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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly agrees to 1-year deal to return to Jets

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rockies at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Cubs, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLS: All-Stars vs. Arsenal, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Ryan Fitzpatrick drama finally appears to be over, as the Jets reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth between $12 million and $15 million with the 33-year-old Harvard product as the team prepares for Thursday’s first practice of training camp.

Jets receiver Brandon Marshall, perhaps Fitzpatrick’s most ardent supporter this offseason, tweeted a photo of him smiling along with two teammates at the team’s facility. Wrote Marshall: Well deserved and great move by @nyjets Congrats bro.. Now go win some dang games..#newyork #fitzmagic

Fitzpatrick posted career highs in passing yards (3,905) and passing touchdowns (31, a franchise record) last year, his first season in New York. He led the Jets to the brink of the playoffs, but he threw interceptions on the final three drives in a season-ending 22-17 loss to the Bills that left the Jets at 10-6 and without a postseason bid. Fitzpatrick has never appeared in the playoffs in his 11 NFL seasons.

Considering the Jets’ first option behind Fitzpatrick is the uninspiring Geno Smith, it seemed likely the team would prioritize re-signing him. However, negotiations dragged out, leaving Fitzpatrick frustrated — but with few other options, as other teams apparently weren’t convinced by the veteran’s breakout season.

A seventh-round draft pick by the Rams in 2005, Fitzpatrick also has played for the Bengals, Bills, Titans and Texans.

— One year after acquiring Nick Foles from the Eagles, the Rams gave the quarterback his release.

Foles has not participated in team activities since the Rams drafted Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in April.

“We have been in contact with Nick and his representation throughout the offseason, and we feel that this is the best decision for all parties involved,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement. “We appreciate the contributions that Nick has made to our organization in his time as a Ram and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

The Rams sent Sam Bradford to the Eagles for Foles, a 2013 Pro Bowler. Foles started 11 games in St. Louis, passing for 2,052 yards and seven touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He eventually lost the starting job to Case Keenum.

— Aroldis Chapman’s debut with the Cubs came in Wednesday’s 8-1 rout of the White Sox, and it was impressive. The former Yankees reliever pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, showing the power that has made him perhaps the game’s most intimidating closer.

“I thought we were getting a guy who threw 105. We only got 103,” Cubs starter Jason Hammel joked. “That’s impressive, jaw-dropping to see.”

Following his grilling by the Chicago media Tuesday — and his strange answers to questions about his domestic violence issue and the Cubs’ expectations for him — Chapman was hesitant to speak to reporters after the game, but he eventually relented, with catcher Miguel Montero translating.

“The adrenaline was pretty good even though it wasn’t a save situation,” Chapman said. “It was fun to hear the crowd cheering.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 28, 1983, the Rangers replaced which former Red Sox manager with which other former Sox skipper?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re going to get [Jimmy Garoppolo] ready the best we can. I don’t know how else I can put it. We have some clarity with [Tom Brady’s] situation, [and] he’ll be our starter when he returns.” — Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on the Patriots’ quarterback dilemma as training camp opens

STAT OF THE DAY: 0 — Major league teams that have not been swept in a series this season, as the Red Sox were the last holdout before a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers that ended with Wednesday’s 4-3 loss

‘NET RESULTS: After bobbling a ground ball, Pirates first baseman David Freese flips the ball behind his back to pitcher Gerrit Cole, who snares it with his bare hand and touches first base for an out against the Mariners.

Rays first baseman Logan Morrison catches a foul ball as he falls into the stands during the Rays’ win over the Dodgers.

A Pirates fan makes a nice catch of a foul ball before falling backward over his seat.

The Tigers play a rough game of rock, paper, scissors, with the loser (Ian Kinsler) being punished with an empty water cooler jug to the head from the winner (Jose Iglesias).

TRIVIA ANSWER: Don Zimmer was replaced by Darrell Johnson, the opposite of the situation in Boston in 1976

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Jonathan Edwards was born on this day in 1946.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Red Sox minor league notebook: Luis Alexander Basabe, the best prospect people don’t know much about

Luis Alexander Basabe

Luis Alexander Basabe

1. When it comes to Red Sox prospects everyone knows the names — Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Michael Kopech, Jason Groome, Sam Travis — but a name people might not be as familiar with is Luis Alexander Basabe.

