New England Survives Ravens Test

Patriots Hold On Against The Upstart Ravens

The New England Patriots knew that a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens would be a good barometer for where this 2009 squad stands. By the end of a four-quarter struggle, the Patriots were worn but still standing with a 27-21 victory over the Ravens on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.  

Tom Brady and Randy Moss finally hooked up for their first touchdown of the season, their first connection since Super Bowl XLII.  Brady went 21-for-32 for 258 yards with a passing and rushing TD.  Moss finished with three receptions for 50 yards.  

New England had to stave off a late Baltimore rally as a Willis McGahee touchdown in the fourth quarter narrowed the Pats lead to three-points.  However, a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with a little over seven minutes left, made it 27-21 and a dropped fourth-down pass from Michael Clayton with under a minute inside the New England red zone gave the Patriots the victory.

New England (3-1) won for the 18th straight time that Brady has started a game at Gillette Stadium.  The Patriots travel to Denver to take on the 4-0 Broncos, who are led by former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Boston College Survives Seminole Attack

Eagles Hold On In Victory Over Florida State

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

 

After relinquishing an 18-point lead in the second half, Montel Harris and the Boston College Eagles but on the after burners and defeated the Florida State Seminoles 28-21 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, MA.  

Harris had a career-high 179 yards on the ground with two rushing touchdowns.  The Eagles (4-1,2-1) honored linebacker Mark Herzlich, who is receiving treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, on Saturday afternoon.  Dave Shinskie continued his impressive streak of performances, completing 12 out of 21 passes for 203 yards and 2 TD’s.  The 25-year-old freshmen, who was pitching with the Toronto Double-A affiliation, the New Hampshire Fisher-Cats, earlier this year, has looked great ever since being named the number one starter at quarterback.

The Eagles will look to keep a two-game winning streak going as they soar into Virginia Tech next weekend as the Eagles take on the Hokies.   

 

Its The End Of The World As We Know It…

Bruins Falter In Season Opener Against Capitals

Cue the R.E.M. song.  The Boston Bruins lost last night in the first game of the 2009 NHL season and its time to start panicking.  Alright, I may be overeacting just a little bit here but the Bruins did produce a clunker in last nights 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Unfortunately for B’s fans, there’s no cash for clunkers program that allows us to trade in a bad performance for a better result (or cash). Heading into this 2009-2010 season, the Bruins have lofty goals and expectation and on Thursday night they disappointed.  

Two-time defending NHL Most Valuable Player Alexander Ovechikin dazzled in his season debut with two goals and an assist as opposing net-minder Jose Theodore stopped a meager 19 shots from Boston in route to the easy victory.  Patrice Bergeron added the lone goal for the B’s in the third period on a nifty break-away move.  Defending Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas, made 30 saves while giving up four goals.  

The Black N’ Gold host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday in the second game of their five-game home stand.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Beckett Takes Shots

Looks To Be Ready For Playoffs

Josh Beckett isn’t going to allow the media to make a big deal about the three cortisone shots that were giving to the right-hander in his upper back on Monday to help with muscle spasms.  But Sox fans have reasons to be worried due to the fact that injures very well derailed Boston’s hopes of winning a title in 2008, in specific, the ones to Mr. Beckett.

Beckett was scratched from his start on Monday night but he stresses the injury is not serious since the muscle part of his back, where the shot were injected, doesn’t have any cartilage.  However, Red Sox Nation will keep a close on the health of Beckett as his performance will affect the outcome of the Angels series and beyond.

Playoff Bound

Despite Losing Streak, Sox Clinch Playoff Berth

The Boston Red Sox are playoff bound, ironically enough, thanks to the Los Angeles Angels.  With a 5-2 victory over the scuffling Texas Rangers, the Red Sox ALDS opponent will be the team that systematically pushed them into the playoffs.

The Red Sox certainly needed a little shove as they didn’t earn a champagne celebration with their recent play.   

