Mets and a Polar Bear is Stealing Yankees Spotlight

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

This is wonderful and cofounding baseball  time in this town.

The Yankees have claimed the American League East Division crown for the first time since 2012. They’ve won 100 games. They are in a panic.

The Mets (80-73) are playing meaningful games in September but they remain three and one-half games out of the Wild Card. They are euphoric.

Only in New York.

The Yankees barely had time to enjoy their division title. Domingo German was suspended for the rest of the season, including the playoffs, under MLB’s domestic violence policy. German is the Yankees winningest pitcher this season, owning an 18-4 record and a 4.03 ERA.

The Yankees were planning to use the inexperienced German out of the pen in the playoffs. They can use a boost there after Dellin Betances, who after a grueling, season-long comeback from shoulder and lat injuries, returned only to suffer a partially torn Achilles tendon and is done for the year.

This 1-2 punch has left the Yankees scrambling to figure out their postseason rotation and bullpen use. This is cause for concern on any team. In Yankees Land it’s cause for hysteria.

Long before spring training opened the Yankees had a two-ton bat weight dropped in their dugout: Win the World Series or this season is a failure. The Red Sox won it last year. The Yankees went all-in and have to win it this year.

The Mets were hoping to have a winning season. By mid-July they were on life support. Then came the ridiculous win streak and here are the Mets hoping for a playoff season.

While the Yankees were fretting over their postseason pitching options, Mets manager Mickey Calloway was tinkering with his starting-rich pitching rotation by swapping Steven Matz for Marcus Stroman in Sunday’s final of the three-game series in Cincinnati.

It’s rich enough to wonder if there’s a conspiracy theory taking place. In a season that should be a Yankees celebration the Mets are hanging around like a meddlesome yellow jacket.

Surely the Yankees are the more successful team.  But the Mets are the feel-good team. And they can feel even better courtesy of one man – Pete ‘Polar Bear’ Alonzo.

Alonzo blasted, and we mean blasted (437 feet), his 50th home run of the season Friday night in the Mets 8-1 win over the Reds. He became just the 30th player in history and the second rookie to smack 50 home runs.

The only other player to accomplishment that feat is Aaron Judge of the Yankees who set the rookie home run mark of 52 in 2017. Alonso has nine games remaining to break Judge’s record.

Wouldn’t that be the perfect itch in the Yankees’ jock? Alonso blasts his 53rd home run in the final game of the season. The Yankees are going to the playoffs. The Mets are not. But all radio talk show hosts and bar stool fans want to talk about is a guy with the nickname of Polar Bear.

Amazing, confounding – only in New York.

OBJ and Gettleman Deliver a 1-2 Knockout Punch

File photo NY Giants #10 Eli Manning Neil Miller/The NY extra copyright 2019

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

Safe to say in their storied history, the Giants have never absorbed a 1-2 punch like this.

Eli Manning, the second son of a regal football family, had become the No.1 quarterback the Giants have ever known. Two Super Bowl titles. Two Super Bowl MVPs. Zero embarrassing moments in a city that has made a fool of millions.

He was benched on Tuesday. A 2019 knockout punch.

The end of an era. Sixteen seasons, 233 games, 231 starts, 56,287 yards and 361 touchdown passes came to an end in the form of a press release.

“Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said in a statement.

Good teammate, for sure. Better person, no doubt. Fall guy? Of course.

Manning’s benching came two days after the Giants dropped a 28-14 decision to the Buffalo Bills, a loss that dropped them to 0-2.

Has Manning been bad? Yep. Has the entire offense been bad? Yep. Has the defense been bad? Yep. Have the special teams been bad? Yep. Coaching? Yep.

Front office? Yes! Hell yes!

The 0-2 start is not an indictment of Manning. It’s a referendum on how lacking this roster is in elite talent.

With the exception of Saquon Barkley, is there one difference maker, one player that keeps an opposing offensive and/or defensive coordinator downing Red Bulls at 3 a.m.? No.

