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 Boston Hot Spot Week 2 College Football Scoreboard

DIVISION I-FBS

North Carolina St. 10, #2 UCONN 7

#11 Boston College 34, #5 Maine 3

3:30-Indiana at #17 Massachusetts

DIVISION I-FCS

Minnesota 44, #1 New Hampshire 7

Monmouth 41, #10 Rhode Island 6

DIVISION II

#12 Bentley 27, West Virginia-Wesleyan 16

Stonehill 13, #16 Southern Conn. State 0

12:00-#14 American Intl. at Shepherd 

7:00-#4 New Haven at Saint Augustine's

DIVISION III

#14 Bridgewater St. 31, UM-Dartmouth 6

#18 Endicott 66, Castleton State 14

#20 Salve Regina 16, Montclair State 7

#15 Norwich 20, Saint Lawrence 7

#19 Mount Ida 22, Plymouth State 12 

 Boston Hot Spot New England Top 20 Poll (9/2/2012)

Rank (PW): Team

1 (1). New Hampshire Wildcats
2 (3). Connecticut Huskies
3 (2). Harvard Crimson
4 (5). New Haven Chargers
5 (4). Maine Black Bears
6 (6). Brown Bears
7 (9). Trinity Bantams
8 (11). Yale Bulldogs
9 (7). Holy Cross Crusaders
10 (12). Rhode Island Rams
11 (10). Boston College Eagles
12 (15). Bentley Falcons
13 (14). Am. Intl. Yellow Jackets
14 (17). Bridgewater State Bears
15 (20). Norwich Cadets
16 (8). Southern CT State Owls
17 (13). UMASS Minutemen
18 (NR). Endicott Gulls
19 (NR). Mount Ida Mustangs
20 (NR). Salve Regina Seahawks

Ranking Dropouts:

Framingham State Rams (16)
West N. England Golden Bears (18)
Merrimack Warriors (19)

BIGGEST JUMP: Norwich (+5)

After kicker Patrick Wilson launched a 27-yard field goal with seconds remaining to upset #18 Western New England, the Cadets rode their momentum to #15 in the New England polls. Expected to finish first in the ECFC polls, don't be surprised if Norwich continues its rise to prominence.

BIGGEST FALL: So Conn St. (-8)

When they took a stunning defeat to Indiana (PA) on Saturday, Southern Connecticut took a massive fall from #8 to #16. Southern Connecticut State would have to beat Stonehill this Saturday in order to stay afloat in the rankings.

WELCOME TO THE RANKINGS...

Endicott Gulls (NEFC)

Endicott, who entered the season as one of the teams that could make an impact in 2012, and they did just that this Saturday. For the second time in two years, the Gulls upset (and knocked out of the rankings) #16 Framingham State, 34-17. Strong offense and defense will be the driving forces behind Endicott's success in 2012. Endicott's next opponent will be Castleton State, of the ECFC.

Mount Ida Mustangs (ECFC)

Mount Ida, who projects as one of the top teams in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, enters the rankings at #19 after defeating UMASS-Dartmouth this week. Mount Ida has clutch offense and defensive prowess that will make them contenders down the road. The Mustangs will battle Plymouth State next Saturday.

Salve Regina Seahawks (NEFC)

Salve Regina was another one of those teams that were on the bubble to start 2012, defeated Union (NY), 17-14, and are predicted to be a contender in the NEFC Boyd Division. The Seahawks have a strong offensive team, and look to defeat Montclair State on Saturday. 

WEEK 2 SCHEDULE (Top 20 Teams)

SATURDAY, September 8

#1 New Hampshire at Minnesota

North Carolina State at #2 Connecticut

#4 New Haven at Saint Augustine's 

#5 Maine at #11 Boston College*

#10 Rhode Island at Monmouth

#12 Bentley at West Virginia-Wesleyan

#13 American International at Shepherd 

UMASS-Dartmouth vs. #14 Bridgewater St.

#15 Norwich at Saint Lawrence

#16 Southern CT State at Stonehill

Indiana at #17 Massachusetts

Castleton State at #18 Endicott

#19 Mount Ida at Plymouth State

Montclair State at #20 Salve Regina 

*-Hot Spot Game of the Week

IDLE: #3 Harvard, #6 Brown, #7 Trinity, #8 Yale, #9 Holy Cross

 Boston Hot Spot Week 1 Football Recaps

by Tim Scott

#1 New Hampshire 38, #7 Holy Cross 17

On Thursday night, in a battle between two heavily competitive teams, freshman quarterback Sean Goldrich threw for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns as the #1 New Hampshire Wildcats defeated the #7 Holy Cross Crusaders, 38-17, at Worcester, MA. Despite having a slim nine point lead going into halftime, the Wildcats outscored the Crusaders, 19-7, in the second half. Receiver Joey Orlando caught 7 passes for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns for New Hampshire. Meanwhile, for Holy Cross, quarterback Kevin Watson threw for 273 yards and had a rushing touchdown, but threw two interceptions. New Hampshire plays its next game on Saturday, September 8, when they challenge a Division-FBS team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Minnesota. Holy Cross, on the other hand, have a bye week, but will next play the 6th-ranked team in New England, the Brown Bears, on September 15 at Worcester.

#3 Connecticut 37, #13 Massachusetts 0

In #13 Massachusetts’ FBS debut on Thursday, the overmatched Minutemen struggled to get anything going against #3 Connecticut, falling to the Huskies, 37-0, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. Sophomore quarterback Charlie Whitmer got the start for the Huskies, throwing for 215 yards on the night. Sophomore running back Lyle McCombs had 83 yards on the ground with a touchdown in the first quarter. Cornerback Dwayne Gratz intercepted a pass from UMASS quarterback Mike Wegzyn, and returned it 37 yards for a score in the second half. Max DeLorenzo also recovered a blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown, which at the time put UCONN up, 27-0. Connecticut, will play a challenging opponent in North Carolina State at East Hartford on Saturday, September 8. Meanwhile, the Minutemen will play their home opener at Gillette Stadium against the Indiana Hoosiers of the Big Ten Conference on September 8 as well.

#15 Bentley 42, Pace 0 F

On Friday night, under the lights of Bentley Field in Waltham, MA, the Bentley Falcons swiftly defeated conference rival Pace, shutting them out, 42-0. Quarterback Danny Guadagnoli went 9 for 14, with 203 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first start of the season. His main highlight was bombing a 33-yarder to Jeff Hill in the third quarter. Hill had 4 receptions for 136 yards in the game. This was a game where even the second string quarterback could shine. Luke Zahradka had three completions, two of which were touchdowns (44 yds and 40 yds) in the second quarter. When running the ball, Bobby Tarr did not disappoint, running for 95 yards and a touchdown. Matt Campo had 2 sacks, and Blaine Hopwood had 8 tackles for the Falcons. For Pace, QB Jordan Raynor threw for 204 yards. The Falcons will head to Buckhannon, West Virginia next Saturday, where they will play the West Virginia-Wesleyan Bobcats. Pace will play at Stony Brook next Saturday.

Endicott 34, #16 Framingham State 17 F

Saturday afternoon brought many surprises, as the Endicott Gulls, who entered the game as underdogs, upset the #16 Framingham State Rams, 34-17. Quarterback Drew Fennette threw for 189 yards with a touchdown for the Gulls. Andrew Holfinge and Andrew Larson both had interceptions off of Framingham State QB Dave Silva, and both Holfinge and Fennette returned them into touchdowns. Running back Mike Wheeler had 90 all-purpose yards, with 2 touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 receiving). For the Rams, Melikke van Alstyne had 91 all-purpose yards (66 on the ground). The Gulls return home to Beverly, MA on Saturday to play Castleton State. The Rams will play Friday at Nichols.

Indiana (PA) 33, #8 S. Conn. State 6 F

The Indiana (PA) Crimson Hawks pulled off the upset, defeating #8 Southern Connecticut State, 33-6. The Crimson Hawks shut out the Owls, 16-0 in the second half. Quarterback Pat Smith had 141 passing yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Hawks. Harvie Tuck, their running back, caught lightning in a bottle today, running for 185 yards and a touchdown. James Griffin had an interception, and Jerrell McFadden had 3.5 tackles, with a forced safety in the fourth quarter. For the Owls, Carlton Staggers had a receiving touchdown on one of his three receptions. Aaron Brockenberry had 9 tackles for the Owls. The Crimson Hawks will play Cheyney on Saturday. The Southern Connecticut State Owls will look to overcome this upset as they start their conference schedule against the Stonehill Skyhawks in North Easton, MA.

#5 New Haven 45, #19 Merrimack 18 F

The New Haven Chargers, who entered the game as one of the top teams in Division II, swiftly defeated their conference rivals, the Merrimack Warriors, with a final of 45-18. Ryan Osiecki, who entered the game as the top QB in DII, went 20 for 27 with 256 yards and 2 touchdowns. Backup QB Ronnie Nelson had 54 yards running yards and a touchdown for the Chargers. Receiver Jason Thompson had 2 TD and 106 receiving yards for the Chargers. Defensively, Herbens Antenor had 11.5 tackles and a forced fumble. For the Warriors, Joe Clancy had 314 passing yards and a touchdown pass. Quinn McDonough had 54 rushing yards, and Isaiah Voegeli had 128 receiving yards. The New Haven Chargers,

#20 Norwich 26, #18 W. N. England 24 F

As time expired, kicker Patrick Wilson nailed a 27-yard field goal as the Norwich Cadets defeated the Western New England Golden Bears, 26-24, in Northfield, Vermont. Despite being outscored 10-9 in the second half, the Cadets marched down the field with a 63-yard drive, which set up Wilson for the game-winner. Besides Wilson’s clutch performance, the Cadets had other good efforts as well. Kris Sadbourin threw for 210 yards, and had 2 rushing touchdowns. Danny Triplett ran for 76 yards, and Zach Allen had a receiving touchdown and 130 yards. Nate Fortezzo had 6 tackles and an interception defensively. Despite the loss, the Golden Bears played well. QB John Krafcik had 229 passing yards and 2 TD. Adam Dunne had 84 receiving yards, and Nathan Fleming had 10 tackles. Norwich will ride the momentum of their victory to Canton, NY, where they will play the Saint Lawrence Saints on September 8. Western New England will head back to Springfield, MA, where they will challenge Westfield State for the President’s Cup on Saturday, September 8.

Miami (FL) 41, #10 Boston College 32 

The Miami (FL) Hurricanes, powered by a strong defensive performance, defeated the Boston College Eagles, 41-32. Stephen Morris threw for 207 yards, and Duke Johnson ran for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. Denzel Perryman contributed an interception and touchdown defensively. For BC, QB Chase Rettig threw for 441 yards and 2 touchdowns. Alex Amidon had 149 receiving yards, and Tahj Kimble had 130. Up next for Miami is a battle in Manhattan, Kansas, when they play the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. Meanwhile, BC will challenge the Maine Black Bears at Alumni Stadium, which is also on Saturday.

#17 Bridgewater State 21, Springfield 17

Despite a second half where Springfield outscored them 17-7, the Bridgewater State Bears managed to defeat the Pride with a final of 21-17. Quarterback Mike McCarthy ran for 56 yards and had 2 rushing touchdowns for the Bears. Fellow QB Caleb Gelsomino also ran in for a score. Between both teams, the quarterbacks only combined for 132 yards. It was mostly a defensive performance for both squads. For the Bears, David Silvia had 13 tackles, and the combo of Eddie Jewel and Paul Melicharek each had 1 sack. Springfield was fueled by Danny Macalena, who had 8 tackles and 2 sacks on the night. With the win, Bridgewater State will play UMASS-Dartmouth on Saturday, September 8, in Bridgewater, MA. Meanwhile, Springfield will head up to Bangor, Maine, to play Husson on Saturday.

 Boston Hot Spot Football Scoreboard (Week 1)

DIVISION I (FBS)

#3 UCONN 42, #13 UMASS 0 F

Miami (FL) 41, #10 Boston Col. 32 F

DIVISION I (FCS)

#1 UNH 38, #7 Holy Cross 17 F

DIVISION II 

#5 New Haven 45, #19 Merrimack 18 F

Indiana (PA) 33, #8 So. Conn State 6 F

#15 Bentley 42, Pace 0 F

DIVISION III

Endicott 34. #16 Framingham St. 17 F

#17 Bridgewater St. 21, Springfield 17 F

#20 Norwich 26, #18 Western NE 24 F

OTHER GAMES OF NOTE

FCS: Marist 35, Bryant 10 F

FCS: Stony Brook 49, Central CT St. 17 F

FCS: Morgan St. 30, Sacred Heart 27 F*

DII: Kutztown 58, Saint Anselm 6 F

DII: Bloomsburg 44, Stonehill 28 F

DII: Bowie State 24, Assumption 20 F

DIII: Becker 13, Fitchburg State 3 F

DIII: Worc. St. 56, Anna Maria 10 F

DIII: Mt. Ida 24, UM-Dartmouth 21 F

DIII: Westfield State 41, Nichols 18 F

DIII: Castleton 35, Plymouth State 7 F

DIII: Worcester Tech 17, Curry 7 F

DIII: Salve Regina 17, Union (NY) 14 F

DIII: Hartwick 55, Husson 17 F

DIII: Widener 63, Western CT State 17 F

*-Sacred Heart/Morgan State went to 4 overtimes

 1. New Hampshire Wildcats

2011 Record: 8-4 (6-2 in CAA)

Postseason: Lost to Montana State in 2nd Round of NCAA Tournament

Head Coach: Sean McDonnell (14th Season)

DIVISION I-FCS (Colonial Athletic Assoc.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

The New Hampshire Wildcats, who were the first DI-FCS team to top the rankings ever in 2011, reach another milestone by becoming the first FCS team to be the #1 team to start the season. The Wildcats have a deep talent pool, most of which returned from their NCAA Tournament appearing squad in 2011.

With veteran head coach Sean McDonnell back for his fourteenth season, the New Hampshire squad will be led on the field by James Brady, their senior quarterback. Running back Dontra Peters fuels the backfield, while receivers Joey Orlando and RJ Harris will help Brady ease into his new role as the starting quarterback. 

Defensively, the Wildcats have good players that will surely help their case. Defensive linemen Jay Colbert and Cody Mullen, linebacker Matt Evans, cornerback Chris Houston, and safety Chris Beranger will be big names that will assist the Wildcats as they pursue first place in the CAA. They were picked to finish third, behind Towson and newcomer Old Dominion. 

2012 NEW HAMPSHIRE SCHEDULE

Aug. 30: at #7 Holy Cross (7:30)

Sept. 8: at Minnesota (12:00)

Sept. 15: vs. Central Conn. State (12:00)

Sept. 22: at Old Dominion (12:00)*

Sept. 29: vs. Delaware (12:00)*

Oct. 6: at Georgia State (3:30)*

Oct. 13: vs. Richmond (12:00)*

Oct. 20: at #4 Maine (12:00)*

Oct. 27: at #12 Rhode Island (12:00)*

Nov. 3: vs. William and Mary (12:00)*

Nov. 17: vs. Towson (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: As the number one team in New England, New Hampshire is expected to perform as such. They should go 7-4, and qualify for a playoff spot in 2012.

2. Harvard Crimson

2011 Record: 9-1 (8-0 in Ivy League)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Tim Murphy (19th Season)

DIVISION I-FCS (Ivy League)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Despite the omission of Ivy League teams from the postseason, the Harvard Crimson played as well as any team in Division I-FCS. Despite an early season loss to Holy Cross, the Crimson won 9 straight games, and finished with a perfect record in Ivy League. Under the strength of veteran head coach Tim Murphy, the Crimson look to repeat their Ivy League dominance in 2012, and become a perennial powerhouse in DI-FCS.

Quarterback Colton Chapple will return for his senior season, after throwing 12 touchdowns last season. Sophomore running back Zach Boden and Traevor Scales, who combined ran over 1,200 yards and 14 TD, will be a major running tandem this season. Receivers Kyle Juszcyzk and Cameron Brate will be long-range threats that Chapple could use to his advantage this season. 

Defensively, the Crimson will return key players that continue to impress every game. The notable players that are returning for 2012 are: Jake Boy (2 sacks), Josh Boyd (64 tackles), and Brian Owusu (2 interceptions).

2012 HARVARD CRIMSON SCHEDULE

Sept. 15: vs. San Diego (12:30)

Sept. 22: at #6 Brown (4:30)*

Sept. 29: vs. #7 Holy Cross (7:00)

Oct. 6: vs. Cornell (1:00)*

Oct. 13: vs. Bucknell (3:30)

Oct. 20: at Princeton (1:00)*

Oct. 27: at Dartmouth (5:00)*

Nov. 3: vs. Columbia (1:00)*

Nov. 10: at Penn (12:00)*

Nov. 17: vs. #11 Yale (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The Harvard Crimson look as good as ever, and they should be even better than last year's 9-1 squad. They might be the school's first perfect squad since 2004, and I feel they will finish 10-0 in 2012.

 3. Connecticut Huskies

2011 Record: 5-7 (3-4 in Big East)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Paul Pasqualoni (2nd Year)

DIVISION I-FBS (Big East Conference)

SEASON PREVIEW:

The Connecticut Huskies, two seasons removed from making an appearance in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, are currently in the midst of a rebuilding mode. In their second year under Paul Pasqualoni, the Huskies look to rebound after falling one win short of bowl eligibility in 2011.

Johnny McEntee, who was the team's starter in 2011, looks to be the team's starter again this year. McEntee had the eighth most pass attempts in school history (335). At running back is Lyle McCombs, who racked up 1,151 yards in his freshman season. Nick Williams and Mike Smith highlight the receivers that McEntee will target in 2012. With a young offensive line, McEntee will have to find his receivers quickly, and make big plays in the process.

Defensively, the Huskies have a young squad. The D-line features seniors Jesse Joseph and Trevardo Williams. Sio Moore leads a considerably young group of linebackers. But their secondary, highlighted by seniors Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, will be strong in 2012, looking to intercept passes. 

2012 CONNECTICUT HUSKIES SCHEDULE

Aug. 30: vs. #13 Massachusetts (7:30)

Sept. 8: vs. North Carolina State (12:00)

Sept. 15: at Maryland (12:30)*

Sept. 22: at Western Michigan (2:00)

Sept. 29: vs. Buffalo (12:00)

Oct. 6: at Rutgers (TBA)*

Oct. 13: vs. Temple (TBA)*

Oct. 19: at Syracuse (8:00)*

Nov. 3: at South Florida (TBA)*

Nov. 9: vs. Pittsburgh (8:00)*

Nov. 24: at 25Louisville (TBA)*

Dec. 1: vs. Cincinnati (TBA)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: Pasquaolini's Husky team might make a run at making a bowl appearance. I see them going 6-6 in 2012, with the possibility of clinching a bowl bid in 2012. Their defense might hurt due to their abundant youth, but they should endure for the better. 

 4. Maine Black Bears

2011 Season: 9-4 (6-2 in CAA)

Postseason: Lost to Georgia Southern in Quarterfinals of NCAA Tournament. 

Head Coach: Jack Cosgrove (19th Year)

DIVISION I-FCS (Colonial Athletic Assoc.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

A breakout season in the Colonial Athletic Association led the Maine Black Bears to a quarterfinal appearance in the 2011 FCS Football Tournament. Led by coach Jack Cosgrove, the Black Bears were one of two teams in New England (New Haven in DII) to make it that far in an NCAA tournament. 

Despite being picked to finish 6th in the CAA, the Black Bears still have the potential to do big things in 2012. The offense will be carried by offensive linemen, and receiving targets. Two offensive linemen, Chris Howley and Josh Spearin. Howley was also named a Preseason All-American by the Sports Network. Also, tight end Justin Perillo and wide receiver Josh Spearin will be key targets for starting quarterback Marcus Wasilewski.

The key player for the Black Bears on defense is defensive end Michael Cole. Cole had 11 sacks last season, and had 15 tackles for losses, which was good for fourth in the CAA, enroute to a Second-Team All-CAA award.

2012 MAINE BLACK BEARS SCHEDULE

Sept. 8: at #10 Boston College (1:00) 

Sept. 15: at Bryant (1:00)

Sept. 22: vs. Albany (6:00)

Sept. 29: vs. Villanova (3:30)*

Oct. 6: at Delaware (3:30)*

Oct. 13: at Towson (7:00)*

Oct. 20: vs. #1 New Hampshire (12:00)*

Oct. 27: at William and Mary (3:30)*

Nov. 3: vs. James Madison (3:30)*

Nov. 10: vs. Georgia State (2:00)*

Nov. 17: at #12 Rhode Island (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The talent pool that left Maine last year will leave its mark, but don't expect Maine to falter entirely. I believe they will finish 7-4 in 2012, and have a chance to qualify for an At-Large spot in the FCS Tournament. 

 5. New Haven Chargers

2011 Season: 11-2 (8-0 in Northeast 10)

Postseason: Lost to Winston-Salem State in Division II Tournament Quarterfinals

Head Coach: Peter Rossomando (4th Year)

DIVISION II (Northeast 10 Conference)

SEASON PREVIEW:

It must be the Renaissance of New Haven, Connecticut football. Three teams from the city are in the New England Top 20, and two of them from Division II. Even though these three teams defined accomplishment, one team went above and beyond, and defied gravity in the NCAA football society.

In its fourth season since its revival in 2007, the New Haven Chargers football squad is the one of only four schools (the other three being Maine, Harvard, and New Hampshire in the FCS) to be ranked in national polls for their respective division. They also made the NCAA Division II playoffs, eventually bowing out to Winston-Salem State, 27-7, in the National Quarterfinals.

Along with their national recognition (they are currently #13 in the DII rankings), the Chargers have the talent to back it up. Ryan Osiecki, the senior quarterback, was named to the Division II All-American first team. Wide receiver Jason Thompson and safety Bernard Risco were all named to the second team. Offensive lineman Zach Conklin and specialist Chris Scifo were named to the DII Third Team.

2012 NEW HAVEN CHARGERS SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: vs. #19 Merrimack (1:00)*

Sept. 8: at Saint Augustine's (7:00)

Sept. 15: at Pace (1:00)*

Sept. 22: vs. Saint Anselm (1:00)*

Oct. 6: vs. Assumption (1:00)*

Oct. 13: at #15 Bentley (1:00)*

Oct. 18: at Stonehill (8:00)*

Oct. 27: vs. #8 Southern CT State (1:00)*

Nov. 3: at #14 American Intl. (1:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: With the best quarterback in Division II (Osiecki), the Chargers should handily defeat all of these teams. I predict that they will go 10-0 this season, and make a run for the Division II Championship. 

 6. Brown Bears

2011 Season: 7-3 (4-3 in Ivy League)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Phil Estes (Fifteenth Year)

DIVISION I-FCS (Ivy League)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Since their last Ivy League football title in 2008, the Brown Bears have been a contender in the Ivy League. Battling with the likes of Cornell, Harvard, and Penn, the Bears have always ranked high in the Ivy League standings since Phil Estes took over as head coach in 1998 (they have finished in the top half of the standings 11 times in 15 years).

Picked to finish fourth in the Ivy League in 2012, the Bears will have to overcome many challenges to soar to the top. Defensively, this team has strong leadership that will rank high in the Ivy League. Defensive back AJ Cruz, who is a dual threat in the special teams department as well, is the notable player that will make waves with his defensive prowess and his sensational speed.

Patrick Donnelly will be the quarterback in 2012. Donnelly last played in 2010, but will have to carry the weight of the team in 2012 to be a challenger in the Ivy League. Running back Mark Kachmer, who has been a two-time All-Ivy Leaguer, is expected to build on a 500-yard season in 2011. 

2012 BROWN BEARS SCHEDULE

Sept. 15: at #7 Holy Cross (1:00)

Sept. 22: vs. #2 Harvard (4:30)*

Sept. 29: at Georgetown (2:00)

Oct. 6: at #12 Rhode Island (1:00)

Oct. 13: at Princeton (12:00)*

Oct. 20: vs. Cornell (12:00)*

Oct. 27: at Penn (1:00)*

Nov. 3: vs. #11 Yale (12:30)*

Nov. 10: at Dartmouth (1:30)*

Nov. 17: vs. Columbia (12:30)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: Brown has tough games, especially against Harvard, Holy Cross, URI, and Yale, but they should power through some of those games, and be successful. I predict that the Brown Bears will finish 6-4 this season, and will be a top contender in the Ivy League this season. 

 7. Holy Cross Crusaders

A strong non-conference schedule will be a challenge for the Holy Cross Crusaders this season. Especially as a candidate to win the 2012 Patriot League title, they should be able to contend with those non-conference foes.

They will play #1 New Hampshire to start the season in Worcester. Then, the following week, they will play #6 Brown at Worcester. After a game against Dartmouth, they will then go up to Cambridge to play #2 Harvard. Already, there are three big opponents that this team will play.

Eventually, on November 3, the Crusaders will play the nationally-ranked Lehigh Mountain Hawks, which will be a test to determine the conference's best team. Overall, this team, with many strong players returning (mostly on defense), they should finish with a winning record, but their ceiling currently is that of a number two team in the Patriot League. 

 8. Southern Connecticut State Owls

2011 Record: 7-3 (6-2 in Northeast 10)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Rich Cavanaugh (28th Year)

DIVISION II (Northeast 10 Conference)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Southern Connecticut State, guided by veteran leadership and talent, finished second in the 2011 Northeast 10 standings, finishing behind nationally ranked New Haven. As a result of their performance, they achieved their eleventh straight winning season, and the title of ECAC Division II Player of the Year.

On offense, the team will be led by quarterback Jacob Jablonski. Last season, Jablonski went 15 of 25 last season, with 189 yards. Vaughn McGee and JW Forte will lead the running core, and receiver Willie Epps will continue his rise up the school record books in 2012.

Defensively, Mwamba Williams, Carlif Williams, AJ Marsiglia, and Zachary Williams charge up the defensive line. Jack Cooper and Nathan Tyler provide defensive experience at the linebacker position, and Steven Teague helps out the secondary in 2012. All in all, the 2012 Owls will be a strong defensive team this year, and this will help their rank in the Northeast 10. 

2012 SOUTHERN CT STATE SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: at Indiana of PA (1:00)

Sept. 8: at Stonehill (1:00)*

Sept. 15: vs. Saint Augustine's (1:00)

Sept. 22: at #19 Merrimack (1:00)*

Sept. 29: vs. Saint Anselm (1:00)*

Oct. 6: at Pace (1:00)*

Oct. 13: vs. #14 American Intl. (1:00)*

Oct. 19: vs. Assumption (7:00)*

Oct. 27: at #5 New Haven (1:00)*

Nov. 3: vs. #15 Bentley (1:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The big challenge that awaits Southern Connecticut State is against New Haven, but they should handily beat every other opponent this season. I predict that their record will be 8-2, and they should be in the thick for the playoff race.

 9. Trinity Bantams

2011 Record: 7-1 (7-1 in NESCAC)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Jeff Devanney (Seventh Year)

DIVISION III (NE Small College Ath. Assoc.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

After finishing in second place in 2011, the Trinity Bantams are fired up and ready to play in 2012. Under the guidance of head coach Jeff Devanney, return two All-NESCAC running backs and three All-NESCAC linemen, plus 5 defensive starters to round out a solid squad.

The dream team of running backs returns for their second year as Bantams. Juniors Evan Bunker and Ben Crick formed a formidable running tandem in their freshman years, and now return to continue piling up damage for opposing defenders. Mike Valenti, Gino Arnold, Tim O'Brien, Andrew Weiss, and Joe Magardino will serve as the team's offensive line in 2012.

The Bantams led all of Division III in scoring defense, total defense, and rushing defense last season. Donald McDonald will lead the brigade as the team's nose tackler, while linebackers Andrew Paul and Joe Goniprow take charge in the middle. The defense, with a mix of solid upper and underclassmen, look to be one of the sharpest in the NCAA.

2012 TRINITY BANTAMS SCHEDULE

Sept. 22: vs. Bates (1:00)*

Sept. 29: at Williams (1:30)*

Oct. 6: at Hamilton (1:00)*

Oct. 13: vs. Tufts (1:30)*

Oct. 20: at Bowdoin (1:00)*

Oct. 27: vs. Middlebury (12:30)*

Nov. 3: vs. Amherst (12:30)*

Nov. 10: at Wesleyan CT (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: This Trinity team looks as though they didn't skip a beat from last season. Their toughest contest will come November 3 versus Amherst (2011 NESCAC champ), and I think they could beat them this year. I think their record will be 8-0, and they should win their first NESCAC title since 2008. 

 10. Boston College Eagles

2011 Record: 4-8 (3-5 in ACC)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Frank Spaziani (Fourth Year)

DIVISION I-FBS (Atlantic Coast Conf.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

A young Boston College team took the field last season, and managed to finish 4-8 with a 3-5 record in the ACC. Now that most of their starters are juniors and seniors (with a blend of sophomores), the Boston College Eagles look to be a strong challenger in the ACC this season.

Led by head coach Frank Spaziani, the Eagles have eight returning offensive starters and seven on defense, giving them a solid core of players willing to break the cycle, and return to a bowl game.

A major contributor from last year's squad that looks to continue his impact on BC football is quarterback Chase Rettig. Even with a 4-8 record in his first year as a starter, Rettig has improved with his command of passes and his accuracy. Rettig also has quality weapons to use with his aerial assault. Running backs Rolandan Finch and Tahj Kimble, receivers Colin Larmond Jr., Alex Amidon, and Bobby Swigert, and six returning linemen will surely assist Rettig this season.

After losing Luke Kuechly, one of the most decorated defensive players in school history, one of the big question marks this year will be on the defensive side. Linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto, defensive back Jim Noel, and defensive linemen Kaleb Ramsey and Dillon Quinn are all notable returnees to the Eagles defense in 2012.

2012 BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: vs. Miami (FL) (3:30)*

Sept. 8: vs. #4 Maine (1:00)

Sept. 15: at Northwestern (3:30)

Sept. 29: vs. 14Clemson (TBA)*

Oct. 6: at Army (12:00)

Oct. 13: at 7Florida State (TBA)*

Oct. 20: at Georgia Tech (TBA)*

Oct. 27: vs. Maryland (TBA)*

Nov. 3: at Wake Forest (TBA)*

Nov. 10: vs. Notre Dame (TBA)

Nov. 17: vs. 16Virginia Tech (TBA)*

Nov. 24: at North Carolina State (TBA)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: This Boston College squad has a lot of tests along the way. Along with playing three AP Top 25 ranked teams, they have to play non-conference games against Northwestern and Notre Dame. This team should finish the year 4-8, but expect big things in the years to come. 

