Torey Lovullo (Winslow Townson/Associated Press)

Sunday’s 10-8 extra-inning loss to the Seattle Mariners was a perfect microcosm of the Red Sox’ 2015 season: plenty of hits and production by the lineup, complete and total failure from the pitching staff. In fact, the lineup went above and beyond the call of duty, erasing a 7-0 deficit to tie the game at 8 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Ultimately, asking the bullpen to hold Seattle scoreless into extras proved to be too tall a task, to virtually no one’s surprise. Here are several notes and observations from Sunday’s game:

  • Henry Owens was a complete enigma on Sunday. Owens gave up 7 runs over his first three innings of work, mostly on the strength of three home runs (one from Robinson Cano, two from Franklin Gutierrez). However, he was able to settle into the ballgame and ended up getting through six innings, allowing ten hits with the seven earned runs. It was a good sign that Owens was resilient enough to last moderately deep into the game and save his bullpen to some extent. Owens’s peripherals were very strong against Seattle, striking out ten batters in his six innings while only walking one Mariner. Home run luck fluctuates throughout the course of a season, so if Owens can keep his K/BB rate in a similar range as it was in Sunday’s contest, he will have much more success over the rest of the season. In summary, the initial stat line looks subpar, but Owens pitched better than it seems.

Continue reading Owens, Red Sox Bullpen Shaky in Extra-Innings Loss »

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New York Post/Bill Kostroun

Over the past week there have been multiple fights at Miami Dolphins training camp. The skirmishes between players have been widely publicized and embarrassing for the organization. In efforts not to be out done the New York Jets have thrown a counter punch of their own this week. Jets quarterback Geno Smith got his jaw broken when he was punched in the face Tuesday by teammate and linebacker IK Enemkpali. Enemkpali, a late round draft pick in 2014 out of Louisiana Tech, punched Smith during a locker dispute over a $600 dollar debt.

It all started earlier this year when Smith was to attend a football camp put on by Enemkpali and was unable to make it. When Smith wasn’t able to join his teammate, Enemkpali demanded to be reimbursed for a plane ticket allotted to Smith for the event. This is not the first disagreement between the two players over this matter, however the first one ended in both sides walking away, and this one ended with a haymaker to Smith’s jaw.
The young linebacker is no stranger to violence having been arrested in college after a bar fight, striking an undercover police officer and requiring pepper spray and a stun gun to take down the big fella. Unfortunately for Jets new head coach Todd Bowles the “smash mouth” style football left behind by ex-Jets head coach Rex Ryan was sadly misinterpreted by Enemkpali and instead used quite literally. Now Bowles will have to try and put the pieces (of bone) back together to get the Jets back on track. Continue reading The NY Jets Circus is Back! QB Punched Out, Locker Room in Shambles »

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Rusney Castillo (Elsa/Getty Images)

Since the Red Sox have been unofficially eliminated from 2015 playoff contention, they have admitted to using the balance of the season to evaluate the roster’s potential for 2016 and better inform the team’s offseason strategy. One of the most interesting roster auditions is in Right Field, where the team hopes Rusney Castillo can play well down the stretch and eliminate a potential hole in the 2016 outfield. Jackie Bradley Jr. is in a similar situation, however he faces a much more uphill battle since he is competing with Mookie Betts for playing time. Conversely, Castillo has a golden opportunity to cement a starting role on the 2016 Red Sox.

Continue reading Rusney Castillo’s Open Audition »

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Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers recently let go of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski had been with the Tigers for nearly 14 seasons.

Dombrowski built the Tigers from the ground up. In his first full season in Detroit, the Tigers had an American League worst record of 119 losses. However, he did not let this be a detriment to his overall plan. Dombrowski was known for not being afraid to pull the trigger on a big time move. Some examples include trading for Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer. Continue reading Dave Dombrowski Should Be on Red Sox Radar »

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2015-512x512_flowers_trey_headshot

When New England selected Trey Flowers in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, the early thinking was that he could be a pass rusher with power and contribute on passing downs. The 6’2, 266 pound defensive end is not as large as some of the prototypical pass rushers in the NFL, but he uses his length as well as anyone and makes plays with his strength.