The only other game-changing offensive player the Giants had was on full display Monday night in MetLife Stadium, the building Big Blue calls home, in the Cleveland Browns 23-3 win over the Jets.

Odell Beckham Jr., the most exciting wide receiver in the game, was traded away because GM David Gettleman didn’t believe he fit the culture in East Rutherford.

That culture is in shambles today.

The Giants are the Miami Dolphins of the north.

One day after Beckham torched the Jets for 161 yards receiving and one touchdown, the Giants decided this was the best day to bench Manning in favor of the player that was drafted as his replacement.

Daniel Jones will start at quarterback Sunday when the Giants play at Tampa Bay. A road game. Nothing like giving a rookie his first start on the road.

We all knew, Eli knew, that sooner or later the Giants would turn to Jones, the No.6 pick in the 2019 draft. So it begs the question, ‘Why didn’t Jones get more than some mop up time in these first two games?”

Why has he only been getting backup reps in practice and splitting time with Alex Tanney on the scout team?

The Giants weren’t going to win these first two games. Not with this roster; not with this management.

It doesn’t matter if Jones turns out to be a franchise quarterback. Given his skill set as a pocket passer, he will never provide the jaw-dropping, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me moments OBJ dropped on us, not once, but twice.

He made one of his patented one-handed, ‘did you see that?!’ catches in the first quarter for 33 yards. He turned a short slant into the longest catch and run of his NFL career, an 89-yarder.

If OBJ was still a Giant even he couldn’t have prevented a third straight 0-2 start. This franchise has bigger problems – a GM that claims to have an impressive resume; ownership that cares but is stuck in the past, reacting instead of proacting.

The Giants should have taken a page out of the New York Rangers playbook. In February of 2018, management sent fans an email stating they were building for the future. Translation: The current season will be an audition for future roles.

That’s what the rest of this season is for Big Blue. Jones’ audition for the lead role begins Sunday. He should make friends with Barkley immediately. It’s all he has.

Manning will say the right things. He’ll hold the clipboard and help Jones as best he can. But no one can get this franchise off the canvas. This 1-2 punch ended the season, and if Jones fails, many more to come.

Bills Might Have Just Pushed Jets and Giants Over the Falls

Robbins Nest

file photo NY Giants #10 Eli Manning Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2019

By Lenn Robbins

You know the state of professional football in the metropolitan area is in sad, sad shape when the best team in the Empire State doesn’t call MetLife Stadium home.

The fact that the Buffalo Bills have beaten the Jets and Giants is just the wild wings appetizer in this story.

The Bills (2-0) have their quarterback of the future in Josh Allen.

He has such a powerful arm it’s rumored he can throw a pass from the Anchor Bar to the Statue of Liberty. From his knees. He is more mobile than Sam Darnold or Daniel Jones.

The Jets (Darnold) and Giants (Jones) believe they are set at that vital position but we don’t know. Jones didn’t play in the Giants 28-14 loss to the Bills on Sunday and Darnold (mononucleosis) won’t play Monday night against the Browns.

The Giants (0-2) have their back of the future in Saquon Barkley, although his name will always be linked with Darnold, which takes us back to the franchise QB issue.

Should the Giants have drafted Darnold? Is Jones the real deal?

The Jets (0-1) have their star back in Le’Veon Bell but he’ll be a salary cap albatross before Gang Green makes the playoffs. You read that right.

The Bills got their back of the future, Devin Singletary, in the third round of the draft. It didn’t cost them the second pick in last year’s draft (Barkley) or a Brinks truck (Bell).

The Bills have a balanced, aggressive defense. The Giants have a defense that allowed Dak Prescott and Allen to look like Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

The Jets defense looked good in Week 1 in a 17-16 loss to Buffalo. It will be without LB C.J. Mosley and first-round pick DL Quinnen Williams against the Browns.