11. Yale Bulldogs 

2011 Season: 5-5 (4-3 in Ivy League)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Tony Reno (First Year)

DIVISION I-FCS (Ivy League)

SEASON PREVIEW:

A 5-5 record and a tie for second place in the Ivy League clearly defined how the Yale Bulldogs looked last season. A middle of the pack team with mainly sophomores and juniors, the Bulldogs needed a new leader to take the reigns of the team.

Luckily, they found their man in Tony Reno, who became the 34th head coach in school history. A Harvard assistant before taking the job, Reno had experience working at Yale, working his way up to Associate Head Coach before heading to Harvard.

Reno came to Yale at the right time, because the talent on the team is fully abundant and ready to pounce. Entering the year, 12 Bulldogs were named to the All-Ivy League team. Notable names on offense include running back Mordecai Cargill, wide receiver Chris Smith, and offensive lineman Wes Galvin. Expect Cargill to have a big offensive year, because the strong offensive line will protect him in the backfield, and his yards per carry rate will go up.

The Yale defense appears to be prosperous and ready to pounce at any time. Ivy League first teamers Nick Okano and Kurt Stottlemyer are expected to lead the charge, and get results instantaneously. The promise of this defense will really benefit the offense, and the games will be exciting and intense.

2012 YALE BULLDOGS SCHEDULE

Sept. 15: at Georgetown (1:00)

Sept. 22: at Cornell (1:00)*

Sept. 29: vs. Colgate (12:00)

Oct. 6: vs. Dartmouth (12:00)*

Oct. 13: vs. Lafayette (12:00)

Oct. 20: vs. Penn (12:00)*

Oct. 27: at Columbia (12:30)*

Nov. 3: at #6 Brown (12:30)*

Nov. 10: vs. Princeton (12:00)*

Nov. 17: at #2 Harvard (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: This Yale squad has the potential to do some damage. However, their quarterback (most likely senior Derek Russell) position is unsettled, which might force a heavy reliance on the running game. They should go 5-5 this season, but finish in the Top 4 in the Ivy League.

 12. Rhode Island Rams

2011 Season: 3-8 (3-5 in Colonial)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Joe Trainer (Fourth Year)

DIVISION I-FCS (Colonial Athletic Assoc.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Despite a 3-8 record in 2011, the Rhode Island Rams look to be a contender for the Colonial Athletic Association title. Head coach Joe Trainer has high hopes for his team this season, and claims that this year will be "exciting."

 One of the big factors in URI that could lead to success down the road is quarterback Bob Bentsen. In five starts last season, the junior led the Rams to wins over Delaware and William and Mary, and a near upset over New Hampshire. Expect Bentsen to have a great season at quarterback for the Rams.

A major key for the Rams this season is the development of their secondary. In a pass-heavy league like the Colonial Athletic Association, the Rams have mostly sophomores and freshmen, with one junior (Clement Ani). With 6 tackles and an interception last year, expect Ani to be a versatile playmaker on defense. 

Even though they are picked to be 10th of 11 in the CAA, the Rams have an advantage that very few teams have. In Trainer's tenure as head coach, the Rams have gone 7-3 at Meade Stadium, making it a hostile place for opposing teams to play.

2012 RHODE ISLAND RAMS SCHEDULE

Sept. 8: at Monmouth (1:00)

Sept. 15: at Villanova (3:30)*

Sept. 22: vs. James Madison (1:00)*

Sept. 29: at Bowling Green (3:30)

Oct. 6: vs. #6 Brown (1:00)

Oct. 13: vs. Georgia State (1:00)*

Oct. 20: at Delaware (3:30)*

Oct. 27: vs. #1 New Hampshire (12:00)*

Nov. 3: at Richmond (6:00)*

Nov. 10: at Towson (3:30)*

Nov. 17: vs. #4 Maine (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: There are many variables that could determine the success of the URI Rams football team. Judging by the success of the team at Meade Stadium, plus the emergence of quarterback Bob Bentsen, I could see the URI Rams finishing with a 5-6 record, which is two wins better than last year.

 13. Massachusetts Minutemen

2011 Record: 5-6 (3-5 in Colonial)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Charley Molnar (First Year)

DIVISION I-FBS (Mid-American Conf.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

In the midst of the biggest transition in program history, the Massachusetts Minutemen are about to embark on a quest from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Mid-American Conference of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Led by first year head coach Charley Molnar, an offensive guru who coordinated the offenses at Central Michigan, Notre Dame, and Cincinnati. It is evident that Molnar will be a big contributor to the success of Massachusetts as they begin their debut season in the FBS.

The only thing that the Minutemen have working against them is a freshman quarterback. Mike Wegzyn is looking to be the favorite for the starting job, but in a new environment with tougher defenses, Wegzyn is going to have to adjust to the speed and toughness that opposing defenses will bring.

The running game looks to be improving, and other offensive tools (offensive line and wide receivers) are young, but improving. Also, the defense is looking promising, with a mix of veterans and rookies. With games now at Gillette Stadium, it will be interesting to see how this bunch adapts to the bigger fan atmosphere. 

2012 MASSACHUSETTS SCHEDULE

Aug. 30: at #3 Connecticut (7:30)

Sept. 8: vs. Indiana (3:30)

Sept. 15: at 8Michigan (3:30)

Sept. 22: at Miami of Ohio (12:00)*

Sept. 29: vs. Ohio (3:30)*

Oct. 6: at Western Michigan (2:00)*

Oct. 20: vs. Bowling Green (12:00)*

Oct. 27: at Vanderbilt (TBA)

Nov. 3: at Northern Illinois (3:30)*

Nov. 10: at Akron (2:00)*

Nov. 17: vs. Buffalo (TBA)*

Nov. 23: vs. Central Michigan (TBA)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: This UMASS team is making a bold move by moving up to the FBS. However, they are a young team, and will struggle tremendously while adjusting. I would expect this team to go 3-9 this year, because it is a rough transition, and it will take a few years before this team goes over the .500 hump. 

 14. American International Yellow Jackets

2011-12 Record: 6-4 (5-3 in Northeast 10)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Art Wilkins (Nineteenth Year)

DIVISION II (Northeast 10 Conference)

SEASON PREVIEW:

The American International Yellow Jackets entered 2011 ranked number 12 in New England in the first ever Boston Hot Spot poll. However, with a record of 6-4 and tough defeats throughout the season, American International started its fall down the rankings, even missing the rankings for 5 weeks. However, this year's Yellow Jacket team is poised and determined to overcome those odds, and perform at the highest level.

Led by 19th-year head coach Art Wilkins, the Yellow Jackets have two players that were honored by Beyond Football Network and the USA Football News. The Yellow Jackets boast one of the best punters in Northeast 10, and arguably Division II. Still only a sophomore, Daniel Backx, who hails from England, averaged 41.02 yards per punt last season (19th in Division II), and looks to hone his craft against the top competitors in the Northeast 10.

Also getting honored is the defensive leader of the squad, sophomore linebacker Joel Bowen. In his freshman season, Bowen had 61 tackles, and finished second in the conference with 6 tackles for a loss. Bowen will lead this young defensive squad, and hopefully gear them towards a title.

2012 AMER. INTERNATIONAL SCHEDULE

Sept. 8: at Shepherd (12:00)

Sept. 15: at #19 Merrimack (1:00)*

Sept. 21: vs. Pace (7:00)*

Sept. 29: at Assumption (1:00)*

Oct. 5: vs. Stonehill (7:00)*

Oct. 13: at #8 Southern CT State (1:00)*

Oct. 20: vs. #15 Bentley (1:00)*

Oct. 26: at Saint Anselm (7:00)*

Nov. 3: vs. #5 New Haven (1:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: There are a lot of question marks with this Bentley squad. The biggest flaw this team has is youth. With only 13 seniors on the squad, this team will experience a rebuilding year of sorts. Despite being picked to finish 3rd in the Northeast 10, I feel that they will go 5-4 this season. 

 15. Bentley Falcons

2011-12 Record: 6-4 (4-4 in Northeast 10)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Thom Boerman (Fourth Year)

DIVISION II (Northeast 10 Conference)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Even with a winning record in 2012, a then-young Bentley Falcons team could not compete with the likes New Haven and Southern Connecticut State. However, with 15 starters returning to the team, the Falcons could be a contender in 2012.

On offense, Head Coach Thom Boerman chose junior Danny Guadagnoli to be the team's starter at quarterback. Zahradka, who replaced longtime starter Bryant Johnson, has some great players to work with on offense. Running back Bobby Tarr and wide receiver Bill Kiley will be big factors on offense, along with All-Conference lineman Nick Halloran.

Defensively, the Falcons should maintain competitiveness with opposing offenses. The key names that will make their return to Bentley include linebackers Blaine Hopwood and Kyle Young. They ranked among the top tacklers on the Falcons in 2011, and they should be a great tandem in 2012.

2012 BENTLEY FALCONS SCHEDULE

Aug. 31: vs. Pace (7:00)*

Sept. 8: at West VA-Wesleyan (12:00)

Sept. 14: at Assumption (7:00)*

Sept. 28: vs. Stonehill (7:00)*

Oct. 6: at Saint Anselm (7:00)*

Oct. 13: vs. #5 New Haven (1:00)*

Oct. 20: at #14 American Intl. (1:00)*

Oct. 27: vs. #19 Merrimack (12:00)*

Nov. 3: at #8 Southern CT State (1:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: Bentley will have their hands full with competition like New Haven, Southern Connecticut State, American International, and Merrimack. With that talent in mind, they should finish 6-4, yet they will play a lot of games that will come down to the wire. 

 16. Framingham State Rams

2011-12 Record: 7-4 (6-1 in NEFC)

Postseason: Lost to Western New England in NEFC Championship Game

Head Coach: Tom Kelley (Sixth Season)

DIVISION III (New England Football Conf.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Despite falling short in the NEFC Conference Championship to Western New England (in overtime, 20-13) last season, the Framingham State Rams look to avenge their late season demise, and take the NEFC by storm. Predicted as the preseason favorite in the Bogan polls by the coaches, Framingham looks to blossom in the polls, and be a challenger to the Golden Bears.

This will be the last year that Framingham State will be in the NEFC. In 2013-14, the Rams and seven other schools will begin a new football league based in Massachusetts, the MASCAC. As a result, the Rams want to go out in style, and take their last possible NEFC title.

Led by sixth-year head coach Tom Kelley, the Rams have a talented squad that can contend in the NEFC. Three Rams players were named to the Division III All-American squad (according to Beyond Sports Network). On offense, running back Melikke Van Alstyne will charge up a strong backfield. After running for 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns, expect Van Alstyne to lead the charge again in his senior season.

On defense, the Rams look to build the momentum. Defensive lineman James Muirhead and defensive back Tyrone Notice have the skill sets needed to take charge of a strong Rams defense. Muirhead had 70 tackles last season, and Notice had 6 interceptions in 2011. Look for them to do bigger things down the road.

2012 FRAMINGHAM STATE SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: vs. Endicott (12:00)

Sept. 7: at Nichols (7:00)

Sept. 15: vs. UMASS-Dartmouth (1:00)*

Sept. 21: at #17 Bridgewater State (7:00)*

Sept. 29: vs. Mass Maritime (12:00)*

Oct. 6: at Fitchburg State (1:30)*

Oct. 13: vs. Maine Maritime (1:00)*

Oct. 20: at Westfield State (2:00)*

Oct. 27: at Coast Guard (1:30)*

Nov. 3: vs. Worcester State (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The Rams might not have 66 returning players (Western New England) or 18 returning starters (Bridgewater State), but Framingham State has a firm depth of talent that will carry them far in 2012. The big game that will determine their fate is against Bridgewater State, which will have a similar magnitude to that of the NEFC Championship Game. They should go 8-2 in 2012, and duel with Bridgewater State for the Bogan Division crown.

 17. Bridgewater State Bears

2011-12 Record: 7-3 (5-2 in NEFC)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: Chuck Denune (Eighth Year)

DIVISION III (New England Football Conf.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

Despite not making the postseason last year, the Bridgewater State Bears are poised and determined to make a move up the standings in 2012. Picked as a co-favorite (along with Framingham State), the Bears hope that they could leave the NEFC on a high note. Next year, the Bears and several other schools are leaving the conference to form a football league for the MASCAC.

The main highlight of Bridgewater State this season is their returning starters. They are returning 10 offensive and 8 defensive starters this season. Seven returning players have had recognition from the NEFC, as they won All-Bogan Division Honors.

The defense is looking to be a strong focal point in the Bears gameplan this season. Defensive tackle Paul Melicharek, linebackers Alex Monteiro and Justin Cruz, defensive end Tate Doehler, and cornerback Eddie Jewel all were honored with All-Bogan Division honors in 2011, and look to revive an already strong defense.

On offense, the signal caller this season will be junior Mike McCarthy. McCarthy is known to be a strong dual threat QB, strong in both the run and passing games. Throwing for 1,827 yards and running for 1,118 more, McCarthy will rack up yards consistently, and give defenses trouble.

Blaise Branch, who won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, looks to be a strong back this season. Backed with a strong offensive line (who assisted in gaining 3,517 total yards), Branch should run for 1,000 yards this season.

2012 BRIDGEWATER STATE SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: at Springfield (7:00)

Sept. 8: UMASS-Dartmouth (12:00)

Sept. 15: Endicott (12:00)

Sept. 21: #16 Framingham State (7:00)*

Sept. 29: at Westfield State (1:00)*

Oct. 6: at Coast Guard (1:30)*

Oct. 13: vs. Worcester State (1:00)*

Oct. 20: at Fitchburg State (1:30)*

Oct. 27: vs. Maine Maritime (12:00)*

Nov. 3: at Massachusetts Maritime (12:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The strength of schedule that Bridgewater State helps their cause for staying competitive in the NEFC. Only playing one ranked opponent (Framingham State), the Bears have the potential to have a strong record against an otherwise weak Bogan Division. They should go 8-2 this year, competing with Framingham State for the top spot in the Bogan Division. 

 18. Western New England Golden Bears

2011-12 Record: 10-2 (7-0 NEFC)

Postseason: Lost to Salisbury State in in First Round of NCAA Tournament

Head Coach: Keith Emery (Ninth Year)

DIVISION III (New England Football Conf.)

SEASON PREVIEW:

After making the school's first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament last season, the Western New England Golden Bears have 66 players returning from that squad. Led by coach Keith Emery (who has a 19-4 mark since 2010), the Golden Bears are the favorites to win the Boyd Division title and a spot in the NEFC Football Championship.

Three Golden Bears recently earned spots on the USA Football News Division III Preseason All-Star team. Kick-returner Michael Graham, who returned four touchdowns on kick returns last year, will be a driving force in the special teams department in 2012. An All-American according to D3Football.com and Beyond Sports Network, Graham looks to build off of his breakout 2011 season, and help fuel the fire on special teams.

Another preseason All-Star was Phil Tsopanides, who is making the transition from defensive back to linebacker this season. Last season, Tsopanides had 52 tackles and 3 interceptions. Making the transition to linebacker isn't easy, but the 5-9, 175 pounder has the strength and passivity to make big plays on the line.

Defensive lineman James Georges helps Tsopanides strengthen an already strong defense with some strength and size. Coming in at 6-2 and 225 lbs, had 17.5 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 2011. He was first team All-Boyd division in 2010 and 2011, and his strong defensive play should get him a third first team bid in 2012.

On the offensive side, junior quarterback John Krafcik will get the reigns of the offense after dual-threat QB Bryce Brown graduated. In 12 games last season, Krafcik went 27 for 45, with a touchdown pass and 2 interceptions. Sophomore Kevin Cook, who had 765 rushing yards in his freshman year, looks to be the breakout star on this offense, as he is projected to go over 1,000 yards this season.

2012 WESTERN NEW ENGLAND SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: at #20 Norwich (1:30)

Sept. 8: vs. Westfield State (1:00)

Sept. 15: vs. Worcester State (100)

Sept. 22: at Nichols (1:00)*

Sept. 29: vs. Salve Regina (1:00)*

Oct. 6: at Curry (1:00)*

Oct. 13: vs. MIT (1:00)*

Oct. 20: at Plymouth State (1:00)*

Oct. 27: at Endicott (5:00)*

Nov. 3: UMASS-Dartmouth (1:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: Western New England only plays one ranked team in Norwich, but expect the Salve Regina and Endicott contests to be tight and exciting. Along with 66 players returning from last year's NEFC championship team, Western New England should finish 8-2, with another shot at competing for the NEFC crown.

 19. Merrimack Warriors

2011-12 Record: 6-4 (5-3 in Northeast 10)

Postseason: None

Head Coach: John Perry (Fifth Year)

DIVISION II (Northeast 10)

SEASON PREVIEW:

The Merrimack Warriors, who maintained a competitive balance last season within the Northeast 10 standings, return for the 2012 season with hopes to challenge the likes of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State for the Northeast 10 championship. The Warriors finished fourth in the conference last season, behind New Haven, Southern Connecticut State, and American International.

On offense, the Warriors look to be strong with some key returning players leading the charge. At quarterback is senior Joe Clancy, who was the backup to Northeast 10 Player of the Year, James Suozzo. The running game is led by Jimon Hill, who led the team with 898 yards on the ground last season. Wide receiver Isaiah Voegeli hopes to build off a strong junior season that got him All-Region honors.

On defense, Michael Wiggins had 66 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Wiggins is looking to build off of those impressive numbers going into his senior season. Artis Holt helps strengthen an already strong secondary that intercepted 13 passes last season. 

2012 MERRIMACK WARRIORS SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: at #5 New Haven (1:00)*

Sept. 8: vs. Rowan (1:00)

Sept. 15. vs. #14 American Intl. (1:00)*

Sept. 22: vs. #8 S. Conn. State (1:00)*

Sept. 29: at Pace (1:00)*

Oct. 13: at Stonehill (12:00)*

Oct. 20: vs. Saint Anselm (1:00)*

Oct. 27: at #15 Bentley (12:00)*

Nov. 3: vs. Assumption (1:00)*

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The Warriors have a tough schedule ahead of them, facing off against four ranked teams in the New England Top 20 this season. They should be able to win at least one of those games, potentially three, but they should be fairly similar to last year. With a potential record of 6-3, the Warriors look to be competitive in the Northeast 10 this season. 

 20. Norwich Cadets

2011-12 Record: 7-4 (1st in ECFC)

Playoffs: Lost to Delaware Valley, 62-10 in First Round of NCAA Tournament 

Head Coach: Mark Murnyack (2nd Year)

DIVISION III (Eastern Collegiate)

SEASON PREVIEW:

The Norwich Cadets, who had their breakout season in 2011-2012, made their first NCAA Division III playoff appearance in school history. With Mark Murnyack at the helm, Norwich finished 7-4, with an unbeaten record in league play, to win the Eastern Collegiate Football League title for the second time in three years. 

The Cadets have several returning players for the 2012-13 squad. Quarterback Kris Sadbourin returns for his senior year, and currently has a 23-7 record in his career with Norwich. Just 390 yards short of setting the school record, Sadbourin is a dual-threat quarterback who can pass consistently and also play the ground game well (he had 1,102 yards and 9 TD on the ground last season). 

Even though Sadbourin could carry the ball consistently, the running back core (senior Danny Triplett, soph. Derrick Pitts and soph. Al Georgio) needs to pick up the pace in order to not over-rely on Sadbourin's running abilities.

All-ECFC second teamers on the offensive line, Sean Southworth and Matt Gallagher, will help provide stability on the offensive line, and provide Sadbourin protection.

Matt Simonelli captains a young but still productive defense that might lead the charge in the ECFC. Leading tackler Jimmy Labell leads the spark, and the remainder of the defense looks to follow suit.

2012 NORWICH CADETS SCHEDULE

Sept. 1: #18 Western New England (1:30)

Sept. 8: at Saint Lawrence (1:00)

Sept. 15: vs. Worcester Tech (2:00)

Sept. 29: at Mount Ida* (1:00)

Oct. 6: vs. Castleton* (1:30)

Oct. 13: at Gallaudet* (12:00)

Oct. 20: vs. Husson* (1:30)

Oct. 27: at Anna Maria* (1:00)

Nov. 3: vs. SUNY Maritime* (1:00)

Nov. 10: at Becker* (12:00)

*-ECFC Game

TIM SCOTT PREDICTION: The Cadets will have a tough season opener against Western New England, but they should win a majority of their games this season. Their final record should be 8-2, and they should be able to clinch another spot in the NCAA tournament. 

2012 Boston Hot Spot Top 20 Rankings

1. New Hampshire (CAA, FCS)

2. Harvard (Ivy League, FCS)

3. Connecticut (Big East, FBS)

4. Maine (CAA, FCS)

5. New Haven (Northeast 10, D2)

6. Brown (Ivy League, FCS)

7. Holy Cross (Patriot, FCS)

8. Southern CT St. (NE 10, D2)

9. Trinity Colege (NESCAC, D3)

10. Boston College (ACC, FBS)

11. Yale (Ivy League, FCS)

12. Rhode Island (CAA, FCS)

13. Massachusetts (MAC, FBS)

14. American Intl. (NE10, D2)

15. Bentley (Northeast 10, D2)

16. Framingham St. (NEFC, D3)

17. Bridgewater St. (NEFC, D3)

18. West New England (NEFC, D3)

19. Merrimack (Northeast 10, D2)

20. Norwich (ECFC, D3)

 RBB MOCK DRAFT

By: Taylor Snyder
*Note that this mock draft doesn’t include the counselors drafting themselves. This is only for campers getting picked.

1. Jack “Singapore” Machulski- I think you take Singapore first in the draft this year. The question is why is this guy not a top 2 pick? He has 2 championships in the 2-year history of the sport. He is a sharpshooter with great scoring and assist numbers, and the guy can flat out play. You want that championship trophy, and you want that powerhouse on your team, hence you get Singapore 1st in the draft


2. Shane Godek- Shane is a great leader in the game of rug burn ball and won a title back in 2010 with “Wang Bang”. He is a good all around guy, and it was no wonder how excited people were when he announced he was going to be at RBB 2012 because of his great skills. If you want a guy that will lead your team throughout the stretch, and can get you to a championship on any given day, then you pick Shane with your 2nd pick.

3. Tyler Murry- Tyler won Rookie of the Year last year. He played on All Heart, who had a pretty average season. Not much is remembered from their team, but Tyler Murry was great trade bait midway through the season. All Heart was able to hold on to him. He is a guy who is a scoring machine and a assist leader. He held firm in the scoring department last year, and if you want a guy that will score your way to victory you pick Tyler in the RBB draft

4. Rookie to be Named Later- I predict that a top rookie will be picked in this slot. Usually around the 4th pick is the team that is too late to get a big name guy. Rather, they will go with a rookie to build up the team. I think the best combine performer will have a lucky day getting picked in this slot. 

5. Byron Toleffson- This is his 3rd year and he has yet to get that title. He is a experienced guy, and can really find a way to get you that extra step. I think you pick him in this spot because of his experience alone. 

6. Matt Carrigan- Matt is a great and strong player. He is a guy that still has something to prove in his Rug Burn Ball career. You pick him because of his good size, and muscle. He will play some good defense for you, and get you goals here and there.


7. Tim Best- You pick Tim Best right here and I’ll tell you why. He is the best goalie in the league next to KJ Hoover. Hence he got the nickname “Stonewall”. He exploded in the playoffs with his great 1st round game where he went 21/23 for saves. He is that goalie that you will need. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes earlier for a team that desperately wants to take care of their goalie situation. You get Stonewall right here because he is a guy that will stop whatever comes his way. 

8. Kevin Linsey- Linsey pulled a Jeremy Lin in 2011 exploding with goals, and so much more. Some may say that this may be a risk pick considering he has only had 1 good season. But you have to be realistic. The guy as we saw can play some good rug burn ball. He will definitely bring the team some publicity with his great fan base. I think he has another great season in 2012. 

9. Matthew Stolbof- I think he is a guy that people overlook. He has scored a lot for the teams he’s played for. Jaffe loved having him aboard his squad last year. He is very underrated, and he will score a lot for your team. I think If you want that 2nd guy that will support your first big guy then he is the guy for you. If you’re smart you get him to add to your starting lineup. 

10. Taylor Snyder- It may be Mr. Rug Burn Balls last season, and he has yet to get that title. He is an all around guy, and he is a big assist leader. Snyder has a good arm on him, but his bad luck in the past has only gotten him 5 or 6 goals in a season. He will fight as hard as he can to get that title he desperately wants. You want a guy that will bring intensity, and passion you pick him with the 10th pick in the draft.

 2012 RED SOX DRAFT RECAP

by Tim Scott

After 5:00 pm last night, no unsigned draft pick could sign a contract with a major league club, due to the new collective bargaining agreement. The Red Sox, even before the deadline, signed all their 13 top picks, and they are now assigned to teams within the Red Sox farm system.

Some teams, however, did not come up lucky in signing their top picks. For example, the Pirates were unable to sign top pick Mark Appel of Stanford due to his demand of a salary higher than slot value. He was the only first round pick not to sign, and he will return to Stanford in 2013.

The Red Sox have had successful drafts over the years, and this year's is no different. The Sox had three first round picks, and only drafted two high school players in the first ten rounds. The Red Sox tend to draft more collegiate players, and that is an effective strategy, granted that the top Sox prospects (Jackie Bradley, Matt Barnes) all hail from top collegiate programs. 

So now, here's a synopsis of every player drafted by the Red Sox, and their status after the July 13 deadline.

BOLD-Signed

Round  Player              POS       School

1        Deven Marrero   SS     Arizona State

1*       Chris Johnson   LHP    Florida

1s*        Pat Light        RHP   Monmouth

 2      Jamie Callahan RHP   Hamer, SC

 3        Austin Maddox  RHP    Florida

 4        Ty Buttrey        RHP Charlotte, NC

 5       Mike Augliera     RHP   Binghamton

 6        Justin Haley     RHP   Fresno St.

 7       Kyle Kraus        RHP    Portland

 8     Nathan Minnich   1B  Shepherd Col.

 9       Mike Miller         SS     Cal Poly

10      JT Watkins         C       Army

 11      Jamal Martin      OF Palm Beach, FL

 12     Mike Meyers       SS  Las Vegas, NV

 13     JB Wendleken    RHP  Middle Geo.

 14     Dylan Chavez     LHP   Ole Miss

 15     Carson Fulmer    RHP  Wtr Haven, FL

 16   Stephen Williams RHP Seminole St.

 17    Willie Ethington  RHP   Mesa, AZ

 18   Shaq Thompson    OF  Sacram., CA

 19    Ishea Conklin      OF Iowa Western

 20     Greg Larson       RHP   Florida

 21     Jake Davies        1B  Georgia Tech

 22    Joe Greenfield     RHP S. Suburban CC

 23    Brandon Magee    OF  Arizona State

 24    Keaton Briscoe    2B   British Colum.

 25     Khiry Cooper      OF   Nebraska

 26     Jacob Nelson       RHP  Carol City, FL

 27   Quinn Carpenter    RHP   Goshen, NY

 28      Wes Rogers         OF  Greenville, SC

 29    Alex Bregman       2B Albuquerque, NM

 30     Justin Taylor       RHP Farmville, NC

 31     Austin Davis        RHP  Southern Miss

 32     Hunter Davis       RHP   Rogers, AR

 33    Chris Carlson         OF  Orange Cst CC

 34     Xavier Turner       3B   Sandusky, OH

 35      Pat Delano          RHP  Braintree, MA

 36    Miguel Rodriguez  C     Charlotte

 37   Jonathan Dziedic    RHP    Lamar

 38      Donald Smith        C      Claflin

 39     Kurt Schulter        RHP   Stetson

 40      Kevin Heller         OF    Amherst

 FA     Kevin Mager        1B     Florida

*-Compensation for Jonathan Papelbon

As it stands right now, the majority of Red Sox draft picks signed on with the organization to begin their professional careers. Placement is critical to the overall progression of prospects. So now, here's a look at the rosters of each team with 2012 draft picks on them.

LOWELL SPINNERS: Pat Light (P), Justin Haley (P), Mike Augliera (P), Brian Johnson (P-YTD), Deven Marrero (SS), JT Watkins (C), Nathan Minnich (1B), Kyle Kraus (P), Greg Larson (P)

GCL RED SOX: JB Wendleken (P), Ty Buttrey (P-YTD), Jamie Callahan (P-YTD), Jake Davies (1B), Ishea Conklin (OF), Kevin Mager (1B), Keaton Briscoe (2B), Mike Meyers (SS), Shaq Thompson (OF), Miguel Rodriguez (DH), 

YET TO BE ASSIGNED: Austin Maddox (P), Khiry Cooper (OF), Willie Ethington (P), Brandon Magee (OF), Stephen Williams (RHP)

Even though these following players did not sign, it's important that they gain a substantial collegiate education, and in the process, get a higher draft selection down the road. Here are the players that did not sign, and their plans for 2013.

OF Jamal Martin (11th): Florida State

RHP Carson Fulmer (15th): Vanderbilt

RHP Joe Greenfield (22nd): Eastern Illinois

RHP Jacob Nelson (26th): Cen. Washington

RHP Quinn Carpenter (27th): East Carolina

OF Wes Rogers (28th): Spartanburg Meth. 

SS Alex Bregman (29th): LSU

RHP Justin Taylor (30th): East Carolina

RHP Austin Davis (31st): Southern Miss (QB)

RHP Hunter Wood (32nd): Howard College

OF Chris Carlson (33rd): UC Irvine

3B Xavier Turner (34th): Vanderbilt

RHP Pat Delano (35th): Vanderbilt

LHP Jonathan Dziedic (37th): Lamar (Sr.)

C Donald Smith (38th): Bethune-Cookman

RHP Kurt Schluter (39th): Stetson (Sr.)

OF Kevin Heller (40th): Graduated

 RBB 2012: WHO'S READY FOR THIS?

