the second straight week. This time there was no talk of supernatural sightings as was the case in last week’s 33-0 loss to the Patriots.

East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday, October 13, 2019. Sam Darnold passing against the Cowboys. (The New York Extra/David L. Pokress)

Darnold, who missed time with mono, has thrown eight picks in four games, equal to the number of picks Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have combined to throw in 31 games.

Darnold’s numbers for the season are about as bad as bad can be. His rating is 33.7. Mitch Trubisky, who just barely avoided a benching, is 35.8.

 Darnold hasn’t been good. But he’s been accountable and unflappable. He also seems to be flying this Jets team solo. Ted Stryker had a better co-pilot.

The passing attack has been pathetic because, really, who does Darnold have as targets? The offense, overall, is impotent because defenses are sitting on Le’Veon Bell. And the coaching has been, at best baffling and at worst, incompetent.

The Jets go for two when they should take the point after. Clock management is as baffling as Daylight Savings time before smartphones did the change automatically for us.

  Jones threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in the Giants’ 31-26 loss to the Lions. His QB rating is 55.2 and he’s thrown more touchdowns (10) than interceptions (7). But it’s not that black and white.

09/29/19 Washington Redskins vs N.Y. Giants at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. #8 Dan jones throws in the 3rd quarter today

  Jones has an elite running back and an upper tier tight end and the Giants might have plan. On Monday, they acquired defensive tackle Leonard Williams from the Jets for a 3rd round pick in 2020 and a 5th round pick in 2021 that could become a fourth rounder if the former No. 6 overall pick in 2015 signs an extension with Big Blue.

That’s another top Jets pick that didn’t pan out but what’s to be expected with the turnover in management and coaches that occurs so frequently and illogically. They always seem to be going one-step forward, three steps back.

The Giants haven’t been much better. The Nate Solder hasn’t been nearly the player he was in New England. The defense is toothless. Williams already is penciled in as a starter before going through a practice.

10/21/19 Patriots vs Jets at metlife stadium east rutherford nj Head coach Adam Gase looks dejected during the 4th quarter tonite Neil Miller ?The New York Extra

Jets coach Adam Gase told reporters on Monday that in one 13-pass sequence on Sunday, Darnold was sacked, hit or touched on nine attempts.

Jones faces a similar challenge. He’s been sacked 21 times in seven games. Darnold’s been sacked 15 times in four games.

The question isn’t who will become the better quarterback. The question is will both quarterbacks be broken down wrecks abandoned on the side of a county road by the time their teams have a winning roster.

NEST EGG: Lamar Jackson is averaging 6.9 yards per carry. No running back with at least 100 carries is averaging more than 5.5 (Nick Chubb). The Baltimore quarterback has rushed 83 times. The closest comparison is San Fran’s Matt Breida who is averaging 5.3 yards on 84 carries.

Jets Make it Official: It’s Been a Sad Week in NY Sports

Robbins Nest

10/21/19 Patriots vs Jets at metlife stadium east rutherford nj #14 Sam Darnold reacts after losing a high snap for a safety in tonites game Neil Miller/ The New York Extra

By Lenn Robbins

What a sad time it is for professional sports in New York. So sad.

The Jets put a rotten cherry on a spoiled sundae Monday night with an utterly inept performance against the New England Patriots. Sam Darnold, hailed a week ago when he returned from mono, needed noise canceling headphones to dull the stereo boos that rained down on him in the fourth quarter of what turned out to be a 33-0 embarrassing loss at MetLife Stadium.

That non-effort followed Daniel Jones getting sacked eight times in a 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, which followed the Yankees getting eliminated from the ALCS in the most gut-retching fashion, which followed the Red Bulls quick exit from the MLS playoffs.

The NHL season is young but the Rangers are in last place in the Metropolitan Division, trailing the Devils by two points at the start of the night. The vagabond Islanders have won four straight to erase a 1-3 start.

The NBA season is about to start, much to the chagrin of Knicks’ fans. The Brooklyn Nets can be a playoff team but can’t make a deep run without Kevin Durant.

What’s next? The New York Marathon gets snowed out? The ball doesn’t drop on New Year’s Eve. Hey, it’s a ball.

Darnold had his best day as a pro last week, throwing for 338 yards on 23-of-31 passing with two touchdowns, one interception and a 113.8 QB rating in a sunning 24-22 upset of the Cowboys.

He looked as lost as a rookie a week later.His QB rating, suggest you sit, was 3.7. He threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. He completed just 11-of-32 passes for 96 yards. The Jets had 154 yards of total offense.

The ultimate indignity for the Jets was the chant of “Brady! Brady!” reverberating through MetLife in the fourth quarter, when the Jets fans  had given over their house to New England faithful.