As bad as Cleveland’s petulant QB, Baker Mayfield, looked in a Week 1 loss to the Titans, we expect Gang Green’s defense to be exposed.

Worst of all, it feels as if the Bills are building something, as if there’s a plan and everyone is drinking the same sports drink.

The Giants are a QB change away from acknowledging what every Big Blue fan knows – this roster is lacking and the season is a long, cold march to the draft.

The Jets want us to believe they can be competitive this season but we’re about to meet Trevor Siemian who couldn’t win the starting QB jobs in Denver or Minnesota. He’ll play quarterback until Darnold can return.

The Jets follow Monday’s game against Cleveland with the Pats, Eagles and Cowboys. It’s possible that by the time Darnold returns the Jets could be in draft lockstep with their MetLife neighbors.

The Bills next face the Bengals so 3-0 is probable. Buffalo hasn’t done that since 2011. Spoiler: The Bills finished 6-10.

 Forget the future. The Bills are 2-0. They’re having fun.

When a reporter asked Allen what he thought he had proved to New York City fans and New York City teams, the second-year QB picked apart the question.

“Um, [there’s] one New York team,” he quipped. “I’m just kidding.”

They’re laughing upstate. We’re about to cry Niagara Falls tears down here.

The Darnold-Mayfield Showdown Gets Kissed Off

ROBBINS NEST

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold #14 leaves the field in dejection after the game today

By Lenn Robbins

Stars rise fast these days. Some handle it well. Some don’t.

Sam Darnold, 22, would have made the 15th start of his NFL career Monday night when Gang Green hosts the Cleveland Browns and their second-year quarterback, Baker Mistakefield, 24. It’s likely Darnold will miss more than just Monday’s game with mononucleosis.

Mayfield was the No.1 overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft. Darnell went No.3. You know ESPN is scrambling to replace all those Mayfield-Darnold comparisons.

It’s a shame that Darnold has been sacked by the kissing disease, as it’s referred to in KidsHealth.org. Because Mayfield is the kid in this tandem. Darnold is the adult.

Mayfield’s talent-laden Browns, considered the favorites to win the AFC Central, got pummeled by the Tennessee Titans, 43-13 last weekend. The ailment he’s suffering these days is a bruised ego.

Mayfield, who any minute now could declare himself the best young quarterback in the NFL, completed 25-of-38 passes for 285 yards with three interceptions, one touchdown and garnered a QB rating of 64.

Darnold wasn’t much better in his team’s season opener, a soul-sapping 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He completed 28-of-41 passes for a meager 175 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His QB rating was 84.9-percent.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold #14 throws in todays game

So, on paper, after one week, the Jets have the better quarterback.

Now, let’s put these silly analytics aside. Because really, QB rating is nonsense. If a quarterback gets his team in the end zone and wins games, the rest is window dressing.

John Elway’s QB rating? 79.9. Johnny Unitas? 78.2. End of story.

Here’s why we’re perfectly comfortable with Darnold being in New York and Baker Blabber being in Cleveland.

After the Jets blew the game against the Bills last week, this was what Darnold had to say:

“We never really got into rhythm and I put that on myself.”

file photo N.Y.Jets #14 Sam Darnold walks off the field after the Jets lost last Sunday Neil Miller /The New York Extra

After the Browns got pulverized by the Titans, this is what Baby Baker had to say.

“We don’t really give a damn what’s going on on the outside,” Mayfield said when asked how stunned the NFL world was by his team’s debacle.

Darnold said “I.” Mayfield said “We.”

Darnold has shown uncanny poise and has an understated presence. Guys like to be around him.

Mayfield has dissed former teammates (see: Duke Johnson) and coaches (see: Hugh Jackson) and opponents (see: Daniel Jones). He likes to be the light and the moth.

Mayfield can be seen on TV hocking Progressive Insurance, which in theory is fine. But it makes you wonder if some of the veterans on the Browns, that have never had a sponsorship deal, are a little irked.