By: Taylor Snyder
The 2011 Rug Burn Ball season did not disappoint many people. The season that many believed would be average turned out surprising many people. So many rookies, and so little returning players made it hard to believe that it would be much of a contest. This year Rug Burn Ball will be placed in the same situation with even more non-returning players. The biggest one of them all was the great legend himself Tim Scott. Their were rumors after 2011 about him not returning that people tried to not believe, but all of them became realized as he announced in April that he would not be returning to Rug Burn Ball in 2012. The other two big names that will not be returning are the great Jeff Miller and Jon Jaffe. These two greats announced last second they will not be at Boston University on draft day. Aside from those three, there are many people that served their time in Rug Burn Ball like Tim Sorota, Frank Feeney, and Andy Lenser that won’t be able to make Rug Burn Ball 2012 this year. You have to look at other big players that will be returning like Tim Best, Jack “Singapore” Malchulski, Taylor Snyder, Andres Cordoba, Kevin Linsey, and KJ Hoover. Not to mention Zeke Sprauge the commissioner who is pleased to announce his return. You have to think that this year will be filled with 6th man guys that will all be chasing for the MVP spot and looking to prove themselves. Tyler Murry who was the Rookie of the Year in 2011 will try to go for the MVP title. There will also be a rising rookie player by the name of Andrew Goldstein who said, “I can’t wait for Rug Burn Ball”. He is new to SBC Boston, and you have to think he will be very excited. Taylor Snyder will also be back in 2012, which should be his last year in Boston due to issues for him in summer 2013. Snyder who was named by players and fans “Mr. Rug Burn Ball” will try to go out with a bang this year. There was just one more thing missing in 2012, and that was the number ones pick Shane Godek. The media buzz went crazy when Godek wrote the other night “Is it to late to sign up?” This later would turn into him announcing his return to rug burn ball in 2012. This was the best news possible for fans to hear as the season approaches. It’s hard to believe that camp is exactly 2 weeks away from starting. The players and fans can’t believe it. So why not get excited for rug burn ball? 

 GULLS COLLECT 20 HITS IN 15-5 WIN

by Tim Scott

NEWPORT; A Monday evening game with postseason implications fuels the fire for many sports fans. But, in Newport tonight, the Newport Gulls offense got to the New Bedford Bay Sox pitching early and often, culminating in an epic 15-5 victory.

The Gulls finished with a combined 20 hits, and everybody on the team had at least one hit in the victory. The team also marveled defensively, not committing an error in nine innings of work.

The offensive production began in the second inning, when Arizona State junior Kasey Coffman launched a three-run home run to center field, putting the Gulls up 3-0. 

In the third inning, Rutgers catcher Jeff Melillo hit a solo home run, his second of the season, to right field, increasing the Gulls lead to 4-1.

Vanderbilt outfielder John Norwood crushed his second home run of the season to left, and then Michigan DH Brett Winger doubled in Coffman to give the Gulls a 6-1 advantage.

Coffman continued to fire on all cylinders at the plate, doubling in two runs in the top of the fifth to further expand the lead to 8-1 in the Gulls favor.

Pitching was a strength that the Gulls benefitted from, as starter Jon Prosinski (a sophomore from Seton Hall) went five solid innings, striking out 3, and only allowing 1 run on 4 hits.

Frank Holbrook, a junior from Division III Wheaton College, finished the game for the Gulls, earning a save after four quality innings. Despite allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, the righty from Middletown, RI struck out 6 Bay Sox hitters, and got key outs when necessary.

With strong pitching from Prosinski and Holbrook, in the sixth inning, Austin Slater of Stanford drove in Georgetown 1B Steve Anderson with an RBI single. In the seventh, Anderson continued the production with an RBI single that drove in Vanderbilt infielder Joel McKeithan. At this point, the Gulls held an advantageous 11-4 lead.

The Bay Sox, who desperately needed pitching, turned to outfielder Carl Anderson to pitch the eighth inning. The Gulls scored four times against Anderson, stretching their lead to 15-4. 

Despite allowing a run in the ninth, the Gulls were able to close out a 15-5 win in front of 2,261 spectators. The Gulls have now won three games in a row, and now hold a 1.5 game advantage over New Bedford in the NECBL Eastern Division standings.

The Gulls continue their home stretch tomorrow, when they play the Mystic Schooners in a doubleheader. The first game will start at 3:00 at Cardines Field. Mitch Horacek will get the start for the Gulls.

 RUG BURN BALL: A LOOK BACK, AND A LOOK FORWARD

by Jackson Gorgas

Last year the hype surrounding the 2011 Sports Broadcasting Camp/Rug Burn Ball season was unbelievable. Last year, I was a first year camper and everyone was talking about Rug Burn Ball, I was thinking “what the heck is Rug Burn Ball”, but very soon I would know. Everyone entered the Sleeper Hall (2011 dorms) basement and SBC had the first ever RBB combine. We all competed in drills to beat out the other players to get a high draft pick. After the combine, the counselors/coaches gathered together to talk about who they would pick in their first few picks.

The first overall pick went to Ginger Giants (Coach Adam Balk) they took Shane Godek with the first overall pick in the first overall draft. The other 1st round picks in 2011 were: 2nd: Jammin with Jaffe (Coach Jon Jaffe) took Matt Carrigan 3rd: All Heart (Coach(s) Jeremy Treatman and Sarah Barshop) took Jeremy Treatman with their first pick 4th: Bad Hair Berau (Coach Ezekiel Sprague) took Ezekiel Sprague 5th: Miller Times (Coach Jeff Miller) took Jeff Miller. 6th: Mullet Maniacs (Coach KJ Hoover) took KJ Hoover.

The rest of the regular season was full of rule changes (some liked them, most didn’t...) and trades that upset players. Sleeper Hall was the unofficial site for Rug Burn Ball, but we all knew just by taking a look at the space we had to play, that the area was not suitable to play. So we headed to this year’s dorms and this year and last years playing field for RBB. The final four in the playoffs were the Ginger Giants, Mullet Maniacs, All Heart and Miller Times. Tyler Murry scored six goals in the first two games but in the end, KJ and the Mullet Maniacs were just too much to handle for All Heart. The next final four series was Miller Times vs. Ginger Giants. This was one of the most contreversial series in Rug Burn Ball history. Byron had the best game of his RBB career and had five goals in a 7-5 Ginger Giants win. In the second game of the series the Ginger Giants were just about to close out the series leading 6-3 when Shane Godek appeared to make the winning goal for the Ginger Giants. But, new to the 2011 season we had instant replay, and instant replay showed that Shane Godek’s knee came off the ground. There was still hope for Miller Times. Zach Lawless and Benji Friedmen both scored to make it 6-5. Then Zach Lawless scored again! This was the most exciting game of the season! Lawless’s goal sent the game to sudden death. Jeff MIller scored.The Mullet Maniacs would face Miller Times. The Mullet Maniacs handled Jeff Miller’s Miller Times pretty easily, as even KJ scored a full court shot in  goal getting by Miller Time’s Goalie Tim Best. The games were always very competitive and very intense and the Mullet Maniacs led by star goalie KJ Hoover won the BRBBL 2011 championship.

My message to all 2012 players: This year people need to stop complaining about stuff and just play. Life happens. Also, we should organize the schedule a little better this year. Okay so back to my article, last year was overall very successful, but there were setbacks. I think the problems were last year, that the season was so anticipated by the returning players that it got a little out of hand. But like I said, overall it was a very fun season for the veterans and for the new players. Now, looking ahead to 2012 season. Lots of the veterans such as Tim Scott, the first overall pick last year Shane Godek, Andy Lenser, and Tim Sorota not to mention the regular season MVP Jeff Miller and also very productive player Jon Jaffe. They will all be missed as they all brought life to the game and the camp and for one last time, “Tim Scott everybody!”.Well the players returning to camp will be all looking for a chance to take the place of the veterans and show the new players how its done.

 I will list my top five players that I’m looking to make a huge splash next season: 5) Taylor Snyder- 

Mr. Rug Burn Ball will be back for his 3rd season (one of the last remaining veterans of the game) and will try to impress the scouts and try to have a breakout season. 4) Andres Cordoba - 

As a 1st year player last year he provided a lot for the Ginger Giants making great defensive stops and scoring key goals as a rookie. This year he knows what to expect, so I expect him to take Rug Burn Ball by storm, and whatever team he lands on by storm. 

3) Tyler Murry -

 Last season Tyler was the ABC Rookie of the Year. That should speak for itself. All Heart was led by Tyler Murry, as All Heart was one of the more underrated teams last season and led them to a disappointing, but still somewhat surprising 4th place in 2011 BRBBL standings. 

2) Ezekiel Sprague - 

The commissioner and creator of Rug Burn Ball is back or his 3rd season, we will wait to see if he will play this year or just coach, most likely play but you never know. Zeke is a very powerful on offense as he was one of the top goal scorers for BHB and a great defenseman too.

 1) KJ Hoover - 

This is sort of controversial but, when you think about the Mullet Maniacs, you should think about KJ. KJ is the leader of the Mullet Maniacs and will always be. He  is the reason the Maniacs won the championship. The offense camp from Jack “Singapore” Machulski, Josh Fyffe and Frank Feeney. But, KJ stopped goals unbelievable. KJ in my opinion was the best player last year and we will see if he will bring the same intensity this year. We will miss the players not coming back, but it’s time to look forward as we enter the 2012 Boston University Rug Burn Ball season.

 SOX: KEEP MORALES IN THE ROTATION!

by Tim Scott

Usually, Red Sox pitcher Franklin Morales has been a consistent threat out of the bullpen, coming into games at crucial times, and getting big outs when necessary. However, of late, Morales has gained momentum as a starting pitcher, pitching three quality starts against the Cubs, Braves, and Mariners.

In those three starts, Morales has gone 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings. His quality starts have helped the Red Sox gain momentum in the chase for the AL East, and has helped the 26-year old lefty gain respect as a versatile role player.

With the recent injury struggles the Red Sox have faced over the course of the season, Morales's contributions to the rotation have been invaluable. But, with Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett coming off the DL soon, the Red Sox have a conflict, as they have many starting pitchers that have the potential to win many games.

When Buchholz and Beckett return from the DL, the pool of Red Sox starting pitchers will include Beckett, Buchholz, Morales, Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Aaron Cook. From that pool, the Red Sox need to choose 5 to make a complete rotation.

Judging from recent performances, the Red Sox should stick with the "big three" in Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz. Beckett and Buchholz, before heading to the DL, were pitching well, and Lester had a great performance against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

At number four, the Red Sox should continue to stick with Doubront. Doubront, despite being roughed up in his last two starts, still has an 8-4 record, and can win games for the Red Sox whenever necessary.

But the big question comes at #5, where the Red Sox have Morales, Matsuzaka, and Cook going for the spot. When the comparison is made between these three starters, the numbers really play a role. Morales is somebody that fits in both the bullpen and the rotation, as he has established success in both departments. Matsuzaka, outside of the first inning, has pitched well, as evidenced in his 5.2-inning performance against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Cook, who gets the start tonight against the Mariners, is ideally the odd man out, as he can pitch in mop-up situations and still maintain success.

So, the showdown is really between Matsuzaka and Morales. Bobby Valentine has two options to work with. The first is to establish a six-man rotation, including both Matsuzaka and Morales. The other option, which might seem more likely, is to put Morales back in the bullpen, and Matsuzaka in the rotation, making it an even five-man rotation.

In the month of June, Morales has heated up the circuit, and makes a big statement whenever he dominates on the hill. Matsuzaka, despite having a great game against Toronto, still has been inconsistent, and makes the Morales move to the rotation more ideal.

The other factor that works in Morales's favor is the fact that Morales has had experience in the rotation. Before coming to the Red Sox, Morales pitched in the Rockies rotation, putting up decent numbers, and starting 13 games in Colorado. Now, Morales is in the midst of a career year, and if the Red Sox want to capitalize on this opportunity, then they should keep Morales in the rotation, and move Matsuzaka, who can pitch well after the first inning, into a relief role.

CELTICS ADD MELO SULLINGER, JOSEPH

by Tim Scott

In last night's NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics held three draft picks, two in the first round and one in the second round. Determined to improve their interior and bulk up for the future, the Celtics used all three of their draft picks on forwards and centers.

With the 21st overall selection, the Celtics selected forward Jared Sullinger from Ohio State. Sullinger was a two-time All American with the Buckeyes, averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in his sophomore season. Initially projected to be a lottery pick, Sullinger's draft stock dropped when it was revealed that he had back problems. However, the reward outweighs the risk, because Sullinger helps the Celtics in many ways.

Sullinger benefits from being a strong rebounder and post scorer. In the paint, Sullinger is a threat, and will continue to improve on his skills under Doc Rivers. However, his athleticism, defense, and quickness need to improve. He needs to be quicker to the ball, and, if he develops speed, and avoids crippling back problems, he should be a steal at 21.

Immediately following the Sullinger pick, the Celtics decided to draft another dominant collegiate big man in the form of Fab Melo, the seven foot center from Syracuse. Melo's size is a big factor to his success, as he has the capacity to block many shots down low. With his size comes great athleticism, strength, and defensive prowess that will make him a big role player down the road.

Even though Melo seems like a slam dunk at #22, he has some things to iron out in the pros. Maturity is the big red flag with Melo, as is defensive fundamentals. If Melo can work these things out in the future, then he should be a quality center in the future.

In the second round, with the 51st overall selection, the Celtics drafted Melo's teammate, forward Kris Joseph, from Syracuse. In his senior season, the Canadian-born Joseph averaged 13.8 points and 4.9 rebounds with the Orange. He also shot 42% from the field, and 35% from beyond the arc.

Joseph's athleticism is his main calling card, but also his ability to shoot and get down the court help his potential. However, ballhandling and leadership need to improve if Joseph wants to establish himself as a role player in the future.

NBA DRAFT RECAP

FIRST ROUND

1. Hornets: F Anthony Davis (Kentucky)

2. Bobcats: Michael-Kidd Gilchrist (Ken.)

3. Wizards: G Bradley Beal (Florida)

4. Cavaliers: G Dion Walters (Syracuse)

5. Kings: F Thomas Robinson (Kansas)

6. Blazers: G Damon Lillard (Weber St.)

7. Warriors: F Harrison Barnes (UNC)

8. Raptors: G Terrence Ross (Washington)

9. Pistons:  C Andre Drummond (UCONN)

10. Hornets: G Austin Rivers (Duke)

11. Blazers: C Meyers Leonard (Illinois)

12. Rockets: G Jeremy Lamb (UCONN)

13. Suns: G Kendall Marshall (UNC)

14. Bucks: F John Henson (UNC)

15. 76ers: F Maurice Harkless (St. Johns)

16. Rockets: F Royce White (Iowa State)

17. Cavaliers: F Tyler Zeller (UNC)

18. Rockets: F Terrence Jones (Kentucky)

19. Magic: F Andrew Nicholson (St. Bon)

20. Nuggets: G Evan Fournier (France)

21. CELTICS: F Jared Sullinger (Ohio St.)

22. CELTICS: C Fab Melo (Syracuse)

23. Hawks: G John Jenkins (Vanderbilt)

24. Mavs: J. Cunningham (Oregon State)

25. Grizzlies: Tony Wroten (Washington)

26. Pacers: F Miles Plumlee (Duke)

27. 76ers: F Arnett Moultrie (Miss. State)

28. Thunder: F Perry Jones (Baylor)

29. Bulls: G Marquis Teague (Kentucky)

30. Warriors: C Festus Ezili (Turkey)

SECOND ROUND

31. Bobcats: F Jeffrey Taylor (Vanderbilt)

32. Wizards: T. Satoransky (Czech Rep.)

33. Mavs: F Bernard James (Florida St.)

34. Mavs: F Jae Crowder (Marquette)

35. Warriors: Draymond Green (Mich St.)

36. Pacers: F Orlando Johnson (UCSB)

37. Raptors: F Quincy Acy (Baylor)

38. Nuggets: F Quincy Miller (Baylor)

39. Pistons: Khris Middleton (Texas A&M)

40. Blazers: G Will Barton (Memphis)

41. Blazers: G Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas)

42. Bucks: G Doron Lamb (Kentucky)

43. Hawks: F Mike Scott (Virginia)

44. Pistons: G Kim English (Missouri)

45. 76ers: C Justin Hamilton (LSU)

46. Hornets: F Darius Miller (Kentucky)

47. Jazz: G Kevin Murphy (Tenn Tech)

48. Knicks: Kostas Papanikolaou (Greece)

49. Magic: F Kyle O'Quinn (Norfolk State)

50. Nuggets: C Izzet Turkyilmaz (Turkey)

51. CELTICS: F Kris Joseph (Syracuse)

52. Warriors: C Ognjen Kuzmic (Bos-Hrz)

53. Clippers: F Furkan Aldemir (Turkey)

54. 76ers: Tornike Shengelia (Georgia)

55. Mavs: Darius Johnson-Odom (Marq.)

56. Raptors: F Tomislav Zubcic (Croatia)

57. Nets: F Ilkan Karaman (Turkey)

58. T-Wolves: F Robbie Hummel (Purdue)

59. Spurs: G Marcus Denmon (Missouri)

60. Lakers: C Robert Sacre (Gonzaga)

SOX BEAT JAYS, 10-4

By: Taylor Snyder


The Red Sox came out on a Wednesday afternoon, and they were not in the mood to disappoint any of their fans. It took them 6 innings on Tuesday night for them to eventually score. This time they did not hesitate to get going. They exploded in the 1st, scoring 6 runs. This was a great response to the Jays scoring in the 1st inning every time in the 3 game set. The first 2 runs were off hits by Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez. 

This was followed by a couple sacrifices, and a great hit up the middle by Darnell McDonald. David Ortiz was able to deliver a home run in the 5th inning to put the Sox at 10 runs. This was Big Papi’s 21st of the year, and it added on to the Red Sox lead. 

The Blue Jays were able to get some runs in on hits by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin was able to get a home run in the 6th, which helped the jays. This was not enough to get in the head of Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Lester pitched 7 innings and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits. He gave up two home runs. All 4 of the Jays runs were earned runs. 

Mark Melancon and Clayton Mortensen couldn’t have been better as they both pitched the last 3 innings, and gave up no hits and no runs. Mortensen shut the 9th inning out and the red sox won by a final score of 10-4. 

It was a good day for Red Sox fans, and the city of Boston. Next up for the Red Sox is a 7 game road trip, which they will share with the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics. Four of those games will be against the Mariners. The Sox look to get closer to the top of the AL East, which is led by the Yankees right now. The Sox are currently 6.5 games out of first place.  

 2012 NBA Mock Draft

by Tim Scott

The 2012 NBA Draft is going to be an interesting one on many fronts. First, like most drafts, there is a consensus number one pick, Kentucky forward Anthony Davis. However, underneath Davis, is a large group of potentially talented players that makes the draft harder to predict.

The skill sets each of these players possess are vital to their careers as role players at the next level. Each player in the Top 30 has the potential to do something in the NBA, and has to do the right things in order to achieve that potential.

So, without further ado, here is the Boston Hot Spot Mock Draft 2012.

1. HORNETS: Anthony Davis (F, Kentucky)

The unanimous choice at #1, Davis has the tools needed to be a powerful NBA big man in the future. His athleticism, size, and defense are three major aspects of his game that are unstoppable. At 6'10'', Davis provides the Hornets with a force inside that will significantly help the Hornets regain prosperity. In order to be successful, Davis, who is only 19, needs to work on his strength and leadership. If he wants to maintain success at the professional level, Davis has to win over his teammates, and lead them to victories. In sum, Davis is the ideal pick the Hornets can get at #1.

2. BOBCATS: Thomas Robinson (F, Kansas)

The toughest pick in this year's draft by far is the selection the Bobcats have to make. With their atrocious performance last season, the Bobcats need an offensive spark that will help refuel their offense, and build up for the future. With the offensive goal in mind, Robinson becomes the best pick for the Bobcats. After averaging 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds with Kansas last season, Robinson has offensive promise, and showed bursts of potential as he led the Jayhawks to the National Championship game. Drawing comparisons to Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams, Robinson thrives in the rebounding and quickness departments. However, Robinson does need to do more work in the post in order for him to be a lethal forward down the road.

3. WIZARDS: Bradley Beal (G, Florida)

Beal, as a freshman, showed signs of potential as he averaged 16.4 points per game with the Gators this season. The Wizards are in need of a guard to complement John Wall, and Beal can fill that void well. His claim to fame is his jump shot, but he has to work on his consistency in order to make it big in the NBA. His size, leadership, and ball handling skills make it tough for him to be instantly successful, but with time comes rewards, and Beal, who is just 18 (turning 19 on Draft Day), can really thrive with proper mentoring and time to hone his craft as the future two-guard for Washington.

4. CAVALIERS: Harrison Barnes (F, UNC)

Barnes, coming in at number four, seems to be a solid pick for a rebound-hungry Cavalier team. His 6'8'' stature really fits the small forward description well, and that will help him thrive on a Cleveland team whose leading forwards are an aging Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao. Barnes has strength, intangibles, and a strong jump shot for a small forward. His main weakness is creating shots for himself, and, with a strong point guard in Kyrie Irving, Barnes will have that void filled, and Barnes will potentially thrive in Cleveland.

5. KINGS: M. Kidd-Gilchrist (F, Kentucky)

Paired with Anthony Davis at Kentucky this season, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a vital player to Kentucky's first national championship with John Calipari at the helm. Kidd-Gilchrist has been considered a great leader, and showed his leadership skills throughout the NCAA tournament. His athleticism and defensive skills will benefit him in the NBA, and make him a strength for a young Kings team. However, Kidd-Gilchrist has many holes in his otherwise flawless game. His ball-handling and passing will need to improve in order for the Kings offensive machine to be finely-tuned. He will have to carry himself on his energy, and that may help fire up Kings fans down the road.

6. BLAZERS: Andre Drummond (C, UCONN)

Although he's only a freshman, Drummond has shown he has what it takes to be a premier NBA big man down the road. Compared to Amare Stoudemire and DeAndre Jordan, Drummond's 17.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game showed that he has potential to develop and be a helpful forward in Portland. At 6'11'', Drummond has excellent size and athleticism for a power forward. He can also play center, and that may be where he'll end up in Portland, granted they have LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward. At center, the Blazers have an aging core (Joel Pryzbilla, Kurt Thomas) and a draft bust (Hasheem Thabeet) on the roster, which makes Drummond a smart choice for the Blazers. Although the sky's the limit on his potential, Drummond does have blemishes on his resume. His rebounding and post skills need work in order to achieve success in Portland. If he works closely with his teammates, and is patient, then Drummond will be successful as a Portland Trail Blazer.

7. WARRIORS: Terrence Ross (F, Wash.)

From the University of Washington comes a promising young forward named Terrence Ross. Although he has received less fanfare than many of the other top prospects, Ross is a combination of a strong shooting guard and a key small forward. His athleticism and potential offer signs of optimism for the Golden State Warriors, who need someone to contribute at the small forward position. Although the Warriors have Klay Thompson, Ross has shown he can contribute, as he averaged 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Ross, at 21, has to work on his maturity and ball-handling in order to be a vital contributor to a young Warriors team. Ross may not be a starter right away, but he can be a key contributor off the bench, and shouldn't be taken lightly. 

8. RAPTORS: Jeremy Lamb (G, UCONN)

Jeremy Lamb is a strong prospect, and showed signs of optimism in his two years at Connecticut. Averaging 17.7 points per game with the Huskies, Lamb has the skill set to be a strong guard with the Raptors, who desperately need a strong shooter in the lineup. Athleticism, size, and a sweet jump shot really define the qualities of success that Lamb possesses. Lamb does have some weaknesses, but those have shown signs of improvement. His strength when making shots, as well as maturity and passing, need to improve in order for Lamb to have a bright future in the NBA. Getting Lamb will move DeMar DeRozan to small forward, and that will help the Raptors gain more flexibility, and, down the road, more success.

9. PISTONS: Meyers Leonard (C, Illinois)

At 7'1'', Meyers Leonard is one of those prospects that, depending on his situation, can either be a beneficial addition, or a complete bust. Leonard has the size and the athleticism that would help down low. However, Leonard needs to iron out his rebounding and post skills in order for him to thrive at the center position. He also needs to gain strength at the center position, and his low-post scoring needs to go up in order for him to be a threat down the road. At Illinois, Leonard averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. In order for Leonard to be a great NBA center, he will have to learn from Greg Monroe and Ben Wallace the tools of the trade, and, if he follows through, he can really be a fruitful pick for the Pistons in the future. 

10. HORNETS: Damian Lillard (G, Weber St.)

With his scoring outburst at Weber State, Lillard's draft stock significantly rose after the junior guard averaged 24.5 points per game. Lillard's 6'3'' stature is ideal for a point guard in the NBA, and his quickness and jump shot really gel together with his skill set. However, Lillard needs to work on a few things in order for his career to prosper in New Orleans. His defense and passing need to be ironed out, and learning from guards like Jarrett Jack and Xavier Henry will be beneficial for Lillard. If he improves in those categories, and maintains his strong work ethic, then Damian Lillard will be a strong NBA player down the road.

REMAINING PICKS (#11-30)

11. BLAZERS: Austin Rivers (G, Duke)

12. ROCKETS: Tyler Zeller (F, UNC)

13. SUNS: Dion Waiters (G, Syracuse)

14. BUCKS: John Henson (F, UNC)

15. 76ERS: Arnett Moultrie (F, Miss. St.)

16. ROCKETS: Marquis Teague (G, Kent.*)

17. MAVERICKS: Kendall Marshall (G, UNC)

18. ROCKETS: Moe Harkless (F, St. Johns)

19. MAGIC: Perry Jones III (F, Baylor)

20. NUGGETS: Royce White (F, Iowa St.)

21. CELTICS: Terrence Jones (F, Kent.*)

22. CELTICS: Jared Sulinger (F, Ohio St.)

23. HAWKS: Jeffrey Taylor (F, Vanderbilt)

24. CAVALIERS: A. Nicholson (F, St. Bon.)

25. GRIZZLIES: Will Barton (G, Memphis)

26. PACERS: Doron Lamb (G, Kentucky)

27. HEAT: Fab Melo (C, Syracuse)

28. THUNDER: Khris Middleton (G, A&M*)

29. BULLS: Tony Wroton (G, Washington)

30. WARRIORS: Quincy Miller (F, Baylor)

THE DRAFT WILL BE THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 28. COVERAGE BEGINS AT 7:00 ON ESPN, AND THE HOT SPOT WILL HAVE MORE COVERAGE OF THE DRAFT AS EACH PICK IS REVEALED!

 THE LEGACY OF KEVIN YOUKILIS

By Tim Scott

When Kevin Youkilis was replaced by Nick Punto in the seventh inning of tonight’s 9-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves, his teammates came out of the dugout, and embraced their teammate for the last time. Knowing that their long time companion was on the way out of Boston, their idea of embracing Youkilis with one last hurrah was a fitting way to end his career with the Red Sox.

Shortly after the game, the news officially broke that the 33-year old infielder was traded to the Chicago White Sox for RHP Zach Stewart and utility player Brent Lillibridge. Youkilis, who was drafted in the ninth round of the 2001 draft, played eight solid seasons with the Sox, hitting .286 with 133 home runs and 563 runs batted in. Combine that with three All-Star game appearances and a Gold Glove, and that puts together a solid career for Youk.

Youkilis also came up clutch when Red Sox fans needed him the most. As a member of two World Series teams, 2004 and 2007, he provided a strong bat in a powerful lineup that churned out wins on a regular basis. In a lineup with the likes of David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Dustin Pedroia, among others, Youkilis’s 16 home runs and 83 RBI’s provided an offensive spark that fueled the team throughout the season.

But, as the times changed, and new players came and went, Youkilis’s bat kept producing. 2008 was Youkilis’s best offensive season, when he hit .312 with 29 homers and 112 RBI’s. His OPS of .959 was his career high, and his numbers propelled him to an All-Star game, and, eventually, a spot among baseball elite.

Although Youkilis’s numbers began to decline, he still produced regularly in a hungry fan atmosphere like Boston. After a solid 2009 season (.305, 27 HR, 94 RBI), Youkilis began to experience injuries, only appearing in 102 games in 2010, and 120 games in 2011, due to progressive back and shoulder injuries, and his numbers suffered as a results. What was a player who had two years of 20+ home runs began just hitting an average of 18 home runs in his last two full seasons.

As the 2012 season unfolded, however, Youkilis was a shell of his former self, hitting at an unproductive rate that was the complete opposite of his dominance from 2008-2009. It did not help his case that he went down with a strained back muscle, and missed a month due to his ailment. What also did not help Youkilis was the fact that rookie Will Middlebrooks was hitting .326 with 9 home runs and 33 RBI in his first 40 games as a professional.

When Youkilis came back from his injury, a new dilemma had hit the Red Sox organization. With Middlebrooks hitting consistently, and Youkilis struggling to recover from injuries, and Adrian Gonzalez playing first base, then what could be done to accommodate all three parties? In the end, manager Bobby Valentine ended up playing Middlebrooks at third, Youkilis at first, and putting Gonzalez in right field. It was a temporary solution, but in the end, it did not pan out well.

Effectively, the best case solution was to shop Youkilis around, and find a potential suitor that would eat some of his contract (the Red Sox ended up paying $5-$7 million), and provide a spark to the pitching staff. While Middlebrooks kept up the momentum, and Gonzalez performing well, Youkilis did not fit in right with the team’s future plans, and a trade seemed imminent.

Trade talks quickly escalated, and teams like the White Sox, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Braves were inquiring about Youkilis’s services. It was only a matter of time before Youkilis would finally move on to the next phase of his career. Anticipating a move, Valentine decided to sit Youkilis out for three straight games, and keep Middlebrooks and Gonzalez in the lineup.

After those three games, Valentine finally decided to give Youkilis a chance, putting him in the lineup, batting sixth and playing third base. Middlebrooks would be the DH, and Gonzalez played first, giving David Ortiz a day off. Youkilis took the chance, going 2-4 with an infield single in the second inning, and a triple in his final at-bat with the Red Sox.

What happened next summed up Kevin Youkilis’s career as a member of the Boston Red Sox. As Punto entered the game as a pinch-runner, he gave the latter a big hug, and then the Fenway Faithful all gave Youkilis a proper closing to a successful career in Boston with a standing ovation. Youkilis was embraced by his teammates, and then tipped his cap to the Fenway Faithful, completing his successful tenure with the Red Sox.

In the end, Youkilis ranks up there with some of the great first basemen and third basemen in Red Sox history. At first, the Red Sox fielded notable players like Jimmie Foxx and Mo Vaughn, while at third, the Sox fielded Wade Boggs and Jimmy Collins. In the end, Youkilis ranks up there in the historic ranks with those individuals, and, although he may not have Hall of Fame caliber numbers, he still was a valuable player to the Red Sox organization, and helped fuel strong Red Sox teams that made Boston a contender in the later half of the 2000’s.

Although it is unfortunate that he had to go, there is a time for everybody to move on in life, and despite it being a challenge for some, it happens to all of us in some capacity. Good luck in Chicago, Youk, and always remember the support of the Fenway Faithful.