His name came up this month when his twin brother Luis Alejandro was part of the trade for Brad Ziegler, but the outfielder is emerging as one of the best prospects in the entire system, perhaps climbing as high as into the top eight.

The 19-year-old has spent the season with Single-A Greenville, perhaps flying under the radar with what is taking place with the stars in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.

Going into play Thursday, the switch-hitter is hitting .375 with four home runs and 19 RBIs over 20 games in the month of July and in the second half of the year he’s batting .340. This comes after a difficult first half where overall he batted .222 with five total home runs.

“This is a guy offensively who had a very, very tough first half,” manager Darren Fenster said. “Really struggled to recognize pitches. Struck out quite a bit. He’s been as improved as anyone we have here from an offensive perspective where the work that he’s put in with our hitting coach Lee May Jr. has been very, very consistent. It’s not wavered whether he’s been doing well or he’s in a struggle.

“The emphasis Lee has put on with him in regard to pitch recognition, he’s thinking out of the box where he’s thrown him into the bullpen to stand in the box when pitcher’s are throwing their sides to work on recognizing off-speed stuff, recognizing spin. His results over the last month or so have been outstanding. He’s really turned the corner with the bat for us. It’s been great to see, especially with how slow he was out of the gates.”

Even not putting up the best of numbers, you could still tell how talented Basabe was and he found ways to contribute to the teamm aside from showing up in the box score.

“You could see the tools and the athleticism,” Fenster said. “To this kids credit, as much of a struggle as it was in the first half he’s played an above average center field. He has been a game-changer on the bases where he is at an above average speed where he’s able to steal some bases as well. He’s able separate the game and not allow the struggles offensive in the first half of the year at the plate out in the field where he’s figured out ways to help us outside of just the stat line at the end of the night offensively.”

Looking ahead, Basabe is Rule-5 draft eligible this offseason, so if he continues to put up numbers like he has this past month, the Red Sox could add him to their 40-man roster come December, although it is an interesting case seeing he’s just 19 years old and a few years away from being major league ready.

2. Andrew Benintendi has made the switch to left field with Double-A Portland. He hasn’t switched exclusively as he’s played three games in left and three games in his natural position of center field over his last six games. This was expected as it was going to be a gradual transition with more work taking place during early work and batting practice. Everything has gone as well as it could have with the transition thus far.

While Yoan Moncada hasn’t transitioned to another position in games, he has taken ground balls at third base pregame, according to Kevin Thomas of the Portland Free Press.

3. One of the hottest players in the Red Sox system is third baseman Rafael Devers with High-A Salem. The 19-year-old is batting .269 on the year, but that comes after batting .138 in April and .245 in May. He’s really caught fire in July as the left-handed hitter is batting .360 with three home runs and 13 RBIs. He’s a player other teams likely would want in a trade, but the Red Sox seem to view him just below Benintendi and Moncada, thus he likely will be staying put.

While it cannot be ruled out, it doesn’t appear a promotion to Double-A will happen soon given his age and how he struggled earlier in the year. The organization likes where he is currently at.

4. It was a strange week three weeks ago for Single-A Greenville as they had players involved in two of the three trades the Red Sox made in a span of three days. Pitcher Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe were dealt for Ziegler and Anderson Espinoza was traded straight up for Drew Pomeranz.

The Ziegler deal occurred at 1:00 a.m., but the Pomeranz trade was especially difficult as the Drive played a game with rumors surrounding their star pitcher swirling.

“The two trades that did affect us were a little bit different where one kind of went down under the radar at about 1:00 in the morning with Almonte and Basabe and then the other one was strange in the fact that there were rumors and what not, but nothing was official until about the eighth inning in the game that we were playing, but was being reported on TV before we went to play at 6:30,” Fenster said. “Guys were wondering what was going on and until obviously we hear that something is official, these guys are part of our team.