Losers of five straight, the Red Sox are nonetheless, winners of the American League wild card.  It was a long road for the local nine in 2009 as their trials and tribulations proved difficult for a year which could be considered the finest piece of work from Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.  No, they didn’t paint a Van Gogh, but they may very well have ripped an ear off with frustration and uncertainty in the hot summer months.  Yet through it all, Epstein brought in Victor Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, and Billy Wagner as the pieces to glue this 2009 jigsaw puzzle together.  Francona did what he does best, manage his players.  The lineup cards were vastly different for the better part of the year but with the acquistions of Martinez and Gonazlez, the revolving door at shortstop and uncertainty of the middle-of-the-order bat was fixed with two moves.  The question that remained and still remains for Francona is, Jason Varitek or Mike Lowell?

Not a bad pickle to be in considering the experience both players have.  Varitek may catch one or two games in the playoffs, depending on what kind of hand Francona wants to play.  But he certainly isn’t showing his hand.  If the Red Sox want their best offensive lineup in the playoffs, it will entail Martinez behind the plate and Lowell at third base.  This lineup would place J.D. Drew batting eighth.  Scary thought for opposing pitchers.

Speaking of pitchers, the Sox rotation has rounded into form down the home stretch. Albeit the shellacking of Buchholz last night, the Boston top three are about as lethal as any top three one can remember. With Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz, opposing lineups will be facing young, hard-throwing power pitchers, with dynamic off-speed strike out pitches.  Oh, and Dice-K is dealing as well, quite an ace in the hole to have.

So on the playoff checklist the Sox have a scary lineup, 1-thru-8 (Gonzalez ain’t an easy out either), a dynamic starting rotation and what else?

Almost forget, a lights-out bullpen.  

Sure, I may be tooting the proverbial horn on the Red Sox bandwagon but why shouldn’t I be?  If the Sox starters make it past the sixth inning, the bullpen is set up for Billy Wagner in the seventh, Daniel Bard in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.  Sign, sealed, delivered I’m yours.

Pundits may be cautioning exuberant Sox fans who are willing to throw their life savings on the odds that the Fenway Idiots win their third World Series in six years.  But why shouldn’t we be excited about our chances?  We are a team built for the playoffs.  Great pitching, good hitting, and experience.  Those three ingredients should make us unbeatable, right?

Well, lest not forget about the five-straight losses and the potential of more losses in the next week as Francona rest the starters.  When the Sox head out to Los Angeles to face the Angels in a little over a week, Boston will have little margin for error and no room for losing.  

It’s October after all.              

Re-Shuffling The Deck, Pats Waive Burgess

New England Forced To Make Roster Moves

The New England Patriots waived newly acquired linebacker Prescott Burgess in order to sign free agent defensive lineman Terdell Sands.  Sands, who was with the Oakland Raiders in 2008, worked out for the Patriots last week and is being brought in due to the recent ankle injury to defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork.

The monstrous Sands will join Ty Warren, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace, and Jarvis Green as the other defensive linemen.  The Patriots do not lose a draft choice with the release of Burgess due to the condition that Burgess had to be active for a certain number of games to enforce that a draft pick switching hands.  

 

Blue Jays Spoil Another One…

Sox Lose A Close One With AL East Foe

The hunt for October continues for the Red Sox, well at least for one more day.  The Toronto Blue Jays played their role as spoilers on Tuesday night with a 8-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox who are one win or another Texas loss away from clinching a playoff berth.

Toronto blasted six homeruns off Boston pitching and a five-run eighth innings from the local nine wasn’t enough for a comeback as Clay Buchholz took the loss for Boston. Buchholz (7-4) allowed seven runs off of eight hits, five of which were homeruns, as the young right-hander loss his first outing in nine starts. Mike Lowell continues to rest an ailing hip after receiving a shot in his injured right hip, which will keep him out until at least Thursday.  

Tim Wakefield will look to clinch the Wildcard spot on Wednesday as he matches up against Roy Halladay.  It would be ironic, in possibly Wakefield’s last Red Sox start, if he clinched a playoff berth as the 43-year-old is the longest tenured Sox player on the roster and is facing off-season surgery which could force him to hang it up after the 2009 playoffs.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Patriots & Taylor Run Past The Falcons

New England Soars Past Dirty Birds(AP Photo)

For all the negative hoopla that surround the New England Patriots after their 16-9 loss to the New York Jets last weekend, the Pats answered their critics by silencing any skepticism with a 26-10 thumping of the Atlanta Falcons at Gillette Stadium. 

