Monday, May 31, 2010
While it's not exactly time for a rolling rally and a ring ceremony quite yet, I will admit that the Boston Red Sox are starting to play some baseball.
After a pathetic April, they wrapped up an 18-11 May with an 8-1 win over the Royals yesterday afternoon at Fenway.
Jon Lester (6-2) won his sixth straight start and David Ortiz continued his torrid stretch with his 10th home run of the month. It added up to only a split with Kansas City (21-30) but after losing the first two games, what can you do?
It shows how good Lester has become when he goes seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts and right away people say, well he didn't have his best stuff. Is it too early to start the Cy Young campaign? Not only is Lester the best left-handed pitcher in MLB, he might be the AL's best (Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabathia being his biggest competition).
And just as we were too quick to bury the Sox (29-23), we also shouldn't have been dancing on Ortiz's grave so fast. Back in his old No. 3 spot, he is crushing the ball. He had a sacrifice fly in the third to tie it and then a two-run bomb to center to put Boston up 4-1.
Mike Cameron (2 hits, 2 RBIs, 3 runs) and Marco Scutaro (3 hits, 2 RBIs) tacked on an RBI double and RBI single respectively in the sixth before Jason Varitek (2 hits, 2 runs) hit his seventh homer, a solo shot, in the eighth.
With the calendar turning to June tomorrow, Boston's schedule takes an easy turn with the AL West leading A's coming to town, followed by trips to Baltimore and Cleveland.
Nobody except pink hats and old people are really following the Sox yet, since the Celtics are in the NBA Finals, but once they're done, we might actually have a baseball team to devote way too much time to this season.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Most had already written off the 2010 Boston Red Sox but take a look at who's the hottest team in baseball: that very same team that looked done in early May.
Boston (27-21) just finished what has to be one of the toughest 13 game stretches for any team this season with a 9-4 mark. Very impressive indeed and they capped it off with a 11-3 destruction of the Tampa Bay Rays (32-15) last night at Tropicana Field.
After the Rays-MLB's best team-had swept the Sox in April at Fenway, Boston repaid it with a sweep (albeit three games instead of four) of their own.
Outstanding starting pitching has been the crux of the upswing but last night, Adrian Beltre was the story with a career-high 6 RBI game. He had a solo homer (in the 2nd), a three-run bomb (off one knee, in the 3rd) and a two-run triple in the ninth.
John Lackey (5-3) outpitched Matt Garza (5-3) with 6.1 innings of work. He worked around eight hits and two earned runs with four walks and a strikeout. Garza, normally a Sox killer, wasn't his usual self as he gave up six earned runs on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts in five innings.
Outside of the team's recent great play, the other revelation has been David Ortiz. The guy that was written off by everyone in the world except Terry Francona has delivered, slugging nine homers in May. He was moved back to the number 3 spot last night (with Victor Martinez nursing a big toe injury) and he smacked a two-run homer in the fifth.
After finally getting back to third place in the AL East, Boston needs to continue to play well and for now, the schedule eases up significantly with home games against the Royals and A's followed by trips to Baltimore and Cleveland.
For a team up 3-1, with another chance to close out and get to the NBA Finals (for the second time in three years), it's hard to imagine a more batshit crazy game than last night's Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.
When the dust had settled on a wacky and shady contest, the Magic had won 113-92 at Amway Arena, sending the game back to Boston for basically a must-win Game 6 tomorrow night at the TD Garden.
Things are complicated by the fact that Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels both sustained concussions last night, Rasheed Wallace fouled out but then left the bench with back spasms and Kendrick Perkins was tossed for two technical fouls. Since Perk has seven, he could have been suspended for Game 6 but the NBA wisely rescinded one of the two pathetic calls.
Got all that?
The refs were a joke and did nothing to dissuade anyone from saying that the NBA is rigged. Still, Orlando dominated this game physically and found their game (going 13-for-25 on 3-pointers).
I'm doing my best not to make a Bruins reference but the similarities are eerie. The team down 3-0 wins Game 4 in OT then in a Game 5 blowout. Yikes. And for a playoff schedule that is ridiculously long, it figures that the Celts have no time to rest as their bodies pile up on the sidelines.
For the second game in a row, Jameer Nelson (24 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Dwight Howard (21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks) were the two best players on the floor. Rashard Lewis even found a way to brave his stomach virus and was effective with 14 points and seven assists. J.J. Redick continued to outplay Vince Carter, adding 14 points.
Sheed actually led Boston with 21 points in just 18 minutes. Rajon Rondo (19 points, 6 assists) and Paul Pierce (18 points) but they shot a combined 12-for-29 from the field. Kevin Garnett (10 points) and Ray Allen (9 points) were non-factors.
This was a game that the Magic owned from start to finish; they led 31-27 after one quarter and 57-49 at the half. The C's were able to cut it to six a couple times in the second half but with their lack of healthy, in rhythm players, they were cooked.
Orlando owned all the numbers: shooting 52.2% to Boston's 43.1%. The Magic made six more threes and five more free throws with 17 more rebounds.
The fact that Shelden Williams and Brian Scalabrine could see minutes in the most important game of the season is horrifying but here we are. Big Baby said after the game that he'll play but after losing a tooth and stumbling around the court last night after being elbowed by Howard, he clearly was messed up.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Celtics pulled off a first in franchise history (which is really saying something) as they won the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals on the road.
Last night's 95-92 Game 2 win at Amway Arena in Orlando was further validation that the Celtics are back while conversely the Magic are frauds (just like LeBron and the Cavs).
Paul Pierce scored 28 points with five rebounds and five assists while Rajon Rondo notched 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 10 points and nine rebounds while Kendrick Perkins scored 10 points in limited time before fouling out. Glen Davis added eight points and six rebounds off the bench and Rasheed Wallace hit two important 3-pointers.
Dwight Howard had a breakout game (30 points, 8 rebounds) but his teammates didn't offer much help aside from Vince Carter (16 points) and J.J. Redick (16 points).
Boston led this one for over 45 minutes and it was Orlando that made the key mistakes down the stretch (Carter bricking two free throws, Redick hesitating to take a timeout and Jameer Nelson taking a stupid pull up three on a fastbreak that he missed).
