The Amazing Rich Hill

September 26, 2015 at 11:34am in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
Rich Hill (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Friday night’s 7-0 win over the Orioles featured a dominant performance from a Red Sox starting pitcher, the likes of which the team is unaccustomed to in 2015. Rich Hill was dealing at Fenway Park, tossing a two-hit shutout with a walk and ten strikeouts. Hill seemed nowhere near the Red Sox radar even a month ago, but has burst onto the scene in September with three dominant starts, providing the Red Sox with a short-term ace on the month. While that kind of production is unlikely to be sustained over the course of an entire season, Hill has shown a capability to be effective in the Major Leagues (again), and might be earning himself a chance to make the Red Sox in 2016.

Continue reading The Amazing Rich Hill »

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Pedro and the rest of Red Sox Nation celebrated David Ortiz's admission to the 500 HR club before Monday's game against Tampa Bay. (Boston Globe)

Unless you’re into breathlessly watching to see if the Boston Red Sox can avoid a third last place finish in four years, there isn’t much left worth tuning in for as the team plays out the string on this miserable 2015 season.

Thankfully, David Ortiz has yet again provided a reason to watch, even though it’s not for his late season and postseason heroics.

Big Papi’s pursuit of membership in the 500 home run club has been a welcome excuse to keep following the Red Sox this season, and last night’s celebration of his 500th home run was some quality television. Newly minted Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, and a brand new SUV on the field? Plus a montage of all 500 of Ortiz’s home runs? AND David Ortiz signature Bean boots (far better than the car, IMHO)? Sign me up.

In case you missed it, check out the video after the jump.

Continue reading Video: Red Sox Honor David Ortiz, Newest Member of the 500 HR Club »

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Tom Brady had another tremendous performance throwing for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns in Sunday's victory over the Bills. AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Just like every year the hype starts up around the other teams in the AFC East with all the geniuses at ESPN claiming this is the year the Patriots get dethroned. With Rex Ryan taking over as head coach of the Buffalo Bills the “experts” laid on the hype thick and often. Rex did what he always does and stuck his foot in his mouth all week (of course it’s a Rex foot joke). Bill did what he always does and took the time to prepare an outstanding game plan that featured the very guy Ryan claimed he didn’t know, Dion Lewis. If you don’t know by now that Belichick will use every single thing he can to his advantage then you haven’t been paying attention for the past 15 years. Yesterday’s game can be summed up simply with Belichick took one series on offense and defense to figure out exactly what Rex’s game plan was.

– What Tom Brady is doing at 38 years old is nothing short of remarkable. Of course, to everyone in New England who has been watching all this time this is just business as usual. Remember how great he was in 2007 when it wasn’t him who was personally targeted all offseason for an absolutely ridiculous investigation? If you don’t here’s a quick reminder. In his first two games in 2007 we threw for 576 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Through two games in 2015 he has 754 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage of %69.2. Brady has played with a chip on his shoulder his whole career and thanks to Roger Goodell and no one in the league understanding how air pressure works, he’s on pace for the best season of his incredible career. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 2: Patriots Remind Everyone Who Runs the AFC East; Defeat Bills 40-32 »

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1. Offense:

– Brady on pace for 800 passes

– Dobson best game – though could have scored on seam route but fell down

– why they go for it in 4th down – could have flipped game

– should have run some clock late

2. Defense:

– Fletcher has to go

– Chandler Jones – 3 September sacks

– Limited Mayo again

– Bend not break can be tough 29 points this year 4th quarter

3. Belichick:

– Blue wind breaker again

4. Deflategate:

– How those air pump sales going Buffalo – cheesy operation

– Patriots 2 fumbles – start the stories

– lawsuit coming – brand forever tarnished

5. Kraft sighting:

– 2nd quarter / 12 minutes left

6. Ryan’s:

– Sorry Buddy boys were 0-2

7. Buffalo:

– Fans were so loud could hardly hear the national radio team

– Buffalo overpaid Darius for one tackle

– No press complaint about Rex Ryan’s quick hand shake after game

– Team takes on coach’s persona – lot of lack of discipline-

– Bills fans now no voice, hung over and snow around the corner

8. Other NFL:

– Who will lead the Cowboys 20 to 20 now

– Peyton greatest Football pitchman since I guess OJ

9. Just a little bit outside:

Doesn’t Edelman enter the local players of warriors list with:

– Grogan

– O’Rielly

– Welker

– Cowens

– Micky Ward

– Campbell

10. Randonocity:

– Writers Guild on strike? Emmy show couldn’t have been worse

– I like the commercial where the wife calls husband at tailgate looking for part of fence

– Baby Doe was conceived at that disgrace Occupy Boston – should make mayor and police chief godfathers for facilitating the antithesis of community

– Refs got air time with over 250 yards of penalties turning the game into almost 4 hours

– Wonder what Patriots record is when underdog

– How the Patriots cheat this week – gronk used two hands, too hot for bills, they had Rex Pats had Bill

– The revenge tour shirts would be a big seller

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When the Patriots travel to Buffalo to face the Bills on Sunday, they will have to deal with a dominant and supremely talented defensive line that is now being coached by Rex Ryan. The Patriots, who could likely start two rookies along the offensive line again, will face a massive challenge protecting Tom Brady and opening up holes in the running game.