New England shut down a dynamic Atlanta offense led by Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez.  The Patriots held Ryan to 199 passing yards and Gonzalez to only one reception.  Tom Brady and the offense led a balanced offensive attack and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes as they won their 16th straight game against an NFC opponent.  Fred Taylor went over the century mark, rushing for 105 yards and a TD.  

New England (2-1) ran the ball 39 times and threw 43 passes in a well orchestrated offensive attack as the Pats finally looked to be clicking on almost all cylinders.  The red zone offense was a little shaky in the first half, settling for field goals on more than one occasion but the Patriots will look to string together two straight wins as they host Joe Flacco the Baltimore Ravens next weekend in Foxboro.  Wes Welker was once again inactive for Sunday’s game, for the second week in a row, with a knee injury.  Randy Moss made up for the lack of Welker’s presence with 10 catches and 116 yards receiving, his 61st career 100-yard game.    

AL East Crown Not In The Cards

Sox Fall To Yanks, Wildcard In Sight

The Boston Red Sox will not win the AL East division this year.  That’s because the New York Yankees have.  With a 4-2 loss to the Bronx Bombers on Sunday, the Sox lost any shot at winning the division title.  The Yankees notched their 100th victory of the season as New York swept Boston right out of the Bronx.

Even without a chance at the AL East crown, the Red Sox are not worried because the season of 2004 still comes to mind, bucking any notion that the Sox don’t have a chance at another ring due to the fact that they will be reduced to the Wildcard. Knock on wood.  Losing three straight and five of their last seven, the Sox look to a return to Fenway Park to help clinch the Wildcard as soon as possible in order to give rest to the starters in time for October. 

Paul Byrd pitched well in for the local nine, going 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.  However, Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera were too much for the Sox to handle as Pettite recorded his 14th victory of the season and Rivera registered his 44th save.  Victor Martinez got the day off for Boston and went 0-for-1 in a pinch hit appearance, ending his hitting streak at 25 games.

The Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians to end the regular season as Josh Beckett takes on the Blue Birds on Monday at Fenway Park.

Eagles Soarin’ After OT Victory

Wake Forest Fumble Hands BC The Win

Recently promoted to starting quarterback, Dave Shinskie backed up a recent vote of confidence from head coach Frank Spaziani as Shinskie threw for three scores leading the Boston College Eagles to a 27-24 victory over the Demon Decons of Wake Forest.  

Holding leads of ten or more at two separate times in the game, Boston College couldn’t quite put Wake Forest away as a 16-yard-pass from Riley Skinner tied the game at 24 a piece sending the game into overtime.  Luckily for the Eagles and the BC Super Fans at a packed Alumni Stadium, a 23-yard field goal from Steve Aponavicius and a fumble recovery from Wes Davis inside the ten-yard-line in overtime, gave the Eagles the victory.

Boston College (3-1) now leads the ACC Atlantic division as the Eagles host the Florida State Seminoles (2-2) next weekend in Chestnut Hill.  

Evil Empire Strikes Again

Sox Fall To CC Sabathia And Yanks Again 

The New York Yankees clinched a spot in the 2009 Major League Baseball playoffs on the heels of a Cy Young-like performance from ace CC Sabathia. Sabathia notched his 19th victory of the season as the Evil Empire took Saturday’s game from the Red Sox 3-0.  

Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and Mariano Rivera combined to two-hit the Red Sox lineup as Robinson Cano hit the game-winning home run in the sixth inning off of Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Dice-K allowed one earned run in seven innings, holding the Yankees to just six hits but giving up five walks.  Victor Martinez and Mike Lowell were the only two Sox’ to register hits on Saturday afternoon as the Yanks are the first team to clinch a spot in October.

The Yankees are only one win or one Red Sox loss away from clinching the AL East as the two teams square off on Sunday with Paul Byrd taking the hill against Andy Pettite.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)