Tag Archives: Baltimore

How Does Jackie Bradley Jr. Fit Into Red Sox’ Plans?

JBJ's performance this spring has many questioning his role with the team to start the season

Going into spring training, it was widely assumed that Jackie Bradley Jr. would be taking over the Red Sox everyday centerfield job, and that at some point Grady Sizemore would be healthy enough to challenge him for playing time. Things have not gone as planned, and the Red Sox find themselves looking at a different roster to break camp than they originally expected. To this point in spring training, Bradley Jr. has posted a .182/.250/.318 triple slash, almost a polar opposite of his stunning numbers from a year ago. Teams do not usually read too much into spring training stats, but it is still somewhat disappointing in the sense that the Red Sox expected Bradley Jr. to take the centerfield job and run with it, thereby leaving themselves with both depth and options in the event that Sizemore is not healthy or able to play every day. This plan has not come to fruition so far, and it has everyone questioning what will happen between Bradley Jr. and Sizemore regarding the centerfield job heading into Opening Day.

The Red Sox have been pleasantly surprised by what they have gotten out of Sizemore so far this spring, even if the player himself won’t admit any significant accomplishment. However, Sizemore is scheduled to start five games this week, at a time where John Farrell has clearly stated that he will be trying to get his regular lineup on the field as much as possible. This leaves many to believe that Sizemore’s performance (and lack of Bradley Jr.’s) is leaving him in line to start in centerfield on Opening Day in Baltimore. When asked this week if Sizemore has a chance to make the team come Opening Day, Farrell responded “Yes,” in addition to stating the Red Sox’ current expectation that he can become an everyday player. This was an entirely unexpected scenario going into the spring, although one that likely pleases the Red Sox.

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Red Sox Drop Two To Orioles, Set To Face Rays For Four Game Set

For the first time in the young 2013 season, the Red Sox lost a series, dropping two games to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. After a strong performance in the Home Opener on Monday, despite cruising through 8 innings on Wednesday night, the Red Sox were not able to take a second game from Baltimore.

Joel Hanrahan after blowing a 2-run 9th inning lead on Wednesday

Joel Hanrahan after blowing a 2-run 9th inning lead on Wednesday

On Wednesday night the Red Sox had a 2-run lead in the top of the ninth inning. And then the new Red Sox closer, Joel Hanrahan, who pitched a rough inning in the home opener, came in to the game and allowed the Orioles 5 runs, and the game. Hanrahan and the Red Sox had the Orioles on the ropes, but they failed to throw a knockout punch.

On Thursday night Alfredo Aceves, starting in the place of John Lackey, pitched a decent game. Aceves gave up just two runs in 5 innings on 6 hits, and 3 walks. One of the runs allowed by Aceves was a solo home run to Chris Davis, the AL leader in RBI’s with 19 in just 9 games.

Clayton Mortenson relieved Aceves after 5 with the score tied at 2, and gave up a single in the 7th inning with 2 outs before being pulled for Andrew Miller. Miller was not able to get the final out of the inning as he walked Manny Machado, and then was replaced by Koji Uehara. Uehara gave up a double to Adam Jones which scored the Orioles third run of the game, and that was all they needed to beat the Red Sox.

Winning one-run games is nothing new to the Orioles, as the 2012 Orioles won 29 one-run games. Besides the minor hiccup in the 7th inning, and Hanrahan’s struggles, the Boston bullpen has been very efficient this season.

I guess the Rays didn't hear what happened to last Pro Sports team to wear letterman jackets to New England

I guess the Rays didn’t hear what happened to last Pro Sports team to wear letterman jackets to New England

Next the Red Sox will continue their home stand with the Tampa Rays coming to town for four games. The Rays are taking a page out of the Houston Texans playbook, and on their trip from Texas to Boston, the team will all be wearing ugly letterman jackets. The Red Sox hope it works out for the Rays just as much as it did for the Texans who lost 42-14 in Foxboro on Monday Night Football.

The Rays will start Alex Cobb on Friday night against Felix Doubront. Cobb did not allow a run in his first start of the season and has been the best starter for the Rays so far this year. After Doubront goes on Friday night, the Rays will be challenged by facing the Red Sox two ace’s, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The series will conclude on Patriots day morning, a game which starts at 11:05 am.

After HOT First Week, Red Sox Look to Continue Success

After 6 games, the Boston Red Sox are standing atop the AL East standings for the first time since September 1st 2011. It may not mean much in the early season, but they are giving fans hope, and are already getting fans attention, for a good reason, something that the 2012 team couldn’t do at all.

The Red Sox, 4-2, have won both because of their offense and their pitching. Boston is ranked second in team batting average at .290, only behind the Baltimore Orioles who have hit .301, and ranked 5th in the AL in pitching with an ERA of 3.29, the best team ERA in the AL East.

Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias, who wasn’t expected to have much of an impact this year with Boston, and who has struggled at the plate in his limited time in the majors, is off to a very hot start offensively going 9 for 17 with an RBI, and two doubles. If Iglesias continues his hot streak, it will be hard to justify starting Stephen Drew over him when Drew joins the Red Sox later this week when he comes off the disabled list. Read more

Beating the Ravens Will Be No Easy Task for the Patriots

For the second consecutive year, the Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship in Foxboro. Last year the Patriots barely got by the Ravens to advance to the Super Bowl, and although the Ravens don’t seem to be as good as they were last year, and the Patriots seem better than they do last year, I think this year’s AFC Championship game will be even tougher than last year’s.