 BECKETT HIT HARD AS RED SOX LOSE, 10-0

5 Tigers home runs against Josh Beckett lead to 10-0 Red Sox loss.

by Tim Scott

DETROIT; Josh Beckett, who was at the center of last year's climactic postseason collapse, did not show any signs of improvement, let alone terms for forgiveness, in his first start of the season.

The Red Sox starter allowed 7 runs on 7 hits over 4.2 innings, as the Red Sox tumbled in their second straight loss to the Detroit Tigers. The final score was 10-0.

Beckett allowed five home runs in the loss. The five homers were the most he had allowed in one start since August 23, 2009, against the New York Yankees. 

With a solid Detroit lineup, five home runs against Beckett would not sound like a surprise to some. Especially if a good 80% of the homers were hit by two players that hit a combined 68 home runs last season. 

In the first, after walking Austin Jackson, Beckett allowed the first bomb of the night, to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera launched the ball to left center, and the score quickly went up to 2-0. 

Entering the fourth inning, it seemed like Beckett was gaining momentum. Beckett retired 8 of 9 batters during that stretch, only allowing a double to Jackson. In addition, he struck out two batters, Ryan Raburn and Cabrera to end the third.

However, that good feeling wouldn't last long, as Prince Fielder catapulted a blast over the left field wall to put the Tigers up 3-0. Fielder, whose dad Cecil played for the Tigers during his career, hit his first home run as a Tiger during that at-bat.

After Delmon Young reached on an infield single, catcher Alex Avila dismantled Beckett's confidence further, by hitting a solid shot over the left field wall for a 2-run homer. At the end of four, the Tigers led 5-0.

In the fifth, in a play filled with controversy, Cabrera launched a ball to left-center that appeared to have hit the wall. Initially, the shot was called a double, but, with the assistance of instant replay, the ball landed above the yellow line, which signified it as a home run. With that, Cabrera had his second homer of the game, and the Tigers had a 6-0 lead.

The next batter, Fielder hit his second homer of the game, launching a fly-ball shot to right field, and quickly, the Tigers gained a 7-0 lead. After Young reached on a Mike Aviles error, manager Bobby Valentine gave Beckett the ax, and put in reliever Scott Atchison.

Meanwhile, while Beckett was struggling on the mound, the Red Sox were also struggling to battle the Tigers on offense. The Tigers gave the ball to Doug Fister. In 3.2 innings, Fister allowed 3 hits, but struck out 3 batters. Fister had to leave the game early, because he had a strained left side. Further evaluations concluded that Fister will be day-to-day.

When Fister exited the game, reliever Duane Below (1-0) got his first career victory in fashion. The 26 year-old reliever went 2.1 innings, allowing just 1 hit with 2 strikeouts. 

Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, and Joaquin Benoit also pitched in relief for the Tigers. Dotel struck out 3 Red Sox hitters, and the three pitchers only allowed 3 hits in 3 innings of work.

Against Atchison, the Tigers quickly pounced on the 36-year old reliever. Jackson grounded into a fielder's choice, allowing Jhonny Peralta to score, and giving the Tigers an 8-0 lead.

The remaining runs were allowed by Matt Albers who, in 0.2 innings of work, allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits. The two runs came on an RBI fielder's choice by Peralta (brought upon by a throwing error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and an RBI single by Andy Dirks. 

Justin Thomas and Michael Bowden pitched the remaining inning and a third, allowing 1 hit, and striking out 1 combined batter (courtesy of Bowden). 

Offensively, the Red Sox could not counter with the Tigers' pitching. The only two hitters that produced the majority of the hits were Ryan Sweeney and Adrian Gonzalez. Sweeney went 2-3, with two key singles, and Gonzalez went 2-4. Saltalamacchia, whose double in the third was the only extra basehit the Red Sox could gather, David Ortiz, and a pinch-hit single by Kelly Shoppach in the ninth provided the Red Sox with their offense.

Outside of those five players, the Red Sox could not do anything else. Notably, Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-3, continuing an early season slump in which he's gone 0-7. Through this point last year, Ellsbury was hitting .375 (3/8) with 1 HR and 2 RBI.

Also, Dustin Pedroia went 0-3 with a strikeout. Kevin Youkilis also has yet to get a hit, going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts in today's game. Cody Ross and Aviles also went hitless. 

Through the first two games, the Red Sox have gone 12 for 63, which results in a .190 average. The team ERA is currently 4.96. 

Overall, the Red Sox have not played solid baseball in their first two games. If they want to be competitive in a deep American League this year, they really have to pick up the pace.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox culminate their series with the Tigers. At 1:05, Clay Buchholz makes his first start since June 16, 2011 for the Red Sox as they try to take Game 3. The Tigers will counter with Max Scherzer. The game will be broadcast on NESN. 

Walk-Off Single Leads Tigers to 3-2 Win

Despite a brief comeback in the ninth, Tigers take opener with an Austin Jackson RBI single.

By Tim Scott

DETROIT; A new look Boston Red Sox team, whose primary goal this year is to avenge the horrors of September 2011, fell short in their first game of the 2012 season, falling to the Detroit Tigers, 3-2. Austin Jackson lined an RBI single in the ninth against new closer Alfredo Aceves to give the Tigers their first win of the season.

For the first seven innings, the Red Sox and Tigers were stuck within an intense pitcher’s duel. Jon Lester got the Opening Day start for the Red Sox, and he didn’t disappoint. The lefty went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts.

Lester was a beneficiary of the defense early on in the game. Throughout the game, the Red Sox defense turned three double plays, which held the Tigers offensive production down. In the first, after a Jackson single, Brendan Boesch grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, stopping a potential run. Then, in the second inning, after Prince Fielder hit his first single as a a Tiger, Delmon Young grounded into a 6-4-3 twin-killer. Eventually, in the fifth, Fielder grounded into a double play himself, this time to Mike Aviles.

While the Tigers bats were being controlled by Lester, the Red Sox bats did not perform much better. Going up against defending Cy Young and MVP Justin Verlander, the Red Sox could only gather 2 hits against the Tigers ace. Those hits included a double by David Ortiz in the second, and a bloop single by Ryan Sweeney in the fifth.

In addition to shutting down the Sox for 8 innings, the 29-year old lefty struck out seven Red Sox hitters, most of which occurred on his nasty curveball. Verlander’s fastball ranged from 91 to 98 miles per hour, which made it even more tricky for Red Sox hitters to mount a rally.

After going down 1-2-3 in the seventh, the Red Sox and Tigers were tied at zero. However, things would change drastically. Lester retired the first two batters, Young and Ryan Raburn, but allowed a double to shortstop Jhonny Peralta to put a runner in scoring position. Lester then proceeded to run the count full on Alex Avila, but the All-Star catcher lined a shot past left fielder Cody Ross to the wall, allowing Peralta to score. With that, the Tigers struck first, taking a 1-0 lead.

In the eighth, after Lester threw 105 pitches, new manager Bobby Valentine put in reliever Vicente Padilla into the game. In his Red Sox debut, Padilla’s first pitch was lined into right field, and the speedy Jackson made his way to third for a triple. When Padilla left after intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera, lefty reliever Franklin Morales allowed a sacrifice fly to Fielder, which drove in Jackson, and gave the Tigers an insurance run, and a 2-0 lead.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to rest his starter, and elected to put in animated closer Jose Valverde into the game. Valverde, who did not blow a save in 2011, was challenged by the Red Sox offense. While remaining dormant against Verlander, the Red Sox bats came alive in the ninth. It began when Dustin Pedroia lined a single to right field. That was quickly followed by another single by Adrian Gonzalez. With Pedroia at third, Ortiz flew out to center, which allowed Pedroia to score Boston’s first run with one out in the ninth. However, when Valverde struck out Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox were down to their final out. With the pressure on, Sweeney slammed a rocket to right field, driving the ball over Don Kelly’s head. Pinch runner Darnell McDonald scored, and the Red Sox tied up the score at 2.

With Valverde’s first blown save since September 2, 2010, the Red Sox decided to put in newcomer Mark Melancon into the game. Despite getting Raburn to fly out, Melancon struggled otherwise, allowing two straight singles to Peralta and Avila. Then, Aceves entered the game, with two on and one out. Aceves proceeded to hit Ramon Santiago in the foot, which loaded the bases. Then, came the fateful showdown with Jackson. With everybody in, Jackson got the count to 2-1, before lining a rocket past defensive replacement Nick Punto into left field, giving the Tigers the victory.

The Red Sox (0-1), who have now lost two straight openers, do not have much to be disappointed with, other than the outcome. Even though they did lose to the best pitcher in the game, they held an otherwise dominant Tigers offense to 10 hits and 3 runs. In addition, the Tigers stranded eight men on base. The defense was strong as well; no errors were committed, and they also turned three double plays.

The Tigers (1-0) on offense were led by Peralta, who went 3-3 with a walk and 2 runs, and Jackson, whose three key hits included the game-winner in the ninth. Also, Avila went 2-3 with an RBI double, and Fielder went 1-3. Cabrera, who finished the 2011 campaign with a .344 average, went 0-1 with 3 walks.

Even though they finished with five hits, the Red Sox still had key offensive performances. Sweeney went 2-4 with an RBI triple. Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Ortiz had the other three hits for the Sox.

The Red Sox take a day off tomorrow, but they return to play the Tigers on Saturday, looking for a different outcome. Josh Beckett will start for the Red Sox, while the Tigers counter with Doug Fister. The game will start at 4:05, and will be broadcast on Fox. 

 A MESSAGE FROM TIM SCOTT

Dear Rug Burn Ball Players and Fans,

For the last three years of my young life, Sports Broadcasting Camp has given me a positive outlet of support. Whether it be professional experience, or the fact that I've met great people over time, this camp has been a landmark on how I operate on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, due to conflicting plans, I have to unwillingly announce my retirement from attending SBC this year, and also, from Wiffleball and Rug Burn Ball. It was a great run, but, as Brett Favre once said, good things must come to an end.

I realize that the rumors have been building up about my onslaught, and my planning for this summer. Well, for those who were wondering, your fears have been confirmed. There will be no Tim Scott at BU in 2012.

I would like to thank the counselors for three amazing years. Jeremy and Steve, you are experts at running a fantastic program, and I'm sorry I can not go this year. Adam, I will miss comparing you to Scalabrine and inquring about Miss Claire. Jaffe, I won't be a nuisance about playing time. Jeff, unfortunately, a good run must come to an end. Zeke, you won't be hearing any more trash talking from a legend any time soon. Sarah and Natalie, thanks for being awesome. And KJ, this whole situation is exactly like cat poop. 

But the most important part is to thank all the great kids that have inspired me to be a great person and friend. Andy, my roommate for 3 years, will be someone I will miss. I will also miss Taylor, Shane, Tim Sorota, Kevin Linsey, Matt Carrigan, Byron, Arthur, Tim Best, Keon, Ethan, Jackson, Matt Stolbof, Tanner, Preston, Brad, Little Tree, Justin, Nikhil, Dennis, Andrew Simmons, Josh, Tyler, Zach, Timmy Wing, Fritz, and Alex Schley. I will miss all of you greatly as I turn the chapter on the next big events in my life.

Also, a shoutout to Alex Putterman, Alex Lebowitz, Roger Bourland, Timmy Tully, Alec Kwait, Pope John Paul Chunga, Michael Singh, Maddie Brightman, Brandon Liebhaber, Brandon Lambert-Ryan, Matt Tonis, Jake Smith, and Greg Cameron for making my first two years a success, and for building the legend so to speak.

I don't know exactly I will be doing this summer. I have a variety of options on the table right now. One is, if I get selected, to go to the Dominican Republic for community service. Another option is to get an internship at a local TV station. Maybe, I will just stay home, and run the Hot Spot all day everyday. Time will tell; it's only March, and I got 3 months to make up my mind officially. 

But I want everybody to know that I wish everybody luck this year in the Rug Burn Ball season of 2012. Even though I won't be there in person, I will support everyone in spirit, and may the best team win! Keep me posted, and I'll look forward to reading Taylor's, or whomever else, posts about the league.

Have a great summer, and I look forward to hearing from all of you down the road.

One more tip of the cap, and we'll all move on from this. 

Thank you for the memories, and the fun. It was truly a thrill indeed.

The man, the myth, the legend,

TIM SCOTT

 RHODE ISLAND HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

by Tim Scott

On Friday, the second annual Rhode Island Credit Union State Basketball Championships will commence. 30 teams from across Rhode Island will participate in the tournament. In total, there are 11 Division I teams, 11 DII teams, and 8 DIII teams that will participate in this year's event.

The first round, which begins Friday, will be played at the home courts of the higher-seeded team. The second round will take place at both CCRI-Warwick and Bryant University. The regional finals will be played at Providence College's Alumni Hall. The Final Four and Championship will commence at the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center, where a champion will be named.

Below are previews of each team, and their expectations throughout the tournament.

North Kingstown Skippers

The Skippers finished the 2011-12 season with the best record in Rhode Island, finishing 16-2 in Division I. Coached by Aaron Thomas, the Skippers were led offensively by Evan Scott (16.2 PPG) and Matt Quianoo (10.2 PPG). In the first round, the Skippers will have a first round bye; they will play the winner of Toll Gate/Cumberland. 

LaSalle Academy Rams

After losing head coach Bill Black, who resigned due to "personal reasons" at the beginning of the seasons, the Rams pulled it together under new coach Mark Bayha to finish with a 15-3 record in Division I. Tommy Hunt (17.6) led the scorers for the Rams. In addition, Mike Clark (12.8) and Josh McCourt (10.8) put up impressive numbers for the Rams. A win over Mount Pleasant on Wednesday secured a first-round bye for the Rams, who will play the winner of Coventry/Juanita Sanchez.

West Warwick Wizards

With a lot of returning players, the West Warwick Wizards, led by veteran head coach Richard Grenier, finished with the best record in Division II with a mark of 17-1. The scoring attack is led by the duo of John Morrison (21.2) and Ryan Lawton (20.0), who are both seniors. On Saturday, the Wizards begin their conquest of a title against 30th-seed Moses Brown.

St. Raphael's Saints

The defending state champions were the early favorite to take home the gold for the second time. Led by head coach, Tom Sorrentine, the Saints finished with a 14-4 mark in Division I, and they ended up with the #4 rank in the state. Offensively, the team was led by Junior All-Stater Charles Correa (19.9) and senior Cesar Mejia (18.1). On Friday, the Saints will resume their defense of the title against the #29 Narragansett Mariners. 

Central Knights

The Central Knights, who return to the state tournament for the second straight year, continued their prosperity in Division I, finishing with a 14-4 record, and the #5 seed. Led by the guidance of Todd Keefe, the Knights beat major teams like North Kingstown and Mount Pleasant. Jarrell Lawson (20.1) led the offense for Central, while Daniel Mendez (15.3) and Raikwon Rodrigues (12.1) contributed heavily for the Knights. The Knights begin their run for the crown Monday, when they play #28 Central Falls. 

Bishop Hendricken Hawks

The Hendricken Hawks, who are coached by Jamal Gomes, finished their Division I slate with a 13-5 record, good for 6th in the state. Hendricken beat Central and St. Raphael's this season, which added to their high rank. On offense, the Hawks were led by Lee Messier (13.1) and Nick Bourdeau (11.3). The Hawks begin their title conquest on Saturday, when they challenge the #27 Tolman Tigers.

North Providence Cougars

The North Providence Cougars, who entered the season as the dark horse favorite to win the championship, did not disappoint, finishing 16-2 in Division II. Coached by veteran Paul Rizzo, the Cougars only lost to West Warwick and Rogers, but beat every other team in DII by a considerable margin. Offensively, the Cougars had four players score in double-digits this season. Notably, Austin VanBemmelen (19.0), Rob Hazard (14.3), Mike Ferrante (12.2), and Jake DiDomenico (11.6) led the offense for the Cougars. On Friday, the Cougars will play the #26 North Smithfield Northmen.

Shea Raiders

The Shea Raiders were one of the surprise teams in Division II this year, finishing with a league record of 14-4. Coached by Dennis Pita, the Raiders stunned teams like Rogers and Westerly, finishing with the #8 mark in Rhode Island. Jordy Brito (15.1) led the scoring for Shea, while Kenric Carter (13.7) and Mike Neal (12.2) contributed for the Raiders. The Raiders begin their pursuit of a state title on Friday, when they play #25 Johnston.

Rogers Vikings

The Rogers Vikings, who entered the year as a favorite from Division II, finished as expected with a 14-4 record. Rogers had contributions from their senior core, and head coach Jim Psaras utilized his team to put up key victories against North Providence and West Warwick. Junior Marc Washington (12.9) led the team in scoring. Trevor Morgera (11.4), Divon Bailey (11.0) and Reeyon Watts (11.0) also contributed heavily for the Vikings. The Vikings will begin their title hopes against the #24 Middletown Islanders.

The Prout School Crusaders

Prout, the darlings from Division III, finished with an impressive 17-1 mark. The defending DIII champs were coached by Eric Simonelli, and capitalized on the challenges exposed by fellow DIII teams. The Crusaders are led by Eric Ramieka (21.0) and Justin Bristol (13.4), who fueled them to a #10 seed in the state. Their opponent on Friday is the #23 Exeter/West Greenwich Scarlet Knights, who on February 14, gave the Crusaders their lone league loss (46-42).

Mount Pleasant Kilties

Mount Pleasant, who did not make the cut last year for the state tournament, overcame doubts from critics, and finished with an 11-7 record in Division I. Led by head coach Charles Holliday, the Kilties beat LaSalle and Hendricken to improve their tournament resume. Kip Stewart (16.1) and Zdahmond Dale (10.5) led in scoring for the Kilties, who look to continue turning doubters into believers with their first round matchup against #22 Tiverton. 

Westerly Bulldogs

The Westerly Bulldogs, who return to the state tournament for the second straight season, finished the Division II season with a 13-5 record. Led by head coach Michael Gleason, the Bulldogs beat teams like Rogers and Barrington during the season. Offensively, the team was led by Austin Cilley (20.5) and Michael-Thomas Sciro (10.5). On Friday, the Bulldogs will play a DII rival in #21 Barrington, whom they defeated on February 3 with a buzzer beater from Rob Vocatura. 

Classical Purple 

The Classical Purple finished their Division I season with a 10-8 record, good for the 13th seed in Rhode Island. Notably, Classical beat North Providence, LaSalle, and Central, furthering their tournament resume. Ismael Batista (16.4), Kaelen Ives (16.0), Terrill Toe (13.2), and Kwami Moreno (10.7) helped the Purple offensively, and look to be key contributors when Classical plays the #20 Smithfield Sentinels on Friday. They are coached by Jon Kavanaugh. 

Hope Blue Wave

More known for their track program, Hope surprised most critics when they finished the Division I season with a 9-9 record, finishing with enough wins for the #14 rank in the state. Coached by David Nyblom, the Blue Wave beat St. Ray's and Smithfield, and have won four in a row. Emmanuel Kragbo (15.9) and Wayne Andrews-Clements (10.2) lead the Blue Wave in scoring, and hope to ride the Blue Wave to victory against #19 Cranston East, whom they lost to on January 13 (75-54).

Coventry Oakers

The Coventry Oakers, who are coached by Tom Campbell, ended the 2011-12 season with a 9-9 record. Despite a low record, the Oakers beat the likes of North Kingstown and Classical, and played tight with other top teams in Division I. Garrett Douglas (18.5) and Aaron Greenwod (15.0) led in scoring for the Oakers, who play the upstart #18 Juanita Sanchez from Division III on Saturday.

Toll Gate Titans

The Toll Gate Titans, who finished with the second-best mark in Division III, were guided by Tom Rayko throughout the season. The Titans ended the 2011-12 season with a 15-3 mark, and they beat notable teams like Juanita Sanchez, Middletown, and Johnston. On offense, Ethan Dujon (16.1), Jevonta Gonsalves (12.1), Nick Carr (10.8), and Mike Ryes (10.0) led the Titans in scoring, and the Titans hope to defend their home in Warwick against the challenging #17 Cumberland. 

Cumberland Clippers

The Cumberland Clippers, coached by Gary Reedy, finished their Division II season with an 11-7 record. Cumberland beat teams like Hope, Narragansett, and Barrington, finishing with the 17th seed in the state tournament. Ben Bradley (12.7) led the Clippers in scoring, followed by Dylan Boisclair (11.1) and Tom Lazaras (11.0), which hope to guide the Clippers to a victory over #16 Toll Gate on Friday. 

Juanita Sanchez Cavaliers

The Juanita Sanchez Cavaliers, who have been a major competitor in Division III over the last few years, finished 2011-12 with a 14-4 record. Coached by Steven Nadeu, the Cavaliers stayed competitive with all the Division III teams, finishing third in the division as a result. The duo of Alejandro Reguillo (10.8) and Anthony Ventura (10.7) will help guide the Cavaliers to a playoff battle with #15 Coventry on Saturday. 

Cranston East Thunderbolts

The Thunderbolts, who were coached by William Coughlin, finished their 2011-12 season with a 9-10 record in Division I. The Bolts beat playoff teams like Tiverton, Classical, Hope, and Smithfield, finishing with the #19 seed in the state. Albert DeRobbio (17.4) and Patrick Marchand, the tallest player in Rhode Island with a height of 6'8'' (17.1) lead the offense into their first round game Friday against #14 Hope. 

Smithfield Sentinels 

Smithfield, the lowest seed from Division I to clinch a spot in the tournament, finished the season with an 8-10 record. In fact, a last-game victory over Woonsocket sealed the deal for the Sentinels, who are coached by Joseph Bennett. The Sentinels have beaten Mount Pleasant and Classical. In addition, Chad Fair (15.8) has led the Sentinels in scoring, who look for a challenge when they play #13 Classical on Friday. 

Barrington Eagles

Barrington, who will make their first appearance in the state tournament, finished the Division II season with a 10-8 record. Coached by Pat Sullivan, the Eagles beat Shea, Rogers, and Mount Pleasant this season. Junior Ben Engvall (20.9) leads the Eagles in scoring, and looks to play a major role on Friday, when they challenge #12 Westerly. 

Tiverton Tigers

After starting 2-8, the young, upstart Tigers won their final five games to finish the year 10-8 in Division II. Led by 36-year veteran Gerald Arcouette (his final year), the Tigers have beaten Rogers and Barrington to clinch the 22nd spot in the state tournament. The Tigers offense mainly centers around Alex Rosa, who leads the team with 13.4 PPG. Last year, they made it all the way to the State Championship, and they look to capitalize on that on Friday against Mount Pleasant.

Exeter/W. Green. Scarlet Knights

Exeter/West Greenwich, who is the fourth highest Division III team to enter the tournament fold, finished the DIII season with a 13-5 record. Led by head coach Craig Main, the Scarlet Knights most notable victory was on Valentine's Day, when they beat previously unbeaten Prout, 46-42. They have also beaten Moses Brown and Middletown. On Friday, they have a rematch with Prout, and it will be the rubber game (and the pinnacle) of their season series.

Middletown Islanders

Middletown finished the 2011-12 season with an impressive 13-5 mark in Division III. The Islanders have defeated Juanita Sanchez, Tiverton, Johnston, and Moses Brown this season under the guidance of Kevin Lendrum. On offense, the Islanders are led by Justin Bailey (11.6) and Randolph Butler (10.1). The Islanders will have a showdown against #9 Rogers, who defeated them earlier in the season, 65-37, in the East Bay Holiday Tournament.

Johnston Panthers

The Johnston Panthers, who qualified for last year's tournament, look to continue building into a major power in Division III under the leadership of Stephen DeMeo. The Panthers finished 2011-12 with a 13-5 record in DIII, and have beaten North Smithfield, Juanita Sanchez, and Exeter/West Greenwich. On offense, the Panthers are led by Evan Hopson (16.0), Ryan Anderson (15.1), and Paul Burrows (11.1), and look to ride some positive momentum into their first round showdown against #8 Shea on Friday.

North Smithfield Northmen

The North Smithfield Northmen, looking to cover up the impact of their Division I counterparts (Smithfield), did a great job this season in Division III, finishing 13-5 on the season. Notable wins for the Northmen include Cranston West, Coventry, Moses Brown, Toll Gate, and Johnston. Led by head coach TJ Kozaczka, the Northmen on offense are guided by scoring sensation Matt Walkow (21.8) and Carlos Guzman (13.0). They will face the ultimate test on Friday as they play the #7 North Providence Cougars.

Tolman Tigers

The Tolman Tigers, who are coached by Paul Kayata, finished the 2011-12 season with a 9-9 record in Division II. Notably, the Tigers defeated Cumberland, Tiverton, Barrington, and Central Falls. On offense, the Tigers are led by Juan Velez (20.5) and John Percy (11.8), and look to challenge #6 Bishop Hendricken. 

Central Falls Warriors

Central Falls, coached by Brian Crookes, finished the 2011-12 season with a 9-9 record, qualifying for the state tournament as the 28th seed. Notable wins for the Warriors include Narragansett and Tiverton. On offense, the Warriors are led by Clifton Johnson (11.9). On Monday, the Warriors roll to the Providence Career and Technical Academy to play the #5 Central Knights.

Narragansett Mariners

A buzzer-beater victory over Westerly allowed the Mariners to qualify for their first state tournament. Led by head coach David Gee, the Mariners finished the 2011-12 season with an 8-10 record, sufficient for tournament play. Notably, the Mariners have defeated Tolman, Barrington, and Westerly. On offense, the Mariners are guided by seniors Pat Doyle (14.7) and Pat Degnan (11.6). On Friday, the Mariners will play defending state champion #4 St. Raphael's. 

Moses Brown Quakers

Moses Brown, the final team to qualify for the state tournament, finished the 2011-12 season with a 9-9 mark. Coached by Elliott Butcher, the Quakers have defeated Johnston, and have performed to best of ability against other contenders. On offense, the Quakers are led by the state's leading scorer, Michael Cavallaro (22.7), but the team likely will fall to #3 West Warwick. 

 RED SOX PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT FOR SPRING TRAINING

by Tim Scott

After a long winter of wondering what went wrong last September, an entirely new Red Sox team entered a new stadium in Fort Myers, Florida looking to overcome to skeptics, and turn them into believers.

Led by new manager Bobby Valentine and new GM Ben Cherington, the Red Sox restocked their bullpen, and added some versatility on their bench. Even though they lost some key figures, like Jonathan Papelbon, Marco Scutaro, Tim Wakefield, Jed Lowrie, and Josh Reddick, the Red Sox still have the capacity to be a competitor in a competitive AL East division. 

On Sunday, the team's pitchers and catchers reported to JetBlue Park, which replaces City of Palms Park, in Fort Myers. The new complex duplicates the feel that Fenway Park produces, including a 37-foot high Green Monster. 

Valentine, in his first year managing the Red Sox after Terry Francona was let go by the organization, looks to guide the team in the right direction. He hopes to "establish positive relationships with the players, and lead them in the right direction." 

Cherington, who replaced Theo Epstein this winter as the team's general manager, made some major moves this offseason to make the Sox a competitor again. In trades, the Red Sox acquired relievers Andrew Bailey (from Oakland) and Mark Melancon (from Houston), and signed free agents OF Cody Ross (from San Francisco), SS Nick Punto (from St. Louis), C Kelly Shoppach (from Tampa Bay), and starting pitchers Aaron Cook, Carlos Silva, and Vicente Padilla. 

With starting pitchers John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka missing the season due to injuries, the Red Sox rotation is in shambles. The only definite starters are Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buccholz. Some sources are thinking that Daniel Bard will become a starter, leaving his role in the bullpen. Others think that Bard will stay, but versatile swing pitcher Alfredo Aceves will start out in the rotation. Aceves might be a questionable starter; in 2011, he went 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in his four starts (in the bullpen, he went 9-1 with a 2.03 ERA). 

Other options include inserting Cook and Padilla in the rotation, or maybe utilizing minor league starters Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller. Regardless, Spring Training will be a time when the starting pitcher issue will be resolved.

Another major issue entering Spring Training is the starting shortstop position. After trading Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for a minor league prospect, and sending Jed Lowrie to the Astros for Melancon, there are three legitimate starting candidates for the Red Sox. The logical choice might be utilityman Mike Aviles, who played 14 games at shortstop last season. Other candidates include Punto and prospect Jose Iglesias, who needs work with the bat, but is versatile enough to be a quality fielding shortstop. 

With Carl Crawford missing the start of the season with an injury, the Red Sox will have a new group in the outfield. Jacoby Ellsbury is the seasoned vet of Fenway in the group; he will be accompanied by Ross and Ryan Sweeney, who was acquired in the Andrew Bailey trade. 

With those issues aside, the Red Sox will begin the Spring Training schedule on March 3, when they play Boston College and Northeastern in their annual doubleheader. Their first Grapefruit League game will be on March 4, when they play the Minnesota Twins. 

RED SOX PREDICTED LINEUP

CF Jacoby Ellsbury

2B Dustin Pedroia

1B Adrian Gonzalez

DH David Ortiz

3B Kevin Youkilis

RF Cody Ross

LF Ryan Sweeney

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

SS Mike Aviles

SP: Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Alfredo Aceves, Vicente Padilla

RP: Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Matt Albers, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront 

Reserves: C Kelly Shoppach, SS Jose Iglesias, INF Nick Punto, OF Darnell McDonald 

Disabled List: OF Carl Crawford, RP Bobby Jenks, SP John Lackey, SP Daisuke Matsuzaka, RP Rich Hill

Notable Transactions

11/14/11: Phillies sign RP Jonathan Papelbon to a 4 year, $50 million deal.

12/7/11: Red Sox resigned DH David Ortiz to a 1-year contract.

12/14/11: Red Sox acquired RP Mark Melancon from the Astros for SS Jed Lowrie and SP Kyle Weiland. Red Sox signed SS Nick Punto to a 2-year deal.

12/28/11: Red Sox acquired RP Andrew Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney from the Athletics for OF Josh Reddick, 3B Miles Head (minors), and RP Raul Alcantara (minors).

1/9/12: Red Sox signed SP Aaron Cook to a minor league contract.

1/16/12: Red Sox signed SP Vicente Padilla to a minor league contract.

1/21/12: Red Sox traded SS Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for minor league P Clay Mortensen.

1/26/12: Red Sox signed OF Cody Ross to a 1-year contract.

2/17/12: Red Sox announced the retirement of SP Tim Wakefield. 