Darnold hasn’t filmed a national television commercial but he did dress up as Santa Claus last Christmas and surprised kids at a New Jersey mall.

We won’t get to see Darnold-Mayfield Monday night, which is disappointing. Both seem to be remarkably gifted. Mayfield is more mobile. Darnold has an Elway-strong arm.

Here’s the shame: The QB that carries himself like a petulant child didn’t get the kid’s virus.

Jets’ Gase Put An Incomplete Team on the Field

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold #14 leaves the field in dejection after the game today

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

 One of the many factors that contributed to Mike Maccagnan getting stabbed in the back by Adam Gase was the feeling that the former GM gave out overly generous contracts to Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets head coach Adam Gase during the 2nd half today

The two will earn a combined $33.5 million this season. The rest of the roster, starting with Gase, should earn nothing.

What other conclusion can one draw after the latest Jets debacle, this one epic even by Gang Green’s lowly standards?

The Jets forced four first-half turnovers, led 16-0 midway through the third quarter, and lost, 17-16, to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

 Gase, making his Jets head coaching debut, put an incomplete team on the MetLife Stadium field. The Jets were putrid in special teams, porous on the offensive line and unable to sustain defensive intensity for 60 minutes.

“When you take a loss like this, it kind of defines you,” Bell told reporters. “We’re going to see how guys respond. When you have that many turnovers and we still don’t win the game, we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

The Jets built their lead largely because they had two NFL-proven stars in Bell and Mosley. And then they got exposed by a Buffalo team that had a solid plan and solid, if not spectacular, roster.

The Jets kicker, Kaare Vedvik, who was signed off waivers last week, missed a PAT and a 45-yard field goal attempt.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets kicker Kaare Vedvik #6 reacts fater missing a fg in todays game

“It sucks,’’ Vedvik told reporters. “Everybody wants to do their part in helping the team win. A close game like that, it’s bad.”

The offensive line, which was so suspect the Jets had to woo Ryan Kalil out of retirement in early August, gave up four sacks and never allowed Sam Darnold, who got hit nine other times, to feel comfortable.

“Whenever you have the lead going into the fourth quarter, that’s never the result you want,” Darnold, who was 28-of-41 passing for 175 yards and one touchdown, told reporters.

The defense looked competent until Mosely left the game midway through the third quarter with a groin injury.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets inside linebacker C.J. Mosley #57 runs in a interception for a touch down in the 1st half today

“When he went out, it was kind of a game changer as far as they didn’t have somebody that vocal in the middle of the field that was able to make all their calls and all their check,” Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen told reporters after the game.

Bell, who should have gotten the ball more than 23 times, finished with 92 yards from scrimmage, a touchdown reception, a leaping two-point conversion catch and showed that despite a year away from football, he remains a dominant back.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell #26 celebrates his catch for a 2 pt conversion in todays game
09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell #26 runs for a gain in the 1st half today

 Mosley scored the Jets other touchdown, their first of the season on a 17-yard interception return. Before leaving midway through the third with a groin injury and defense’s heart, he had five tackles, two passes defensed and the Pick Six.

Gase, allegedly a quarterback whisperer, couldn’t protect a 16-point lead at home by calling plays like a coach that was trying to protect a 16-point lead.

“I felt like our energy died, man, and we wasn’t playing team ball,” safety Jamal Adams told reporters. “So any time you do that, a team is going to take advantage of it.”

The way Gase’s team is constructed, don’t be surprised if the Jets get taken advantage of a lot this season.

The Sunset Grill hosts the Mountain Jam Orchestra by Neil Miller/The New York Extra.

The Mountain Jam Orchestra at The Sunset Grill ,Seaford N.Y. Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2019

If some one tried define what the Long Island Music Scene to a friend, they would show them the Sunset Grill 4068 Sunrise Highway Seaford N.Y. 11783 ( 516-785-4952).Its not a pretty ,glitzy place, but a bar with good drinks with good prices, and a decent kitchen.Comfortable and freindly ,it has been hosting bands since the early 90’s. Its the type of place, if you love classic rock and roll, that you feel at home with.

