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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 – Brady Great, Gronk Fragile, Sox Boring, BC Losers

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Patriots

1.Patriots

* OPENING THOUGHTS

* Other than the hand injury, I’m going to say that most of Gronk’s injuries occur running after the catch. Turn him into a Red Zone specialist where he is just catching the ball

* I’ve said this before – being a wide receiver in the Brady offense is dangerous – Injuries to Edelman, Hogan, Dorsett, Amendola, Gronk and Hawkins would rather go to Columbia than get hurt

* Is Ryan Allen off to a bad start? Gostkowski another missed extra point

* Patriots have lost back to back coin tosses

* How great is Belichick – just watch the Patriots kicking team run onto the field and line up for the end of the half kick – amazing thing everyone was involved – offensive players were spinning their index finger around while they ran off/ McDaniel was waving a towel over his head – amazing.

 

* BRADY

* Treasure every game with him representing you as your quarterback

* He won two arguments with officials and Romo was reading his mind – first time was the pick/rub at the line of scrimmage that got overturned / second was the too many men on the field (see #9 below for more Romo thoughts)         

* Brady will “love” watching film when Hogan points to where he should have thrown the ball in the end zone

 

* OFFENSE

* Running back touches – Gillislee 18 / White 10 / Burkhead 5 / Lewis 5 / Devlin 1

* Nice game plan by McDaniel – more creativity and diversity

* Austin Carr is on the Saints but got no play on Sunday – Patriots should offer them a 7th round draft pick – he knows the system

 

* DEFENSE

* Former Razorbacks – Wise and Flowers are going to make a nice pair

* McCourty is an amazing tackler

* Chung chasing in coverage

* Gilmore looked confused again on a ball down the right sideline

* Jonathan Jones just seems to make plays

* Ninkovich traveled to New Orleans?

* No Hightower – he is fragile

 

* KRAFT SIGHING / BILL’S GARB

* Mr. Kraft with 27 seconds left in the second quarter – he didn’t look good, put some weight on and needs a hair cut

* Bill going with the blue windbreaker with short sleeves

 

* OTHER

* Be prepared to hear this on sports radio some morning – “the Patriots have called for an impromptu press conference – word out of Patriots camp is Rob Gronkowski is retiring.”

* Gronk’s fluorescent underwear waste strap must have distracted the defenders

* It’s painful when a cameraman keeps the camera on a cheerleader for too long – once she goes through the pom poms, the “Go team” and throwing a kiss there isn’t a lot of material left in her routine.

* I have a funny feeling there will be some extra sprints this week after Dwayne Allen jogged off the field and got the team flagged for too many men

* Saints receiver Michael Thomas couldn’t stand on his own after hitting his head and then was cleared to come back in the game

* Gronk will be joining Bobby Orr, Cam Neely and Larry Bird for careers that ended too soon

2. Red Sox

*  Tampa used 19 pitchers in the three game series

* Pedroia played in two games and went 0-12 losing 10 points off his average!

* Red Sox have played 15 games this summer over 4 hours – insane

* Red Sox analyst hit a new low Saturday with Saltlimacchia talking about ghosts that he has seen and telling the viewing not to be scared of them

* Averages since All Star game – Bogaerts .217 / Young .187 / Hanley .206 / Leon 194 (153 point lower than Vazquez)

* If Devers played a whole season – his errors would be pro-rated to a Butch Hobson level 44

* Betts and Benitendi have a high number of 10 combined errors in the outfield

* Here is a bad stat – from the ten Red Sox third basemen this summer they have more than double the errors than home runs 30 to 14 – ugh

* Sale needs 13 k for 300 – has two starts left


3. AROUND THE NFL

* I think the AFC Title comes down to the Steelers backup quarterback

* Jacoby Brissette decent numbers – 20 for 37 / 216 yds     

* From the I miss Tom Brady column – No carries for Blount in Philly

 

4. AROUND COLLEGE FOOTBALL

* Michigan has 280 plays in its playbook / Ole Miss has 28

* Freaky watching a game played at Cal Berkley – there is an earthquake fault that runs through the football field – so there is a spot behind the end zone they can’t use turf because the shifting plates constantly rips it

* Gary Pettis of California Angels son Dante of Washington ran back his 8th punt return for a TD Saturday tying Wes Welker’s record

* Best games of the Day – USC 27 – Texas 24 / Memphis 48 – UCLA 45

* Why is a back up kicker wearing Tim Tebow’s number at Florida – can’t believe it wasn’t retired upon graduation

 