 2011 BOSTlesHOT SPOT FOOTBALL Championship

NCAA Division II Playoffs (11/26):

NEW HAVEN 44, Kutztown (PA) 37 F

NCAA Division III Playoffs (11/19):

Delaware Valley 62, NORWICH 10 F

Salisbury 62, W. NEW ENGLAND 24 F

BOSTON HOT SPOT PLAYOFFS

Division I-AA (11/26):

[1] HARVARD 41, [8] Massachusetts 36 F

[4] HOLY CROSS 47, [5] Yale 17 F

[3] BROWN 44, [6] Sacred Heart 13 F

[2] BRYANT 73, [7] Dartmouth 21 F

Division II (11/26):

[1] SOUTH CT ST. 40, [4] Merrimack 36 F

[2] BENTLEY 34, [3] American Intl. 29 F

Division III Play-In (11/22)

[7] SALVE REGINA 45, [10] Mount Ida 21 F

[9] SPRINGFIELD 50, [8] Framingham 16 F

Division III Quarterfinals (11/26)

[9] SPRINGFIELD 45, [1] Amherst 7 F

[4] BRIDGEWATER ST. 44, [5] Trinity 13 F

[7] SALVE REGINA 42, [2] Endicott 30 F

[3] WORCESTER ST. 40, [6] Williams 23 F

NEXT WEEK'S GAMES

NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs

Montana State at New Hampshire (3:00)

Appalachian State at Maine (2:00)

NCAA Division II Playoffs

New Haven vs. Winston-Salem/Cal (PA)

BHS Division I-AA Playoffs:

HOLY CROSS at HARVARD

BROWN at BRYANT

BHS Division II Championship:

BENTLEY at SOUTHERN CONN. STATE

BHS Division III Playoffs:

SPRINGFIELD at BRIDGEWATER STATE

SALVE REGINA at WORCESTER STATE

 2011 BOSTON HOT SPOT COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

REPRESENTING NEW ENGLAND IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS:

Maine (DI-AA)

New Hampshire (DI-AA)

New Haven (DII) 

Western New England (DIII)

Norwich (DIII)

Division I-A Champ: Connecticut

Division I-AA Bracket:

1. Harvard Crimson (Ivy, 9-1)

2. Bryant Bulldogs (NEC, 7-4)

3. Brown Bears (Ivy, 7-4)

4. Holy Cross Crusaders (Pat, 6-5)

5. Yale Bulldogs (Ivy, 5-5)

6. Sacred Heart Pioneers (NEC, 5-6)

7. Dartmouth Big Green (Ivy, 5-5)

8. UMASS Minutemen (CAA, 5-6)

Division II Bracket:

1. Southern Conn. State Owls (7-3)

2. Bentley Falcons (6-4)

3. American Intl. Yellow Jackets (6-4)

4. Merrimack Warriors (6-4)

DIVISION III Bracket:

1. Amherst Lord Jeffs (8-0)

2. Endicott Gulls (9-1)

3. Worcester State (8-2)

4. Bridgewater State Bears (7-3)

5. Trinity Bantams (7-1)

6. Williams Ephs (5-3)

7. Salve Regina Seahawks (7-3)

8. Framingham State Rams (7-4)

9. Springfield College (6-4)

10. Mount Ida Mustangs (6-4)

WHAT JUST HAPPENED? 

A profile of the Red Sox September collapse.

by Tim Scott

How could a team go from a 9-game wild card lead at the start of September, to a tumultuous 1 game loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the end? That's the question many Boston Red Sox fans are pondering right now, as for the second straight postseason, the Red Sox will not be included.

The beginning of September looked optimistic for the Red Sox. With a 1/2 game lead over the Yankees, and a 9-game wild card lead over the Rays, life couldn't have been better, right? But the Red Sox finished September with a 7-20 record, good enough for the Tampa Bay Rays to mount a massive comeback, and shock the Sox on the last day of the season.

What caused this dramatic collapse of this great team? Well, let's take a look at the reasons behind this devastating collapse. 

STARTING PITCHING

The Red Sox have had their struggles with starting pitching in the past, but those problems really came to a head in September. Josh Beckett and Jon Lester were the only 2 quality starters the Red Sox had healthy in September. The supporting cast? First, John Lackey, who had the worst ERA of any Red Sox pitcher who pitched over 150 innings this year (6.41). Then, you have Tim Wakefield, who may have gotten his 200th win, but in 8 tries. Also, rookie Kyle Weiland (who'd bring in an inexperienced rookie to pitch in a tough pennant chase) and veteran Erik Bedard rounded out a mediocre rotation.

Usually, a decent starting rotation would not go 3-14 on the month. The only starter who didn't have a loss was Bedard, but he only pitched 2 games. Lester went 1-3, Beckett 1-2, and Wakefield 1-2 as well. Lackey went 0-2, and Andrew Miller/Weiland combined for 5 losses in September. 

Next year, the Red Sox should go out and sign a marquee starting pitcher that will not have a cataclysmic effect in September. The top free agent starters include: CJ Wilson (Rangers), Edwin Jackson (Cardinals), Mark Buehrle (White Sox), Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers), & Roy Oswalt (Phillies).

DEFENSE

A team with a terrible defensive showing will never come close to making a playoff run. Even though the Red Sox finished with the third best defense in the AL (behind Tampa Bay and Chicago), they still struggled to make critical plays when needed. Several examples of defensive mediocrity include: Carl Crawford's 2 dropped balls (one against the Yankees, the latter ended the season ultimately), Marco Scutaro getting distracted by a broken bat against the Rays, Jason Varitek throwing the ball away on an inside-the-park homer by Mark Teixeira, and Jacoby Ellsbury losing control of the ball after slamming into the wall.

The defense should remain idle for the 2012 season. It should be the following: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C), Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Dustin Pedroia (2B), Kevin Youkilis (3B), Marco Scutaro (if he picks up his option, SS), Carl Crawford (LF), Jacoby Ellsbury (CF), and Josh Reddick (RF), with David Ortiz (if he resigns, DH).

RELIEF PITCHING

The Red Sox terrible starting pitching doesn't mean the bullpen is off the hook altogether. The bullpen only won 3 games this month, but lost 7 games as well. Daniel Bard was the ringleader of the struggles. The usually consistent set-up man went 0-4. Jonathan Papelbon blew the crucial save last night, and lost the game. 

 NEW ENGLAND TOP 20 (Sept. 25, 2011)

1. Connecticut (2-2)

2. New Hampshire (3-1)

3. Boston College (1-3)


4. Yale (2-0)

5. Massachusetts (2-1)

6. Harvard (1-1)

7. Maine (2-1)

8. Holy Cross (2-1)

9. Brown (1-1)

10. Dartmouth (1-1)

11. New Haven (3-1)

12. Bryant (3-1)

13. American Intl. (3-1)

14. Southern Conn. State (3-1)

15. Bentley (3-1)

16. Endicott (4-0)

17. Williams (1-0)

18. Trinity (1-0)

19. Curry (3-1)

20. Amherst (1-0)

 BOSTON HOT SPOT STAFF PREDICTS NFL WEEK 2

RESULTS

1. Tim Scott (13-3)

2. Josh Fyffe (12-4)

3. Tim Sorota (11-5)

Voted by the Boston Hot Spot Staff

OAKLAND RAIDERS vs. BUFFALO BILLS

Tim Scott (Baseball): Oakland Raiders

Tim Sorota (Pats Writer): Buffalo Bills

Josh Fyffe (NFL Writer): Buffalo Bills

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS vs. DETROIT LIONS

Tim Scott: Detroit Lions

Tim Sorota: Detroit Lions

Josh Fyffe: Detroit Lions

BALTIMORE RAVENS vs. TENN. TITANS

Tim Scott: Baltimore Ravens

Tim Sorota: Baltimore Ravens

Josh Fyffe: Baltimore Ravens

CLEVELAND BROWNS vs. INDY COLTS

Tim Scott: Cleveland Browns

Tim Sorota: Indianapolis Colts

Josh Fyffe: Cleveland Browns

TAMPA BAY BUCS vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Tim Scott: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tim Sorota: Minnesota Vikings

Josh Fyffe: Minnesota Vikings

CHICAGO BEARS vs. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Tim Scott: New Orleans Saints

Tim Sorota: New Orleans Saints

Josh Fyffe: New Orleans Saints

JACKSONVILLE JAGS vs. NEW YORK JETS

Tim Scott: New York Jets

Tim Sorota: New York Jets

Josh Fyffe: New York Jets

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS vs. PITTSBURGH

Tim Scott: Pittsburgh Steelers

Tim Sorota: Pittsburgh Steelers

Josh Fyffe: Pittsburgh Steelers

ARIZONA CARDINALS vs. WASH. REDSKINS

Tim Scott: Washington Redskins

Tim Sorota: Washington Redskins

Josh Fyffe: Washington Redskins

GREEN BAY PACKERS vs. CAROLINA

Tim Scott: Green Bay Packers

Tim Sorota: Green Bay Packers

Josh Fyffe: Green Bay Packers

DALLAS COWBOYS vs. SAN FRAN 49ERS

Tim Scott: Dallas Cowboys

Tim Sorota: Dallas Cowboys

Josh Fyffe: Dallas Cowboys

CINCY BENGALS vs. DENVER BRONCOS

Tim Scott: Denver Broncos

Tim Sorota: Denver Broncos

Josh Fyffe: Denver Broncos

HOUSTON TEXANS vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS

Tim Scott: Houston Texans

Tim Sorota: Houston Texans

Josh Fyffe: Houston Texans

SAN DIEGO vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Tim Scott: New England Patriots

Tim Sorota: New England Patriots

Josh Fyffe: New England Patriots

PHILLY EAGLES vs. ATLANTA FALCONS

Tim Scott: Philadelphia Eagles

Tim Sorota: Philadelphia Eagles

Josh Fyffe: Philadelphia Eagles

NEW YORK GIANTS vs. ST. LOUIS RAMS

Tim Scott: New York Giants

Tim Sorota: St. Louis Rams

Josh Fyffe: St. Louis Rams

 RED SOX WEEK IN RECAP (9/13-9/18)

by Tim Scott

SEPTEMBER 13: RED SOX 18, Blue Jays 6

A sluggy September that's going to be easy to remember negatively was easy to forget on Tuesday, as the Red Sox shelled out 18 runs against the Toronto Blue Jays. The main highlight of the night was when Tim Wakefield (7-6) finally recorded his 200th career victory in grand fashion. The 45-year old knuckleballer went 6 innings, and struck out 6 Jays in the win. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia each had 4 hits (Pedroia also had 5 RBIs), and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had 4 RBIs as the Sox rolled in grand style.

SEPTEMBER 14: BLUE JAYS 5, Red Sox 4

The Blue Jays came back from a 4-2 deficit to defeat the Red Sox, 5-4. Early on, the Red Sox had control of the game, getting key contributions from Marco Scutaro, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez, and a solid start from John Lackey. But, when Daniel Bard entered the game, the game went downhill. Bard continued his downward spiral of September, allowing 3 runs, including a 2-run single by Adam Loewen that settled the score.

SEPTEMBER 15: RAYS 9, Red Sox 2

In a critical game, Kyle Weiland (0-2) struggled to maintain composure, as the rookie took the loss in a 9-2 blowout versus the Tampa Bay Rays. Evan Longoria went 2-5 with 3 RBI for the Rays, backing up Jeremy Hellickson (13-10) throughout the night. The bullpen allowed 5 runs; the relievers that suffered the most were Franklin Morales and Matt Albers. Despite the loss, Marco Scutaro and David Ortiz each had 2 hits for the Red Sox.

SEPTEMBER 16: RED SOX 4, Rays 3

When opportunity knocked, Josh Beckett answered, pitching one of the best games of the season. Beckett struck out 7 Rays hitters in 6 innings as the Red Sox rolled with a 4-3 win over the Rays. David Ortiz went 2-4 with 2 RBI, and Dustin Pedroia & Carl Crawford also contributed 2 hits. Mike Aviles' home run in the fourth put the Red Sox in control against James Shields (14-11), and the Red Sox maintained a firm grip on their waning Wild Card lead.

SEPTEMBER 17: RAYS 4, Red Sox 3

Jeff Niemann (11-7) continued his dominance against the Red Sox, leading the Rays in a must win game, 4-3. Ben Zobrist hit a towering 2-run homer against Jon Lester (15-8), which put the game in the Rays favor from that point on. Mike Aviles and Carl Crawford had 3 and 2 hits respectively, and Jacoby Ellsbury had 2 RBIs in the losing effort. 

SEPTEMBER 18: RAYS 8, Red Sox 5

Tim Wakefield (7-7) did not have his best stuff today, as the Red Sox dropped the final contest against the Rays, 8-5. Matt Joyce had 3 RBIs for the Rays, and Desmond Jennings added 2 hits. Even though David Price left the game early for the Rays (after getting hit by a line drive by Mike Aviles), the Rays pitching still stifled the Red Sox. Jake McGee held them for 2.2 innings. Aviles hit a 3-run homer in the seventh, and a 2-run double by Darnell McDonald provided the base for the Red Sox offense.

AL EAST STANDINGS

1. New York Yankees (91-60)

2. Boston Red Sox (87-65) 4.5 GB

3. Tampa Bay Rays (85-67) 6.5 GB 

AL WILD CARD STANDINGS

1. Boston Red Sox (87-65)
2. Tampa Bay Rays (85-67) 2 GB
3. LA Angels of Anaheim (83-69) 4 GB

RI HS Football: Cranston West 20, Barrington 15

by Tim Scott

The Barrington Eagles football team dropped a hard-fought Division I contest Friday night at home to the Cranston West Falcons, 20-15.

Despite trailing for much of the game, the Eagles stayed within striking distance and had a shot at a win late in the fourth quarter. A fourth-down pass fell incomplete in the end zone to thwart a late comeback win.

Cranston West (2-0) controlled the game from the first quarter. On their first drive, running back Bryan Stetson ran a short handoff into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra-point kick was good and the Falcons went on top, 7-0.

Barrington (1-1) surged back right away on its first drive. Quarterback Jack Ryan threw a soaring touchdown to Adam Hadley in the end zone. A missed extra point left the Eagles within one of the Falcons, 7-6.

Most of the game's scoring came in the second quarter. The teams combined for three touchdowns, with Cranston West getting two. The first TD came on a 12-yard run by Damien Andrus. It put Cranston West back on top by 13-7.

The Eagles got their lone touchdown of the second quarter on a quick run by Ryan. John Meehan made the extra point this time and the score was tied at 13.

With 1:34 to go in the second quarter, though, Bryan Stetson caught a blistering pass from quarterback Matt Rousseau that put the Falcons up for good, 20-13.

The third quarter was scoreless for both teams as the defenses took over. Barrington finally seized momentum in the final quarter by blocking a punt that rolled through the Falcons end zone for a safety. It cut the lead to 20-15.

After a key punt return from senior Drew Brown, Barrington had the ball deep in the Falcons' red zone a little while later, getting as far as the 9-yard line. But a series of running plays were thwarted by the Falcons, leaving the Eagles with a fourth-down situation.

The Eagles chose to go for a TD on fourth down. Ryan threw a pass into the end zone, but the receiver could not control the ball, giving possession back to the Falcons.  Cranston West then ran out the clock to win its second straight game.

Barrington’s next game is against North Kingstown on the road next Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 pm. 

THIS ARTICLE WAS ALSO USED ON THE BARRINGTON PATCH. 

http://barrington.patch.com/articles/late-rally-comes-up-short-for-eagles

Pats Win Opener over ‘Phins 38-24
By Tim Sorota (September 14, 2011)

1st Quarter: The Dolphins got the ball to start the 2011 season. Miami Quarterback Chad Henne put all the criticism behind him and led them to an opening TD. Henne seemed to read the Patriot’s defense like a book and could seemingly do whatever he pleased. The drive took up 7:42 and was capped by a Henne 9 yard QB draw on 3rd and goal. When the Pats got the ball, they too finished with the same result as Miami had on the previous drive. During the drive, Brady threw a 46 yard bomb to Matthew Slater. It was Slater’s first NFL reception and it put the offense on the Dolphin 24 yard line. 3 plays later Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis pounded in a 4 yard TD. Miami would go three and out on their next drive. 

2nd Quarter: New England got the ball back at the end of the 1st. They moved the ball on the strength of plays that took big chunks of yards. Rob Gronkowski finally rained in a catch from Brady for a 10 yard TD. Henne and the offense got the ball at their own 10 yard line. Brian Hartline caught a 16 yard pass on the drive that brought the ball to the 33. But Reggie Bush would be stopped on a 3rd and two which would bring out the punt team. When the Pats got the ball, they moved it 48 yards before they had to punt. The next drives for both Miami and New England would both result in 3 and outs. Miami would get 1 first down on the next drive before the Pats were in position for a 48 yard kick. He missed wide right. That would bring them to half time with the Patriots leading 14-7. 


3rd Quarter: Brady would get his hands on the ball first in the 2nd half. But on the first drive, he was trying to throw to Deion Branch but it would be picked off by Jared Ordrick. With the ‘Phins already in great field position, it only took a 10 yard pass to Hartline from Henne to tie the game up. The Pats were irritated so they went to the no huddle. This gassed Miami. As a result, Wes Welker would get a 4 yard TD. On the next possession Henne had a lot of success throwing against Devin McCourty, but the drive halted 2 yards away from the end zone and they settled for 3. The Pats, however, would not settle for three on their next series. It was capped off with an Aaron Hernandez 1 yard reception for a TD. At the end of 3 it was 28-17 Pats. 

4th Quarter: A quick three and out by Miami would give the Patriots the ball again. They didn’t get a TD but they got a 20 yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. Both teams would exchange punts in the next two drives. Led by Brandon Marshall and Brian Hartline, Miami took the ball to the New England 1 yard line. However, on 4th down the pass fell incomplete. A turnover on downs. On the ½ yard line Tom Brady would throw a 99 ½ TD to Wes Welker. With the game out of reach for the Dolphins Chad Henne drove the team down field for a 1 yard TD to  Reggie Bush. At that point the score was 38-24. That would be how the game would end. 


Game Notes: Let’s start with the positives. The offense was totally in-sync. Brady was on fire throwing for over 500 yards. Wes Welker had a monster game. The running game was so-so. I would’ve liked to see them get a little bit more carriers in the game. I was really impressed with the offensive line. Brady had all the time in the world to throw. I also loved the no-huddle. Miami was just out of gas and the Pats had plenty left in the tank. On defense, the pass rush made their presence felt. Andre Carter pressured Henne on a few occasions. Now to the bad. The secondary was borderline embarrassing. They played terrible. Chad Henne threw all over them. Devin McCourty, an all pro, couldn’t cover Brandon Marshall if his life depended on it. Marshall has a huge game. McCourty made 11 tackles. Why? Because he always had to tackle Marshall. Josh Barrett got burned on more than once. Will this continue throughout the season? 

Game MVP: My Game MVP goes to rookie Nate Solder. In his first game ever, he completely shut down Cameron Wake. Wake is one of the best pass rushers in the whole NFL. A major concern going into the game would be his impact, but thanks to Solder he had none. Brady could take as long as he wanted in the pocket and not have to worry about Wake drilling him. If this is Solder’s first NFL game, what is in store for the rest of his career?
Pats-'Phins Preview 
By Tim Sorota (September 11, 2011)

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins at Dolphins Stadium. Start time is 7:00 on ESPN. Weather: 83 degrees with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. 

This is the first game for both teams this year. The Pats made some intriguing off-season moves, as did Miami. Check out my break-down of the game. 

Key Matchup: Nate Solder vs. Cameron Wake. The best player on the Dolphin’s team is going to be going up against a rookie tackle. This matchup is a huge advantage for the ‘Phins. Cameron Wake is going to have to have a huge game if they’re going to win the game. The Pats have had some trouble when Brady is constantly being chased after and knocked to the ground. 

Offensive Break-Down: The Dolphins didn’t get a quarterback which they desperately needed. Chad Henne will get the start, and he has been very inconsistent in his career. They acquired Reggie Bush in the off-season who will help them in the passing game more than the run. However, Rickey Williams and Ronnie Brown both left the team. The Patriots still have Tom Brady and they acquired Chad Ochocinco in the off-season. Their running attack is extremely underrated led by the Law Firm Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis and rookies Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. For offense, I must give the edge to the Patriots.


Defensive Break-Down: Both teams have intriguing defenses. The Patriots improved the defensive line greatly this off-season by adding Albert Haynesworth (game time decision tomorrow) and Shaun Ellis. Miami’s defensive line is filled with no-names. The line backing core is interesting. Both teams have strengths and both have some weaknesses. Jarod Mayo is a strong “Mike” linebacker, but other than him, there are major question marks. Miami is led by Cameron Wake who is one of the best pass rushers in the game. In the middle they have Karlos Dansby. Again in the secondary, both teams are filled with un-known’s. Vontae Davis and Yeremiah Bell anchor Miami’s corners and safeties. For New England the safety position is a concern. Who will play alongside Patrick Chung? Who will be the 2nd corner along with McCourty? For defense it’s really close but I have to give the slightest edge to Miami, but it’s really close. 

Prediction: I like New England in this game but I think it will be a close game. The Patriots have a tough time playing in Miami but I think they have a significant advantage on offense. I like them to win 31-27. 

Banged Up Giants Get Punished By New Look Redskins

by Josh Fyffe

            In America’s Game of the Week, Rex Grossman, accompanied by a new Washington Redskins defense, punished a Giants team that was already without key players, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jonathan Goth, and Terrell Thomas. A Giants team that had bested the Redskins a brutal six straight times did not even show up in the second half.  Grossman threw for 305 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. For the first time in years things are looking up for the Redskins.

            Both Rex Grossman and Eli Manning started the game a combined zero for eight and were plagued by both dropped passes and defensive pressure. The Redskins first two drives resulted in only four yards of total offense and quick three and outs, while the opposing Giants scored within four plays on a naked bootleg two yard touchdown run by Eli Manning.

            On Grossman’s third drive as the Redskins starter he completed all three of his passes hitting long time Redskin Santana Moss, and new addition Tim Hightower from the Arizona Cardinals. Although the drive ended in a Gano missed field goal attempt, Grossman settled down much more and the drive was a confidence booster for the newly added quarterback.

            On Manning’s next drive he managed a first down, but his offense had to punt on the next set of downs giving the ball back to Grossman and the Redskins. Brandon Banks gave good field position to the Redskins by returning Weatherford’s punt 25 yards. With Grossman starting at his own 35 yard line as apposed to his own 10, he lead the ‘Skins to an 11 play, 66 yard drive ending with a touchdown, the highlight play being a fourth and five conversion to Santana Moss for nine yards.

            After the teams traded punts, Manning directed the Giants to a game leading touchdown drive, where after starting 3 of 11, was four for four for 58 yards. The drive was capped off by an Ahmad Bradshaw six yard touchdown run.

            Grossman responded to the score by one of his own, driving his team using the two minute offense. Grossman hit a hot streak hitting five different receivers on all five of his passes. The drive ended with a connection to Anthony Armstrong, who had two key drops early on, for a six yard touchdown with 37 seconds left before the half. With a tie game at the half, the game was still up for grabs. 

            The momentum changed in a flash when on the first pass of the second half, rookie Ryan Kerrigan out of Purdue, intercepted Eli Manning’s pass by tipping himself the ball and running it back nine yards for a touchdown, giving the Redskins their first lead of the afternoon. Manning responded to the pick six with a three and out, giving the ball back to the Redskins.

            With the ball and the lead, Grossman had his drive stopped by the Giants defense after a first down completion of 25 yards to Fred Davis. The pass to Davis allowed the field position to be flipped, and forced Eli Manning to start his drive at the Giant’s nine yard line.

            Getting the ball back gave the Giants a chance to tie the game, and they wasted no time trying to do so, starting off the drive with a 41 yard pass to tight end Jake Ballard to midfield. Manning lead his Giants to the Redskins 31 yard line, where they failed to convert a fourth and one, against a defense that ranked 31st in yards allowed in the NFL a year ago. Grossman drove his team to the Giants 35 yard line, but was pushed out of field goal range with back to back sacks by the giants, causing the ‘Skins to lose 16 yards on 2nd and 3rd down.

The ensuing punt from former Eagles punter Sav Rocca pinned the Giants at their own ten yard line. The punt was immediately followed by a Redskins sack, and it became 2nd and 18 for the Giants at their own two yard line. Manning missed his next attempt, and had a screen pass for two yards to give his punter breathing room. Weatherford had his shortest punt of the day, only having a net of 37 yards setting up the Redskins in Giants territory with the lead.

However on third and eight Grossman was strip sacked by Jason Pierre-Paul, and the fumbled ball was returned by Michael Boley to Washington’s 27 yard line. Even with great field position, Eli Manning could not get a first down, and after being denied on the last fourth down, opted to try a 38 yard field goal attempt. But the Redskins prevailed having Brian Orakpo block Lawrence Tynes kick. London Fletcher collected the loose ball and gave the Redskins a first and ten at their own 30 yard line.

Unlike the Super bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning, Grossman responded well to his turnover leading his Washington Redskins down the field for a score, ending with a third and goal completion to former Florida teammate Jabar Gaffney.

Manning could do nothing against a persistent Redskins defense in the game’s final minutes and could not deliver a scoring drive for New York.

            The Giants could not figure out the Redskins defense in the second half, while the Redskins cruised to a 28 to 14 victory against the rival Giants.  The defense that was ranked 31st in the NFL only a season ago shined brightly having a pick six and a turnover on downs. With Rex Grossman’s solid quarterback play behind them, Washington has a bright season ahead of them. 

NEW ENGLAND TOP 20 (September 11, 2011)

1. Connecticut (1-1)

2. Boston College (1-1)

3. New Hampshire (1-1)

4. Massachusetts (1-0)

5. Harvard (0-0)

6. Yale (0-0)

7. Rhode Island (0-1)

8. Central CT State (1-1)

9. Brown (0-0)

10. Dartmouth (0-0)

11. Maine (1-1)

12. New Haven (2-0)

13. American Intl. (1-1)

14. Southern CT State (1-1)

15. Bentley (1-1)

16. Endicott (2-0)

17. Williams (0-0)

18. Trinity (0-0)

19. Curry (2-0)

20. Amherst (0-0)

 RED SOX WEEK IN RECAP (9/6-9/11)

by Tim Scott

9/6/11: RED SOX 14, Blue Jays 0

After a depressing 1-0 loss the night before, the Red Sox bats came alive, collecting 20 hits against the Blue Jays. Jon Lester (15-6) got his 15th win, throwing 7 shutout innings, and striking out 11 batters. David Ortiz and Marco Scutaro had 4 hits each, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia & Josh Reddick each had home runs. Adrian Gonzalez went 3-5 as well, as the Red Sox took the 2nd game of the series, 14-0.

9/7/11: BLUE JAYS 11, Red Sox 10

A late Blue Jays comeback in the eighth inning provided Toronto with a crucial 11-10 victory. Tim Wakefield fell short of his 200th win for the 7th straight time, mainly due to inconsistent pitching from Daniel Bard (2-6), who allowed 5 runs in just 1 inning. Jacoby Ellsbury and Marco Scutaro had 3 RBIs in the losing effort.

9/8/11: BLUE JAYS 7, Red Sox 4

Andrew Miller (6-3) had another tough start as the Red Sox lost a crucial Game 4, 7-4. Miller allowed 5 runs in 5 innings of work, hurting his performance greatly. Marco Scutaro went 3-5 with 2 RBI against his former team, but the Red Sox dropped their second game in a row.

9/9/11: RAYS 7, Red Sox 2

John Lackey (12-12) had another rough outing as the Red Sox dropped their third straight, 7-2, to the Tampa Bay Rays. Lackey allowed 5 runs in 3 innings; he left due to an injured shin. The Sox could not master Wade Davis's pitching, only getting 6 hits. Josh Reddick had 2 hits in the losing effort for the Sox. 

9/10/11: RAYS 6, Red Sox 5 (F/10)

Evan Longoria provided the walk-off single in the eleventh inning off of Daniel Bard (2-7) to put the Rays on top, 6-5. Jacoby Ellsbury & Jarrod Saltalamacchia had back-to-back home runs, and Kyle Weiland pitched solidly in a spot-start. Alfredo Aceves and Jonathan Papelbon had solid relief performances for the Red Sox, holding the Rays tight for 6 innings. With the Rays win, the Red Sox now have dropped 3 in a row.

9/11/11: RAYS 9, Red Sox 1

BJ Upton's grand slam in the fifth inning capped an offensive surge that put the game out of reach for the Red Sox. After 105 pitches in 4 innings took Jon Lester out, the Rays took advantage of relievers Michael Bowden and Matt Albers with Upton's grand slam (his first career). The only offense the Red Sox could get was a homer from Marco Scutaro in the second inning. Meanwhile, the Red Sox now sit 3.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East, and 3.5 games on top of the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card.

Savard Shut Down

by: Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

Once again concussions will hinder Savard’s career.  Savard has suffered with concussion issues ever since that fateful day in which penguins forward Matt Cooke hit Savard from behind in the head with his elbow.  Savard suffered a major concussion and has struggled with post concussion syndrome ever since. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced this past week that Savard would be shut down for the year once again due to concussion related issues.  

This sad decline of Savard’s career all comes back to that hit to the head delivered by Matt Cooke.  This brings up the debate about head hits.  We have seen far too many hits to the head lately and one can only wonder when it will stop.  In my mind hits to the head will only continue to escalate unless dramatic measures are taken.  The league should implement a Strike system in which a player a player would get a 3 game suspension on their first head hit, 10 games for their second head hit, and then if they were to hit a player in the head for a third time, they would be kicked out of the NHL.  This would greatly reduce the number of head hits and get cheap players like Matt Cooke out of the league.

The next question is, will Savard ever return to his former glory. We all can remember back to when Savard had four 75+point years in a row.  His skills are unquestioned as he is perhaps the greatest playmaker to put on a Bruins uniform this year.  The 34 year-old center has missed 98 games in the past two years and will miss this entire year.  In those few games he has played, he has looking sluggish and not like the Savard we Boston fans know.  Sadly I think that Savard will never recover and hopefully the league will learn from this situation and prevent something like this from happening to someone else. 

 The State of Our Game

By Arthur Bailin

I asked Tim for this space to write a column about Rug Burn Ball. This column will basically be reactions to things that have been said on this site.

First of all, if Jeff Miller is ignored for one more award, then there is a serious problem. Jeff may be the best player in the history of the game, even better than Zeke himself. He has had two stellar seasons, something that no other player can say, and led, frankly, a mediocre team to the championship. He is a first ballot hall of famer, without a doubt.