Tonite’s band is the always favorite Allman’s Brother tribute band,The Mountain Jam Orchestra.There are a few Allman’s tributes bands on the Island,But Jim Lynch ,the bands bassist, says that MJO idea is to present what a Allman’s concert feel like.

The Mountain Jam Orchestra at the Sunset Grill Seaford,N.Y. Neil Miller/The New York Extra, Gallery images copyright 2019

The first set featured Come and Go Blues,Black Hearted Woman ,Midnite Rider and Southbound among others.Bringing their own style of tribute of the Allman’s, the patrons of Sunset, as always ,had a good time.

The Mets Loss That Will Live in Nightmares Forever

08/11/19 Washington Nationals vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #39 Edwin Diaz reacts after giving up a 2 run homer in the 8th inning file photo Neil Miller The New York Extra

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

What made this loss so gut retching, was that for the first eight and one-half innings Tuesday night, Mets looked like a playoff team.

They had roughed up Nationals ace Max Scherzer for four runs. Joe Panik hit his first home run as a Met, only the 13th home run allowed by Scherzer this season.

The Mets had, wait for it, given Jacob deGrom run support. deGrom wasn’t Cy Young good in the Mets playoff-ending, soul-sucking 11-10 loss to the Nationals, but he gave the Mets seven innings of eight-hit ball and left with his team up 4-2.

By the bottom of the ninth that lead had swelled to 10-4. How safe is 10-4 going into the bottom of the ninth? According to ESPN stats, it was 274-0 safe. Not once had a team leading by six, with three outs to get, lost.

So safe that I opted to watch an episode of the terrific series “Manhunter,” with my wife. We had just shut the lights when my 14-year-old son Harry did what he has never done before.

He crashed open the bedroom door. Don’t worry, not much goes on in there.

Anyhow, he always knocks. The kids always knock. But this clearly was not a knockable moment. This was a Mets hope-ending execution unlike anything he’d ever seen. Even Mets manager Mickey Callaway couldn’t repeat his mantra that this team can do something special.

“We had a six-run lead,’’ Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters. “Major league pitchers have to be able to hold that.’’

File photo Mickey Callaway Neil Miller / The New York Extra

You think?

When Kurt Suzuki crushed an Edwin Diaz sacrificial offering over the fence for a three-run walk-off home that gave the Mets one of the most gruesome losses in franchise history, fans had a second of stunned disbelief. Then a second of anger. Then this:

Only the Mets.

It was as if this team had discovered time travel and made its way back to 1962 when “Only the Mets,” became a refrain, said over and over again with a chuckle that hid the disbelief over another Mets debacle.

Of course, when something so colossally wrong occurs, it seems heartless to report more bad news, but hey, “Major league pitchers have to be able to hold that.’’ The Brewers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Phillies – all ahead of the Mets in the Wild Card race – all won.

The Mets are five back, but that’s just a number. It rightfully sounds so much better than 11-10 or 274-0.

Leave it to a former Met to explain what a loss like this really means,

“If it doesn’t put the last nail in the coffin, it’s awfully close,” SNY analyst Ron Darling said on-air. “Someone’s hammering away.”

The Mets will never again play a game this season in which a lead feels safe. Fans will never hit the sack contently. This is a nightmare that will haunt the final 24 games of the season.

There won’t be a 25th game.

“It’s going to be a tough one to digest tonight, but you have to do it,” Callaway told reporters. “We have digested several.”

None like this. Never like this.

Starting Pitching Could Block Yanks From Canyon of Heros

Robbins Nest

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny yanks win 9-2. #26 dj lemahieu hits a 3 run homer in the 4th innning Neil Miller / the New York Extra

By Lenn Robbins

This isn’t what Yankees fans want to hear and, quite frankly, we hope it doesn’t come to be. Because there is no city in the world that does a hero’s parade better than the Big Apple.