Tom Brady Ray Lewis

Over the past week the term “Team of Destiny” has been used by many analysts and sports talk radio hosts regarding the Baltimore Ravens. The term makes most people feel nauseous, as it should, but if you think about it the Ravens really are playing like they are the team of destiny.

A win in Foxboro on Sunday would avenge the loss of year. Last year was no ordinary loss. The Ravens had a chance to win the game when Joe Flacco threw what would be a touchdown to Wide Receiver Lee Evans. That pass which was in Evans in hands was knocked out by Sterling Moore at the very last second. The Ravens as we all know then tried to tie the game with a 32 yard field goal. The easy field goal was missed by Kicker Billy Cundiff.

To lose a game like that is something teams don’t forget. Sure, this year is a different team for the Ravens, but those players who were on the field last year surely haven’t forgotten about this. Every player has been fighting all year to get back to where they got last year for a chance at redemption.

Along with the storyline for avenging last year’s loss, throw in Ray Lewis, who is playing in his final season. Every player on the field knows how important it is to show up and win for the team leader, to extend his career one more game. Although Ray Lewis is one of the best motivational speakers and teammates, you have to wonder when the “Lets win one for the Gipper” speech gets old and starts to fade for players. They won one for “the Gipper” (In the case Lewis) in the Wild Card round against the Bengals, and then they went out and won ANOTHER one for the Gipper against the Denver Broncos.

On Sunday the Ravens won’t be the only team trying to avenge a loss. The Patriots haven’t forgotten about losing to the Ravens in week 3 on primetime. That game was an even closer game than the AFC Championship game last year with the Ravens defeating the Patriots 31-30 by kicking a game winning field goal as time expired. In that game, the biggest story was the replacement officials.

Here’s a recap of that game: http://boston.sportsthenandnow.com/2012/09/24/patriots-vs-ravens-recap-five-reasons-the-patriots-lost-sunday-night/

Of course there’s a lot to play for in the AFC Championship. Most of the sports media will be hoping for a Ravens win to create better storylines, but the Patriots will try to stop that, and make things harder on the media by making them report on meaningful stories pertaining to football. With everything on the line on Sunday, and with the recent history between these two teams, this game will be no walk in the park for the Patriots.

Patriots vs. Ravens Recap: Five Reasons the Patriots Lost Sunday Night

After so much hype by the NFL and NBC, Sunday night’s game lived up to everything that was promised. But after 60 minutes of play, the Patriots are 1-2 and below .500 for the first time in nine years. It took Baltimore all 60 minutes to win the game, and a field goal as time expired that many Patriots players thought was no good to win. Here are five notables about the game that led the Patriots to their second loss in as many weeks:

1.)    The Replacement Officials.

Bernard Pollard was right about the Refs when he was interviewed by the Sports Hub Toucher and Rich. These replacements don’t have control over the players. The 1st quarter was evidence as there were many arms and elbows being thrown around after plays between groups of players. The refs could do nothing to stop these extra circulars from happening.  In the game the refs called 24 penalties, 12 of which resulted in 1st downs, totaling in 218 yards. It sounds whiny and immature to blame the game solely on the refs, so I can’t put all the blame there. But I can say that Roger Goodell needs to the right thing and get the actual refs back on the field immediately.

2.)     Gronkowski was ineffective without Aaron Hernandez

Rob Gronkowski, the almighty Tight End was held to just 2 receptions in the game which resulted in just 21 yards. A big part to Gronkowski’s ineffectiveness can be pinned on the absence of Tight End Aaron Hernandez. Without Hernandez, the Ravens were able to focus just on Gronk, and were able to hold him to just 2 receptions. Kellen Winslow who was signed this week by New England to fill the void Hernandez left, had just 1 catch for 12 yards and he dropped another pass that was intended for him in the first half.

3.)    Ridley Is NOT the Dominant Running Back he Appeared to be in Week 1

After a week 1 win in which Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards on 21 carries and scored 1 touchdown, he’s been irrelevant. Last week against the Cardinals he ran for 71 yards on 18 carries. Against the Ravens he only ran for 37 yards on 13 carries with his longest rush being just 14 yards. Danny Woodhead seemed more reliable in the game with 34 yards on 15 carries. Ridley lost yards multiple times in the game, and he makes Patriots fan miss the reliability of the Law Firm, Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis.

4.)    Edelman Injury in the 2nd quarter

In the first half Julian Edleman was tearing it up! He was playing with as much passion as you can ever ask a player to have. He had 4 catches for 28 yards, and should have had a big reception in the 2nd quarter, but it was called back after a questionable call by the officials. At the end of the 1st half Edelman left the game with a hand injury and didn’t return.

5.)    McCourty Drops an Interception

Early in the 4th quarter, Devin McCourty had a chance to intercept a Joe Flacco pass intended for Torrey Smith. McCourty had the ball in his hands but then dropped it. Had McCourty held on, the Patriots would have taken over control in decent field position. Instead on the next play, Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin for 24 yards. Patriots defense did stop the Ravens, and in field goal range, the Ravens attempted to convert on 4th and 1. They failed conversion, and didn’t score, but had McCourty held on to the interception it could have led to a more points from the Patriots offense.

The Patriots will now get ready to play the Bills in Buffalo next Sunday. Next week will be no easy game for the Pats as Buffalo is coming off a 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns and have a 2-1 record.  Also expect the NFL to hand a hefty fine to Bill Belichick this week for touching an official after the game to try and get an explanation of the field goal that won the game for the Ravens at the end of regulation.