Orlando led 28-27 after the first quarter but Boston was up 53-51 at the half. The Celts came out stronger in the third quarter (25-19) and for the second straight game, were able to withstand a desperate push by the Magic in the fourth (22-17).
Boston outshot Orlando 45.9% to 39.4%, which let them survive seven more made free throws by the Magic (29-22).
Game 3 is on Saturday night at the TD Garden and since I'll be in Las Vegas for a bachelor party, it'll be tough to avoid putting all the money I have on the C's to win the NBA title.
I thought last night was a must-win for Orlando so needless to say if they lose on Saturday, they'll probably get swept.
Baseball is the only sport that allows you to play the next day, giving you the quickest time to recover from epic defeats the previous day or night.
The symmetry of last night's Red Sox-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium was unmistakable since Boston (20-20) once again recovered from a 5-0 deficit but looked poised to blow it in the ninth with closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound.
Somehow though, he got out of a jam (1st and 3rd with 1 out) as the Sox held on 7-6 over the Yankees (25-16).
The game couldn't have started off worse since a nearly 1-hour rain delay and Josh Beckett's early ineffectiveness and supposed back injury put New York up 5-0 in the fifth.
Jose Miranda (RBI single) and Randy Winn (groundout) drove in runs in the second inning, Miranda hit a solo homer in the fourth and Robinson Cano's two-run double in the fifth spelled the end for Beckett, possibly for a long time.
J.D. Drew spurred the comeback with a solo shot in the sixth off C.C. Sabathia (7 innings, 1 earned run, 4 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts) and then the Sox tied it with four in the eighth off bobo Joba Chamberlain. Drew had an RBI double, Youk drove in two with a single and David Ortiz (who's been hot for the last week) nearly missed a home run but settled for a tying single.
Jeremy Hermida, Mr. Clutch this season for Boston, came through once again with two outs against some guy named Mariano Rivera (0-1). He drove in Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro with a double to left field over Randy Winn's head in left field. Marcus Thames-the hero the night before-dropped an easy popup from Scutaro when he tried to make a basket catch.
Papelbon allowed an RBI double to Cano but he was able to escape New York with his tenth save of the season. Josh Bard (1-1) got the win after facing just one hitter.
The Sox come back to Fenway for two games against the Minnesota Twins beginning tonight (weather permitting) with Clay Buchholz facing Scott Baker.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
After being down 5-0 in the first inning last night at Yankee Stadium, the Sox were poised to pull off their best win of the season.
Boston (19-20) led 9-7 going into the ninth but one-trick pony closer Jonathan Papelbon couldn't end it as he gave up the tying two-run bomb to A-Rod and a walk-off two-run homer to Marcus Thames.
The swing of emotions was dramatic as the best win turned into the worst loss , something that the Sox might not recover from this season that always looks fated.
In true Dice-K fashion, he gave up one run in the second but settled down enough to get into the fifth inning.
David Ortiz's solo homer cut it to 6-2 in the fifth and J.D. Drew made it 6-5 New York (25-13) with a three-run homer off Phil Hughes.
Marcus Thames showed Dice-K the door in the fifth with an RBI double, giving the Bombers a 7-5 lead. Matsuzaka gave up seven earned runs in 4.2 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
Hughes wasn't good either: five earned runs on six hits in five innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
The long ball was Boston's friend as Victor Martinez hit a solo shot in the sixth (7-6 NY) while Youkilis (two-run) and V-Mart went back to back in the eighth to give the Sox a 9-7 lead.
It was Papelbon's first blown save of the season but he fell to 1-3. He gave up four earned runs on three hits and threw 19 pitches so who knows if he's available tonight.
I'm not feeling good about Josh Beckett's chances tonight when he faces C.C. Sabathia. Beckett has been nothing short of pathetic this season and this does not look like the night to get untracked.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Remember when nobody gave the Celtics a chance heading into the 2010 playoffs? It seems like a long time ago since they knocked out the Cavs and yesterday beat Orlando 92-88 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amway Arena.
Boston played great for the first three quarters, leading by as much as 20 and although the Magic cut it to two points with eight seconds left, the Celts hit their free throws to ice it.
It was shockingly easy against a team that had won all eight of its playoff games and 14 overall. They hadn't lost since April 2 and it's clear that they didn't know how to react to getting their ass kicked.
Ray Allen led the Celts with 25 points and seven rebounds while Paul Pierce notched 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Rasheed Wallace scored 13 off the bench, Kevin Garnett had eight points and 11 rebounds, Rajon Rondo added eight points and eight assists while Tony Allen and Glen Davis had six points off the bench.
Vince Carter (23 points) and Jameer Nelson (20 points, 9 rebounds) were the only Magic players to show up. Dwight Howard (13 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks) still looks like a guy that can't solve the defense of Perk, Sheed and Big Baby.
Boston led 22-14 after the first quarter and 41-32 at the end of the ugly first half. The Celts were able to take the third quarter (33-26) which let them hang on in the fourth (30-18 for Orlando).
Orlando is the best 3-point shooting team in the NBA but they looked nothing like that team yesterday, shooting 5-for-22. They had seven more rebounds (45-38) but the C's did a much better job spreading it around (21-10 assists).
Is it too early to call Game 2 a must-win for the Magic? I don't think so; no doubt they'll play ten times better than yesterday but if the Celtics can pull out another road win, this series could be over quickly.
It's bad enough that the 2010 Boston Red Sox are no good (currently in fourth place in the AL East, baseball's best division), but they are supremely boring with no true superstars in either ability or personality.
After losing in 12 innings on Saturday night on a bases loaded walk, the Tigers (22-16) won their second straight over Boston (19-19), 6-1 yesterday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Not to get all curly-headed boyfriend on you but this next 10 games (13 if you counted Detroit) should tell us all we need to know about the Red Sox this season. They're all against good, playoff caliber opposition (Yankees, Twins, Phillies, Rays) and eight of the remaining 10 games are on the road. Oh and they don't have an off-day until Memorial Day. So yeah, this could get real ugly, real soon.