Who else has a ‘Canyon of Heroes?”

When the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup (again!), they came here for a parade on Broadway. Their locks were littered with ticker tape, just as Brian Leetch and Derek Jeter and Eli Manning and Neil Armstrong and Nelson Mandela and the Mets, who got a parade in 1962 just for entering the National League!

So believe us when we say we want an October parade.

But if it doesn’t happen, if the Yankees don’t fulfill their 2019 destiny and come up short in their quest for a 28th World Series title, this still has been a ridiculously amazing season.

That fact came into clarity this weekend when the Yankees became the first team to reach the 90-win total. They did it in the most riveting of fashions.

Trailing the Oakland A’s 4-0 going into the bottom of the eighth on Sunday, the Yankees rallied for a 5-4 triumph when Mike Ford became the first rookie in franchise history to smack a pinch-hit, walk-off home run.

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #36 Mike Ford ,who started the game as the DH, pitches in the 8th innning, smiles after he gives up a homer Neil Miller / the New York Extra

We are talking about the Yankees, who have more remarkable history than any team in baseball. Ford, the former Princeton hurler and career minor leaguer, has added to that history.

“I didn’t hear anything, which is crazy,” Ford told reporters about his historic homer. “Just a whole rush of emotion.”

That’s what has made this Yankees season special. The emotion. Because the men in that clubhouse know how hard they’ve had to grind, how many obstacles they’ve had to overcome.

The day before Ford got lost in emotion, DJ LeMahieu hit a walk-off homer in a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Oakland.

These heroics came the day after the Yankees set a more dubious record. They placed Gio Urshela on the injured list with a groin injury. Urshela became the 29th Yankee make it onto that list, which is a Major League record.

Despite this staggering procession of injuries, the Yankees own a 90-49 record and have all but mathematically won their 19th AL East title, the first since 2012.

Urshela is one of the most fantastic stories in baseball with a slash line of .331/.370/.555 with 32 doubles and 18 home runs in 414 plate appearances.

LeMahieu’s numbers make him the second most fantastic story on the Yankees (Domingo German, noted). David John has a slash line of .335./.382/.920 with 24 home runs and 90 RBI.

If the season ended today, LeMahieu and Urshela would be 1-2 choices for team MVP, which is flat out mind-boggling when you consider this is a team with guys named Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Aroldis Chapman, et al.

The Yankees have epitomized the “next man up,” mantra.

“Our guys have been great at it all year,’’ manager Aaron Boone told reporters. “Whoever we brought up has controlled situations and moments really well and beyond, maybe, their experience. Ford has been one of those guys, but the list is long.’’

It has been a long and astonishing list, but here’s the rub. We’re still not sold on the starting pitching. Hold the paper shredding.

If one needed a reminder of the importance of starting pitching, it came yesterday like the downpour that marked the day. The Yankees were shutout for the first time this season, losing 7-0 to the Rangers.

05/10/16 Kansas City Royals Vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.Y. New York Yankees lead 1-0 after 1 innning New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 pitches in the 1st innning photos by Neil Miller / the ny extra

Masahiro Tanaka (10-8; 4.42 ERA) was solid, surrendering two runs on seven hits over six innings. Mike Minor (12-8; 3.12) was better, allowing just five hits through seven and one-third innings.

Considering this marked the first time in 220 games that the Yankees had been blanked, one can safely label this an anomaly. Or a warning. Regardless, the Yankees starting pitching remains an abstract picture.

J.A. Happ was brilliant against Oakland, tossing one-hit ball over six innings. But that was the first time he’d gone six since July 30th. Tanaka has been a workhorse. German has been terrific. But Happ and CC Sabathia, who’s lost five straight, have not.