5. BOSTON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

* The worst thing you could say about a coach is that his team quit

* What a message Addazio sent to his team with 18 seconds left in the first half and the ball on the Notre Dame 44-yard line and two time outs and he virtually took a knee – how ironic that the school who threw the most famous Hail Mary pass in college football history doesn’t even trust their team to throw a ball into the end zone – how did the team respond – they were outscored 35-10 in the second half before Notre Dame decided to stop scoring (BC should play big games with a nothing to lose dangerous attacking spirit)

* BC gave up 515 yards rushing (515!) to a team that last week ran for 55 yards on 37 carries

* Defensive end Harold Landry finished last year with 7.5 sacks in four games – could have went into the draft and made millions – came back to play for Addazio and has one sack in three games and his future less green

* BC last eight games against opponents ranked in the top 25 – 0-8

* Has recruited one four-star player  

* Central Michigan is a must win in two weeks – because they play top 15 teams Clemson, Louisville, Florida State and Virginia Tech over the next 6 weeks

* Take a chance and hire a coach that needs a job – Mack Brown (old doesn’t matter), Les Miles, or how about this – hire despicable Art Briles and make him donate his entire contract to Rosies House and put insane restrictions on his tenure and player’s behavior

 

6. Since 1980 Mt Rushmore – Brady, Bird, Neely, Pedro

7. Amazing Stat – Quarterback Luke Falk of Washington State’s in his last 28 games has thrown 85 TD passes / Boston College last 75 games – has thrown 83 touchdown passes

 

8. Old School – A stat from MLB Network – Yankees completed their 25th straight year with a winning record which is fourth behind the Bruins’ 29 straight years 1967-1996 – thank you Bobby Orr

9. Just a Little Bit Outside –  Wow – Tony Romo – his voice wasn’t perfect but his insights were superb and a lot of them:

* Talking about Brady’s flat-footed throwing
* Brandin Cook and Brady not being on the same page and that Brees didn’t fight to keep him
* About Brees trying to add yards to his stats at the end of the game like he used too

* He read Tom’s lips talking to the trainer about Gronk

* Belichick running a certain defensive front to throw off game prep for future teams – really interesting

 

10. Randomocity

* Ironic David Ortiz is doing a documentary on Ted Williams seeing Ortiz has gone out of his way to say the red seat in the bleachers is fiction

 * What has John Henry done with the Boston Globe – it shows up later and doesn’t have up to date scores or stats – with today’s technology this should be the easiest thing he does over there

* Colin Kapernick – Never seen a quarterback who has won 9 of his last 31 games get so much attention – Tebow fans aren’t as insane

* Great stretch of weather – should rent a cottage in September not August

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Editorial

Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots Must Win to Keep Tobin Bridge from Being a Launching Pad

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1.Patriots

* When Brady lost in two openers he came back and won the next games outscoring his opponents 61-17 / 4 TD to 0

* If Hightower can play this week then he shouldn’t have sat the other night

* How many tattoos did Marsh get this week – should get one of toast

* What is the over- under of Patriot fan arrests on Bourbon Street

*Patriots 38-17

2. Red Sox

* David Price has made $454,545 an inning this year

* Pedroia needs two hits for 1,980

* I would say that Hanley’s helmet falling off to hits ratio has to be 5 to 1

* Red Sox on pace to win 92 games
* Sam Travis should start getting bats over Hanley who is under .240 now
* Pedroia 45 strike outs / 45 walks

* Betts 72 strikeouts / 72 walks

3. Players or sports personalities we hated to see leave:

* Danny Ainge

* Terry Francona

* Phil Esposito

* Isaiah Thomas

* Leon Gray

* Michael Haynes

* Carlton Fisk

* In retrospect – Sparky Lyle

* Bill Parcels

* Theo

* In retrospect – Paul Westphal

* Paul Silas

* Andy Moog

* Frank Lahey, Gary Williams, Tom Coughlin, Dr. Tom Davis (and the bounce pass)

4. The attendance for the last five home games of winning streak in Cleveland

Win 18 vs. Baltimore – 21,259

Win 19 vs. Detroit – 18,521

Win 20 vs. Detroit – 24,654

Win 21 vs. Detroit – 29,346

Win 22 vs Royals – 30,874

5. Rick Porcello giving up home runs as compared to a guy whose nickname was – Way Back

* Porcello given up 35 home runs this year or one every 5.1 innings

* Wasdin gave up a home run every 6.2 innings when with the Red Sox

6. First three years David Pastrnak scored 59 goals in 172 games

* Seguin 56 goals in first three years – 203 games

* Kessel 66 goals in first three years – 222 games

7. Amazing Stat – Drew Brees has thrown 466 TD’s to Tom Brady’s 456

8. Old School – Fisk vs. Munson (less at bats for Munson)

Fisk – .269 average / 23.3 at bats per HR / threw out 34% of runners / Rookie of Year

Munson – .292 average / 45.8 at bats per HR / threw out 44% of the runners / Rookie of the Year and MVP

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – Racism sign dropped from the green monster – what signs should have been dropped:

* Players AND manager – Stay off the sideline reporters

* Someone wake up John Henry

* Is the bat boy eligible for social security

* You could buy a 12 pack for the price of one Fenway beer

* How do we get down from here

* Was that from North Korea or is Porcello pitching

10. Randomocity

· Joe Montana crossed the picket line

* Indians are 31-5 since Jay Bruce arrived

· How does Japan know if the North Korean missile had a nuclear warhead. And was there any defense systems in play over there?