“I think these guys are getting a crash course of everything that goes on in the game where regardless of whether or not you’re getting to the big leagues, there’s 30 teams out there and another team could look to trade for you and that is a good thing. From our end, hopefully we’re able to bring back a piece that will be able to help us the rest of the season and into the postseason. That’s also positive as well. Guys are realizing big picture how the game works.”

5. Red Sox first-round pick Jason Groome is preparing for his professional debut by working out daily at the JetBlue Park complex in Fort Myers. He’s begun the club’s throwing program, arm strengthening routines and general workouts. The left-hander has thrown a few bullpens, but nothing has changed in the fact that the organization is taking things very slow with him. He could get into game action in the GCL over the next few weeks.

6. Michael Chavis, a 2014 first-round pick, was red-hot to start the year as he hit .356 in 11 games before suffering a thumb injury and had to miss about a month and a half. After returning in mid-June, he’s still working to get his timing back.

He is batting .269 with seven homers on the year, but just .209 in the second half.

“It’s been a little slower getting him back into the rhythm that he was in coming out of the gates at the start of the year before he got hurt,” Fenster said. “Just getting him consistent with his timing has been the biggest thing for him right now where in those first few weeks of the year when he was going really well, his timing was consistent. His approach was consistent and it’s just been a little up and down since he’s been back. He just needs to stay under control with his effort level and thinking about the middle of the field, which is when he’s at his best. When he gets a little pull happy and puts more effort into his swing, that’s when he kind of gets away from things he was doing well earlier.”

7. With Espinoza out of the picture, the new top pitcher with Single-A Greenville is 18-year-old right-hander Roniel Raudes.

Raudes is the youngest player in the South Atlantic League and is currently 8-3 with a 4.50 ERA with exactly 80 strikeouts in 80 innings. The organization will keep him on a pitch count being so young the rest of the year, but Fenster pointed to how competitive Raudes is on the mound, which is just as good as his raw stuff.

“He’s competing as well as he has all year,” Fenster said. “He’s been our most consistent guy in terms of not necessarily the results, but his approach every single time he takes the mound — he’s the youngest player in the league right now. We’re very conscious of that and obviously we’re going to manage his innings to keep him strong and healthy the rest of the way. We feel like we have the chance to win every time he takes to the mound because of his pitch ability and the way he competes.”

8. After knee surgery at the beginning of February, Trey Ball missed almost all of spring training and then after about a month extra joined High-A Salem for the second straight year. After a good first month or so, he’s struggled of late. The former No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 draft is 0-1 with a 8.38 ERA over five starts in the month of July. The left-hander has had control problems of late and it’s getting time to start to question just how far he will be able to advance in the organization.

9. Allen Craig, who hasn’t played in a game since May 16 because of right knee inflammation, is set to begin a rehab assignment with short-season, Single-A Lowell Friday night. The infielder is currently off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, but under contract for next season, the final year of a five-year, $31-million contract. He’s scheduled to make $11 million in 2017 and there’s a $13 million team option for 2018.

10. A good story within the system is Jordan Weems, who has converted from catching with Double-A Portland to pitching. The right-hander, a third-round pick in 2011, is currently in the GCL putting up solid numbers. In 17 innings spanning eight games, he has a 1.06 ERA with 10 strikeouts. Making the switch just a few months ago, it seems it’s going quite well.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

A fired up Matt Patricia is ready for his defense to lead the way: ‘It’s a critical time for us’

Matt Patricia

Matt Patricia

FOXBORO — Sporting a black Patriots cap under the pedestrian bridge in the north end of Gillette Stadium, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia Wednesday sounded like a coach who’s ready to have his unit step up and help Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots get off to a fast start this season.

For the last two seasons, it’s been the defense that has led the way in the first quarter of the season as Tom Brady and the offensive line found their form.

In 2014, the team had big issues on the offensive line and it was the defense that held things together as the team struggled to a 2-2 start.

Last year, the team started 4-0 but it was the defense that had big moments against the Steelers on Opening Night, held the Jaguars to 17 points and limited the Cowboys to six points.