Armando Galarraga (1-0) had just been called up from Triple A before yesterday's game but he pitched well enough to get the win. He went 5.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
John Lackey (4-2) didn't have it for the Sox. He pitched seven innings, but that was because the depleted bullpen needed a break after the late-night work the day before. He allowed five earned runs on nine hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Detroit scored twice in the second on an infield single by Danny Worth (making his MLB debut) and a bases loaded walk by Johnny Damon (2 hits, 2 walks, run, RBI), who will still be effective for another ten years.
Boston's only run was courtesy of Jeremy Hermida's RBI double in the third which scored Jonathan Van Every. Sadly, that was not a misprint and this is May, not a Grapefruit League game in March in front of a bunch of blue-hairs.
The Tigers got another run in the third and two more in the fourth on Ramon Santiago's two-run homer.
The Sox have two games in the Bronx beginning tonight with Dice-K vs. Phil Hughes. Both have pitched well lately but I'm not feeling good about Dice's chances in that launching pad.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
If you're going to make history (in the worst way possible), you might as well do it in a way that'll never be repeated. Am I right Bruins fans?
The B's became just the fourth team in professional sports to lose a series after being up 3-0, falling 4-3 to the Flyers last night in Game 7 at the TD Garden.
The final punch to the balls of the Hub of Hockey is the fact that Boston was up 3-0 last night but apparently a three-goal lead, at home in a do-or-die game wasn't enough.
Ugh. It was a dream start as Michael Ryder (from Mark Recchi, Zdeno Chara) and Milan Lucic (Dennis Wideman, Johnny Boychuk) gave the B's a 2-0 lead at 9:02 of the first period with a pair of power play goals.
Looch made it 3-0 and you couldn't help but think maybe they had it in the bag. We should have known better, James van Riemsdyk cut it to 3-1 before the first period ended. A bad omen of things to come.
Scott Hartnell (Ville Leino, Danny Briere) and Briere (Hartnell) tied it up in the second period and we had a brand new game.
After getting dominated in the third period, the Bruins woke up somewhat in the third period. Lucic hit the post on a shot that would have put his team ahead. Then a fateful too many men on the ice penalty cost the B's.
Gagne (Mike Richards, Leino) scored the game-winner on the power play with 7:08 left. Neither goalie played particularly well but Michael Leighton (22 saves) got the better of Tuukka Rask (22 saves) after he filled in for Brian Boucher.
Philly goes on to the Eastern Conference Finals where they host the Montreal Canadiens beginning tomorrow night. It was all set up perfectly for the Bruins and they stumbled and fell, like always. It's a bitter defeat for a franchise and fan base that deserves better.
It's going to be a long summer.
Friday, May 14, 2010
It is not hyperbole to say that last night changed the landscape of the NBA for the next decade.
The Celtics finished off LeBron James and the Cavs in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, 94-85 at the TD Garden. Boston won the series 4-2 and moves on to face Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals beginning Sunday afternoon.
They also ensured that LeBron will likely leave Cleveland when he becomes a free agent on July 1, which means their franchise will go straight down the tube. The Cavs had a press conference today to say that they'll stick with head coach Mike Brown but as bad as he is, what does it matter if LeBron is gone?
Rajon Rondo-the unofficial MVP of the series-had one more fine performance with 21 points, 12 assists, five steals and three rebounds.
The other revelation in the shockingly easy series win was Kevin Garnett. He saved his best game for last night with 22 points and 13 rebounds. He started the game 5-for-5 and also had a dunk as nobody on Cleveland could matchup with him.
For his final game in a Cavs uniform, LeBron had a triple-double: 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists. If it's possible to have a quiet triple-double this was it; he also had nine turnovers.
Mo Williams finished with 22 points but the Celts held him to two points in the second half. Shaq scored 11 but he was Cleveland's only other player in double figures.
Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace had 13 points while Tony Allen scored 10, including a vicious dunk over Antawn Jamison.
The Magic haven't lost a playoff game yet, after sweeping the Bobcats and the Hawks. Overall, they've won 14 games in a row. Last season, Boston was up 3-2 on them in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season before choking and lost in seven games without Garnett.
It has all the makings of a great series and at this point, we're playing with house money and anything can happen. Nobody expected them to be here but if they can beat Orlando-the best team in the NBA-they're going to win it all.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This would happen to the Bruins, that's all I can think after last night's utterly predictable 2-1 Game 6 loss to the Flyers at the Wachoiva Center.
Tomorrow night at the TD Garden, the B's will seek to avoid becoming the fourth team in pro sports to ever give up a 3-0 lead in the playoffs.
For the second straight game, Philly came out fast and scored early as Mike Richards flipped one past Tuukka Rask (25 saves) at 6:58 in the first period. Simon Gagne and Dan Carcillo assisted.
Late in the first period and for most of the second period, Boston carried the play and started to get plenty of possession in the Flyers' zone. They put 31 shots on Michael Leighton but in his first NHL playoff start, he didn't have to do too much.
When Danny Briere put a power play goal off Rask and into the net at 16:20, you just knew this series was going the distance. Richards and Claude Giroux assisted on the goal that Rask should have stopped, but you can't fault him since he made some top-notch saves to keep the Bruins in it.
Ville Leino got a gift of a penalty shot in the third period but Rask stuffed him, a nice play that seemed mostly meaningless at the time.
With one minute left in the game and Rask pulled, Milan Lucic tied it thanks to some grunt work around Philly's net. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman assisted on the goal that would have been awesome if it came oh I don't know, in any of the earlier 59 scoreless minutes for Boston.
So here we are: there's not much to say. Win tomorrow night and the Bruins will make their first Eastern Conference Finals since 1992 and believe it or not, they'll have home ice since the Canadians took care of the Penguins in Game 7 last night.
Lose and they'll be the laughingstock of sports for a long, long time. No pressure boys.
As my best friend Joe recently pointed out, is there a more underrated Boston athlete of the last decade than Tim Wakefield?
With apologies to the late great Rodney Dangerfield, the knuckleballer gets no respect since his role changes everyday but he always gives you innings and usually pretty decent starts. You know in twenty years, he'll still be hanging around with the Sox and still complaining about his switch to the bullpen.
With Josh Beckett out nursing a bad back and a bruised ego-thanks to his piss-poor performance thus far-Wake took the ball yesterday and like usual he pitched well but Boston's offense didn't help him out in the slightest.