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German #55 pitches in the 1st inning today
09/13/16 Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny New York Yankees win 3-0 New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann #34 right celebrates with New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances #68 after the game photos by Neil Miller/ the New York Extra

James Paxton has won six straight since losing five in a row so that jury is out. He’s been streaky all season, which is not comforting entering the playoffs.

When one considers the pitching in Cleveland, Houston, Oakland and Tampa, the Yankees are going to be tested – big time – which is the way it should be.

They already have been tested more than any team in baseball history. Without Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and the other members of the injured list, it’s astonishing what the Bombers have done.

04/21/16 Oakland Athletics vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.Y.New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino #40 pitches in the 2nd innning photos by Neil Miller/ the ny extra

A 21st 100-win season would be sensational. A ticker tape parade would be better.

Chiefs Can’t Wait: This is the Last Sunday With no NFL Until February

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

There have been many impassioned debates as to whether or not Tom Brady is the greatest football player of all time.

Recently we wrote that Brady is the pick for the greatest quarterback of all time.

Now we have learned that there is another facet of Brady’s greatness that ends any debate Sorry, Montana. Apologies, Namath. Regrets, Unitas. Brady has indeed taken the quarterback position to a new level.

He is the Football Whisperer, the Freud of the Football. Not the game of football. The actual football.

Consider his recent remarks when asked to assess the play of free agent wide receiver Jacobi Meyers, who has impressed throughout training camp and the preseason.

“The football doesn’t care how old you are, whether you were drafted or not. The football doesn’t care how much experience you have. It just knows, when I let that ball go, it’s got to be in the hands of the guy who it’s intended for.’’

Wait, the football doesn’t care, as in the football has feelings?

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this discovery but we will try.

This is like finding life on Mars. Or fresh water in the ocean’s depths. Or a neurotransmitter in the deepest recesses of the brain that can be stimulated to guarantee lifelong virility. (Willing to volunteer for the trial).

Tom Brady, six-time Super Bowl champ, three-time Super Bowl MVP, husband to one of the highest-earning supermodels of all-time, might just win a Nobel Prize for science.

This is like Kobe Bryant winning an Oscar for his truly wonderful animated short film, “Dear Basketball.”

Brady, we know, has an intimate relationship with footballs. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for deflating balls in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.

We wonder: If he knew then what he knows now, would he have, um, deflated the balls? Maybe his

Football Whisperer skills were still being honed and he couldn’t yet communication with the oblong, leather, ball.

We’ll let the psychologists, therapists and linguists pursue this new avenue of study. We’ve got bigger issues to address. With this being the last Sunday we won’t have NFL football until February 9th, and all those priceless preseason games in the books, it’s time to make our picks.

AFC East: Pats – as long as the 42-year-old Brady doesn’t get injured or caught deflating footballs.

AFC North: Browns – Mayfield leads them to their first divisional title since 1989, despite monthly reports he’s not liked in the locker room.

AFC South: Texans – Without Luck, Texans have the best QB in the division – by far.

AFC West: Chiefs – Andy Reid is a Hall of Fame coach, right? Right?

Wildcards:  Steelers – Addition by subtraction; AB and his treasured helmet are gone. Chargers – Because I believe in the Ravens less, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

AFC Championship Game: Chiefs over Pats

NFC East: Cowboys – America’s soap opera team.

NFC North: Packers – Mr. Rodgers really likes the neighborhood now that the McCarthy house has been sold.

NFC South: Saints – Drew Brees is starting to slip. Really? Really?

NFC West: Rams – Todd Gurley’s knee is as shaky as my short game but that defense is as solid as my 19th hole storytelling.

Wildcards: Bears – Taking a healthy but unproven Mitch Trubisky over a proven but not necessarily healthy Carson Wentz. Seahawks – They just stole the best DE, in football, Jadaveon Clowney, and Texas didn’t even file a police report.

NFC Championship Game: Seahawks over Cowboys

Super Bowl – Chiefs over Seahawks.