This season, the challenge is that much bigger with Garoppolo subbing in for the suspended Tom Brady in the first four games. The expectation from so many observers is that it’s the defense that’s going to have to lead the way. Patricia sounded a cautious tone at first, saying there’s so much work to be done between Thursday’s first day of camp and Sept. 11 when the Patriots take the field in Arizona.

“I think right now the challenge for the defense is to make sure we have good meetings and make sure we get all the information out that I can get out in the time that’s allowed,” Patricia said. “I’m real excited to be out there [Thursday]. So, for us, that’s our focus. It’s very much in the short term. It’s just about trying to put the guys out there together, build on what we did this spring, which was great. Go out there [Thursday] and improve.”

Patricia’s unit has been revamped with names like Terrance Knighton, Cyrus Jones, Shea McClellin and Chris Long joining the likes of Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jabaal Sheard, Malcolm Butler and Devin McCourty. From what Patricia saw in the spring, he’s confident his unit can help Garoppolo feel like he doesn’t have to do it all.

“I think what was great about the spring was the work ethic and the guys really attacking and studying the game and trying to learn the mental part of it and then go out in the field in the spring, which is a big communication thing for us, defensively, and really work on the communication part of what we have to get done,” Patricia said. “Obviously, when we get to training camp, when we get the pads on, that’s the physical time where you can really get to the contact part, the technique part. We laid some groundwork, fundamentally, here in the spring. The big part of it, though, is the communication. What you want to get done in the spring now, with the way everything is laid out, the amount of practices, the way training camp is, the time you’re really committed to, we’re trying to use spring to some stuff installed, to learn the defense so that when we get to training camp, we can go out and just try and execute.”

The best of this time of year for Patricia? Simple. Hearing the clash of helmets and pads for his defensive playmakers.

“When we get out there, we’re in couple days here where we’re still kind of in a learning mode here and we’re working on fundamentals and techniques. But when we get the pads on, obviously that’s why we play the game. It’s the one sport where when you’re done playing, you can’t put the pads back on,” Patricia added. “These guys get the opportunities to put the pads on and improve. It’s a critical time for us and it’s a critical time with how fast everything really goes during the season for us to work on our fundamentals and our individual techniques.

“We’re in pads. We’re out there every day. We’re working on the different pad levels, things like that we’re going to emphasize. It’s a critical time for us to get [work] done. It’s very exciting from the coaching standpoint because you’re really coaching the fundamental techniques, tackling, all the things the defensively, the aggression part of the game that our play for. That’s the big draw. It’s great.”

McCourty was one of those who spoke the significance of this time of year and what it means to be back on the field in pads.

“It becomes football. I think in the spring, and now to start out training camp, it’s really just a heavy passing game and not much contact, but when you start to put on the pads, you really start to see the football team we’re going to be, what different guys can do on the football field, it’s just a different mentality,” McCourty said. “You might be able to out-quicken and run away from some people, but we have guys out there who are just hitters. They want to run through you and run into you. They lose some of that when we don’t have pads on, so we’ll gain all of that back this weekend.

“When you play defensive back, a lot of it is not as much a contact and stuff, just different positions. But for defensive backs, working on your craft, your footwork, your hand placement, you can do all of that with no pads on, so you can see those guys work. I think that’s the best thing about the spring. You see guys working on little things, you see guys working on learning the playbook and being able to be out there and play confident. I think we had a lot of young guys out there who, even some of the rookies towards the end, you could see their confidence building just from learning and studying and staying on top of different things they needed to. It’s an exciting time. We have young guys mixed in with some veterans, you come back to training camp and everybody’s competitive, everybody wants to earn a spot to play. It’s a fun time and I think it’ll be good practices.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Report: Red Sox in ‘mix’ for Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy

Jonathan Lucroy

Jonathan Lucroy

It appears Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy will be dealt before Monday’s deadline and apparently the Red Sox are in the mix.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Red Sox are among several teams in the mix for the catcher. Other teams mentioned are the Rangers, Indians, Astros, Mets and a mystery team.

Lucroy is 30 years old and has a $5.25 million team option for next year. The right-handed hitter is batting .301 with an on-base percentage of .362 this season.