Marcell Dareus, the biggest star defensive lineman the Bills have, will be playing his first game of the season on Sunday after serving a one game suspension. He is dominant interior presence and was rewarded as such by the Bills with a massive contract extension last week. He can disrupt an entire offensive line on his own with his ability to stuff the run and push the pocket in the passing game.

The Bills spent big money on free age Mario Williams in 2012 and that investment has paid off handsomely. In three full seasons with the Bills, Williams has 38 sacks and five forced fumbles. He is a dominant outside player who needs to be accounted for on every snap and throughout his career has proved himself worthy of being selected number one overall in the 2006 draft.

Although Kyle Williams has no relation to Mario, his excellent inside play make them kin of offense wreckers. Coincidentally selected in the 2006 draft as well, Williams has been a very good defensive tackle his entire career. His best season was 2013 when he recorded 10.5 sacks and a forced fumble, which he followed up with 5.5 sacks and an interception in 2014. Although he has not always piled up high stat numbers, he is an invaluable space eating piece on the Bills defensive line.

Last but not least for the Bills on their defensive line is end Jerry Hughes. Entering his sixth season, Hughes has established himself as a premiere edge rusher in the NFL. His breakout year was 2013 in which he took the opposing quarterback down 10 times and followed that up with 9.5 sacks last season. His three forced fumbles in 2014 were huge for Buffalo and cemented Hughes as perhaps the most dangerous player in an already dangerous Bills’ front.

Given that the Bills have all four of these players in their primes, their defensive line has a legitimate chance to be the best in the NFL. The Patriots will have their hands full preventing the Bills defensive line from dictating the play of the game.

For the Patriots, they will be likely starting two rookies once again. Rookie center David Andrews played well in week one against Pittsburgh, but has never seen the quality of talent that will be across from him on Sunday. Tre Jackson was up and down in his debut last Thursday and will need to have a strong and complete outing in order to slow down the Bills. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer will have their hands full on the outside and they both won’t be getting help on every play. The Patriots will likely employ a quick passing game and try to catch the Bills moving too far upfield with draws and screens.

The Bills are going to have success up front. The Patriots job is to limit how much success the Bills have. If New England can get ahead early and limit the effectiveness of the Bills front four, they will have a good chance of ending the day with a win. However, if the Patriots are sluggish and the Bills defensive line gets off to a dominating start, it could be a long afternoon in Orchard Park.

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Joe Kelly (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

When the Red Sox decided to shut Joe Kelly down for the remainder of 2015, it ended a roller coaster year for the hard-throwing right-hander. This season has included a lot of failure, and a decent amount of success for Kelly, especially recently. Kelly’s past eight starts have been encouraging, and provide some hope for success going into 2016. Whether or not Kelly will still have a shot at a rotation spot is debatable, but there is success to build off of. The most important factor of Kelly’s recent stretch of success is consistency, which he has generally lacked for most of his Red Sox career. Since Kelly will not be taking the mound again in 2015, we can take a look at his season as a whole, and the results might be somewhat surprising. I like to hear bad news first so I’m going to start there.

The Bad

Basically the first four months of the 2015 season. Kelly’s first 17 starts left him with a 6.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and .284 Average Against. It essentially seemed like every time Kelly pitched, he ended up with as many earned runs allowed as innings pitched, almost always leaving his team trailing. While Kelly maintained decent strikeout (7.54 K/9) and walk (3.36 BB/9) rates, his run prevention was awful at best. Part of that problem was a near-complete lack of command from Kelly. That issue does not really show up in the walk rate, but it was apparent in watching Kelly pitch; he would miss with the first few pitches to fall behind in the count, then leave a pitch over the middle of the plate to get crushed. This kind of performance leads to a high pitch count, exits in the early innings, and a huge burden on the bullpen to finish the game. Kelly would probably like to forget the first two-thirds of the season as much as the Red Sox as a whole.

Continue reading The Good, The Bad, The Joe Kelly »

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Howard University had no business being on the same field as Boston College in this past Saturday’s contest, if it can be called that, at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill. The FCS opponent was completely over-matched by the size, speed, and talent of the Eagles. The final was Boston College 76-0 over Howard but the game was over almost before it started.

The Eagles started the game by driving Howard back inside their own 5-yard line with multiple sacks, forcing a punt that was returned back inside the five. The next play on the first BC possession resulted in a Tyler Rouse touchdown, his first of three in the game which all came in the first half. The next play from scrimmage for Howard was a pick six putting the Eagles up 14-0 with just a few seconds having ticked off the clock. Continue reading Boston College Rolls Over Howard, Welcomes #9 Florida State »

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