Toronto (20-16) avoided the sweep at Fenway Park with a 3-2 win over the Sox (18-17), who had been 5-0 against their Canadian punching bags this season.
Wakefield (0-2) went seven innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Travis Snider played the role of Albert Pujols for one day as the provided all the runs for the Jays. He had an RBI double in the fifth and the big blow, a two-run bomb in the seventh.
Shawn Marcum (2-1) was great, going seven scoreless innings with only two hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
It looked like the Sox would go down quietly but they rallied for two in the ninth against Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg. J.D. Drew had an RBI double and Adrian Beltre drove in Drew with an RBI single.
Home plate umpire Dale Scott severely hampered the rally as he called David Ortiz (2 hits) out on a pitch that was clearly outside the strike zone. Terry Francona argued and then when he came back out on a bogus check swing strike on Beltre he was tossed. I'm not one to harp on referees or umpires but Scott was a complete joke yesterday.
Boston goes to Detroit this weekend then New York for two with the Yankees. This begins a particularly difficult stretch that will tell us if the Red Sox will be anywhere close to good this season.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see that even in the NBA-the ultimate individual pro sport-a well balanced team will usually beat a squad dominated by one player.
At this point LeBron James is the most talented player in the NBA but who wouldn't rather have Kobe Bryant? I hate him but I have to admit that I fear Kobe more than any other player. He's a winner and he always seems to step up in the clutch moments.
Right now, LeBron is a highlight machine in the regular season but he's quickly becoming A-Rod (pre 2009 playoffs) when it counts.
In the pivotal Game 5 last night at Quicken Loans Arena, Boston came in and ran the show from start to finish to the tune of a 120-88 win.
The Celts can end it tomorrow night back in Boston; if not, they'll be back in Cleveland on Sunday.
LeBron had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds but that's misleading since he was 3 of 14 from the floor. His first field goal was 30 minutes into the game on a breakaway dunk. It was one of the biggest no-show performances I can remember in recent sports history.
And who has been more exposed in this series than the Cavs' supporting cast? Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams were both nowhere to be found as they each had nine points. Shaq (21 points) and Anthony Parker (14 points) were the only players that showed up for Cleveland which is all you need to know.
In its best effort of the season, Boston's starting five all scored in double figures (despite a scoreless first half by Rajon Rondo) and Glen Davis was relentless with 15 points off the bench.
Ray Allen led Boston with a game-high 25 points including six 3-pointers. Paul Pierce finally had a good game (21 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists), Rondo had 16 points and seven assists while Kendrick Perkins added 10 points and seven boards.
It was a tight first quarter with the Cavs coming out of it up 23-20 but after that the Celtics took over. A 16-0 run in the second quarter led to a 50-44 halftime lead.
Allen hit consecutive 3-pointers out of the break and the rout was on from there. Boston outscored Cleveland 30-19 in the third and 40-25 in the fourth. They were up by as many as 32 in what turned out to be the worst home playoff loss in Cavalier history.
It was hard to pick a favorite moment since there were so many choices: LeBron continually taking jumpers even though he couldn't buy a shot, the despondent Cavs fans, Mike Brown looking like a guy on Death Row or those same fans leaving like the place was on fire.
After the game KG kept stressing that they can't return to Cleveland and I agree that they need to get it done at home. No stinkers like Game 3, it's time to send LeBron and his team of bozos home for the summer.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is one of the great mysteries in sports. He has the ability to completely baffle hitters but he's one of the most frustrating athletes because he rarely lives up to any sort of expectations.
Like a friend or relative that's a screwup, I guess we have to go start by start with the Diceman and not dwell on past success or his recent failures. Just living in the moment.
So there he was last night at Fenway Park, toeing the rubber and unleashing a gem against the Blue Jays. Matsuzaka (2-1) went seven innings, giving up one earned run on three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.
Boston (18-16) won 6-1 over the Blue Jays (19-16), their fifth straight win vs. Toronto this season.
The Red Sox' scrappy offense (ie. no power) continued to scratch runs out of not much substance. They got two runs in the first off a groundout and sacrifice fly.
Jason Varitek continued to swing a hot bat, crushing a solo homer in the second inning. It's his sixth home run of the season, haha he's batting .342
Boston added a run in the fourth on Darnell McDonald's RBI double and two in the fifth on a wild pitch and fielder's choice.
Toronto finally solved Dice-K in the sixth with an RBI double by Fred Lewis but that's all they get on the night.
The Sox go for the sweep with an afternoon matinee pitting Tim Wakefield against Shawn Marcum.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The 2010 Boston Red Sox-the most boring team in recent Sox history-continues to play its unique version of .500 baseball.
Boston (17-16) won their second straight at Fenway last night, 7-6 over the equally average and dull Blue Jays (19-15), 7-6.
This was an ugly game as symbolized by winning pitcher John Lackey's (4-1) line: six innings, eight hits, six earned runs, three walks, six strikeouts.
Brandon Morrow had a horrorshow of a start for Toronto: 1.2 innings, three hits, six earned runs, six walks, four strikeouts. Is it possible that he's related to Dice-K with that nibbling junk?
The Sox went up 2-0 in the first inning on Victor Martinez's two-run single.
Toronto quickly responded with four runs in the top of the second. John Buck had an RBI double, Travis Snider had an RBI single and Fred Lewis had an RBI single.
Boston scored four in the bottom of the second with a Little League special. A bases loaded walk by Dustin Pedroia, a fielder's choice by Martinez that scored two (with an error) and an RBI single by Big Pop-Up.
Pedroia added to the laser show of singles with an RBI single in the third.
The Jays cut it to 7-6 with a two-run bomb by Jose Bautista but Hideki Okajima (7th), Daniel Bard (8th) and Jonathan Papelbon (9th, 9th save) settled things down with three scoreless and hitless innings of work.
Dice-K faces Dana Eveland tonight meaning the bullpens should be getting warmed up right about now. Are you ready for another four hour snoozefest? I thought so.
It's not easy being a Boston Bruins fan and this postseason just confirms that.
After looking like a sure thing a week ago (up 3-0 on the Flyers) to make their first Eastern Conference Final since 1992, Boston is now reeling after Philly embarrassed them 4-0 in Game 5 last night at the TD Garden.