The Red Sox currently have Ryan Hanigan and Sandy Leon as their catchers on the 25-man roster, with Christian Vazquez in Triple-A and Blake Swihart seemingly not seeing time behind the plate again this season.

Red Sox catchers are hitting .251, which is fourth in the American League.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Poll: What do you think the Patriots should do when it comes to QB reps during training camp?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Blog Author: 
WEEI

Eduardo Rodriguez slowly starting to regain form

Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. the Tigers. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. the Tigers. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Things are slowly starting to get better for Eduardo Rodriguez.

Suffice to say after mesmerizing at times in 2015, the Venezuelan has been disappointing periodically throughout this season, most notably with his demotion to Pawtucket on June 28 (retroactive to June 27).

While there he worked to establish more reliability on pitches other than his fastball, and it appears since being recalled July 15 that’s happening.

The lefty has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his three starts since the All-Star break. In that stretch he has a 3.06 ERA with six earned runs over 17 2/3 innings pitched.

“It’s been getting better, because I’ve gotten everything with the mechanics,” Rodriguez said. “Being able to control the ball in the strike zone … and looking for swing and a miss and ground balls.”

Rodriguez was tagged for nine hits and three runs in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Tigers, but did managed to strike out six, the third highest tally for the 23-year-old this season. With the exception of a solo home run to James McCann in the sixth and a double to Jose Iglesias in the third, Rodriguez by and large alleviated hard contact. And despite getting himself into trouble in a few instances — such as putting two runners on base with two outs in the first — he managed to finagle his way out of them mostly unscathed.

“I thought [Rodriguez] minimized damage for the most part,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said in regards to Wednesday’s outing. “He’s in a tough spot with second and third, just one out middle of the order which, Cabrera and [Victor] Martinez the damage they created today was obvious. Still I thought he showed three defined pitches. His slider continues to improve. On a day where he didn’t give up a lot of hard contact … I thought he threw the ball well against a quality right handed-hitting lineup.”

In establishing the slider and changeup, Rodriguez has found the ability to strikeout batters who no longer can just rely on him trying to blow his fastball by them. He averaged 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings last season in 21 starts, and is now averaging 7.86 strikeouts per nine this season through nine starts, which is a climb from 6.5 he entered Wednesday with.

“[The slider has] become a much more defined pitch. It’s a more usable pitch for him. He’s been able to mix it in with the two other pitches he has. I can’t say there’s a prescribed number to go out and throw, but it’s a much improved pitch and he’s using it,” Farrell said.

A major roadblock Rodriguez still faces is one the rest of the pitching staff faces as well — his ability to go deep into games. He’s only gone more than six innings just once this season, and even with that measure has thrown more than 100 pitches just twice this season (101 Wednesday and 103 on June 27 against the White Sox).

This problem will be exacerbated certainly through the remainder of the season, but especially in the near future as the team jets across the country to play 11 games in as many nights.

“I think we have to work together and get more deep into games as starters,” Rodriguez said.

Added Farrell: “Our approach has got to be from the mound, we’ve got to execute more consistently. When we do, it allows our offense to shine as it’s done all year and that’s to put quality games together. But still this is a matter of us going out as a pitching staff — not just one person in particular — a staff to go out and execute a gameplan consistently.”

The lefty’s next scheduled start is Monday in the series-opener against the Mariners.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Brad Ziegler on Miguel Cabrera home run: ‘It wasn’t a horrible pitch, it just wasn’t a great one either’

Brad Ziegler allowed a solo home run to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning to allow the Tigers to beat the Red Sox. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Brad Ziegler allowed a solo home run to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning to allow the Tigers to beat the Red Sox. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

With Miguel Cabrera stepping to the plate in the ninth inning with two outs and the game tied at three, the Red Sox were feeling pretty good.

They had just rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game at three in the bottom half of the eighth with their No. 3-5 hitters due up in the bottom half of the ninth and Brad Ziegler on the mound, who since joining the Red Sox had retired 21 of 22 batters to that point.