That leads me to another thing. The hall of fame. The last hall of fame class inducted no more than 5 players into the hall of fame. Considering that they are all active, the honor loses its touch when half the league is inducted.

Another thing, the changes to the Rug Burn Ball rules that were suggested. Other than a little bit more physicality, every idea that was suggested was not a good one. I mean fighting in rug burn ball? This isn’t a three ring circus, it’s a serious game with integrity. Fighting will turn the sport to a sport of goons. Plus, no camp will seriously condone fighting. I mean come on. Another thing, frankly the rule that was suggested that limbs can be up in the air or you can move is stupid. I mean, quite frankly the whole point of the game is that you CAN’T MOVE! If that rule is not in place, then what’s to stop us from standing up, or running around? Don’t take personal disappointment as a reason to fundamentally change the game.

Finally I just have to say this. Frankly, the game has become a sport of ridiculousness. The game started out as a simple one, with not a whole lot of rules, where physicality and toughness ruled. Now it has turned to an over litigious game, with whistles every other play. Diving is all over the place, complaining is all over the place, over reacting to stuff (Shane did not get a concussion. Come on.) is in style. Frankly we need to get back to the old game, the game where you fought hard for every play, took those consequences like a man and played until the victor is decided.

Until then, we will not have the game we love back.

2011-12 NFL Predictions 
By Tim Sorota (September 6, 2011) 

So there was a lockout this offseason. I bet you have forgotten about that because in roughly 48 hours the Saints and Packers are playing in a regular season football game. Here are my 2011 NFL predictions

AFC East: 
New England Patriots (13-3) 
New York Jets (10-6)*
Buffalo Bills (7-9) 
Miami Dolphins (5-11) 

The Patriots are still the kings of this division. They win it practically every season and 2011 will be no different. They got much better in the off-season by adding former Jet Shaun Ellis and Chad Ochocinco. The Jets have a good defense and will be able to make the playoffs. The Bills will have a turn-around season with Ryan Fitzpatrick getting another year under his belt. The Dolphins have QB issues and after losing Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, they will struggle. 

AFC North:
Baltimore Ravens (12-4) 
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)*
Cleveland Browns (6-10) 
Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) 

The Ravens are going to over-throw the Steelers this year. Joe Flacco is ready to become an elite Quarterback in the NFL. They are sick and tired of hearing how great the Steelers are. This is their year in this division. The Browns are still really young and they will have to keep rebuilding. The Bengals are going to be the worst team in the NFL. Jonathan Joseph was one of their only respectable players on defense and he left. A rookie QB doesn’t translate well to the big show. 


AFC South: 
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) 
Houston Texans (9-7) 
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)
Tennessee Titans (7-9) 

Peyton Manning is so good that he can carry a team. He will lead the Colts to 10 wins and get them in the playoffs. The Texans may be one good draft and off-season from winning the division. They still have some holes on the defense that they have to fill. The Jaguars and Titans are both breaking in new QBs. But, both of them have a veteran mentor in Matt Hasselbeck and David Garrard. 

AFC West: 
San Diego Chargers (11-5) 
Kansas City Chiefs (8-8) 
Oakland Raiders (5-11) 
Denver Broncos (4-12) 

San Diego led the NFL in offense and defense last year and missed the playoffs! Don’t expect that to happen again. Phillip Rivers is a legitimate MVP candidate, and they have a solid line backing core led by new acquisition Takeo Spikes. Kansas City benefitted from a really weak schedule last year, so expect them to lose a few more games this year. Oakland is a mess at QB and Denver has a lot of holes. However, Von Miller will win the defensive rookie of the year award. 


NFC East:
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) 
Dallas Cowboys (10-6) *
New York Giants (8-8) 
Washington Redskins (7-9) 

The Eagles are the “dream team” . I strongly disagree but I do think they are a good team. Expect them to win the division. I really like Dallas this season. They still have a good offense and Felix Jones in an emerging young back. Demarcus Ware is the best pass rusher in the NFL. The Giants aren’t going to make the playoffs this year. They still aren’t great. They are average at most positions. Washington will improve from last year. 

NFC North: 
Green Bay Packers (14-2) 
Minnesota Vikings (9-7) 
Detroit Lions (9-7)
Chicago Bears (8-8) 

During the end of last year and in the playoffs, Green Bay was un-beatable. That won’t change over the off-season. I don’t see them losing more than 2 games the whole season. Minnesota will have a major bounce back season. After firing Brad Childress, the team started winning. This will continue this year. Detroit has the most potential out of any team in the NFL. They have an absolutely loaded defensive line and they can push around most teams. Chicago’s offensive line is terrible. The defense will be able to save the line a little and they will manage to win 8 games. 


NFC South: 
New Orleans Saints (14-2) 
Atlanta Falcons (11-5)*
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) 
Carolina Panthers (5-11) 

New Orleans is a great football team. Drew Brees is one of the best QBs in the game. The defense is still strong led by Jonathan Vilma. Atlanta will have another successful year led by Matt Ryan and rookie of the year Julio Jones. Jones alongside Roddy White will make a solid receiving core. Tampa is a really tough team to predict because of their no-name team. Josh Freeman is solid and Legarette Blunt is unpredictable. The Panthers went 2-14 last year. Look for mild improvement this year. 

NFC West: 
St. Louis Rams (9-7) 
Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
Arizona Cardinals (6-10)
San Francisco 49ers (3-13) 
St. Louis picks up many cheap wins against some bad NFC west teams. They are the best of the worst and they get into the playoffs. I initially thought Seattle would win the division but they played really bad in the pre-season. Yeah, I know it’s the pre-season but issues don’t go away come regular season. Kevin Kolb will improve the QB issues in Arizona. I don’t think they will be as good as people think. San Francisco is just pretty bad. 
*wild card teams 
Wild Card Games:

(seed #6) Dallas Cowboys vs. (#3) Philadelphia Eagles- Cowboys win 28-24 

(# 5) Atlanta Falcons vs. (#4) St. Louis Rams- Falcons win 31-28 OT 
(#6) New York Jets vs. (#3) San Diego Chargers- Jets win 16-7
(#5) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. (#4) Indianapolis Colts- Steelers win 21-3 

Division Games: 
(#6) Dallas Cowboys vs. (#1) Green Bay Packers- Packers win 34-21 
(#5) Atlanta Falcons vs. (#2) New Orleans Saints- Saints win 41-38 
(#6) New York Jets vs. (#1) New England Patriots- Patriots win 24-17 
(#5) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. (#2) Baltimore Ravens- Ravens win 10-7 

Conference Championship Games: 
(#2) Baltimore Ravens vs. (#1) New England Patriots. Ravens win 27-10
(#2) New Orleans Saints vs. (#1) Green Bay Packers. Saints win 45-42 OT 

Super Bowl:
My Super Bowl matchup is offense vs. defense. The best defense in the last 12 years in Baltimore playing against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints for the Super Bowl. Could there be anything better? Do defenses really win championships? Check out my prediction. 

The myth is true. 
Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints. Baltimore wins 17-14 

Award Time!
Offensive MVP: Drew Brees QB, New Orleans Saints 
Defensive MVP: DeMarcus Ware OLB, Dallas Cowboys 
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons 
Comeback Player of the Year: Tony Romo QB, Dallas Cowboys 

Coach of the Year: Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions. 

 LAWRIE, JAYS WALK OFF WITH 1-0 WIN

by Tim Scott

TORONTO, Canada---It was a tight game from the beginning. An eleven-inning pitching duel doesn't happen everyday, but it certainly took place tonight. Even though the final outcome wasn't desirable, a walk-off homer by Brett Lawrie in the eleventh, the Red Sox pitching staff pitched a good game. They would drop the first game of the series, 1-0, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Josh Beckett. Beckett pitched 3.2 innings, striking out 6 batters before leaving the game early with a strained right ankle. He is expected to be day-to-day.

The Blue Jays got a terrific start from rookie Henderson Alvarez. The rookie went 6 innings allowing 4 hits and 4 strikeouts on 95 pitches. 

Boston's offense got 7 hits on the night against Blue Jays pitching. Josh Reddick & Marco Scutaro got a good portion of those hits, getting 2 each. In addition, they left 10 men on base. 

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays had 6 hits. They also had 4 stolen bases, with 2 each from Mike McCoy and Edwin Encarnacion. 

Both team's bullpens pitched solidly as well. Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon allowed just 2 hits from the 4th until the 10th, and also had 9 strikeouts combined.

Also, the Blue Jays had good pitching from their relievers. Carlos Villanueva, Casey Janssen, Frank Francisco, & Shawn Camp (3-3). The four pitchers combined for 4 strikeouts, and allowed just 3 hits. 

But, it would be in the eleventh when the game reached the resolution. Lawrie launched a walk-off home run to straight-away center off of Dan Wheeler (2-2) to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 victory.

The Yankees beat the Orioles today, 11-10, to increase their lead in the AL East to now 2.5 games over the Red Sox.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox will try to take over control of the series, when they play the Jays tomorrow at 7:07. Jon Lester (14-6) will start for the Red Sox, while the Blue Jays counter with Luis Perez (3-2). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

11th Inning BLUE JAYS: Brett Lawrie homered (8) to center. (TOR, 1-0)

RED SOX Hitters: Josh Reddick (2-5, 2B), Marco Scutaro (2-4, 2B), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-5, 2B), Adrian Gonzalez (1-4, 2B), David Ortiz (1-4)

BLUE JAYS Hitters: Brett Lawre (1-3, HR, RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Josh Beckett (3.2 IP, 3 H, BB, 6 K, 58 PC), Alfredo Aceves (3.2 IP, H, 3 BB, 4 K, 56 PC), Daniel Bard (1.2 IP, 2 K, 14 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K, 27 PC), Dan Wheeler (0.2 IP, H, ER, HR, 9 PC, [L, 2-2])

BLUE JAYS Pitchers: Henderson Alvarez (6 IP, 4 H, BB, 4 K, 95 PC), Carlos Villanueva (1 IP, H, BB, 17 PC), Casey Janssen (1 IP, H, BB, 2 K, 21 PC), Frank Francisco (2 IP, H, BB, 2 K, 28 PC), Shawn Camp (1 IP, K, 16 PC, [W, 3-3])

Line Score

BOS 000 000 000 00-0 7 1

TOR 000 000 000 01-1 6 0

WP: Camp (3-3) LP: Wheeler (2-2)

GAME NOTES:
BOS-Josh Beckett left game in the fourth inning with a sprained right ankle.

 RANGERS TAKE SERIES WITH 11-4 WIN

by Tim Scott

BOSTON---The Red Sox fell short of continuing the momentum provided in their 12-7 win last night. In fact, they fell way short. Due to a 7-run sixth inning, plus lackluster pitching from John Lackey (12-11), the Red Sox lost to the Texas Rangers, 11-4.

The Rangers were guided by strong pitching by Matt Harrison (11-9). Trying to avenge a bad start vs. the Sox last time around, the righty impressed, going 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts on the night.

It would be the Rangers that would take the early lead, on an RBI single by Mike Napoli in the second inning. One inning later, Ian Kinsler tripled to deep right, driving in a run, and putting the Rangers up, 2-0.

Kinsler's triple not only brought a bigger lead for the Rangers, it sent Conor Jackson out of the game. After ramming into the right field wall on the play, Jackson left the game with a bruised right knee, and is expected to be day-to-day.

Up until the sixth inning, the game was very tight. The Rangers were winning, 2-0, and held the Sox to 4 hits. The Rangers got out of numerous jams in the third and fourth innings, really enhancing the quality of their lead.

Then, along came an atrocious inning that altered the course of the game rapidly. After allowing an RBI single to David Murphy, Terry Francona took out Lackey with the bases loaded, putting in inexperienced rookie Felix Doubront. From that point on, the Rangers scored 6 more runs to put themselves up, 9-0, the highlight of which was an 3-run triple by Josh Hamilton. Matt Albers was able to get out of the jam, by retiring the last 2 hitters of the inning. 

In the seventh, the Sox got 2 runs on a double by Marco Scutaro, which scored in Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. 

The Sox would score twice more in the eighth, with RBIs from David Ortiz and Darnell McDonald, making the score 9-4 Rangers. 

Michael Bowden pitched the last 2 innings for the Red Sox, taking a beating from a top offense. Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler each hit home runs, putting the Rangers up 11-4.

The Yankees won their game, 9-3, over the Toronto Blue Jays, increasing their lead of the AL East to now 1.5 games over the Red Sox.

In the last game of the summer, the Red Sox will challenge the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in a Labor Day showdown. Josh Beckett (12-5) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Jays counter with Henderson Alvarez (1-2). The game will start at 1:07, and be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning RANGERS: Mike Napoli singled to left. David Murphy scored. (TEX, 1-0)

3rd Inning RANGERS: Ian Kinsler tripled to deep right-center. Endy Chavez scored. (TEX, 2-0)

6th Inning RANGERS: Murphy singled to left. Michael Young scored. (TEX, 3-0)
*6th Inning RANGERS: Mitch Moreland singled to right. Adrian Beltre scored. (TEX, 4-0)
*6th Inning RANGERS: Esteban German walked. Murphy scored. (TEX, 5-0)
*6th Inning RANGERS: Kinsler flied out to right. Napoli scored. (TEX, 6-0)
*6th Inning RANGERS: Josh Hamilton tripled to center. Moreland, German, and Elvis Andrus scored. (TEX, 9-0)

7th Inning RED SOX: Marco Scutaro singled to center. Carl Crawford and Jarrod Satlalamacchia scored. (TEX, 9-2)

8th Inning RED SOX: David Ortiz singled to right. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (TEX, 9-3)
*8th Inning RED SOX: Darnell McDonald flied out to right. Kevin Youkilis scored. (TEX, 9-4)

9th Inning RANGERS: Mike Napoli homered (23) to center. (TEX, 10-4)
*9th Inning RANGERS: Ian Kinsler homered (25) to left. (TEX, 11-4)

RANGERS Hitters: Ian Kinsler (3-5, 3B, HR, 3 RBI), Mike Napoli (2-3, HR, 2 RBI), Josh Hamilton (1-5, 3B, 3 RBI), David Murphy (2-5, 3B), Mitch Moreland (2-5, RBI), Endy Chavez (2-2, 2B)

RED SOX Hitters: Marco Scutaro (1-3, RBI), David Ortiz (2-3, RBI), Darnell McDonald (1-2, RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-5, 2B), Jarrod Satalamacchia (1-4, 2B), Kevin Youkilis (2-4, 2B)

RANGERS Pitchers: Matt Harrison (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 111 PC, [W, 11-9]), Mike Gonzalez (1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 27 PC), Koji Uehara (1 IP, K, 14 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: John Lackey (5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, K, 103 PC, [L, 12-11]), Felix Doubront (0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 19 PC), Matt Albers (1.2 IP, 3 H, BB, 4 K, 38 PC), Michael Bowden (2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 32 PC)

Line Score

TEX 011 007 002-11 15 0

BOS 000 000 220-4   9  2

WP: Harrison (11-9) LP: Lackey (12-11)

GAME NOTES:

BOS-OF Conor Jackson left the game in the third inning with a bruised right knee.

Pats Say Goodbye to Meriweather, Tate, and Morris 
By Tim Sorota (September 4, 2011)

Yesterday was cut day around the NFL. Teams had the responsibility to slim their rosters from around 80 players to the league maximum of 53. The Patriots have a tendency to release big name veterans, and yesterday was no exception. 10 year back Sammy Morris, 3rd year wide-out and deep threat Brandon Tate, and pro bowler Brandon Meriweather were all let go. Sammy Morris was drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. He has been on New England since 2007. After the 08’ season, Morris’ role was downgraded greatly. He played very little last season, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that he was cut. Third year wide receiver Brandon Tate got the cut from the team. In his 1st two seasons Tate was used as a kickoff returner. After Randy Moss was traded last year, fans looked at Tate to be the new “deep man” of the offense. He didn’t really fill that role well making only 24 catches in 2011. Many people are asking “why was he cut?” He was cut because the team has so many good receivers. It may have come down to cutting Tate, Julian Edelman, or Matthew Slater. Edelman returned punts really well in the pre-season, while Slater made catches on offense and performed to a high standard on special teams. The final cut and most surprising was Brandon Meriweather. Last season, the Patriots had three of the best young safeties in the game in Meriweather, James Sanders, and Patrick Chung. In the off-season, Meriweather got in trouble with the law. He didn’t cooperate with authorities and that angered Coach Bill Belichick. Maybe he would be cut at that point. But about a week ago, Sanders was cut. Now, Meriweather can’t be cut, can he? That would leave Chung as the only proven safety on the roster. Since he did get cut, Sergio Brown, a two year player out of Notre Dame, will start at Strong Safety alongside Chung. Safety was one of the strong points of the defense in the future, and now it is one of the issues. I understand why they wanted to cut Meriweather, but why cut Sanders with him? Cut one or the other. Don’t cut both. The team signs players in the off-season and you think the team is going to be great. Then they cut the two safeties and it makes you scratch your head.  

 THE NEW ENGLAND FOOTBALL TOP 20

September 4, 2011 (Week 2 Polls)
Voted by: The Boston Hot Spot Staff

1 (2). Connecticut Huskies (1-0)

2 (1). Boston College Eagles (0-1)

3 (4). Massachusetts Minutemen (1-0)

4 (3). New Hampshire Wildcats (0-1)

5 (5). Harvard Crimson (0-0)

6 (6). Yale Bulldogs (0-0)

7 (7). Rhode Island Rams (0-0)

8 (8). Central CT State Blue Devils (1-0)

9 (10). Brown Bears (0-0)

10 (11). Dartmouth Big Green (0-0)

11 (NR). Maine Black Bears (1-0)

12 (12). New Haven Chargers (1-0)

13 (13). Amer. Intl. Yellow Jackets (1-0)

14 (15). Bentley Falcons (1-0)

15 (14). Southern Conn. State Owls (1-0)

16 (16). Williams Ephs (0-0)

17 (17). Trinity Bantams (0-0)

18 (19). Western NE Golden Bears (1-0)

19 (NR). Endicott Gulls (1-0)

20 (20). Amherst Lord Jeffs (0-0)

DROPPED: Bryant (#9), Framingham State (#18)

CRAWFORD'S 4 RBI LEADS SOX, 12-7

by Tim Scott

BOSTON---After one of their more disappointing losses last night, the Red Sox came back on Saturday, looking for revenge. They got it to the tune of 12 runs on 16 hits, and beat the Texas Rangers, 12-7. Carl Crawford went 2-5 with a grand slam, Josh Reddick went 4-4 and Dustin Pedroia provided 3 RBIs.

At long last, Erik Bedard (1-2) got his first win in a Red Sox uniform. The lefty went 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts. 

Even though the Sox won the game, they were down by three at the end of the third. David Murphy, Adrian Beltre, and Michael Young each had RBIs in the first three innings, each on RBI basehits (Young's was on a fielder's choice). 

But the Red Sox started the fire in the third inning, when Jed Lowrie drove in Adrian Gonzalez with an RBI single. After 3 innings, the Sox trailed, 3-1.

Colby Lewis (12-11), who struggled in his last start against the Red Sox, continued his troubles in the fourth inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his 14th homer of the season to tie the score up at three. After allowing a run on an RBI single from Mike Aviles, Lewis was done for the night. From that point on, Yoshinori Tateyuma took a beating from the Red Sox. All it took was one swing of the bat from Crawford, and in an instant, the Sox were up 8-3.

After a Jacoby Ellsbury infield single, the Sox had a commanding 9-3 lead after four innings of work. It took four innings, and the Rangers went through three pitchers, the last one being Merkin Valdez.

The Sox had the bases loaded in the sixth inning, when Pedroia lined a three-run double to center against Mark Hamburger, giving the Red Sox a 12-3 lead. Eventually, Mark Lowe and Darren Oliver held the Sox for the final three innings, but it didn't affect the outcome of the game.

In the eighth, the Rangers mounted a mini-comeback. Josh Hamilton and Beltre had RBI singles against Dan Wheeler, who also allowed an RBI sac fly to Mike Napoli. In the ninth inning, Esteban German hit his first homer of the season against Franklin Morales, but by then, the game was far out of reach, and the Sox won, 12-7.

Meanwhile, the Yankees held off the Blue Jays, 6-4, to maintain their lead in the AL East. Currently, the Yankees lead the Red Sox by a 0.5 game. 

Tomorrow, the rubber game (and series finale) will take place between the Red Sox and Rangers. John Lackey (12-10) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Rangers counter with Matt Harrison (10-9). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning TEXAS: David Murphy singled to center. Adrian Beltre scored. (TEX, 1-0)

3rd Inning TEXAS: Michael Young singled to right. Ian Kinsler scored. (TEX, 2-0)
*3rd Inning TEXAS: Beltre reached into a fielder's choice to third. Elvis Andrus scored. (TEX, 3-0)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Jed Lowrie singled to center. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (TEX, 3-1)

4th Inning BOSTON: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered (14) to right. Josh Reddick scored. (Tied, 3-3)
*4th Inning BOSTON: Mike Aviles singled to right. Dustin Pedroia scored. (BOS, 4-3)
*4th Inning BOSTON: Carl Crawford homered (11) to right. Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Aviles scored. (BOS, 8-3)
*4th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury singled to second. Reddick scored. (BOS, 9-3)

6th Inning BOSTON: Pedroia doubled to center. Crawford, Reddick, and Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 12-3)

8th Inning TEXAS: Josh Hamilton singled to right. Andrus scored. (BOS, 12-4)
*8th Inning TEXAS: Beltre singled to left. Hamilton scored. (BOS, 12-5)
*8th Inning TEXAS: Mike Napoli flied out to right. Young scored. (BOS, 12-6)

9th Inning TEXAS: Esteban German homered (1) to center. (BOS, 12-7)

TEXAS Hitters: Josh Hamilton (3-5, RBI), Adrian Beltre (1-3, 2 RBI), Elvis Andrus (2-4, 2B), Michael Young (2-4, RBI), Esteban German (1-1, HR, RBI), Yorvit Torrealba (1-3, 2B)

BOSTON Hitters: Carl Crawford (2-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI), Josh Reddick (4-4, 2B), Dustin Pedroia (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI), Mike Aviles (2-3, 2B, RBI), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-5, HR, 2 RBI, SB)

TEXAS Pitchers: Colby Lewis (3.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, HR, 89 PC), Yoshinori Tateyuma (0.1 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, HR, 21 PC), Merkin Valdez (0.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 17 PC), Mark Hamburger (2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K, 47 PC), Mark Lowe (1 IP, H, K, 15 PC), Darren Oliver (1 IP, K, 12 PC)

BOSTON Pitchers: Erik Bedard (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 101 PC, [W, 1-2]), Dan Wheeler (1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, K, 30 PC), Franklin Morales (1.1 IP, 2 H, ER, HR, 17 PC)

Line Score

TEX 012 000 031-7 11 0

BOS 001 803 00x-12 16 1

WP: Bedard (1-2) LP: Lewis (12-11)

GAME NOTES

BOS: SS Jed Lowrie left game in fourth inning due to shoulder tightness.

Northwestern 24, Boston College 17

Wildcats nip Eagles in season opener; Rettig throws for 375 yards in defeat

by Joshua Kummins (Special Report from Boston SportsU18.com)

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Northwestern quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Dan Persa was sidelined with an Achilles injury in Saturday’s season opener at Boston College, giving the host Eagles an immediate advantage before a pass was thrown.

The senior and Pennsylvania native suffered the injury last season during a touchdown celebration during a game against Iowa and his absence paved the way for sophomore Kain Colter to make the start for NU.

BC POST-GAME AUDIO
Head Coach Frank Spaziani
Sophomore Quarterback Chase Rettig
Press Conference with Other Players

Boston College had a strong shot for the win in the final minutes, but a costly penalty with under ten seconds to play proved to doom the Eagles as they fell to Northwestern, 24-17, in front of 37,561 fans at Alumni Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

However, the Eagles did not take that and run early—only putting three points on the board as in the first 15 minutes—ending the stanza tied at 3-3.

Sophomore running back Andre Williams had a strong quarter, rushing for 83 yards on five carries, but BC could only crack the scoreboard on a short 19-yard field goal from fellow second-year Eagle Nate Freese just over two minutes into the contest.

The Wildcats got on the board with three points of their own with seven minutes remaining in the quarter as Jeff Budzien connected on a 43-yard field goal that just cleared the uprights.

All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly had a strong start with six first-quarter tackles and came up with a key interception with just over nine minutes to play in the second. Colter’s pass intended for the left side of the field was picked off to set up a six-yard run by Andre Williams.

The Wildcats got one back to tie the score once again as Colter rushed in from three yards out, fooling the BC defense as he went in nearly uncontested for the score.

NU took their first lead of the game on a second consecutive drive of ten plays for 80 yards as sophomore back Mike Trumpy rushed in from five yards out—a play that was followed up by Budzien’s second successful PAT attempt with 11:53 left in the third.

Adonis Smith took a one-yard pitch and catch past the BC defense into the end zone to make it a two touchdown advantage to cap an 11-play drive with nine and a half minutes to play in regulation.

BC’s Andre Williams capped off an 80-yard sequence with a one-yard run of his own to cut the deficit to one score with just six minutes to play.

On BC’s next drive, quarterback Chase Rettig made an 18-yard completion to Ifeanyi Momah, but then threw four straight incomplete passes to close the drive and give Northwestern the ball on downs.

The Eagles had one final chance to come through with the winning play, but Rettig could not come up with the right pass at the right time at the end of an 8-play, 40-yard drive.

BC’s offensive unit committed a false start penalty with 14 seconds to play and according to a new rule this year, ten seconds were removed from the clock and Rettig was sacked at the buzzer as Northwestern escaped with their second win in four all-time meetings against the Eagles.

NU rushed for 227 yards against BC’s defense that finished the 2010 season atop the country in rushing defense at just over 82 yards per contest.

Despite losing their first season opener since 2003, the Eagles had several outstanding individual performances on both sides of the ball.

Most notably, Chase Rettig finished 24-of-44 passing for 375 yards, but was sacked twice and shut out of the end zone. He was the first BC quarterback to throw for 300-or-more yards since Chris Crane turned the trick on Oct. 4, 2008.

Andre Williams—who opened the game with a career-high 69-yard sprint down the sideline—finished the day with 22 carries for 122 yards in his first start in place of senior Montel Harris.

Following his 69-yard run, the Wildcats held the Eagles to just 35 yards on the ground for the remainder of the contest.

Luke Kuechly registered 19 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, and continued an FBS-best streak of 23 consecutive games with double-digit tackles. True freshman Al Louis-Jean became the first Eagle to start in the backfield since current senior Donnie Fletcher and registered five tackles and one for a loss in his debut.

The Eagles hit the road for the first time this fall as they take on Central Florida in primetime next Saturday from Bright House Networks Stadium. 

 HOW THE NEW ENGLAND TOP 20 FARED IN WEEK 1

by Tim Scott

Thursday, September 1

Toledo 58, [3] New Hampshire 22

Austin Dantin had three passing touchdowns, and threw for 161 yards as the Toledo Rockets rolled past the New Hampshire Wildcats, 58-24, in the season opener. In addition, Adonis Thomas had 115 yards on the ground, including a touchdown, and Bernard Reedy had 2 receiving touchdowns on the night. Despite the loss, the Wildcats were led offensively by Kevin Decker, who had 181 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. A highlight of the night was when Nico Serati had an 87-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

[4] Massachusetts 24, Holy Cross 16

Jonathan Hernandez had 151 yards on the night, and Kellen Pagel had two passing touchdowns as the Massachusetts Minutemen rolled to a 24-16 victory over in-state rivals Holy Cross. Also, Jesse Julmiste caught a touchdown pass, and had 61 receiving yards for the Minutemen. For the Crusaders, Ryan Taggart had 246 passing yards and two touchdowns on the night. In addition, Tom Mannix had 8 tackles in the losing effort.

Friday, September 2

[15] Bentley 50, SUNY Maritime 3 Quarterback Bryant Johnson threw 3 touchdowns, and also 200 yards as the Bentley Falcons steamrolled SUNY Maritime, 50-3. Also, Lorenzo Warren ran for 77 yards with a touchdown for the Falcons, and Bill Kiley caught two touchdowns from Johnson throughout the course of the game. Defensively, Blaine Hopwood had 9 tackle, and Brad Poirer had an interception for the Falcons. On the losing side, the DIII SUNY Maritime had a net total of 69 offensive yards, making it a breeze for the now 1-0 Falcons.

Saturday, September 3 

[8] Central Connecticut State 35, [15] South Conn. State 21

Receiver Deven Baker had 2 receiving touchdowns as the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils rolled over the Southern Connecticut State Owls, 35-21. QB Matthew Tyrell threw both touchdowns to Baker, and had 74 passing yards on the day. Chris Tolbert also contributed 73 rushing yards for the Blue Devils. Meanwhile, the DII Owls had a fairly successful game, racking up 284 total yards of offense. Owls QB Kevin Lynch had 223 passing yards, and Rashaad Slowley had 2 running touchdowns.

[2] Connecticut 35, Fordham 3

Running back Lyle McCombs ran for 141 yards and 4 touchdowns as the UCONN Huskies rolled over Fordham, 35-3. McCoombs ran the ball 24 times, and his longest run was of 60 yards, setting up a redzone trip for the Huskies. Scott McCummings, on a trick play, provided the other UCONN touchdown on a 55-yard pass to receiver Ryan Griffin in the second quarter. Fordham was led by QB Peter Maetzold, who had 149 passing yards on the night. Kicker Patrick Murray provided Fordham’s only points with a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Northwestern 24, [1] Boston College 17

Northwestern QB Kain Colter had 268 all-purpose yards and a touchdown as the Northwestern Wildcats rolled over Boston College, 24-17. Running back Mike Trumpy had 85 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Wildcats, while Adonis Smith provided the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth. Despite the loss, BC quarterback Chase Rettig showed potential, throwing for over 375 yards in the losing effort. Andre Williams ran for 114 yards, including a 69-yard run in the first quarter, while Ifeyani Momah had 157 receiving yards for the Eagles.

Endicott 33, [18] Framingham State 13

Quarterback Phil Konopka threw 271 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Endicott Gulls held off the Framingham State Rams, 33-13, on Opening Day. Ryan Carino caught two Konopka TD passes, while Mike Murphy had 120 receiving yards in the winning effort. Meanwhile, for the defeated Rams, Dino Macinelli had 2 passing touchdowns and 168 passing yards. Also, Matthew Silva ran for 68 yards despite the loss.

