Here’s a run-down of what’s happening on today’s Lunch Break-Down
The Red Sox finished off their sweep of the Orioles last night behind a decent start by Chris Sale, who’s struggles continue to be annoying yet not enough to be a problem. Sale somewhat bounced back against the diseased birds from Baltimore. Since May 16, over the course of 6 starts, Chris Sale has only pitched more than 6 innings twice (May 22 vs TB and June 8 vs CHW). Over this sample period, Sale has faced: Oakland, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago White Sox, and now Baltimore. He has thrown more than 100 pitches in all but one of those games, May 27 vs Atlanta, when he only lasted 4 1/3 innings after giving up 6 runs. The concern for Chris Sale and his performance is something that needs to be taken seriously. In 3 of those 6 starts, Sale had 3 or more walks in his outing. For a guy who is seen as fragile and needs his pitch count managed, he isn’t doing himself any favors by wasting them with walks. He had 4 last night against Baltimore alone.
Tonight at 10:10, the Red Sox will begin a 4 game series with the Mariners in Seattle. David Price (7-4, 4.00) is scheduled to take on Felix Hernandez (6-5, 5.70 ERA) and this is a game where I expect the Red Sox to come away with a win. Price has been on fire lately and has been the true ace of the Red Sox staff. Seattle’s batters collectively do poorly against Price for their career, notably Nelson Cruz (.188 in 16 AB) and Kyle Seager (.200 in 20 AB with 1 HR). Felix Hernandez is not the same pitcher he once was. He’s either hurt or he just doesn’t have it anymore. The Red Sox should feast at the dish this evening at Safeco.
The Patriots continue to enjoy their time off. Someone who wasn’t going to attend OTA’s anyway decided to spend some of his free time earlier this week working on his golf game. Patriots QB Tom Brady was found hanging out with Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson leading up to this week’s U.S. Open.
The Celtics continue to deal with stories surrounding the drama with Kyrie Irving and his dedication to the team for the long-term. Kyrie was being typical Kyrie when he spoke to the media this week at a press conference designed to promote his upcoming film. Kyrie spoke about living in the present and enjoying his time in the present with the Celtics. While this didn’t give media or fans a warm and fuzzy feeling that he was going to stay here forever, I just think that is the way Kyrie handles the media. He doesn’t want to speak in absolutes and seems to be the type of guy who takes life as it goes. I’m not worried about Kyrie and his future in Boston at all. If he is all-in, he will sign. If he isn’t, I have faith in Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on a trade that could still help this core be a competitor with Golden State. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Ainge tried to pry away struggling Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in February. The deal was apparently so awful from the Celtics end that the Spurs did not even bother calling the team back with a counter offer….or, they just had no intention of cutting bait with someone who, when healthy, is a top 10 talent in the NBA.
The Bruins came to an agreement on an entry-level deal with their first round selection from 2017, Defensman Urho Vaakanainen; reports the Boston Herald.
There are also rumblings with the Bruins and former New Jersey Devils’ star Ilya Kovalchuk as the 35 year old elder statesman is making his return to the NHL after a 5 year hiatus in Russia. Matt Porter of the Boston Globe reports that GM Don Sweeney is hopeful that the Bruins and Kovalchuk could come to an agreement saying: “I hope he looks at [the Bruins] and says, ‘That’s a team I’d be interested in,’ ” … “He indicated that, but you know, until I get a chance to sit with him, I won’t know that exactly.” It is something to keep an eye on, as Kovalchuk would certainly be an interesting acquisition for the Bruins.