Unfortunately for Ziegler and the Red Sox, Cabrera crushed a 1-0 offering into the visiting bullpen to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead and eventual win to sweep the Red Sox.

“Fastball that got a little too much plate,” Ziegler said. “Obviously, 1-0 I wasn’t in a great situation either. It wasn’t a horrible pitch, it just wasn’t a great one either.”

At first glance it didn’t look like the ball would carry all the way over the fence, but it tailed towards the foul line and right fielder Mookie Betts may have lost it for a second in the sun as the ball hit off the top of the wall and then into the bullpen.

Ziegler too didn’t think it would end up over the fence.

“I really didn’t,” he said. “I knew he had hit it good, but I thought that there was a chance it would get over Mookie’s head, but in between him and the fence. Just kind of watching it in the air, it just kept getting further and further away. I was like, ‘What in the world?’ I didn’t think he hit it that good. He’s a great hitter. He’s made a really good living doing damage like that in games.”

For Cabrera, it capped a 3-for-4 afternoon and the homer was his 14th career go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later in his career.

“He’s a hell of a hitter,” manager John Farrell said. “For maybe the first time he hasn’t put the ball on the ground consistency, that’s the one spot it shows up here today.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

History Lesson: Bill Belichick’s coaching longevity rooted in consistency, adaptability

Bill Belichick begins his 42nd season in the NFL this month. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick begins his 42nd season in the NFL this month. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — To give you some perspective as to just how long Bill Belichick has been in the NFL, when the Patriots meet the Dolphins this year, Belichick will square off against a head coach in 38-year-old Adam Gase who wasn’t even born when Belichick took his first job as an assistant in the league.

This week marks the start of Belichick’s 42nd consecutive year in the National Football League, the last 17 of which have come as head coach of the Patriots. The longest-tenured head coach in the league with his current team (the closest is Cincy’s Marvin Lewis, who took over the Bengals in 2003), it’s a remarkable run for any coach in the NFL.

When it comes to stacking his resume against some of the greats of the game, entering the 2016 season, he’s at 223 career wins as a head coach, tops among all active coaches and fourth on the all-time list. This season, he’ll move past Curly Lambeau (at 226, fourth) on the all-time wins list, and will almost certainly pass Tom Landry (third with 250 career victories) before he’s done. While you never say never, it would probably take at least another decade for him to come anywhere near the likes of Don Shula (first, 328 career wins) or George Halas (second with 318 wins).

The 64-year-old Belichick, who first went to training camp as an special assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1975 at the age of 23, has been working in the league ever since. He said that when it comes to coaching, there’s some carryover in preparation and approach. But in his experience, his approach over the previous 41 seasons has been to take each one as its own animal.

“Fundamentally I think a lot of things are the same; things you have to do in camp in order to prepare for a season,” he said on Wednesday at the dawn of a new season. “But each year is different. Players are different, teams we play are different, things change in the league, there are some rule modifications, or whatever. Things like that. So, every year is different and the chemistry – each team is different. Even with some of the same players there’s still always a little bit of a different mix.”

According to one of his most senior assistants, Belichick’s consistent approach and a willingness to adapt have been key in getting him to this point.

“He’s the same as when we worked together under (Bill) Parcells,” said offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who worked with Belichick as an assistant in the 1990s, as well as the 14 years as the offensive line coach on his staff. “He’s the same guy. Every day is the same. That’s what you have to appreciate about him. You really do.”

That belief stretches to many of his longtime players, including special teams captain Matthew Slater.

“I think the thing that’s remarkable about Bill is his approach. He hasn’t changed at all, and that consistency in his attitude and preparation, the things that he values and the things he tries to stress to his team. It’s really remarkable,” said Slater, who is entering his ninth season under Belichick. “I think it would be easy for him to become complacent. It’s human nature, once you have success you kind of exhale and think you have it figured out. And if anyone has it figured out its Bill Belichick.

“But you wouldn’t know it by the way he prepares, by the urgency with which he coaches us, the hours he puts in. That’s really been impressive to me in my time here. Whether we go out and win a Super Bowl or don’t make the playoffs, he’s always been consistent in that regard.”