Boston is up 3-2 with Game 6 shifting to the Wachovia Center tomorrow night and the real possibility of Game 7 back at the Garden on Friday night. In pro sports, there's only been three teams that have comeback from down 3-0 in the playoffs: the Maple Leafs in 1942, Islanders in 1945 and the Red Sox in 2004.
It's hard not to panic if you're a Bruins fan since this is a franchise that has continually found ways to bury itself in the past few decades. Just when it looked like they were dawning on a new era of winning hockey this postseason, they go and do this. Ugh.
Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead 6:41 into the first period as Ville Leino scored from Chris Pronger and Matt Carle.
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher (9 saves) left in the second period with what looked like a serious knee injury. His replacement, Michael Leighton (14 saves), hadn't played since March 18 but you wouldn't know it since the B's made him look like Patrick Roy in his prime.
Scott Hartnell (Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen) and Simon Gagne (Mike Richards, Leino) on the power play made it 3-0 in the second period, ensuring this series would be extended yet again.
Gagne added a second goal in the third period, unassisted, after Dennis Wideman broke his stick in the offensive zone which led to a breakaway for Gagne.
The Bruins picked an inopportune time to have their worst game of the season, and that's saying a lot for a team that lost 10 in a row during a pedestrian regular season.
None of the goals were really Tuukka Rask's (27 saves) fault but he has given up nine goals in the past two games after being stellar through the first nine games of the playoffs.
Above all, the B's couldn't get out of their own way. They gave Philly nine power plays, a product of a team that was chasing the Flyers around the ice rather than the other way around.
Tomorrow night could go a million different ways and at this point, I have no idea what to expect from this team that looked so good just three games ago.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Ask any non Pink Hat Red Sox fan and they'll tell you our best starting pitcher the last few seasons has been Jon Lester, not Josh Beckett.
That gap continues to grow with Jon Lackey probably Boston's second best pitcher. Lester (3-2) salvaged a bad series with the Yankees (21-9) by helping the Sox (16-16) win 9-3 last night at Fenway. New York won the first two in blowout fashion.
Once Lester gets out of April, he's a beast and he's followed that routine this season. He went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The only runs the Yankees got off Lester were from solo home runs by Nick Swisher and A-Rod in the fourth inning.
A.J. Burnett (4-1) continued his awful track record at Fenway, getting lit up for nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
The big inning was the third for the Red Sox as they batted around and plated five runs. J.D. Drew (sacrifice fly), David Ortiz (RBI double), Adrian Beltre (2 run double) and Jeremy Hermida (RBI single) kept the inning alive with productive at bats.
Hermida added a two-run homer in the fifth.
Toronto comes to town tonight for three games. The Blue Jays are playing well, up 2.5 games on the Sox but the last time they played the Sox (a few weekends back at the Rogers Centre), they got swept by Boston. Brandon Morrow goes against Lackey.
Remember that time Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo outplayed the two-time MVP LeBron James, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals?
This is most definitely real life and that was Rondo getting the MVP chants in the final moments of yesterday's season saving 97-87 win at the TD Garden in Game 4. The series is now tied at two with the pivotal Game 5 tomorrow night in Cleveland.
It might be ahead of schedule but Rondo is the franchise right now, not the Big Three. He had 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists yesterday, probably the best game of his four-year career which has quickly found the path to superstardom.
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen added 18 points, which offset another ice cold game by Paul Pierce (9 points). Tony Allen also provided a huge lift off the bench with 15 points. The two biggest highlights in a game full of incredible plays was Rondo and Tony Allen finding each other for layups off behind the back feeds.
LeBron James (22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 assists) couldn't do it all by himself as Cleveland's supporting cast looks more shaky with each passing game. Shaq was the second leading scorer with 17 points, which is all you need to know.
Antawn Jamison had 14 points but he's getting manhandled by KG down low, it's clear that he's a finesse player not built for this rough and tumble series. And Mo Williams scored 13 points but Rondo is literally running circles around him.
This was a game Boston had to have and their defense delivered. They held the Cavs to 40.3% from the floor and a pathetic 4 for 19 on 3-pointers. The Celts won all the hustle points with a 47-33 rebounding advantage, four more steals (10-6) and three more blocks (8-5).
Thanks to Rondo's brilliance, the C's outscored Cleveland 23-7 on fastbreak points and 50-40 in the paint.
It'll take a similarly inspired performance to take Game 5. Whoever wins that will likely win the series. All the pressure is back on the Cavs so the Celtics are in a great spot to pull off the upset.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
It would have been nice to get the Flyers out of the way ASAP but close-out games don't seem to be the Bruins' speciality this postseason. After no-showing in Game 5 against Buffalo in the last round, Boston gave a much better effort last night in Philly for Game 4 but still came up short.
The Flyers won 5-4 in overtime on Simon Gagne's goal at 14:40. Boston scored the first goal but Philly rattled off three straight. The B's tied it at 3 but it looked like the Flyers won it at 4-3. However, Boston tied it one more time, with 32 seconds left in the third period.
Tuukka Rask had his worst game of the playoffs and not surprisingly it ended up in a loss. He had 29 saves but too often he was flying out of his crease, like Tim Thomas on Red Bull.
Brian Boucher was still his unimpressive self but he made 33 saves and got the win so I'll give him his due.
What else can you say about Mark Recchi? They guy continues to play out of his mind. He gave the B's a 1-0 lead 15:37 as he scored a typical garbageman goal. Patrice Bergeron's shot was stopped by Boucher but it bounced right in front and Recchi roofed it over the Rhode Island native. Daniel Paille also assisted on the goal.
Finishing up periods is another weakness of the Bruins and Danny Briere tied it with 54 seconds left in the first period. Claude Giroux and Matt Carle assisted.
Chris Pronger and Giroux scored within 8:35 of the second period. Rask was probably one more goal away from being pulled but Boston recovered with a fluke of a goal by Michael Ryder. His weak shot went wide and came off the endboards and ricocheted off Boucher's pads in. It was like a bad Pee-Wee goal but who cares? Matt Hunwick and Blake Wheeler had the assists.
Milan Lucic tied it 3:49 into the third on the power play with a perfect tip of Dennis Wideman's shot. Marc Savard had his second point of the series with a helper.