[19] Western New England 28, Norwich 24

Quarterback Bryce Brown threw 248 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Western New England Golden Bears over Norwich, 28-24. Brown also ran for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns on the evening. Kareem Hines had 81 receiving yards as well, leading the Golden Bears to their first victory. Nolan Rickard had 11 tackles and a sack defensively in the win. For Norwich, Danny Triplett had 99 yards and a touchdown, and Jimmy Labell had 11 tackles and a sack.  

[13] American International 13, Long Island-CW Post 7 (F/OT)

In an overtime thriller, American International rolled to a thrilling 13-7 victory over Long Island-CW Post. Kevin Arduino had 115 yards rushing, and 151 yards passing, while Andre Samuels caught a touchdown pass. The game was decided on an interception by Markell Rice, who returned it 95 yards for the touchdown. For the CW Post Pioneers, Steven Laurino had 189 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

[12] New Haven 35, West Chester (PA) 32 (F/OT)

QB Ryan Osiecki threw 3 touchdowns on the night as the New Haven Chargers bolted over West Chester (PA), 35-32. Osiecki also contributed a running touchdown in the game. In fact, it was a touchdown pass from Osiecki to Josh Smart that ended the game in overtime, giving the Chargers their first win of the season. Desmond Anderson contributed 9 tackles for the Chargers, keeping the Rams at bay. For West Chester, Matt Carroll had 190 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Also, CB Matt Colyar had 7 tackles, including a sack, and an interception, but it would be the Chargers who prevailed in the end.

Maine 28, [9] Bryant 13

Running back Pushaun Brown ran for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Maine Black Bears rolled to a 28-13 victory over the Bryant Bulldogs. Warren Smith had 135 yards passing, and had a running touchdown in the victory. Jerron McMillian had 11 tackles, and Trevor Colston provided 2 sacks for the Black Bears. In the losing effort, Mike Westerhaus led Bryant with 200 all-purpose yards, and Jordan Brown chipped in two running touchdowns. Matt Tracey and Jordan Tracey each had over 70 yards receiving for the Bulldogs. 

THE NEW TOP 20 POLL WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW MORNING!

 RED SOX LOSE 10-0, DROP OUT OF 1ST

by Tim Scott

The momentum from last night's game could not carry over for the Boston Red Sox. Instead, it was quite the opposite of what the Red Sox were hoping for. Andrew Miller (6-2) had one of his roughest outings in a Red Sox uniform, allowing 6 runs in 1.1 innings, and the Sox lost 10-0 to the Texas Rangers.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez had the only 2 hits for the Red Sox, and, in effect, the only two baserunners. It was a slow offensive game, but a sluggish pitching game.

Miller's troubles started early, when he allowed 2 runs in the first. An RBI single from Michael Young, plus a sacrifice fly from Adrian Beltre put the Rangers up 2-0.

But the worst was yet to come. In the second, the Rangers shelled out 4 runs. Three of them came on an Ian Kinsler home run that landed on Landsdowne Street. The other came on an RBI walk allowed by reliever Michael Bowden.

Bowden, who struck out 5 batters in 2.2 innings, would allow another run to cross home plate on an RBI single from Beltre. The Rangers were in full control at that point, leading 7-0. 

Matt Albers, who has had a horrendous ERA of late, continued his downwards spiral in the fifth inning, allowing homers to David Murphy and Elvis Andrus. Soon, the Rangers were up 10-0.

Tim Wakefield would pitch the final four innings for the Red Sox, allowing 3 hits in his effort. He also had 3 strikeouts in his first relief appearance since April.

Meanwhile, for the Rangers, Derek Holland (13-5) had a solid outing, striking out 6 in 7 innings of work. Holland allowed only 2 hits, and lowered his ERA to 4.13. Also, Merkin Valdez and Mike Gonzalez pitched solidly in relief. 

The Rangers had 13 hits in the game. David Murphy went 4-5, and Elvis Andrus went 2-2. Beltre had 2 RBIs, and Kinsler added 3 RBIs with a homer.

Meanwhile, the Yankees edged out the Blue Jays, 3-2, to gain a lead in the American League East. Currently, the Sox trail the Yankees by a 1/2 game.

They hope to regain their lead tomorrow, when the Sox play the Rangers at 4:10. Erik Bedard (0-2) will start for the Red Sox, while the Rangers go with Colby Lewis (11-9). The game will be broadcast on FOX.

GAME STATS

1st Inning RANGERS: Michael Young singled to short. Ian Kinsler scored. (TEX, 1-0)
*1st Inning RANGERS: Adrian Beltre flied out to center. Elvis Andrus scored. (TEX, 2-0)

2nd Inning RANGERS: Ian Kinsler homered (24) to left. Yorvit Torrealba and David Murphy scored. (TEX, 5-0)
*2nd Inning RANGERS: Mike Napoli walked. Andrus scored. (TEX, 6-0)

4th Inning RANGERS: Beltre singled to right. Andrus scored. (TEX, 7-0)

5th Inning RANGERS: David Murphy homered (8) to right. (TEX, 8-0)
*5th Inning RANGERS: Andrus homered (4). Craig Gentry scored. (TEX, 10-0)

RANGERS Hitters: David Murphy (4-5, HR, RBI), Elvis Andrus (2-2, HR, 2 RBI), Adrian Beltre (1-4, 2 RBI), Ian Kinsler (1-4, HR, 3 RBI)

RED SOX Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (1-2), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-4)

RANGERS Pitchers: Derek Holland (7 IP, 2 H, 6 K, 98 PC, [W, 13-5]), Merkin Valdez (1 IP, K, 10 PC), Mike Gonzalez (1 IP, K, 9 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: Andrew Miller (1.1 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, K, HR, 52 PC, [L, 6-2]), Michael Bowden (2.2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 5 K, 49 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, K, 2 HR, 22 PC), Tim Wakefield (4 IP, 3 H, 3 K, 57 PC)

Line Score

TEX 240 130 000-10 13 0

BOS 000 000 000-0  2   0

WP: Holland (13-5) LP: Miller (6-2)

 SOX CAN'T HOLD ON, DROP 4-2 TO YANKEES

by Tim Scott

In a game filled with crucial calls and costly blunders, the Red Sox lead of the American League East is hanging by a loose thread tonight, as they dropped a crucial 4-2 contest to the New York Yankees. At series end, they still lead their archrivals by just a half game.

Jon Lester got the start in the rubber game of the series. His night ended early, thanks in large part to a 40-pitch first inning. The lefty left the bases loaded in the first, but allowed an RBI double to Robinson Cano to put the Yankees up 1-0.

Astonishingly, AJ Burnett was solid for the Yankees. The troubled starter only allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 5.1 innings. 

His only blemish came in the fourth inning, when Dustin Pedroia hit a towering two run blast to center field, driving in Adrian Gonzalez, and putting the Red Sox on top, 2-1.

After Lester left in the fifth, Alfredo Aceves (9-2) came into the game. He pitched a solid sixth inning, but the wheels on his appearance (and ultimately, the game) fell off in the seventh.

In that fateful inning, the Yankees exploded for 3 runs, which proved to be the difference. Russell Martin had the death blow on a 2-run double. Martin eventually scored on a pinch-hit RBI single by Eric Chavez, which put the Yankees ahead 4-2.

The Red Sox lost the game for many reasons, but one big one was how the Yankees bullpen stifled their hitters. From the sixth until the eighth, the Red Sox couldn't muster a single hit at a critical time of the game. Cody Wade (3-0), Rafael Soriano, and David Robertson held the Sox down and never looked back.

However, the Red Sox had a serious chance to make some noise in the ninth inning. Despite the fact that Mariano Rivera was in the game, the Red Sox had  two walks in the inning, along with a Marco Scutaro single, leaving the bases loaded with 2 outs when Adrian Gonzalez, one of the top run-producers to stutter to the plate. The result? Gonzalez watched a pitch on the lower outside corner get called for strike 3, giving the Yankees a 4-2 win.

As a team, the Red Sox only had 6 hits, and left 10 men on base. Pedroia led the team with 2 hits, and drove in the only 2 runs the Sox could get. He also got a stolen base in the game. Also, David Ortiz's single in the fifth inning extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Currently, the Sox maintain a fragile 1/2 game lead over the Yankees. As the Yankees head back home to play the Blue Jays, the Red Sox stay put at Fenway to start a 3-game series with the Texas Rangers. Andrew Miller (6-1) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Rangers counter with Derek Holland (12-5). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning YANKEES: Robinson Cano doubled to left. Curtis Granderson scored. (NYY, 1-0)

4th Inning RED SOX: Dustin Pedroia homered (18) to center. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 2-1)

7th Inning YANKEES: Russell Martin doubled to right. Chris Dickerson and Jesus Montero scored. (NYY, 3-2)
-7th Inning YANKEES: Eric Chavez singled to right. Martin scored. (NYY, 4-2)

YANKEES Hitters: Russell Martin (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Robinson Cano (2-5, 2 2B, RBI), Curtis Granderson (2-4), Derek Jeter (2-4), Eric Chavez (1-1, RBI), Jesus Montero (0-4, MLB Debut)

RED SOX Hitters: Dustin Pedroia (2-4, HR, 2 RBI, SB), Adrian Gonzalez (1-3, 2B), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3), Marco Scutaro (1-5)

YANKEES Pitchers: AJ Burnett (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, HR, 96 PC), Boone Logan (0.1 IP, K, 4 PC), Cody Wade (0.1 IP, 4 PC, [W, 3-0]), Rafael Soriano (1 IP, BB, 2 K, 21 PC, [H, 17]), David Robertson (1 IP, BB, K, 25 PC, [H, 30]), Mariano Rivera (1 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K, 28 PC, [SV, 36])

RED SOX Pitchers: Jon Lester (5 IP, 7 H, ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 114 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, K, 42 PC, [L, 9-2], [H, 8]), Daniel Bard (0.2 IP, 2 H, ER, K, 15 PC, [B, 3]), Felix Doubront (1.1 IP, BB, 2 K, 23 PC), Dan Wheeler (0.2 IP, 9 PC)

Line Score

NYY 100 000 300-4 11 0

BOS 000 200 000-2  6  0

WP: Wade (3-0) LP: Aceves (9-2) SV: Rivera (36)

GAME NOTES

NYY: 1B Mark Teixeira left the game after the sixth inning with a bruised left knee.

RED SOX TRANSACTIONS

Activated 1B Conor Jackson (acquired in trade w./ OAK), and called up RP Felix Doubront from AAA Pawtucket. 

 SOX ACQUIRE JACKSON FROM A'S

by Tim Scott

At the last minute of the trade deadline (on-waivers), the Red Sox acquired utility player Conor Jackson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league reliever Jason Rice.

Jackson, 29, was hitting .249 with 4 HR and 38 RBI in 102 games in Oakland. In a 7-year career with Oakland and Arizona, Jackson has a .272 lifetime average with 51 career home runs.

The Red Sox can utilize Jackson as a first baseman, third baseman, or put him in the outfield. He should be activated by the Red Sox today, when the rosters expand to 40 players.

Rice, 25, pitched with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox this year. A former Rule 5 Draft pick in 2008, the reliever went 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 44 appearances with the PawSox in 2011.

Rice could be called up to Oakland when the rosters expand. Rice is a versatile reliever who is ready to pitch at the major league level, especially in a fragile bullpen that the A's possess.

In addition, the Red Sox signed OF Joey Gathright and LHP Trever Miller to minor league contracts, and assigned both players to Pawtucket. Both players are eligible to be called up by the Red Sox when the rosters expand.

 RED SOX WEEK IN REVIEW (8/27-8/31)

by Tim Scott

**SINCE THE POWER WAS OUT AT THE BOSTON HOT SPOT HEADQUARTERS, HERE'S A LOOK AT WHAT WE MISSED IN THE WORLD OF RED SOX BASEBALL.**

Saturday (Game 2): Red Sox 4, A's 0

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Red Sox rolled over the A's with an impressive 4-0 victory. David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each had 2 RBIs, and Alfredo Aceves (9-1) pitched well in relief as the Red Sox won 2 of 3 over the A's.

August 30 (Tues.): Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

In a game filled with chaos, the Yankees inched within a 1/2 game of the Red Sox' first place lead, with a 5-2 win. John Lackey (12-10) surrendered the loss, allowing 5 runs in 6.2 innings. The Red Sox couldn't master the pitching of CC Sabathia (18-7), and left 16 men on base. Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, and Carl Crawford had multi-hit games. Despite the benches clearing in the eighth inning due to an incident between Lackey and Yankees C Francisco Cervelli, the Red Sox played a sloppy game, and hoped to rebound on Wednesday.

August 31 (Wed.): Red Sox 9, Yankees 5

In what was truly a seesaw game, the Red Sox solidified their lead over the Yankees with a comeback 9-5 win. Josh Beckett (12-5) got the win, despite a 4-run sixth inning. Jason Varitek had 3 RBIs, including a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth, and a 2-run homer in the eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz homered in the game, and Dustin Pedroia had two hits in the game. Currently, the Sox stand 1.5 games ahead of the New York Yankees for first.

THANK YOU FOR BEING PATIENT WHILE THE HOT SPOT WAS OUT OF POWER. WE APPRECIATE IT GREATLY. 

Jordan Burke, Matt Poskay Lead Cannons to First MLL Championship
By: Matthew Tonis
ANNAPOLIS, Md.-The Boston Cannons took home their first MLL Championship on Sunday defeating the Hamilton Nationals 10-9 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. The Cannons entered the game as the last original MLL team to never have a championship win, but were determined to change that.
To get to the championship game, Boston defeated the Chesapeake Bayhawks on a goal by Duxbury, Massachusetts native Max Quinzani with 1.2 seconds remaining for a 14-13 victory. The game went back and forth until a goal by Ben Hunt with thirty seven seconds remaining knotted the score at 13. Quinzani, the former Duxbury Dragon and Duke Blue Devil star, then did what he is so accustomed to doing, scoring an important goal to win a game. The goal propelled the Cannons to their second MLL championship game in their eleven year history.
On Sunday, the game went much like the previous, back and forth and very tight. Cannons’ attack Ryan Boyle started the scoring just one hundred and one seconds in, but was quickly followed by two goals by the Nationals, one each by midfielders Kevin Crowley and Cody Jamieson. To end the first quarter, Matt Poskay knocked in two scores in a four minutes period to seize a one goal lead after one period of play.
Casey Powell opened the scoring in the second quarter to knot the game at threes just over three minutes in. The Cannons opened up a three goal lead, the first coming when Mike Stone scored unassisted with 10:51 left in the second. Then, Matt Poskay gets a first half hat trick with an assist from Ryan Boyle with 8:18 remaining. To end the three goal surge, just eight seconds later Brad Ross scored from Paul Rabil and the Cannons had a decisive advantage.

Casey Powell comes out of the halftime locker room with a vengeance to end the run with a score of his own to make it 6-4. The Cannons had different plans as midfielders Pat Heim and Matt Smalley netted back to back scores for Boston to extend their advantage to 8-4 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter and the championship was in sight for the Boston Cannons. However, before the period ended the Nationals looked to make a run at the game. Casey Powell made his day a hat trick and Jeremy Boltus added a goal to bring the score to 8-6 entering the final fifteen minutes in the MLL Championship.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Casey Powell made his day a “golden sombrero” with his fourth goal to cut the score to 8-7 with 13:56 remaining in the game. Nearly ten minutes went by before the next goal for either team, which was Pat Heim’s second goal of the contest to put the Cannons back up by two. Brodie Merrill netted a goal to bring the game back to a one score deficit just thirty one seconds later. Kevin Buchanon ripped a goal on a diving shot with just over three minutes remaining in the contest and all the Cannons had to do was play defense for one hundred and eighty seconds. But, with thirty two seconds left, Cody Jamieson scored his second goal of the game and the Cannons’ lead was reduced to one. The Cannons won the ensuing face-off and retained possession of the ball until the final horn sounded and they were officially the 2011 MLL Champions.

Goalie Jordan Burke, who recorded 24 saves over the two playoff games, was named the tournament MVP. Even with season MVP Paul Rabil being shut down by season defensive MVP Brodie Merrill, the Cannons took home the MLL Championship. The final record for the Cannons this season was 11-3 including the two postseason games. This is another successful season for Boston sports that concludes with the city’s second championship in three months. The Cannons have been the overlooked team in the city over their existence, but they need to get a good look now that they will be hanging a banner come their home opener at Harvard Stadium next season. Now, for the eighth time since 2002… CUE THE DUCK BOATS!!! 

RED SOX WIN, 9-3 IN RAIN-FILLED GAME

by Tim Scott

BOSTON---In a game filled with 3 hours worth of rain delays, the Red Sox came away with a solid 9-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics, avenging the horrific 15-5 loss from last night. In the win, David Ortiz drove in 2 runs, and Jason Varitek added three of his own, helping Jon Lester (14-6) secure the victory.

Lester had a very solid outing on the mound. Going 6 innings, the lefty allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits with 4 strikeouts. 

It would be the Red Sox who scored first. In the first, Dustin Pedroia drove in Marco Scutaro with an RBI single, but got thrown out while trying to extend the hit into a double.

Despite allowing a Brandon Allen homer in the top of the second, the Sox surged back with a 3-run second. Varitek started it when he launched a 2-run homer into the right-field bullpen, boosting the Sox to a 3-1 lead. Eventually, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in Mike Aviles to get the Sox up 4-1 after 2.

The A's scored once more in the third, by way of a sac fly by ex-Sox member Coco Crisp. But it would be the Sox that would further extend their lead that inning. Thanks to a 2-run double by Ortiz, and a corresponding sac fly by Carl Crawford, the Sox were back in business with a 7-2 lead.

Scutaro and Varitek drove in a pair of runs in the 4th and 5th innings, helping the Sox ramp up their lead to 9-2, and leave A's rookie starter Guillermo Moscoso (6-8) with a terrible start. The youngster went 4 innings, allowing 8 runs on 9 hits on 93 pitches.

At the end of 6 innings, the rain was starting to fall, and the first rain delay was called. That delay took up to an hour, but the game soon resumed play at roughly 3:10.

The two teams played the 7th inning, and, with the score holding at 9-2, the rain kept on falling. With that, the second (and longer) rain delay was called. Combined both rain delays took 3 hours, resulting in a delayed start for Game 2.

At about 5:35, the game resumed. In the ninth inning, the A's struck again against call-up Michael Bowden, scoring on an RBI single by Cliff Pennington. Yet Bowden got out of the jam, and the Sox would proceed to win 9-3.

Game 2 should begin at 6:50, when the Sox and A's wrap up the season series. Erik Bedard (0-2) will face A's pitcher Graham Godfrey (1-1), and the game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia singled to left. Marco Scutaro scored. (BOS, 1-0)

2nd Inning OAKLAND: Brandon Allen homered (3) to left. (Tied, 1-1)

2nd Inning BOSTON: Jason Varitek homered (9) to right. Josh Reddick scored. (BOS, 3-1)
*2nd Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to left. Mike Aviles scored. (BOS, 4-1)

3rd Inning OAKLAND: Coco Crisp flied out to center. Jemile Weeks scored. (BOS, 4-2)

3rd Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz doubled to center. Adrian Gonzalez and Pedroia. (BOS, 6-2)
*3rd Inning BOSTON: Carl Crawford flied out to left. Ortiz scored. (BOS, 7-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Scutaro singled to center. Aviles scored. (BOS, 8-2)

5th Inning BOSTON: Varitek singled to left. Ortiz scored. (BOS, 9-2)

9th Inning OAKLAND: Cliff Pennington singled to right. Kurt Suzuki scored. (BOS, 9-3)

OAKLAND Hitters: Cliff Pennington (2-4, RBI), Brandon Allen (1-4, HR, RBI), Coco Crisp (1-4, RBI), Kurt Suzuki (1-4, 2B)

BOSTON Hitters: Jason Varitek (2-4, HR, 3 RBI), Mike Aviles (3-4, SB), David Ortiz (2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Marco Scutaro (2-5, 2B, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (1-3, RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4, 2B), Carl Crawford (0-3, RBI), Jacoby Elsbury (1-4, 2B, RBI), 

OAKLAND Pitchers: Guillermo Moscoso (4 IP, 9 H, 8 R [7 ER], 2 BB, HR, 93 PC), Craig Breslow (1 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 30 PC), Jerry Blevins (2 IP, H, K , 26 PC), Fautino de los Santos (1 IP, K, 10 PC)

BOSTON Pitchers: Jon Lester (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R [1 ER], 2 BB, 4 K, HR, 87 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, H, 12 PC), Michael Bowden (2 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, K, 42 PC)

Line Score

OAK 011 000 001-3 8 1

BOS 133 110 00x-9 13 1

WP: Lester (14-6) LP: Moscoso (6-8)

 OAKLAND TROUNCES SOX WITH 15-5 WIN

by Tim Scott

BOSTON---It was a very long game in Boston tonight. The Red Sox, fresh off a dominating series against the Rangers, failed to take advantage of their weaker foes, the Oakland Athletics. However, it would be the A's that would act as the dominating team, dishing out 16 hits as they trounced the Red Sox, 15-5. 

A ten-run deficit is the biggest loss the Red Sox have allowed since they lost to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 11-0 back on May 5.

Getting the start for the Red Sox, in his 6th attempt for win #200, was Tim Wakefield (6-6). Wakefield endured one of his worst outings of the season. The 45-year old starter went just 4 innings, allowing 8 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits, with 3 strikeouts. Wakefield now is one short of tying Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in a dubious category: most attempts at getting win #200. (It took Carlton 7 tries to get his 200th)

Even though the A's won, it was the Red Sox that got on the board first. Adrian Gonzalez continued his hot streak, lining an RBI single to right, putting the Sox up 1-0.

It would be the only time the Red Sox had the lead. In the second inning, David DeJesus & Cliff Pennington each had RBI singles against Wakefield, putting the A's on top, 2-1.

But it wouldn't stop there. The A's proceeded to score 8 runs in the 4th inning. The charge was led by 2-run homers by Scott Sizemore & Josh Willingham, along with a 2-run double by Hideki Matsui. At the end of four, the A's were up 8-1.

The Red Sox were hoping for a miracle. It was only yesterday that the A's held a 7-1 lead over the Yankees, yet the Yankees came back with 3 grand slams, and won 22-9 over the A's. 

Unfortunately, they could not achieve that goal. Despite back to back home runs from Dustin Pedroia & David Ortiz, and an RBI from Marco Scutaro, the Red Sox could not come close to the A's commanding lead.

After Wakefield exited the game, recent call-up Scott Atchison tried to stop the bleeding. Atchison did the best of all the Sox pitchers tonight. The reliever went 3 innings, allowing just 1 run (on an RBI double by Pennington) on 3 hits. After 7, the A's led 9-4.

But the levees broke further in the 8th inning, when Matt Albers entered the game. Albers, who has been on a downwards spiral to obscurity, continued his depression, allowing 4 runs in the eighth inning. Three RBI doubles by Brandon Allen, DeJesus, and Willingham, plus an RBI single by Kurt Suzuki gave the A's a 13-4 lead after 8.

The damage was so crippling on the Red Sox, that, in an effort to preserve pitchers for tomorrow's doubleheader, they put in outfielder Darnell McDonald to pitch. McDonald allowed 2 runs in an inning of work (the 2 runs came on an 2-RBI double by Willingham), but the Sox still trailed 15-4.

Boston did manage to get 1 run back in the ninth. Josh Reddick had an RBI double in his only at-bat, putting the Sox on the board one last time, still down 15-5.

Despite the loss, the Red Sox still maintain first place in the AL East. The Yankees lost today to the Baltimore Orioles, 12-5, giving the Sox a solid 1 game lead.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox and A's take part in a doubleheader, to avoid the possible onslaught of Hurricane Irene. The first game will start at 12:00 ET, where Jon Lester (13-6) will start against A's rookie Guillermo Moscoso (6-7). The nightcap will start at 5:00, when Erik Bedard (0-2) starts against rookie Graham Godfrey (1-1). Both games will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning RED SOX: Adrian Gonzalez singled to right. Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 1-0)

2nd Inning ATHLETICS: David DeJesus singled to right. Brandon Allen scored. (Tied, 1-1)
*2nd Inning ATHLETICS: Cliff Pennington singled to right. DeJesus scored. (OAK, 2-1)

4th Inning ATHLETICS: Scott Sizemore homered (7) to left. Kurt Suzuki scored. (OAK, 4-1)
*4th Inning ATHLETICS: Hideki Matsui doubled to center. Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp scored. (OAK, 6-1)
*4th Inning ATHLETICS: Josh Willingham homered (23) to left. Matsui scored. (OAK, 8-1)

4th Inning RED SOX: Dustin Pedroia homered (17) to left. (OAK, 8-2)
*4th Inning RED SOX: David Ortiz homered (26) to center. (OAK, 8-3)

5th Inning RED SOX: Marco Scutaro grounded out to short. Ellsbury scored. (OAK, 8-4)

7th Inning ATHLETICS: Pennington doubled to left. Suzuki scored. (OAK, 9-4)

8th Inning ATHLETICS: Allen doubled to right. Weeks scored. (OAK, 10-4)
*8th Inning ATHLETICS: DeJesus doubled to deep left. Willingham and Allen scored. (OAK, 12-4)
*8th Inning ATHLETICS: Suzuki singled to center. DeJesus scored. (OAK, 13-4)

9th Inning ATHLETICS: Willingham doubled to left. Sizemore and Weeks scored. (OAK, 15-4)

9th Inning RED SOX: Josh Reddick doubled to right. Scutaro scored. (OAK, 15-5)

ATHLETICS Hitters: Josh Willingham (2-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI), David DeJesus (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI), Cliff Pennington (3-5, 2B, 2 RBI), Scott Sizemore (1-4, HR, 2 RBI), Hideki Matsui (1-6, 2B, 2 RBI), Brandon Allen (2-6, 2 2B, RBI), Jemile Weeks (3-5, 2 2B)

RED SOX Hitters: David Ortiz (3-4, 2B, HR, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-3, HR, RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (2-5, 2B, 3B, SB), Adrian Gonzalez (1-5, RBI), Marco Scutaro (1-5, RBI), Josh Reddick (1-1, 2B, RBI)

ATHLETICS Pitchers: Gio Gonzalez (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 105 PC), Brian Fuentes (1 IP, H, BB, 21 PC), Grant Balfour (0.1 IP, K, 5 PC), Craig Breslow (1 IP, 10 PC), Jerry Blevins (1 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 K, 24 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: Tim Wakefield (4 IP, 8 H, 8 R [4 ER], 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 90 PC), Scott Atchison (3 IP, 3 H, ER, 59 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, BB, K, 32 PC), Darnell McDonald (1 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 24 PC)

LINE SCORE

OAK 020 600 142-15 16 1

BOS 100 210 001- 5  11 1

WP: Gonzalez (11-11) LP: Wakefield (6-6)

TRANSACTIONS:

Red Sox recalled RP Scott Atchison from AAA Pawtucket. They also optioned C Ryan Lavarnway to Pawtucket. 

 SOX HIT 4 HOMERS, WIN 6-0 VS. RANGERS

by Tim Scott

ARLINGTON, Texas---The victory felt great for the Red Sox, who just took 3 games out of 4 against one of the toughest teams in the American League. Tonight, the Sox dropped the power bomb atop the Rangers, beating them 6-0, and maintaining their 1 game lead over the Yankees.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Andrew Miller (6-1). Miller had his second straight shutout outing, going 6.1 innings, allowing 3 hits and 6 strikeouts on 83 pitches. His ERA lowered from 4.99 to 4.42 throughout the course of the game, giving many fans optimism about the youngster.

Miller got a lot of run support in this game. It started in the first inning, when Adrian Gonzalez launched a solo shot to straight-away center, putting the Sox on top 1-0.

David Ortiz followed up with a solo homer of his own (his 25th on the season), further extending the lead, 2-0.

In the third inning, Gonzalez hit his 5th homer in 3 days (and second multi-homer game of the series), parking a liner to left-center to give the Sox a solid 4-0 lead.

To cap off the homer rally, Jarrod Saltalamacchia continued his hot streak, hitting his 13th homer of the year, driving in Carl Crawford, and jetting the Sox past the Rangers, 6-0.

Alexi Ogando (12-6) had a tough night for the Rangers. In his first full season, he had been pretty solid. However, he allowed a career-high 4 home runs in the game (his previous high was 3 against the Yankees in April), and watched his ERA rise up 27 points. Ogando did manage to strikeout 5 Red Sox hitters in the game, and only walked one hitter on 77 pitches.

After the fourth, it was a pretty quiet game. Alfredo Aceves & Dan Wheeler had solid relief outings, shutting down the Rangers for 1.2 innings combined, striking out 4 batters combined, and securing the 6-0 victory.

It was a good thing that the Red Sox secured the victory. In New York, their archrivals came back from a 7-1 deficit to demolish the Oakland Athletics, 22-9. The Yankees had a record 3 grand slams in the game, from Russell Martin, Mark Teixeria, & Curtis Granderson. The Sox still maintain a 1 game lead over the Yankees.

The Red Sox will be heading home to Boston to start the 3-game series tomorrow with the Athletics. Tim Wakefield (6-5) will start for the Sox, trying to pursue his 200th win for the 6th time this year. He will counter with Gio Gonzalez (10-11). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

**SCHEDULE CHANGE!!!: Due to the predicted effects of Hurricane Irene, there will be a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game will start at 12:00, and Game 2 will begin at 5:00. Fans who had tickets to the August 28 (Sunday) game are invited to attend the game on Saturday at 5. Both games will be broadcast on NESN.**

GAME STATS

1st Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez homered (22) to center. (BOS, 1-0)

2nd Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz homered (25) to right. (BOS, 2-0)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Gonzalez homered (23) to left-center. Jed Lowrie scored. (BOS, 4-0)

4th Inning BOSTON: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered (13) to left. Carl Crawford scored. (BOS, 6-0)

BOSTON Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), David Ortiz (1-3, HR, RBI), Josh Reddick (1-4, 2B)

TEXAS Hitters: Michael Young (1-4, SB)

BOSTON Pitchers: Andrew Miller (6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 83 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1.1 IP, BB, 2 K, 31 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, 2 K, 16 PC)

TEXAS Pitchers: Alexi Ogando (4 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, BB, 5 K, 4 HR, 77 PC), Scott Feldman (4 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K, 54 PC), Mike Adams (1 IP, H, K, 10 PC)

Line Score

BOS 112 200 000-6 9 1

TEX 000 000 000-0 3 0

WP: Andrew Miller (6-1) LP: Alexi Ogando (12-6)

 SOX EDGE RANGERS, 13-2, GET BACK 1ST

by Tim Scott

ARLINGTON, Texas---The Boston Red Sox bats got really hot as the temperatures in Texas rose. The Sox scored 13 runs on 16 hits against the Rangers, winning 13-2 over their western foes. Carl Crawford had 5 RBIs, and Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, & Adrian Gonzalez drove in 2 each.