* Lynn Swann went to Brady’s high school

* ESPN ranks Al Horford 40th best player and shockingly Jae Crowder 38th (Irving 25 / Hayward 20)

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Editorial

Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots / Porcello / Irma

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Boston Red Sox

Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots / Porcello / Irma

1. Isaiah Thomas hip in big trouble – I’ve heard (from someone that knows someone) that his career is now in jeopardy and might be facing hip replacement surgery.

2.Patriots

* Patriots are in last place – Bill’s in first!

*In Super Bowl championship years – Patriots were 2-3 in opening game / 4-1 second game

* Has Deion Lewis lost a step?

* Has Malcom Brown improved?

* They looked like an 11-5 team

 

3. Red Sox

* The three-man booth with Eck and Remy wasn’t awful

Friday night – 28-minute bottom of the fifth – that’s an out every 9.1 minutes

* Drew Pomeranz is tied for the American League lead in wins with 15 – I presume he would be the only pitcher to win that title and never make it into the eighth inning in a game

* Just think – David Price and Rick Porcello make a combined $50mm a year and they won’t pitch in the first three games of the playoffs.

4. Around the NFL and College Football

* Eziekel Elliot getting in injunction just drove every fantasy football player wild who didn’t draft him

* Evander Holyfield’s son is returning kicks for Georgia (one of 11 kids – six mothers)

* Ohio State is 1-2 over last three games / 3-2 at home over their last five games

* Boston College up to its old tricks in the ACC – throwing three interceptions to Wake Forest

5. Around the MLB

* Red Sox managers Lovullo and Francona will be managers of the year in their respective leagues

* No Major League pitcher on a pace to win 20 games

* Adrian Gonzalez impact on the Dodgers: While on disabled list the team was 46-8 since his return – 7-16

* Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins has hit 14 home runs in 107 at bats = 7.6 at bats per HR (Stanton is 9.7 at bats per HR)

6. Draft position of the Patriots captains:

* Andrews…..Undrafted

* Brady………..199th

* Slater………..153rd

* Harmon……..91st

* Gronkowski….42nd

* McCourty…..27th

* Hightower….25th

7. Amazing Stat – Rick Porcello versus Pedro Martinez:

Porcello in 2017….9-17 record / 29 starts

Pedro 1999-2002: 68-17 record / 106 starts

8. Old School – In 1971, four Oriole pitchers won at least 20 games – Jim Palmer, Mike Cueller, Dave McNally, Pat Dobson. How about multiple 20 games winners for the Red Sox in a single season dating back to 1930:

1935 – Wes Ferrell – 25 / Lefty Grove – 20

1946 – Dave Ferris – 25 / Tex Hughson – 20

1949 – Mel Parnell -25 / Ellis Kinder – 23

2002 – Derek Lowe – 21 / Pedro – 20

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – 9/11 and Irma

* Don’t forget about 9/11 anniversary – amazing 16-year anniversary – never forget!

* Underdogs can use weather to help neutralize a superior foe – so wouldn’t be this an opportune time for an enemy of the United States to attack with the Texas floods, Florida storms and Mexico earthquakes

* Looters exploiting the vulnerable represent the worst element of our society – if they were shot on sight they would have no one to blame but themselves – I wouldn’t waste any Kleenex on their loss to the community

* Irma approaching Florida is eerie – it’s like Hiroshima having notice (not that it was the wrong decision)

* Would it be bad if Irma took out the Tropicana in Tampa?

* Where’s Shelby Scott?

10. Randomocity

* Sadly, the US Open isn’t what it used to be – Nadal didn’t have to beat one player in the top 25 in rankings –  seedings of opponents 121st / 85th / 64th / 59th / 53rd / 32nd / 28th

* Brilliant letter by Isaiah Thomas – his line “I fell in love with Boston” will endear him forever here

* How about Martina Hingis winning two US Open championships this weekend: Women’s Doubles / Mixed doubles – 25 Grand Slam titles now

* With football teams doing excessive team building exercises – a high school in New York is in trouble when a football player dropped a log killing him

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