Ville Leino put Philly up 5-4 with 5:40 left from Pronger and Briere but once again Recchi was Mr. Clutch. Taking a perfect pass from Bergeron, he put it over Boucher from a sharp angle.
Game 5 is Monday night in Boston. Time to end it and get to the Bruins' first Eastern Conference Final since 1992.
Is there a bigger fraud in sports these days than LeBron James? I see you A-Rod but since you won the World Series last fall you proved many people (myself included) wrong.
Nobody gets a bigger free pass than LeBron, exhibit A would be his "hurt" elbow. If Cleveland falls short and doesn't win the championship this season, he can just say he's hurt. And if they do win, he'll look like a hero. Oh and the crazy part, his elbow is fine.
LeBron proved that in about one quarter last night in Cleveland's 124-95 win over the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the TD Garden. This completely wiped out the good feelings from Boston's Game 2 win.
He scored 21 of his game-high 38 points in the first quarter and the Cavs completely embarrassed Boston, handing them the worst playoff loss in franchise history. James also had eight rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and he played 39 minutes. So yeah, get a new storyline.
All five Cavaliers starters were in double figures: Antawn Jamison (20 points, 12 rebounds), Shaq (12 points), Mo Williams (12 points) and Anthony Parker (11 points). Old friend Delonte West added 14 points.
Kevin Garnett had his third straight good game with 19 points. Rajon Rondo notched 18 points and eight assists while Paul Pierce scored 11. In extended garbage time, Nate Robinson had 11 points and Tony Allen scored 10.
The C's will have to put this one behind them quickly since their most important game of the season (Game 4) is on Sunday afternoon: win and they're right back in the series, lose and it'll probably be over in five games, it's just that simple.
Don't expect anyone to have seen it since the Bruins and Celtics were in playoff games at the same exact time, but hey look it's the Red Sox and the Yankees.
For the 10 hopeless bastards that chose to watch baseball over the much more important basketball and hockey games, Sox (14-15) starter Josh Beckett did his best to make sure you didn't enjoy anything at Fenway Park last night if you were a Red Sox fan.
The Yankees (20-8) won 10-3, thanks to a six-run sixth inning. In 5.1 innings, Beckett gave up nine earned runs on nine hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
He started out with seven strikeouts in the first three innings but typical of any Beckett hot start like that, especially against New York, he completely fell apart as soon as you noticed how much he was dealing in the first few innings.
Phil Hughes (4-0) has finally found his form after a couple forgettable years bouncing between the Yankees' rotation and bullpen. In seven innings, he gave up two earned runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Nick Swisher had a three-run bomb in the fourth for New York and the six runs in the sixth were all plated by walks, hit by pitches, a sacrifice fly and singles.
C.C. Sabathia opposes Clay Buchholz this afternoon.
Friday, May 7, 2010
The Sox (15-14) finished off a four-game sweep of the Angels (12-18) with a 11-6 comeback win last night at Fenway Park.
Dice-K (1-1) gave up four runs in the first innings and threw 39 pitches but like only he can, he stuck around for 5.1 innings and ended up getting his first win of the season. He allowed five earned runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Scott Kazmir, formerly a great pitcher on the Rays when they're were terrible, has become a scrub. In 4.1 innings, Kaz (2-2) allowed seven earned runs on six hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
Victor Martinez (remember him?) led the Sox offense with four RBIs on a two-run homer and a two-run double.
The Yankees come to Fenway for three starting tonight but sadly nobody will be watching tonight as they go up against Celtics-Cavs Game 3 and Bruins-Flyers Game 4. Josh Beckett opposes Phil Hughes.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
What has happened to the Los Angeles Angels? The darlings of the AL West look awful, they lost their third straight (and sixth overall) to the Boston Red Sox last night 3-1 at Fenway Park.
Former Angels pitcher John Lackey faced his old mates and he clearly paid attention on his off-days, he wasn't just dipping and checking out women in the stands.
He went seven innings, allowing one run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts. It was his fifth quality start in six starts this season and he improved to 3-1.
It's a little early to hand him the AL comeback player of the year award but Sox (14-14) third baseman Adrian Beltre is starting to catch fire at the plate while also settling down defensively and flashing the leather like the Gold Glover he's been.
Beltre gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the second inning with an RBI single which drove in J.D. Drew. Beltre added a solo bomb (424 feet) in the eighth off Angels (12-17) closer Brian Fuentes, who was getting some work.
Joel Pineiro (2-4), who was on the Red Sox for a hot second a few seasons ago, pitched well in defeat. He gave up two earned runs in six innings on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
His biggest mistake was a meatball that ice cold David Ortiz hit over the Monster in the fourth for a solo home run. Ortiz also had a single and a walk, frontpage news for him since he's in the biggest slump of his life.
LA only had two hits in the game and one was a solo homer by third baseman Brandon Wood in the fifth.
Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and Jonathan Papelbon had a clean ninth for his eighth save (in eight chances).
The Sox look for the four-game sweep tonight as Dice-K takes the mound vs. Scott Kazmir. Bring a pillow if you're going to the game, it could take six hours.
This postseason run just gets better and better as the Boston Bruins pick up steam with each game.
They won Game 3 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia last night, 4-1, to take a 3-0 series lead.
Game 4 is tomorrow night; only two teams in NHL history have comeback from a 3-0 deficit and the B's are unbeaten with that lead.
So yeah, last night was big. The great news was tempered with the fact that Boston center David Krejci dislocated his right wrist early in the first period on a hit from Mike Richards and he'll be out for the rest of the playoffs. Not good at all.
For now, let's focus on the victory and pray that somehow the Canadiens beat the Penguins. With Krejci, Pittsburgh would still beat Boston. Without him, it's nearly impossible but that's a worry for a different day.
Philly got it's first lead of the series 2:32 into the game when Arron Asham took a feed from Claude Giroux and deposited it past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (34 saves). Blair Betts also assisted.
Only 1:39 later, Boston tied it up when Blake Wheeler perfectly tipped a Matt Hunwick shot from the point. Marc Savard also assisted.
The B's took the Flyers fans out of it just 1:34 later as Miroslav Satan scored from Milan Lucic and Krejci, who started the play before he got blasted by Richards. Satan waited out Flyers goalie Brian Boucher (16 saves) and put a backhander by him for a stunning 2-1 lead.