There were other humiliations. Former Pats receiver Demaryious Thomas dropped everything he could get his hands off. Former Pats return man Braxton Berrios muffed a punt late in the fourth.

Brady watched the final few minutes from the sideline after completing 31-of-45 passes for 249 yards with one touchdown and one interception. When’s the last time you read this:

10/21/19 Patriots vs Jets at metlife stadium east rutherford nj #12 Tom Brady thows in tonites game Neil Miller/The New York Extra
10/21/19 Patriots vs Jets at metlife stadium east rutherford nj #12 Tom Brady{ center of frame} celebrates a Pats touchdown in tonites game Neil Miller /The New York Extra

 If the Patriots offense can catch up to its defense, this team will be unbeatable in the playoffs.

Here’s the worst part of this latest Jets debacle. Adam Gase, quarterback whisperer and hot young coach (41), didn’t have the Jets ready to play a preseason game, no less the marquee Monday Night Football matchup.

10/21/19 Patriots vs Jets at metlife stadium east rutherford nj Head coach Adam Gase looks dejected during the 4th quarter tonite Neil Miller ?The New York Extra

How sad is that? How sad is the state of professional sports in metropolitan area? So sad.

Did the Yankees Lose the ALCS at the Trade Deadline?

Robbins Nest

10/17/17 Houston Astros vs New York Yankees at Yankee stadium bronx ny ALCS Game #4 photos by Neil Miller/The New York Extra New York Yankees Brian Cashman Gen Manager

By Lenn Robbins

As you drown your sorrows in whatever libation you prefer at Sunday brunch or during Sunday Night Football, no doubt there will be lively discussion and debate as to how and why the Yankees lost this ALCS to the Astros, 4-2, especially after winning Game 1 in Houston.

Was it in the top of the 11th inning of Game 2 when Gary Sanchez, owner of one of the most retched postseason performances in Yankees history, struck out looking with runners on first and second?

Or was in Game 3 when the Yankees had runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings and couldn’t get that one key hit off a less-than-dominating Gerritt Cole?

Or perhaps it was Game 5 when the Yankees had bases loaded in the fifth inning after knocking out starter Zack Greinke. But Houston’s Pressly struck out Edwin Encarnacion.

One can even make a case that it was Saturday night’s, 6-4, season-ending heartbreak of a loss in which Jose Altuve’s two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth trumped DJ LeMahieu’s two-run, game tying homer in the top of the frame.

The Yankees got what they wanted, or at least what their strength should have been – a bullpen game – words that make the fingers cramp, but that’s a discussion for another day.  

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #17 aaron boone takes #57 chad green out of the game after giving up 5 runs in the 1st innning

Every game the Yankees lost in the series was winnable, a testament to the depth and resilience of this 2019 team. Despite Sanchez’s batting slump and suspect fielding, Adam Ottavino’s October struggles, Giancarlo Stanton’s battered body and Aroldis Chapman’s hanging slider, the Yankees could have beaten a healthier and more balanced Houston Astros team.

As to why the Yankees didn’t win takes us back to July 31st when the trade line came and went and the Yankees had done nothing to improve their starting rotation. The belief that Luis Severino would return after a season on the injured list and suddenly bolster the rotation in October was at best ridiculously optimistic, at worst, folly.

Only GM Brian Cashman knows exactly what potential deals were on the table. He decided that the asking price for any of the starters that were available was too high. He’s earned that right. Anyone that signed LeMahieu as a free agent and assembled this kind of quality depth has certainly earned that right.

But in a city that judges whether a season is a success or failure in championships or bust, the season busted with Saturday night’s loss.

“No matter how many games we won in the regular season, this is a failure,” Aaron Judge told reporters after the crushing end the season. “I think about the season as a whole, guys getting injured, guys getting back, a lot of ups and downs, I think about missed opportunities and some guys I might not play with again …”

Cashman and Co. need to think about upgrading the starting pitcher. Houston’s Cole, 29, who would have pitched today had there been a Game 7, leads the list of free agent pitchers but the cost will be stunningly high.

Steven Strasburg, 31, will be available if he opts out of a deal that will pay him $100 million over the next four seasons. Zack Wheeler, 30, is on the market but the Mets should be ashamed if they let him cross from Queens to the Bronx.

It’s easy to sit back and suggest how much money a team should dole out but this is the Yankees after all. They have more automaker sponsors than some teams have sponsors.

If the Yankees don’t want to feel the devastation they experienced this October next October, the pitching has to be better. Just look at the starting pitching of the two teams that will play for the world series – Houston and Washington.

Next round’s on me.