After getting drilled in the helmet by a R.A. Dickey knuckleball, Mike Napoli follows through on his monstrous 451-foot home run at Rogers Centre. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays started off reasonably well for Mike Napoli, with a first inning single that allowed him to eventually score on a double by Will Middlebrooks.

Then the game took a turn for the worse for the Red Sox first baseman, as he struck out swinging in the third, then was beaned by Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who uncorked a wild knuckler that struck Napoli in the brim of the helmet.

Ouch.

Napoli would ultimately get his revenge (though he would have to wait until extra innings to do so), when he unloaded on an 0-2 fastball from Toronto reliever Sergio Santos in the 11th inning for a three-run blast that gave the Red Sox a 9-4 lead at the time (good thing, too, as the Blue Jays came back to score three runs in the bottom of the frame). Oh, and did I mention his home run landed in the fifth deck at the Rogers Centre?

So that’s what 451 feet looks like…

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Xander Bogaerts striking out (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

There is no better literal representation for the headache of a season Xander Bogaerts has had for the Red Sox this year than the 89 mile-per-hour changeup the 21-year-old took off the head Friday night.

Bogaerts’ night at the plate said it all, really.  His first at-bat he crushed a Felix Hernandez pitch well over the Monster, but inches foul.  It was close enough for Manager John Farrell to challenge, but much like the Red Sox season as a whole, it didn’t go their way.  Bogaerts struck out later in the at-bat.

In his next time up, King Felix came up and in, beaming Bogaerts in the head and knocking his helmet off.  The one thing the rookie had going for him this season was his health, and now a trip to the 7 day concussion disabled list will change that. Continue reading Struggling Season Continues for Xander Bogaerts »

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Logan Mankins is heading to Tampa Bay for TE Tim Wright and a draft pick. (Getty Images)

Reports are coming in that the Patriots have agreed to send guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a draft pick.

This trade certainly comes as a shock to Patriot fans. Most around the team believed that this would be Mankins’ final season with the team, due to his massive contract and declining ability. However, I don’t think a trade or release this season was on anyone’s radar.

Continue reading Report: Patriots Trade Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay »

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Jon Lester (Ezra Shaw, Getty Images)

It’s been three weeks since the infamous Jon Lester trade that sent him and outfielder Jonny Gomes to Oakland for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and the Red Sox starting rotation really hasn’t been the same since.

Lester, the team’s best starter and home grown talent, was dealt at the trading deadline in an attempt to bolster the lineup for next year.  Reports are saying that the team is planning to make a hard run at Lester in the off-season, but doing so would likely go against their relatively new philosophy that refuses to sign a pitcher over the age of 30 to a long term contract.

Will the Red Sox sign Lester?

Assuming the team sticks to their business model, Jon Lester will probably be pitching for one of the 29 other teams in baseball, and the Red Sox will rebuild their rotation without Lester for the first time in seven years.  Should they decide to break their previously stated plan, the team would likely be paying over $20 a year for at least five years to keep Lester, who turns 31 in January. Continue reading Red Sox Have Decisions to Make and Money to Spend this Off-Season »

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Patriots running back Stevan Ridley must hold on to the football. (USA Today Sports)

The Patriots played their third preseason game in Foxboro against the Carolina Panthers Friday night, winning 30-7. The third preseason game is usually a dress-rehearsal, meaning the teams go through regular game-prep through the week, and both teams starters will likely play into the third quarter — and they did.

This is the one of the four preseason games where watching the starters will be more intriguing than the fringe players. Here is a list of what we were watching: Continue reading Patriots 30, Panthers 7: What we were watching for »

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Rusney Castillo (image: jaysjournal.com)

The Red Sox have reportedly signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a deal for 7 years, $72.5 million.. The Sox were well documented in being after the slugger, and after missing out on Jose Abreu, they won’t make the same mistake twice. Castillo might not be at the same level as Abreu or Yasiel Puig, but he’s an elite talent in the Cuban league and will bring a good combination of power and speed to the Major Leagues, not unlike trade deadline acquisition Yoenis Cespedes.

What does this mean for the team? For starters, it’s uncertain at this time when Castillo will arrive with the team. But things are looking bleak for Jackie Bradley Jr, who was optioned to Pawtucket last week. He was unable to produce at the Major League level and we might never see him in Fenway again. Continue reading Rusney Castillo signs with Red Sox for 7 years, $72.5 million »

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1. Cliff Notes:

* 3rd game of Exhibition series – beware of traffic and no injuries

* The Celtics are literally even with the Revolution for non-relevance

* The ALS fundraising inspired by Pete Frates will be approaching $40,000,000 compared to $1,000,000 last year for the same time period. I’m not kidding – this is approaching Medal of Freedom levels.

2. Red Sox – brooms out:

* Mike Trout 4-17 in the series and they still swept

* Uehara the last two years – 173 K to 16 BB – wow!

* Ortiz 11 for 18 over his last five games and he sits – dude you’re a DH

* On pace to win 71 games this year – ugh (shouldn’t everyone have bet under knowing that was a fluke last year) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: All-Star Starting Pitchers, Medal for Frates, Weekend »

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