After a scoreless second period, Mark Recchi ended it with a power-play goal 2:30 into the third period. Zdeno Chara's slap shot was blocked by Boucher but it bounced to Wheeler in front. It ricocheted off Wheeler's chest right to Recchi, who was on the doorstep. You know Recchi has an idea what to do from there as he poked it in. Wheeler had the other assist as he subbed for Krejci on the power-play.
Philadelphia did everything they could to get back into it (and the series) but they couldn't solve Rask or the Bruins' defense which blocked plenty of shots. Patrice Bergeron added an empty-netter with 1:52 left.
I can confidently say that even the B's can't screw this up with a 3-0 lead. It'll be over either tomorrow night in Philly or back home at the TD Garden on Monday. There's no way that Boucher and the Flyers can beat Boston more than twice in a row, let alone four times.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
David Ortiz is officially done, but you already knew that. The Boston Red Sox look great against bad teams (except for the Orioles), but you also knew that.
The Sox (13-14) beat the Angels (12-16) last night at Fenway Park, 5-1 thanks to Jon Lester's great start and Jeremy Hermida's clutch three-run double.
Ortiz? Oh he just went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and he grounded into two double plays. The second was a rare 4-2-3 DP in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, no outs and the score tied 1-1.
Luckily, Adrian Beltre kept the inning alive with a walk which set the stage for Hermida's Wall scraping double that Juan Rivera should have caught.
Lester (2-2) was a horse, throwing eight innings of one run ball, allowing five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 120 pitches and made manager Terry Francona look smart for keeping in their in the eighth when he ran into some trouble. Dustin Pedroia squelched that by getting a double play to end Lester's night and the inning.
Marco Scutaro continued to be a pleasant surprise at the top of the lineup with Jacoby Ellsbury out. He had three hits and scored the first run. He led off the bottom of the first with a double and eventually scored on Victor Martinez's groundout.
Erick Aybar tied it in the fourth when he scored on Kendry Morales' groundout.
Ervin Santana deserved better for Los Angeles. The up and down righty went seven innings, giving up one run on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
John Lackey faces his old team for the first time tonight as the Red Sox try to make it three in a row over the uncharacteristically bad Angels. LA counters with former Sox pitcher Joel Pineiro.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Last night's Red Sox game vs. the Angels had to have been Boston's lowest rated game in years.
Not only did they go up against a Bruins playoff game and a Celtics playoff game but the Sox have gotten off to a terrible start for what looks to be a very forgettable season.
I won't bore you with all the tedious details but Boston (12-14) beat Los Angeles (12-15) 17-8 at Fenway, snapping a three-game losing streak.
The Sox pounded out 20 hits, led by Mike Lowell (4 for 4, 4 RBIS), J.D. Drew (4 hits, 3 RBIs, 2 runs), Adrian Beltre (3 RBIs, 3 runs. 2 hits), Kevin Youkilis (3 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks), Bill Hall (2 hits, 2 RBIs) and Dustin Pedroia (3 RBIs).
Pedroia cranked a three-run homer, Youk had a solo shot while Hall and Beltre both collected their first home runs for Boston with two run bombs.
Clay Buchholz (3-2) didn't pitch well (5.2 innings, 4 earned runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts) but that's much more than can be said for LA's Joe Saunders (1-5), who gave up seven earned runs in four innings or relievers Matt Palmer and Brian Stokes who combined to give up ten runs in three innings of work.
With the Bruins and Celtics off tonight, the spotlight will fall back onto the Red Sox. We'll see what they can do as Jon Lester faces Ervin Santana.
LeBron James celebrated his second straight MVP trophy last night at his home court, Quicken Loans Arena, by laying a stinker in front of the hapless Cleveland fans.
The Boston Celtics blew out the Cavs, 104-86 in Game 2 to tie the Eastern Conference Semifinals series at 1. Game 3 isn't until Friday night back at TD Garden, giving King James and his teammates plenty of time to wonder what happened as they lost the all-important home court.
Six Celtics scored in double figures, led by Rajon Rondo who tied a team playoff record (Bob Cousy) with 19 assists and 13 points. Rasheed Wallace also had his best game in a Celtics uniform, dropping 17 points on a smoking 7 of 8 shooting. Ray Allen had 22 points, Kevin Garnett added his second straight double double (18 points, 10 rebounds), Paul Pierce notched 14 points and Kendrick Perkins had 10 points and nine rebounds.
LeBron had 24 points and seven rebounds but he didn't do anything until it was too late. Boston led by as much as 23 points in the third quarter before Cleveland cut it to 10 (92-82) in the fourth quarter. Only two other Cavs scored in double figures: Antawn Jamison (16 points) and J.J. Hickson (13 points).
The Celts led 26-22 after the first quarter and 52-48 at the half. They broke it wide open with an awesome third quarter (31-12) and were able to withstand's Cleveland's inevitable fourth quarter run (26-21).
Boston shot 51.3% to Cleveland's icy 40.0%. They made five more 3-pointers (9-4), outrebounded the rugged Cavs (43-32) and spread it around much better (30-17 assists).
Nobody thought the Celts had a chance in this series but they've put themselves in great position to at least make this go six or seven games. LeBron and the Cavaliers are a bunch of frontrunners, as proven by their choke job last season in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic. It would be a beautiful thing to see the Cavs fall apart with LeBron due to become a free agent this summer.
In my life, I've never been more into the Boston Bruins. This was an uninspiring team that barely made the playoffs this season but since the postseason started they've been a completely different squad. They hit, they're tough, they're clutch, they're not afraid of the big moments.
The B's got one step closer to the Eastern Conference Finals (where they haven't been since 1992) with a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 at the TD Garden last night. Boston now has a commanding 2-0 lead with Game 3 in Philly tomorrow night.
Milan Lucic scored the game-winner with 2:57 left in the third after he pounced on a loose puck and fired a low shot past Flyers goalie Brian Boucher (24 saves). David Krejci and Miroslav Satan assisted on Lucic's first goal of the 2010 playoffs.
Twice Boston led by a goal, only to blow it. Johnny Boychuk scored 5:12 into the game off an assist from Patrice Bergeron, who won the face-off right back to him. It's a shot that Boucher would probably like back since it was a long distance, screened shot that he should have stopped.