Running backs coach Ivan Fears has been a part of Belichick’s coaching staff since 2000. While he also lauded Belichick’s consistency as a coach, he said that Belichick is one of the more “progressive” old-school coaches he’s ever come across.

“I tell you what Bill does best, better than anybody I’ve ever been around; he grows with time,” said Fears. “He is as old-school as anybody there is. But I guarantee you that he is as up-to-date on every new thing out there. Technology, when it comes to the sport. Techniques. Anything that’s going on, he does a great job of keeping up with it.

“For a guy who is as hard-nosed and as old-school of a coach as he is, you’ll find he’s also very progressive in the things he does and the knowledge of the game. Things he wants to implement. How he keeps up with the young guys. I think that’s what makes him elite.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Afternoon Delight: ‘Suicide Squad’ trailer from ComicCon

Keeping with the post-ComicCon theme for this week, this is the final (of many) “Suicide Squad” trailers that dropped in San Diego. I’m glad it’s the last because they are dangerously close to showing us the entire movie in trailer form. But nothing they’ve shown us has convinced me of anything but this will kick ass. As DC Comics tries to build a cinematic universe to rival Marvel’s, this looks like a colossal step in the right direction. This thing is going to be huge.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Closing Time: Brad Ziegler allows 9th inning homer to Miguel Cabrera as Red Sox get swept by Tigers

Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. the Tigers. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. the Tigers. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Wednesday afternoon was a reminder of everything that had gone awry this homestand for the Red Sox, as the Tigers completed the sweep in stunning fashion with a ninth inning home run from slugger Miguel Cabrera, winning 4-3

With the ever-reliable Brad Ziegler on the mound to keep the game locked up at three, Ziegler left an 84 mph sinker over the plate that Cabrera took just barely out of the park. The ball hit off the top of the wall in right field into the bullpen.

The Red Sox had Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr. up in the ninth, but couldn’t record a base runner.

With the loss, they were swept for the first time this season.

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, things looked grim for the Red Sox until Travis Shaw singled to start the inning and was moved to third by a Sandy Leon sacrifice and a Brock Holt ground out.

Mookie Betts then blasted a line drive into the center field triangle just beyond the outstretched arm of Tyler Collins to score Shaw and tie the game. With the throw in the air to the cutoff man while Betts was nearing third and looked to be eyeing an inside-the-park home run, but was held up by third base coach Brian Butterfield.

Starter Eduardo Rodriguez had a modest outing, allowing three runs on 9 hits over 5 1/3 innings of work. He also struck out six — the third highest total for the Venezuelan this season — while walking three.

Two of the Tigers runs came in one swing of the bat from Victor Martinez, driving in Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias after the Red Sox intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to load the bases.

The 23-year-old lefty then allowed a home run to James McCann in the top of the sixth, and his day was over a batter later.

Things initially looked promising for the Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia driving 11th home run of the year 408 feet into the black tarp covering the seats in dead center field in the first inning. The Red Sox fell off the pace at that point, surrendering three runs and putting themselves in a two-run hole.

Xander Bogaerts smacked his 12th homer of the year into the Monster seats in the sevemth inning to bring the Red Sox within one.

Closing Time note

Wednesday marked the second time this season Rodriguez threw more than 100 pitches in a game, throwing 101. He tossed 103 pitches against the White Sox on June 22.

Here’s what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Leon tested Tyler Collins’ arm in the third inning and wound up on the losing end of an attempted sacrifice fly that ended the inning, getting thrown out at home.

— The Red Sox had trouble keeping runners on base, grounding into two double plays — three including the Leon double play.

— After giving up just one hit in his first six appearances as a member of the Red Sox, Ziegler surrendered a dagger of a home run in the ninth.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Though Rodriguez put himself into a jam with runners on in multiple innings, he escaped most of them without much damage, stranding seven Tigers runners on base.

— By starting his day with a home run, Pedroia brought the tally to 30 consecutive games that he’s reached base safely in.

— Clay Buchholz tossed just six pitches in relief in the eighth, not allowing a hit nor run.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen