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Editorial

Red Sox Still Have Upside At All-Star Break

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Boston Red Sox Still Have Upside At All-Star Break Despite Being In 1st Place In AL East

What are the Boston Red Sox? Are they a World Series team? Or are they a team destined to fail?

There is no right or wrong answer here, despite being at the All-Star break, this year’s Red Sox team has yet to show their true colors. Overall the 2017 campaign has been a roller coaster with ups and downs balancing out. Being in 1st place in the American League East with all the inconsistencies is an impressive feat.

Starting Rotation Can Run The Table

You have a starting rotation led by Chris Sale who outside of a bad May has had a stellar start to his Boston Red Sox career. Such a good start that the ace was given the honor of starting the All-Star game for the American League. Behind Sale, you have a rotation that has yet to peak.

Since his blowup with John Farrell in Oakland, Drew Pomeranz has arguably been the best starter in the entire league with an AL-leading 2.72 ERA since May 14th. Pomeranz has far exceeded expectations set forth upon him, and in theory he should be a big part of this teams future.

The other starters have been a bit of an uncertainty. David Price started the season on the DL and had a couple of rough starts. But Price, like Pomeranz, has turned it around as of late. Price’s ERA in June?

Price’s ERA in June?

4.50 in 36 IP.

So far in July?

1.50 in 12 IP.

If the playoffs started today the second starter for Boston would likely be Price. If Price is on for the second half, a Red Sox AL East Pennant is almost a certainty.

Outside of Price, Sale, and Pomeranz, the rotation gets a tad murkier. Reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello has had the toughest time getting going this season. Part of it happens to be the lack of success in his sinker ball. Following up a CY Young season is tough, but even his stats are far worse than his career averages.

After posting a 6.63 ERA in June, Porcello had two strong starts in July with a 2.51 ERA so far in the month. If Porcello can continue to right the ship, his success could help Boston run up the score in the second half. But the craziest thing about Boston’s potential lies in what is their fifth starter, Eduardo Rodrigeuz.

E-Rod has been rehabbing back from a knee injury with the 5th spot being filled with the likes of Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, and Doug Fister. Of course, some of those starts by those players came with a Price or a Pomeranz injury, but when E-Rod comes back after the break, the rotation will be fully healthy for what seems like the first time this season.

Rodriguez’s talent and ability makes him a solid 3 starter on any team in the majors, for Boston, saying he is a 5th starter speaks to the talent they have in their starting rotation. Before going down with his injury he had a 3.54 ERA on the season in 11 GS.

Bullpen That Still Has Uncertainties

The Boston Red Sox bullpen started the year with Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith on the DL. The idea at the time was having two late inning relievers added around the all-star break without having to give up any more for them. But things haven’t gone according to plan.

Thornburg has been ruled out for the season and Smith has been shut down multiple times and a rehab post-All-Star break is a dream for Boston at the moment.

But shockingly this year’s bullpen has been rock solid in the first half despite some struggles towards the end. Craig Kimbrel was electric in the closing role and earned another All-Star nod.

The starter turned reliever Joe Kelly was nearly flawless for much of the first half. Kelly’s one issue was not pitching back-to-backs, but that was to ease him into the bullpen. Matt Barnes has had immense road struggles but has been great at Fenway Park.

Pitchers like Fernando Abad, Robby Scott, Heath Hembree, and Blaine Boyer have far exceeded all expectations that many had of them. Even with overachievers, Boston could still look to add a reliever from the outside by the deadline despite having Smith on a potential return and a proven MLB reliever in Brandon Workman in AAA-Pawtucket.

Boston Red Sox

Positional Players That Have Yet To Hit Their Peaks

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and second basemen Dustin Pedroia have both played up to their abilities, but outside of them, the lineup was full of players who can add more in the second half.

Andrew Benintendi has played very well as a rookie outside a cold stretch earlier in the year, but even he still has upside to show this season. At the first base position, Mitch Moreland has far exceeded his contract and looks like a diamond in the rough type of signing for Dave Dombrowski. Moreland has slowed things down a tad in terms of getting on base, but with limited time off that is expected. Post All-Star break, it should be pedal to the metal for the gold glove first basemen.

At the catcher spot, both Sandy Leon and Christian Vasquez have hit a rough patch after coming out at full speed to start the season offensively. Both are fine in terms of how the roster is built and can be allowed to struggle.

At third base, it has been a bit of a crap shoot with Pablo Sandoval failing to pan out. Thankfully players like Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin have been able to step in and stabilize a position riddled with injuries and inefficiencies. Of course predicting what those two prior mentioned players will do in the second half is something that is too difficult to do. But with Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge both close to a Major League return, Boston can afford to stay put at the MLB trade deadline.

The utility outfielder role has been filled by veteran Chris Young who has had a down month in June. Young should be fine in the second half and is an above average hitter to have off the bench.

The one true player that has a good amount of room for growth in the second half is right fielder Mookie Betts. Betts has 16 home runs this season which is great, but his average sitting in the.270s is not so hot. His average sitting at .272 is 19 points lower than his career lows.

Interestingly enough the superstar player still finds ways to get on base. His OPS is .841 so far this season compared to .897 last year.

The 24-year-old has been fine in the first half, great even, but you can’t help but feeling watching his game that he has more to offer in the second half.

Boston does have one starter that has straight up underachieved. And that player is Designated Hitter Hanley Ramirez. Despite bouncing back in the second half of June the DH is still only hitting .261 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs.

Maybe it is the pressure of living up to David Ortiz, or maybe it is the lack of awareness. But if Hanley can start turning it up in the second half, the sky is the limit for the Boston Red Sox.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Editorial

Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots Good in any Country or Sea Level

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1. PATRIOTS

OPENING THOUGHTS 

*Patriots three games up in the division

* Kraft still avoiding the barber’s chair

* Romo still good but can wear on you

BRADY

* Appreciate every game – he is amazing
* Greatest flat foot thrower ever
* Great one handed catch of the snap and then TD pass to Cook
* I was wrong with Brady getting hurt in Mexico City
* Just think Carr makes $13j,000,000 more than Brady

OFFENSE

*Touches – Lewis 13 / White 5 / Burkhead 9 (or whatever Jim Nantz called him)

* Surprised to see Burkhead fumble and come back and get a carry
* James White hurt?
* Gronk went over the eight-game mark for the third time in five years
* Dwayne Allen great fumble recovery

*Cooks on pace for 1,200 yards 

DEFENSE 

* Who is Reilly on defense – 233rd pick in 2014

* Average tattoos per defender was down significantly with Marsh out of the line up

* Elandron Roberts matching Beast mode with a couple of hard hits

* Gilmore dehydrated and comes out of game – how many full games has he played?

* Chung got hurt making a play after Gilmore missed tackle

* Jonathan Jones forced fumble – he just makes plays

BILL GARB / KRAFT SIGHTINGS

* Blue wind breaker and visor for Bill
* Bob Kraft with 13:27 left in the third quarter / 8:15 left in the 4th quarter

RAIDERS

* Del Rio will not be on Oakland sideline next year
* Ten Oakland receivers caught passes
* Raiders quit
* Derek Carr sitting on the bench by himself / receivers dropping balls / reports that black line men weren’t blocking for him earlier in the year because he wouldn’t kneel for the national anthem
* Oakland since the tuck rule – not good
* Love Raider #21 dancing after Brady incomplete pass with the Patriots up 30-8

OTHER

* Mark Davis haircut was a Shemp special

*Marshawn Lynch sat for the American national anthem but stood for Mexico – I wonder if the woman he hit and run with his Porsche even has the choice if she could sit or stand?

*With 77,000 fans at the game that meant there was like 40,000 seats empty

2. Around the NFL and College Football

* Did Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma cost himself the Heisman by being a total jerk?

* Jim Harbaugh will be jumping to the NFL – he can’t get over the hump in Big 10

* BC gets bowl eligible with a big win over 116th ranked U Conn – Dillon real deal – keep the transfer papers away from him
* Thanks Giants for beating the Chiefs
* Denver 0-3 at home last three games – amazing
* Bad week for Jamie Winston at Tampa – accused of sexual harassment and an old guy from Harvard is winning at Tampa when he couldn’t

3. Celtics and Bruins

* I’m sort of saying this in jest – Rask should have to watch the goalies in Hurling at Fenway manning up to stop 100 mph shots with just their t shirt for equipment (by the way Rask makes $8,000,000 – Hurling goalies are sometimes paid free pints)

4. Since 2010, Drew Brees and Tom Brady have played in 272 of 274 games they were eligible to play in

5. NBA three pointers ruining the sport (back to my suggestion – three pointers only in the last two minutes of the quarter). Players dribble into paint just to pass it out to three-point land.

* Rockets are attempting more three pointers than two pointers – 44.4 to 39.2
* Twelve teams attempting at least 30 three pointers a game
* Lakers are hitting 7 a game and missing 17 a game

6. Lakers / Nets record update to figure out how much of a genius Danny Ainge is:

* Lakers…6-10
* Nets…….6-9

7. Amazing Stats. – The Celtics and Patriots are a combined 20-1 on the road this year

8. Old School – On November 8th 1970 – Tom Dempsey kicked a 63 yard field goal – how did his day compare to Gostkowski:

 

*Dempsey four field goals – 63 yarder and three that added up to 64 yards – average 32 yards a field goal

* Gostkowski four field goals – 62 yarder and three that added up to 120 yards – average 46 yards a field goal

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – Best former players as local analysts

1. Eck
2. Derek Sanderson
3. Geno Cappelletti
4. Tom Heinsiohn
5. Ken Harrelson
6. Johnny Pierson
7. John Pesky

10. Randomocity

* I have a lock bet for you – Flag Football will be a Massachusetts high school varsity sport within three years
* Surprised that Mike Felger on 98.5 actually said the words that Jerry Jones said about Bob Kraft – so soon after his controversy regarding Roy Halliday sounded like a guy who might want to move on
* Broadcast stations love football injuries – they make money by going to commercial
* The park the Boston Braves played at was lovingly known as the Wigwam
* Watched Spielberg documentary on HBO interesting B+

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Editorial

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Celtics Streaking

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Life has been immaculately great for Boston Sports fans lately. This may be a harbinger of the Apocalypse.

There’s almost nothing to whine about!

Now, notice the use of the word “almost”. There’s ALWAYS something to whine about. And I’ll traverse the most obscure bowels of the universe in order to find it.

A dichotomy has formed between the Bruins and the rest of this banner saturated sports city. Somehow every team is winning, except for the them.

The B’s have been playing like amateurs, losing 4 out of their last 5 games. So if you’re a hockey fan you’re probably seeking some sort of uplifting spin.

You’ve come to the wrong place. This team is indefensibly mediocre. 

Some followers of the Boston Bruins have implored the organization to bomb for the rest of the season, in pursuit of a high draft pick.

Soon we’re going to be throwing “perfect parades” like the laughable Cleveland Browns. No, I’m not kidding. Several fans in Cleveland have formally petitioned the city government to throw a celebration in the streets, if the Browns can successfully go 0-16.

So I ask you, Don Sweeney and Cam Neely, is this what you guys want? If you didn’t already know, Boston does not throw “losing parades”. Our teams drive duck boats down confetti littered streets, while elatedly violating plush dolls.

Go ahead and ask Gronk. It’s the bee’s knees!

The Bruins did not deserve to make the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, this week. When a franchise is writhing in a dismal pit such as this one, they receive a dishonorable mention.

Now let’s get to the Boston teams that are actually worthy of criticism. It’s time for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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Editorial

Connelly’s Top Ten – 14 Straight! Patriots Try to Survive Mexico City

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Patriots

1. Patriots in Mexico City

* Patriots have no defensive touchdowns
Seven Patriots with TD receptions
Patriots have two interceptions and one fumble after nine games
* Tuck rule was snow – this game will be volcano ash
* We don’t need any stinking badges
* Mexico had more murders in 2016 – 23,000 than Iraq 17,000 and Afghanistan 16,000
Just get out of the game with a win and alive

2. Celtics are 16 games into the season (20%) and are 14-2 – how did the last six Celtic championship teams start:

2007…..14-2
1985…..14-2
1982…..13-3
1981…..11-5
1975……10-6
1973……13-6

3. Went to Celtics game:
Marcus Smart should not be allowed to cross mid court – every time he got the ball the crowd was yelling don’t shoot
Terry Rozier is a good dribbler but can’t beat anyone off the dribble
Curry looks like he didn’t want to be there
Half the cars downtown are Uber or Lyft
99 in Charlestown has a shuttle to the Bruins game but not the Celtics
Crowd chanting MVP for Irving
Irving the most exciting player in this town since Pedro
Don’t like Horford bringing the ball up
Was it me or did Morris not shake Brad’s hand at a timeout
Two teams were 17-64 from three point land – they missed a three-pointer almost every minute of the game
Irving and Curry were 7-30 from field
That was a game I think Brad should have went 40 minutes with Brown

4. With Marcus Smart amazing on defensive end and painful on offensive end – other local players with only one side of the game:

* Dick Stuart – Dr. Strangeglove
* Darren Lewis – all defense
* Hal Gill – No offense (reader Bob says no offense either)
* Alex Gonzalez
* Steve Kasper
* Jose Canseco
* Don Chaney
* Hanley Ramirez
5. Red Sox are looking for a slugger like Stanton – how have past sluggers done in the first year with the Red Sox
Baylor………….31 HR / 94 RBI / .238 Avg
Esasky…………30 HR / 108 RBI / .277 Avg
Wily Mo Pena..11 HR / 42 RBI / .301 Avg
Danny Cater……8 HR / 39 RBI / .237 Avg
Jack Clark…….28 HR / 87 RBI / .249 Avg
Jose Canseco 24 HR / 81 RBI / .306 Avg

6. Odds to Win Championship

* Red Sox………10-1 / 6th tied with Nationals
* Celtics………….12-1 / 4th
* Bruins…………..28-1 / 20th
* Patriots…………3-1 / 1st

7. Amazing Stats – In Game Six of 1974 and 1976 NBA Finals – the following minutes were played in the double overtime game:

1974

* Kareem……………….58
* Oscar Robertson……58
* John Havlicek……….58
* Jo Jo White………….54

1976

* Gar Heard……61
* Jo Jo White….60
* John Havlicek..58
* Dave Cowens.55
* Curtis Perry….52

8. Old School – Bobby Doerr stuff:

* Had his best year at age 21 – hit .318
* Was first base coach on the 1967 Red Sox season
* Sixty Five years married
* Nine All Star games
* Missed 1945 because of service

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – When is Tom Coughlin gonna be considered one of the great football minds – EVER?

* Head Coach Boston College: three season 4-7 / 8-3-1 / 9-3
* First Jacksonville Coach – Four of franchise first five seasons – playoffs
* Giants Coach – Two Super Bowls
* Jaguars EVP of Operations – Season before he arrived 3-13 / first season 6-3

10. Randomocity

· * Saw two sports documentaries this week Senna – on the Formula 1 super star A- / Once in a Lifetime on the Cosmos – B
· * Toast better than bread
Who GQ could have picked for person of the year over Colin Kapernick – Stephon Willeford Texas savior or Rose McGowan

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