Mike Richards, the Flyers' best offensive player, tied it at 17:06 from Danny Briere and Ville Leino.
One of the biggest revelations for the Bruins in the playoffs has been Miroslav Satan. He has continued to score huge goals and turn in game-changing plays. Last night was no different as he gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the second period from Blake Wheeler and Dennis Wideman.
Briere tied it up with 25 seconds left in the second period with a snipe over Tuukka Rask's (24 saves) shoulder. Leino and Chris Pronger assisted.
Overall this series is going exactly as most expected: these teams are basically mirrors images with the big difference being in goal; Rask is a budding superstar and Boucher is a journeyman and it's starting to show. Tuukka hasn't been as good so far vs. Philly like he was against Buffalo but he hasn't had to be, Boucher is good for a soft goal every game.
Philly desperately needed last night and since they didn't get it, they'll face a must-win tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center which should be nuts. Lose and they're done, win and they're right back in the series.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Since we can already say that the Boston Red Sox aren't going anywhere this season, who can we blame? Answer: GM Theo Epstein.
The Brookline native delivered two World Series championships so he's bulletproof for locals but someone has to be held responsible for the poor construction of the 2010 Red Sox.
As many things as you can make fun of the owners for, one thing that is not debatable is that they spend money. It's Theo's job (and his legion of minions) to put that money to good use and clearly they didn't in the off-season, as their obsession with statistics has led them astray.
That was a long introduction to a completely forgettable weekend in Baltimore. Boston (11-14) got swept for the first time since 1998 by the terrible Orioles (7-18), who won 3-2 in 10 innings yesterday at Camden Yards.
Ty Wigginton won it for the O's, who are 4-2 against the Sox this season, with an RBI double off Jonathan Papelbon (1-2) that scored Nick Markakis (2 hits, 2 runs, walk).
Boston wasted a strong effort from Josh Beckett: seven innings, two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
Kevin Millwood matched Beckett, going eight innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew provided the only runs with solo homers in the fifth and seventh respectively. Baltimore had jumped ahead with two runs in the fourth.
It will not get any easier for the Red Sox even though they come home for another 10-game homestand. They play the Angels, then Yankees and Blue Jays.
Clay Buchholz takes on Joe Saunders tonight.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
It sounds strange or extremely cynical but I'm not even looking forward to the Celtics-Cavaliers Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
I felt that way before last night's game 1 loss by the Celtics, 101-93 at Quicken Loans Arena and I'm sure it'll only get worse.
Cleveland is a great team, although not much better than Boston. The thing about it that's so frustrating is that you know the NBA wants LeBron to win. He choked last season and now he's on the verge of free agency without any rings. In the NBA, the home team always gets the calls, especially in the playoffs. And when you have a superstar well you better believe they'll get a call on every play.
Making LeBron even more of a fraud is the fact that he does lame shit like pretending his elbow is severely hurt. All last night and I'm sure for the rest of the series, we'll have to listen to how tough he is for playing through pain, etc. Ugh, give it a rest.
Haha, sorry just had to get that off my chest since I will be thinking it for however long the C's and Cavs are playing.
Another fact of NBA playoff games is that no lead is safe, particularly if the road team has it. So while I was psyched that Boston led 26-20 after the first quarter and 54-43 at the half, I knew Cleveland would comeback and probably win.
LeBron did his thing with 35 points, seven rebounds and seven assists but the player of the game for Cleveland was Mo Williams (20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) who kept their team in it during the third quarter when the Celts tried to run away with it and LeBron was on the bench.
The loss overshadowed what was a great performance by Rajon Rondo (27 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds). During the broadcast, Reggie Miller rightly said that it should be a Big Four in Boston now, not Big Three.
Kevin Garnett had 18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, Ray Allen scored 14 and Paul Pierce had 13 points (but only five points after the game's first few minutes).
Cleveland took 10 more free throws (31-21) and they took it to the basket at will in the second half when they had to get points. The Cavs outscored the C's 36-24 in the third quarter and 22-15 in the fourth.
The Cavs had 26 points off the bench while the Celts only had 12. In all honestly, this was a game that Boston should have won. Cleveland and their home crowd were lifeless for much of the game and what are the odds that'll happen tomorrow night in Game 2?
If the Celts don't settle for so many jumpers (when they're ice cold like Pierce), they should be in good shape. I think the margin between these teams is much closer than the national media will tell you but you already know how it will end: with a Cavaliers series win.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
After missing nearly two months of action thanks to Matt Cooke's cheap shot (that went unpunished by the NHL), Bruins center Marc Savard returned this afternoon and wrote a fairytale chapter to what has been a terrible ordeal for him.
He scored the game-winner in overtime as the B's beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 at TD Garden in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Going into the series, the one thing that seems to distinguish the two teams is that Tuukka Rask is the hottest goalie left in the NHL playoffs and Flyers goalie Brian Boucher is a journeyman scrub (despite his fine play against the Devils).
Boston choked away a pair of two-goal leads (3-1, 4-2) but that was soon forgotten as their best offensive player ended it with a turnaround shot at 13:52 from Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara.
As expected, it was a very physical game with both teams not afraid to throwing their bodies all over the ice.
Steve Begin scored his first career playoff goal 2:39 into the game from Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Any offense from the fourth line is a big plus and to see a bum like Begin score is similar to a solar eclipse.
Bergeron doubled the lead at 12:54 of the first period with an assist from Wideman.
Ryan Parent opened the scoring for Philly at 7:38 in the second period from Mike Richards and Arron Asham.
Miroslav Satan cashed in on a power-play just over four minutes later. Johnny Boychuk and Wideman.
At 15:48 Chris Pronger got the Flyers closer (3-2) with a power play goal from Kimmo Timonen and Richards.
David Krejci made it 4-2 in the third period with assists from Satan and Milan Lucic. It looked to be over at that point but the stubborn Flyers kept the pressure on and it paid off as Richards and Daniel Briere tied it up.
Boucher (41 saves) and Rask (32 saves) made some outstanding saves in overtime, with Boucher making a bunch of A+ stops in the early going of OT. Boston outshot Philadelphia 15-4 in overtime.
The B's will try to hold serve at home in Game 2 on Monday night.