I’ve been away from the key board for a couple of weeks for reasons both good and bad, but the sports world, as the world in general is hap to do, went rolling right along. Interestingly enough, the four major sports teams in this market experienced happenings both good and bad while I was away, so please allow me to do a little bit of catching up.
The Sox won seven out of eight games to land for a brief time in first place in the AL East, .5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s difficult to come to any substantial conclusions from that as they did most of their beating up on two last place teams. Of course, when those teams are the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees, then there is probably a major story line in there someplace, but we’ll walk away from it for the moment. At this point, the Sox have played a mere 26 games, or about 16% of their season, so although there is much to be happy about it’s still too early for making plans for October just yet. At the top of the happy list is Boston’s offense, that ranks second in the MLB, and is being lead, interestingly enough, by third baseman, Travis Shaw, (.312, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs) as well as DH David Ortiz, (.306, 5/19). To this point, their two most effective pitchers have been Rick Porcello (5-0, 2.76 ERA) as well as the 31 year old knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-3, 1.67 ERA). Their high priced starter, David Price has struggled out of the gate with a 6.14 ERA, but with enough run support to be 4-0. While on the other hand, Clay Buchholz, who is likely on his last opportunity to stay in the rotation, has started 0-3, with an ERA of 6.51, and Joe Kelly, of course, is on the DL. Ending with some good news, the bullpen will be bolstered this week by the return of Carson Smith, as will the rotation next week when Eduardo Rodriquez comes back. (John Farrell is still the manager.)
Although the news of the reinstatement of Tom Brady‘s four game suspension was not well received in these parts, neither was it met with all that much consternation. The general consensus seems to be that if Bill Belichick could go 11-5 with Matt Cassel, then he should be able to go at least 2-2 with Jimmy Garoppolo. Combine Garoppolo’s additional year of learning with what should be a very strong defense, and you can understand why Patriots Nation is not as worried as you might expect. It’s not happy, just not that worried. Besides, this may still not be over with, as Brady’s law team has continued the appeal process. As someone just pointed out, two of the four judges who have heard the case so far agreed with him. I know that’s not how it works, but it must say something.
The Celtics are still surrounded by a great many positive vibes despite their weak shooting performance and early departure from the playoffs. It was not that many weeks ago, about the time they ended the GS Warriors home winning streak, when people were talking about them being possible conference finalist. The fact that president Danny Ainge still has a boat load of draft picks, including the NJ Nets at three, has left fans very hopeful for next year. Adding a key player or two to the Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley led squad could go a long way towards making them a true contender, and a threat to Cleveland’s hold on the East.
This was a very strange year to be a Bruins fan, as they failed to make the playoffs for a second straight season. They seemed to play better on the road then at home. They had trouble putting a strong 60 minutes together, and on the rare occasions they did, could not do it two games in a row. They had trouble on defense, yet traded away Johnny Boychuk last year and then didn’t sign Dougie Hamilton this year. In the final game of the season, a game they had to win to have any hope for the playoffs, they played miserably, not helped by the fact that goalie Tuukku Raske was “too sick to play”. In the end, it was determined that coach Claude Julien did the best he could with what he had, and that GM Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely, are on the hot seat. I can’t help but feel that the first thing they have to do is decide on whether or not they want to be the “Big, Bad Bruins” of yesterday, or a fast, hard skating team, or some combination of the two. But whatever they decide, they need to match their roster to the approach. Should be an interesting off season.
- 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