I spent the better part of the last two weeks on the “Left Coast”; enjoying Napa Valley, observing modern Art, and exploring Yosemite National Park. While I was away, Tom Brady made a successful return, which I expected, but Red Sox made a quick exit from the playoffs, which I did not.
Furthermore, due to an unfortunate combination of time difference, travel arrangements, questionable network decisions, and incomplete cable packages, I was unable to watch any of it. Now that my internal clock has been reset, allow me to offer a few thoughts on it all.
As I had predicted that the Sox would get by Cleveland, I obviously was taken by surprise by their failure to do so. Surprised, but not shocked.
It was my hope that Rick Porcello, after having a Cy Young caliber season (22-4), could continue his dominance into the post season, thereby taking some of the heat off David Price. I was wrong, as Porcello apparently barely made it into the 5th inning, giving up 5 runs on just 6 hits. Unfortunately, 3 of them were home runs, and they dropped the first game 5-4.
With the pressure back on Price, he reverted to his old playoff form, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits in only 3.1 innings, and losing 6-0. A combination of Clay Buchholz and Drew Pomeranz managed to drop game three by giving up 4 runs on 7 hits in just over 5 innings of work.
The Sox offensive woes of the last six regular season games continued, as they managed only 3 runs in the finale, for a total of 7 in the three games. The heart of the Boston lineup–David Ortiz (1/9), Dustin Pedoria (2/12), Xander Bogaerts (3/12, 4 Ks) and Jackie Bradley (1/12, 7 Ks)–failed to produce in a meaningful way, which in turn led to Big Papi’s retirement starting before most of us though it would.
The only positive from it all was that at least his last game was at home. In a bit of departure from the theme, and before I was even back on the east coast, the Sox announced that manager John Ferrell and his entire staff would be back for next season. I think I need time to think about that.
The only surprise to me regarding Tom Brady’s return against the Cleveland Browns was that I was unable to watch it. Granted I was in California at the time, but I was seriously taken by surprise by the fact that the network chose to televise the Jets vs. Steelers over the Pats at Cleveland. I would have thought, love him or hate him, that Brady’s return would have generated higher ratings throughout most of the country than almost any other “neutral” contest. Apparently, I was wrong.
But I was not wrong about the ease in which he returned, as they defeated the Browns 33-13, and the Bengals, 35-17. Brady’s two-game totals included 57 completions in 75 attempts, 782 yards–with a long of 63 yards–6 TDs, and no INTs. The tight end tandem of Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265) and Martellus Bennett (6-6, 275) gives the Patriots a unique and formidable pair of targets, perhaps even more so than the days of the 6-1, 245 pound TE Aaron Hernandez.
The Pats offense will get even more difficult to prepare for when all-purpose back Dion Lewis returns for the second half of the season. Given that the 5-1 Pats will face a weakened Pittsburgh Steelers team next week, before heading to Buffalo for a rematch with the Bills, you can understand why there is a growing optimism in Foxboro that the Pats are in strong position to make a run at another Super Bowl. I truly hope they make it all the way, because that would make for one very interesting trophy presentation.
THREE ACTS OF EXTREME RANDOMNESS;
ACT I: When baseball Commissioner Manfred was in town for the Ortiz festivities, he hinted that just because his name was on the list that was leaked, it didn’t necessarily mean Ortiz had actually tested positive for anything. I’m not sure I understand, but why wait so long to try to clarify?
ACT II: I would have thought that it would have been wiser for Colin Kaepernick to wait until he was retired from football to become a vegan. Maybe he should buy Tom Brady’s cookbook.
ACT III: With the emergence of Andrew Benintendi, a center fielder by trade, look for the Red Sox to trade Jackie Bradley for a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016