The Patriots have quite a bit of depth in terms of pass rushers with Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Dominique Easley all ahead of Flowers on the depth chart. When asked what he felt his role could be in such a crowded group, Flowers said he was eager to contribute any way he could.

“I’m just coming out here and working hard. I want to be that guy who can get his reps when he can, who is attentive, who listens to all the coaches, and contribute wherever I need to be,” Flowers said.

One of the best ways for Flowers to get on the field early is to be as versatile as possible. He had opportunities both inside and outside along the defensive line in practice.  The rookie felt that being able to do both was important for him and for his teammates.

“It’s definitely a way that I can help the team the fastest that I can. Being able to go out to in and things like that…like I said, I’m just trying to establish a role and if that’s what the coach wants me to do, go inside sometimes and outside I’m all for it.”

Flowers is making the most of his opportunities in camp thus far. He has looked explosive in several drills and has been around the football in full team work. At this point, he has had most of his chances with backups and will likely see extensive time in the preseason as he tries to climb his way up the depth chart. Playing at Arkansas in the SEC, Flowers is no stranger to big games or strong competition. In one week he will have his first taste of NFL action as the Patriots host the Packers in the team’s first preseason game. Flowers is looking forward to the chance.

“I’m just looking forward to going against someone other than my teammates. Camp can be long, going against the same people each and every day, but I’m looking forward to going against someone else. I wouldn’t say there are any nerves, it’s all football. I’m just trying to go out there and do it as best I can.”

If Flowers can produce in the preseason as well as he as at times during camp, he will continue that climb up the depth chart.

 

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Henry Owens (USA Today Sports)

One of the few things Red Sox fans have left to enjoy about the 2015 season is the opportunity to glimpse the future of their team. They got such a look on Tuesday when Henry Owens made his major league debut ay Yankee Stadium. It was only one start, and it was against a team that had never faced him before, but Owens was very impressive against a solid Yankees lineup that had their way with Boston’s bullpen the second their starter left the game. In fact, Owens appears to have been just about the only thing keeping the Red Sox in Tuesday’s game, because the lineup managed just three runs and five hits over six innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, then were blanked by the New York bullpen. This is not to say that Owens was outdueled by Tanaka because that is not exactly the case, but he did a great job of giving his team the chance to win, which is exactly what Red Sox starters have so far been wholly unable to do in 2015.

Continue reading Henry Owens Solid In Red Sox Debut »

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Day three of Patriots training camp was the first day in pads for the team and there were also a few fresh faces on the practice field. Defensive tackle Dominique Easley practiced for the first time and running back LeGarrette Blount was on the field for the first time this camp, evidence that he passed his conditioning test sometime within the past day. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was wearing a red “no contact” jersey as he works his way back from offseason surgery.

The Patriots focused on special teams at several points. The kickoff team took the field at two separate points in practice and coach Bill Belichick concluded practice by having the field goal unit practice in full. Belichick also worked with punter Ryan Allen during practice.

Defensively, Logan Ryan and Jamie Collins stood out. Collins forced a fumble when he plastered Aaron Dobson during 11 on 11 drills, causing the offense to take a lap. Ryan had several impressive pass break ups in positional drills and 11 on 11 work. JaBaal Sheard also had some strong plays and rookie Trey Flowers looked explosive coming off the line during pass rushing drills. Malcolm Butler is looking like a player who is poised to start this season; he had several impressive plays and was a vocal member of the secondary. Rookie Malcom Brown also had a goal line stop during full team work.

Blount’s first practice was a good one as he showed his trademark physicality as well as good quickness and elusiveness. Dobson asserted himself on several occasions despite the fumble including a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone during drills and an impressive grab over rookie Darryl Roberts during 11 on 11s. As has occurred in the past, assistant coaches held large paddles up in front of the quarterbacks during drills to simulate long-armed defensive linemen with their hands up. Scott Chandler continues to show that he can be a great complement to Rob Gronkowski at tight end.

With it only being the third practice of camp and the first one in pads, much has yet to be determined for the 2015 Patriots. One thing that Patriots fans will be happy to hear is there appears to be no Super Bowl hangover in Foxboro. At this stage, health is the biggest thing and the Patriots are still working some key players back.

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