With the heavy run support, Josh Beckett (11-5) held the Rangers tight in 6 innings of work, allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 4 strikeouts. His only blemish was a solo homer he allowed to Mike Napoli in the fourth.

The Red Sox scored a run in almost every inning of tonight's game, except in the third and ninth innings, giving Rangers starter Matt Harrison (10-9) a tough outing on the hill.

The bats exploded for 4 runs in the first. It started when Pedroia had an RBI single to right. In his first game in 6 days, David Ortiz lined the first pitch he saw to right for an RBI single. Crawford then proceeded to drive in 2 runs with an RBI double. At the end of the first inning, the Sox were up 4-0, and looking hungry for more runs.

Pedroia drove in another run in the second inning, with another RBI single against Harrison, providing the Red Sox a spacious 5-0 lead. Two innings later, Marco Scutaro drove in Darnell McDonald with an RBI double to give the Sox a powerful 6-0 advantage.

After Napoli's home run, the Rangers had a spark in confidence. That spark, however, was quickly defused by Beckett's stellar pitching, as they could not push another run across in the next 2 innings.

In the fifth, Crawford had an RBI sac fly, upping the lead to 7-1. That was the final straw on Harrison's night. In 5 innings, the starter allowed 7 runs on 11 hits. That ties his season high for must runs allowed in a game (4/26 against the Toronto Blue Jays).

The following inning, Ellsbury launched his 23rd homer of the season to right against Yoshinori Tateyama, driving in McDonald, and increasing the lead to 9-1.

Crawford, who isn't really known for his power, hit a towering 2-run bomb to center against Darren O'Day. The power surge wasn't done yet, as Gonzalez hit his 3rd homer in 2 days off O'Day, putting the Sox up 13-1.

Texas had one last hurrah before the end of the game. Against Matt Albers, Napoli had an RBI single to put the Rangers on the board, despite trailing 13-2.

Despite it being a non-save situation, Jonathan Papelbon shut down the Rangers in the ninth, securing a solid 13-2 victory for the Red Sox.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Yankees lost their second straight against the Oakland Athletics. In effect, the Red Sox now maintain a 1 game lead over the Yankees for 1st place in the AL East, the first time that's happened since last Tuesday.

The Sox will wrap up their series with the Rangers tomorrow evening at 8:05. Andrew Miller (5-1), who gets the spot-start after a stellar performance against Kansas City last week, will pitch for Boston, while the Rangers counter with young phenom Alexi Ogando (12-5). The game will be broadcast on NESN and MLB Network.

GAME STATS

1st Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia singled to left. Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 1-0)
*1st Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz singled to right. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 2-0)
*1st Inning BOSTON: Carl Crawford doubled to right. Pedroia and Ortiz scored. (BOS, 4-0)

2nd Inning BOSTON: Pedroia singled to left. Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 5-0)

4th Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro doubled to left. Darnell McDonald scored. (BOS, 6-0)

4th Inning TEXAS: Mike Napoli homered (22) to left. (BOS, 6-1)

5th Inning BOSTON: Crawford flied out to right. Ortiz scored. (BOS, 7-1)

6th Inning BOSTON: Ellsbury homered (23) to right. McDonald scored. (BOS, 9-1)

7th Inning BOSTON: Crawford homered (9) to center. Jed Lowrie scored. (BOS, 11-1)

8th Inning BOSTON: Gonzalez homered (21) to right. Scutaro scored. (BOS, 13-1)

8th Inning TEXAS: Napoli singled to left. Elvis Andrus scored. (BOS, 13-2)

BOSTON Hitters: Carl Crawford (2-3, 2B, HR, 5 RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (3-5, HR, 2 RBI, SB), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-4, 2 RBI), David Ortiz (2-5, 2B, RBI), Darnell McDonald (2-4)

TEXAS Hitters: Mike Napoli (2-4, HR, 2 RBI)

BOSTON Pitchers: Josh Beckett (6 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, HR, 110 PC), Franklin Morales (1 IP, 2 K, 12 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 22 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, K, 15 PC)

TEXAS Pitchers: Matt Harrison (5 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, BB, 4 K, 93 PC), Yoshinori Tateyama (1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, HR, 18 PC), Darren O'Day (2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 40 PC), Mark Lowe (IP, 12 PC)

Line Score

BOS 410 112 220-13 16 0

TEX 000 100 010-2   6  0

WP: Beckett (11-5) LP: Harrison (10-9)

A Fading Dynasty
By: Matthew Tonis

Just four short years ago, the New England Revolution was playing in the MLS Championship game against the Houston Dynamo. This was the sixth year in a row in which the Revolution made it to at least the Eastern Conference Finals, and the fourth time in this period that they made the MLS Finals. In 2007, the Dynamo defeated the Revs 2-1, repeating the previous year’s result. In 2008, New England won the SuperLiga Championship, becoming the first MLS team to win the tournament. Then, in 2009, the Revolution made the playoffs for the eighth season in a row, but failed to advance. This season was foreboding for the Revolution, as it started with Taylor Twellman’s inability to play due to a head injury, a nagging problem over his career.

The problems really started for the Revolution in December of 2006. During this month, Fulham made an offer to the MLS for four million dollars for Clint Dempsey, which was accepted. This effectively ended Dempsey’s career with New England and the MLS. Even though the Revs made the MLS Finals the next season, Dempsey was missed. Since then, major contributors Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Andy Dorman, Michael Parkhurst, Ilija Stolica, Pat Noonan, Avery John, and maybe the most important part of their run, Taylor Twellman, have all left the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium. These players, along with head coach Steve Nicol, have produced amazing things for this MLS franchise. Only a few players remain from the deep playoff runs of 2002-2007, including Captain Shalrie Joseph and goalkeeper Matt Reis.

So far this season, the Revolution has four wins, eleven losses, and eleven ties with eight games remaining. They are currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference ahead of only Toronto FC. Overall, they are only ahead of Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps in the entire MLS and New England has a goal differential of minus five. Currently nine points out of playoff contention, New England needs to pick it up or they will be in danger of missing the playoffs back to back seasons for the first time since the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The next game for the Revolution is scheduled for 7:00 PM on August 28th against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

 GONZALEZ, SCUTARO HELP SOX WIN, 11-5

by Tim Scott

The Red Sox, who were attempting to avenge a painful 4-0 loss, came away victorious, 11-5, against the Texas Rangers. Adrian Gonzalez & Marco Scutaro had 3 RBIs, and John Lackey (12-9) recorded his 12th win. 

Lackey, who also had a barrier to overcome (a loss against the Rays on Wednesday), went 6.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, with 5 strikeouts. For the first time all season, Lackey's ERA is below 6 (currently standing at 5.98), which is a season low for him.

It was Boston that got on the board first. Gonzalez hit the first of his 2 home runs on the night to right field, driving in Jacoby Ellsbury (his first game since Friday), and giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. It was Gonzalez's first home run in 84 at-bats, but he wasn't done yet.

In the second inning, Jarrod Saltalamacchia & Scutaro each had RBIs. Saltalamacchia had an RBI double, and Scutaro drove in a run via a sacrifice fly.  The Sox would continue to surge in the third inning, with an RBI sac fly from Carl Crawford, and an RBI double from Ryan Lavarnway put the Sox up 6-0 at the end of 2.5 innings.

However, Lackey hit a big road bump in the bottom half of the third, letting up 3 runs. One came on a walk by Elvis Andrus, & the other two sacrifice flies by Josh Hamilton & Michael Young put the Rangers within 3 of a solid Red Sox lead.

But the Red Sox did not give up. In the fourth inning, Gonzalez hit his second homer of the evening, a tape measure shot to center field, putting the Sox up 7-3. That was his 20th homer of the season, and his 2nd in as many at-bats.

Yet it would be Hamilton that would follow up with a homer of his own in the bottom of the 5th. Against Lackey, Hamilton launched a shot out to right, adding up the score to 7-4, the Red Sox on top.

The Rangers starter, Colby Lewis (11-9) had a start he will probably want to forget about. Entering the game, the 32-year old starter had an ERA of 3.83. However, when he allowed 7 earned runs in 6 innings of work (10.50 ERA for the game), his ERA sharply ballooned up to 4.10, an increase of 0.27 points.

In the eighth inning, the Sox had an offensive spark. Scutaro started the fire with a 2-run double against Mark Lowe (who allowed 2 runners Darren Oliver left on) to put the Sox up 9-4. Then, Dustin Pedroia lined a 2-run double of his own, driving in Scutaro and Gonzalez. The Sox really carved up the Rangers bullpen, leaving an 11-4 crater upon Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Ian Kinsler did not end the night poorly for the Rangers. With 2 outs in the ninth, he lined his 21st homer over the left field wall against Dan Wheeler to put the Rangers on the board on last time, 11-5. Yet, after Kinsler touched home plate, the fans (all 25,705 of them) knew the game was over. When Andrus was retired for the final out, the Red Sox had virtually played the entire game better than the Rangers, and the better team came out on top.

The Yankees lost 6-5 to the Oakland Athletics, leaving first place in the American League East a deadlock tie between the Red Sox and Yankees. The Yankees will play Oakland tomorrow at 7:05, with CC Sabathia (17-7) on the hill.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to maintain the tie, or maybe even take the lead, against the Texas Rangers tomorrow at 7:00. Josh Beckett (10-5) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Rangers will counter with Matt Harrison (10-8). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez homered (19) to right. Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 2-0)

2nd Inning BOSTON: Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to deep right. Jed Lowrie scored. (BOS, 3-0)
*2nd Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro flied out to right. Carl Crawford scored. (BOS, 4-0)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Crawford flied out to right. Josh Reddick scored. (BOS, 5-0)
*3rd Inning BOSTON: Ryan Lavarnway doubled to center. Lowrie scored. (BOS, 6-0)

3rd Inning TEXAS: Elvis Andrus walked. Yorvit Torrealba scored. (BOS, 6-1)
*3rd Inning TEXAS: Josh Hamilton flied out to center. Endy Chavez scored. (BOS, 6-2)
*3rd Inning TEXAS: Michael Young flied out to right. Ian Kinsler scored. (BOS, 6-3)

4th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez homered (20) to center. (BOS, 7-3)

5th Inning TEXAS: Josh Hamilton homered (17) to right. (BOS, 7-4)

8th Inning BOSTON: Scutaro doubled to deep left. Lavarnway and Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 9-4)
*8th Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia doubled to left. Scutaro and Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 11-4)

9th Inning TEXAS: Ian Kinsler homered (21) to left. (BOS, 11-5)

BOSTON Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI), Marco Scutaro (1-3, 2B, 3 RBI), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-4, 2 2B, RBI), Jed Lowrie (2-5), Ryan Lavarnway (2-5, 2B), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-4, SB)

TEXAS Hitters: Ian Kinsler (2-5, HR, RBI), Josh Hamilton (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Endy Chavez (2-4, SB), Elvis Andrus (0-4, RBI), Michael Young (0-2, RBI)

BOSTON Pitchers: John Lackey (6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, HR, 106 PC), Franklin Morales (0.1 IP, 5 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1 IP, BB, 2 K, 18 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, H, ER, K, HR, 14 PC)

TEXAS Pitchers: Colby Lewis (6 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 102 PC), Darren Oliver (1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 31 PC), Mark Lowe (0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 20 PC), Yoshinori Tateyama (1 IP, K, 9 PC)

Line Score

BOS 222 100 040-11 14 0

TEX 003 010 001-5   8  0

WP: Lackey (12-9) LP: Lewis (11-9)

BCS Bowl Game Predictions: 
By Tim Sorota (August 23, 2011)

College Football is approaching, so I felt like I would give my BCS bowl game predictions. Team success comes down to one thing, schedule. Good teams have a much better chance of winning if they are playing at home. 9 times out of 10, a top ranked school will get upset on the road, rather than home. With that in mind, here are my BCS bowl predictions. 

Orange Bowl: 
Pittsburgh Panthers (9-3) vs. Florida State Seminoles (11-2) 
Pitt is one of three teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the Big East along with South Florida and West Virginia. They play Notre Dame, South Florida, and UCONN all at home. Florida State is the clear favorite in the ACC. The only other contender in the ACC is Virginia Tech. The Hookies don’t have enough offense to compete with Florida State.

If the two play, Florida State would win. They have so much talent on the offensive side and Pitt won’t be able to handle it. The game would be in Miami, so Florida State would have a lot of fans at the game. They would have a home field advantage. 

Fiesta Bowl:
Oregon Ducks (10-2) vs. Boise State Broncos (12-0) 
The Ducks are coming off a national championship game appearance. They will lose week 2 to Nevada and November 12 to Stanford. Texas A&M will go 10-2, as well, but Oregon will get picked over them. Boise has a really easy schedule and they should fly threw it. 

Oregon is so fast and they run a no huddle offense. I think it will catch Boise State. The speed will be too much for the Broncos, and the Ducks will win. 
Sugar Bowl: 
Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) vs. Wisconsin (11-1) 
Many people think Alabama will win the national championship. They will go to the SEC championship game undefeated, but they will lose. The Badgers will beat Nebraska at home. However, when they travel to Columbus, the Buckeyes will have revenge on their mind and they’ll deliver. The Badgers will benefit from not having to play in the Big 10 championship. 

This game will be extremely close. Both teams are really big and physical. Bama will make more big plays on defense, and they’ll win the game. 

Rose Bowl: 
Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (12-1) 
The Buckeyes will have three tough regular season games. Two of them are at home and they have trouble with losing at home. They will only lose one game in the regular season. They won’t beat Nebraska, but they will play them in the Big 10 championship and win. Stanford will get upset to Arizona on the road, but win all the other games. 

The Buckeyes will out-physical Stanford. Brandon Saine and Boom Herron will run over the Cardinal defense. OSU will win. 

National Championship 
Oklahoma Sooners vs. South Carolina Gamecocks 
Oklahoma is a much better team 10 of their 12 regular season games. The game against Texas A&M is at home, and Landry Jones will be able to throw against Florida State’s secondary. The surprise team is South Carolina. However, they don’t play Alabama or LSU. The SEC east will be on a down year. Marcus Lattimore will win the Heisman and Stephen Garcia is a potential all-American and Alshon Jeffrey is a contendor for the Biletnikoff. 

The Ole’ Ball coach will be looking into his new crystal ball at the end of this college football season. South Carolina’s defensive line will eliminate the OU running game and will get pressure on Landry Jones. Garcia will play great in his last college game. 

The Greatest Game They Ever Played
New England rallies, beats Europe 8-7
By Cameron Merritt

Being a New England sports fan, I've witnessed many great victories by my teams. The Patriots 3 Super Bowls, the Red Sox coming back from an 0-3 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees, & then sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series, the Celtics winning number 17, & the Bruins recent Stanley Cup victory, but this game today, though only a consolation, was one of the greats. Team New England, the boys of the Cumberland American LL, had been eliminated after losing 2 while not scoring a single run. They were going to face the boys of Rotterdam, the Netherlands in a final consolation game. New England vs Europe started out as a pitchers duel, both pitchers had amazing games. On the Dutch side, Darryl Jamoen struck out 11 in 5 innings while giving up 3 runs. Cumberland starter Conor Mastin pitched 4 innings giving up no runs, 4 walks, & only 1 hit. Cumberland was the first to strike, scoring off of a triple, then scoring again on a past ball during the next AB in the bottom of the 3rd Hanusack would score on a wild pitch in the 4th. In between the top & bottom of the 3rd, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the DC area was felt in Williamsport. No damage was caused & the game went on. Nomar Garciaparra was also spotted between the top & bottom of the 4th singing "Sweet Caroline" with the New England fans. Europe began cutting into the lead by scoring two runs in the 5th & then in the 6th, Tim van Toorn tied the game when he walked with the base loaded & they talk the lead off of a sac fly by the next batter. Then, the big Dutch slugger Phayson Antonia crushed a 3 run HR to take a 7-3 lead. To some, this looked like the game was done for New England, but Cumberland American aren't the kind to easily give up. It was rally time! Conner Mastin led off with a single, then reached second on an error. Matt Hanusack scored Mastin on his single and then reached second on  an error. Chris Wright reached first on an error. Conor Lavelle then singled to load the bases, which brought up Colin Cannata, who looked like he wanted to crush the ball as far as possible, but he was hit on the knuckle by a pitch, which walked in another run. James Belisle, pitcher, coach's sun, and famous bubble blower, reached on an error by the second baseman which scored Hanusack and Lavelle. Then, Stephen Dugas lined out to second, but the second basemen over threw to first and Cannata tagged up to score the winning run and received a hero's welcome at home plate by his teammates. Cannata told ESPN that his favorite sports moment was scoring the game winning goal for his hockey team in a championship, I'm sure this moment will be up there for him, I know it will be for me. 

Sources: ESPN2, Providence Journal

 NAPOLI'S HOMER SMASHES SOX, 4-0

by Tim Scott

The Red Sox could never get their engines rolling against the Texas Rangers, ultimately falling to their western foes, 4-0, in the first game of a 4-game set. The Sox could only muster 4 hits, and left men on base. 

Boston's lack of offensive production did not help Erik Bedard's (0-2) bid for his first win as a member of the Red Sox. Bedard went 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts on the evening.

Texas scored their first run in the third inning, when Elvis Andrus singled in Craig Gentry to put the Rangers up, 1-0. The play was controversial because it looked like Josh Reddick caught the ball on a dive. However, the umpires didn't agree, and the play was defined as a trap. With that, the Rangers got an early lead.

However, the main offensive point of the evening, came when Mike Napoli launched his 21st homer of the season to left, driving in Josh Hamilton & Michael Young, and giving the Rangers a 4-0 lead after 6.

Throughout the night, the Red Sox could not master the pitching of Rangers ace CJ Wilson (13-5). Wilson went 6.2 innings, allowing 4 hits, and striking out 4 batters. He also walked 2, and threw 110 pitches.

It certainly didn't help that the Sox were 0-4 with runners in scoring position (RISP). The main culprit of this was Carl Crawford, who went 0-2 in that statistic.

Also, with top hitters Jacoby Ellsbury & David Ortiz out of the lineup due to injury, the Sox had no clutch driving forces to upend the Rangers pitching.

After being shocked silent by Wilson's stunning performance, the Sox could not hit any of the Rangers bullpen. Koji Uehara, Mike Adams, & Neftali Feliz held the Sox to only 2 baserunners in the final 1.2 innings, causing great concern for the Sox faithful.

Even though Matt Albers & Franklin Morales pitched well in relief, the Red Sox could not bounce back, and ultimately fell 4-0 to the Rangers. 

Since the Yankees had an off day, the loss leaves the Sox a full game between their rivals.

Tomorrow's game hopes to be an improvement from tonight's travesty. John Lackey (11-9), who got the loss in his last start against the Rays, will get the start for the Sox in tomorrow's game. The Rangers will hand the ball to their #2 starter, Colby Lewis (11-8). The game will start at 8:05, and will be broadcast on NESN and the MLB Network.

GAME STATS

3rd Inning RANGERS: Elvis Andrus singled to right. Craig Gentry scored. (TEX, 1-0)

6th Inning RANGERS: Mike Napoli homered (21) to left. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young scored. (TEX, 4-0)

RED SOX Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (1-3), Dustin Pedroia (1-3), Jed Lowrie (1-4), Carl Crawford (1-4)

RANGERS Hitters: Michael Young (2-4), Mike Napoli (1-4, HR, 3 RBI), Elvis Andrus (1-3, CS, PO, RBI), Yorvit Torrealaba (1-4, 2B)

RED SOX Pitchers: Erik Bedard (6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, BB, 4 K, HR, 108 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, H, 2 BB, 24 PC), Franklin Morales (1 IP, 2 K, 12 PC)

RANGERS Pitchers: CJ Wilson (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 110 PC), Koji Uehara (0.1 IP, 2 PC), Mike Adams (1 IP, 2 K, 12 PC), Neftali Feliz (1 IP, 2 BB, K, 23 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 000 000-0 4 0

TEX 001 003 00x-4 8 0

WP: Wilson (13-5) LP: Bedard (0-2)

Pryor to Oakland

by Matt Stolbof 

         Today Terrelle Pryor was drafted to the Oakland Raiders in the 3rd round of the supplemental draft. Pryor played QB for Ohio State and was one of the players on the Buckeyes who gave memorabilia to people for tattoos (because every athlete needs a tattoo these days.) Pryor threw for 2,772 yards with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his junior year as a Buckeye. Even though Pryor did get drafted to the Raiders, I think that Terrelle could’ve fit in with 3 other teams in the National Football League.

1. Cincinnati Bengals- Now I understand that you have to give the rookie QB Andy Dalton a chance but, wouldn’t it have been nice for the Bengals to have the former Buckeye quarterback as a backup. And let’s not forget that Terrelle Pryor can also play wide receiver. If he was willing to make the change to the wide receiver spot, A.J. Green and Terrelle Pryor as the two wide receivers for the team could have been a good duo in the long term.

2. Buffalo Bills- Terrelle Pryor with the Bills had the chance to be a great fit. In a couple of years, if Terrelle Pryor learned how to throw in tight spaces, which he never really had to chance to do in college because his wide receivers were always open, then he might of have the chance to replaced the current quarter back Ryan Fitzpatrick and start for the Buffalo Bills.

3. San Francisco 49ers- Even though Alex Smith resigned with San Francisco, Pryor might’ve had the chance to get the starting job. The only problem would be that they couldn’t use Terrelle Pryor for the first 5 games but, just like with the Bengals. if Terelle Pryor would have been flexible enough to switch to the wide receiver job, then he might’ve been a great weapon for Alex Smith and join Vernon Davis and Braylon Edwards on the line of scrimmage.

As you can see, Terrelle Pryor might’ve got drafted by the Oakland Raiders, but there are other teams that could of been a good fit for Terrelle Pryor. Now can Terrelle do good for the Raiders? I think that Terelle Pryor could be a good player for the Raiders but, he has to be willing to take the wide receiver job because Jason Campbell is probably going to keep his starting job as a quarter back for a while. In the end, if Terrelle can be flexible as a player, listen to what his coaches say, and doesn’t do anything stupid like he did at Ohio State, then Terelle Pryor has a chance to have a good & solid career in the National Football League.

 Preview of the 130th US Open

By Landon Komishane

The 130th US Open is set to begin on August 29th at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY. It will end of the ten year anniversary of 9/11. Rafael Nadal will the tournament’s #2 seed after the world’s #1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, who is coming off a win at Wimbledon and is looking for back-to-back grand slam titles. Nadal, however, is the defending US Open champion. Last year in Flushing, Nadal won the US Open to become the 7th man to complete a Career Grand Slam, meaning that he has all the four major grand slam titles at least once. On the women’s side of the US Open, two-time defending champion Kim Clijsters will not be able to go for a three-peat as she is out for the tournament with an abdominal strain. Serena Williams has said she will participate in the US Open but will not participate in the warm-up events due to an illness that has set her back for a few weeks. The draw will be announced on Thursday and we will update you on all the first round matchups. According to the Bleacher Report, the total purse for this year's US Open has increased to a record total of $23.7 million. The winners of the men's and women's singles will take home $1.8 million in prize money for their effort, while those eliminated in the first round will bring home $19,000.
Predictions: Rafael Nadal will win the US Open on the men’s side. Although he lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic has been the only one who has been standing in the way of Nadal’s success. Djokovic, however, has a lingering shoulder injury that could affect his success in the US Open. He had to concede to Andy Murray in the finals of the Western and Southern Open for his second loss of this year. He has an astounding record of 57-2. Although Roger Federer was the man who ended Djokovic’s incredible streak at the French Open this past year, he’s showing signs of age with all of these early exits at tournaments that have been below his expectations, including losing in the Cincinnati Masters quarter finals last weekend. The two best Americans in the tournament, Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick have a chance at making a run, but Roddick has a habit of taking early exits at tournaments lately and this could continue into the US Open. Fish, on the other hand, has had an excellent year. Fish is coming off a recent win at the ATP Atlanta Tennis Championships and has runner-up finishes at the ATP Famers Classic and the ATP Rogers Cup. He just beat Nadal last week in straight sets. He will make the semifinals and possibly even the finals. On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova will finally end her drought of not winning a major since the 2008 Australian Open. She just won her second tournament of the year at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinati so she is coming off some momentum. She had a great runner-up performance at Wimbledon so it looks like she is playing good tennis. Serena Williams is still coming off that illness so she should be a little rusty and shaky, so she probably won’t be able to get that far in the tournament. The women’s #1, Caroline Wozniacki is a great tennis player, but she hasn’t done anything sufficient. She is the world #1 tennis player for women and she hasn’t won any majors. She hasn’t proved anything and this will continue in the US Open. She may get far, but she will not win.

We will give you updates throughout the US Open on all matches.

 RED SOX PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (8/22/11)

by The Boston Hot Spot Staff

HITTER OF THE WEEK: Jacoby Ellsbury (OF)

Despite missing the final 2 games of the week due to a sore back, Ellsbury still had the best offensive week of any player on the Red Sox. In 5 games this week, Ellsbury hit .294 (5-17) with 2 homers and 4 RBIs, both of which came during the doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays (8/17). In addition, Ellsbury had a triple and stole 2 bases throughout the course of the week. Ellsbury's status for tonight's game against the Rangers is questionable.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Jon Lester (SP)

Lester had 2 solid games throughout the week. In those 2 games, Lester went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 13 innings of work. Lester's best performance came in Game 1 of the doubleheader (8/17), when he only allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 8 strikeouts. Lester's next start will be this Friday, when the Sox start their 3-game series with the Oakland Athletics.

RELIEVER OF THE WEEK: Alfredo Aceves

Aceves pitched well throughout the course of the week. In 2 games, he went 5 innings, allowing just 2 hits and struck out an impressive 6 batters. In the game against the Royals on Friday (8/19), he recorded the save after pitching the final 3.2 innings in the Red Sox 9-4 victory. In his other appearance (8/18) against the Rays, he struck out 3 over 1.1 innings.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Ryan Lavarnway (DH) 

Getting the call-up after Kevin Youkilis went on the 15-day DL, Lavarnway impressed the crowds with his hitting in the final 3 games of the Kansas City series. Despite going 0-4 in the first game, Lavarnway finished the series hitting .333 (5-15) with 2 RBIs, and a double. Lavarnway played all four games in the series, and looks to continue his surge against the Texas Rangers.

Cumberland American eliminated after 2-0 loss to Clinton County (PA)
by Cameron Merritt 
After a great summer for the boys of Cumberland American that brought them to Williamsport, the boys & the families are packing up and heading back "off on the road to Rhode Island" as Seth MacFarlane would say. Team New England went 0-2 in the tourney without scoring a single run, unusual for a team that averaged 6.2 runs per game in the New England Championship. Saturday, in front of a crowd of 40,000, the vast majority fans of the local Keystone LL Clinton County team, who represent the Mid-Atlantic in the LLWS this year. Keystone struck first in the 1st inning with 3 consecutive singles. Rhode Island would come up with opportunities, but were shut down by Keystone pitcher Alex Gabrick, who threw all but the last out & got the W after striking out 6 while only giving up 3 hits & 2 walks. Keystone would score again in the bottom of the fifth with a RBI single by Wyatt Koch. Despite getting the loss, Cumberland pitcher Chris Wright had a good game, going 4.2 innings giving up 2 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks & striking out 3. So the Mid-Atlantic will now advance as New England has been eliminated. However, before they go, they will play one final conciliation game Tuesday at 1 against team Europe, who are from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This game can be seen on ESPN2.

Source: Providence Journal 

LESTER, McDONALD LEAD SOX TO 6-1 WIN

by Tim Scott

Attempting to avenge last night's devastating 9-4 loss, the Red Sox came into Sunday's game determined, and came out of it with a solid 6-1 win over the Kansas City Royals. With strong pitching from Jon Lester (13-6), and a combined 10 hits, the Red Sox gained momentum heading into their next series with the Texas Rangers.

For the first four innings, it was a tight game between Lester and Danny Duffy (3-8). After 4 innings, the teams had a combined 4 hits (3 for the Sox, 1 for the Royals).

However, in the fifth inning, Jason Varitek broke the ice, crushing a triple to deep right center, driving in Jed Lowrie, and giving the Sox a 1-0 lead.  

The production wouldn't stop there. In the sixth, Darnell McDonald lined his 5th homer of the year to left, putting the Sox up 2-0. After the sixth, Duffy was done for the night. The 22-year old starter went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits with 3 strikeouts. But the Royals problems weren't done there.

When the Royals put in All-Star reliever Aaron Crow in the game, they thought their problems would stop. However, Carl Crawford ripped the band-aid off the Royals chances with his 8th homer of the year, a blast to right-center, putting the Sox up further, 3-0.

Through six innings, Lester was throwing a fantastic games. Against the team he threw his no-hitter against 3 years ago, he was consistent and dominant, allowing just 1 hit through 6. However, he did run into control problems, walking 4 batters.

Kansas City did make a brief comeback in the seventh. After a Johnny Giavotella triple, Mike Moustakas slapped the Royals on the board with an RBI single. Eventually, with 2 on, Daniel Bard did what he does best, shutting down the Royals for 2 innings, striking out 3 batters, and bouncing the ball back into the Red Sox's court.

It was in the eighth inning that the Red Sox really poured out the run support. Against young reliever Louis Coleman, the Sox slugged out three runs, thanks to Adrian Gonzalez (RBI single), Jed Lowrie (RBI sac fly), & Ryan Lavarnway (RBI double), giving the Sox a solid 6-1 lead. Eventually, Tim Collins & Joakim Soria calmed the Sox down the final 1.1 innings, but the damage was firmly done.

Dan Wheeler shut down the Royals in the ninth, striking out 2 batters, and slamming the door on the series as the Red Sox rolled, 6-1.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox head to Texas to play a four-game series with the Texas Rangers. Erik Bedard (0-1) will get the start for the Red Sox, facing the Rangers' ace CJ Wilson (12-5). The game will start at 8:05, and be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

5th Inning BOSTON: Jason Varitek tripled to right. Jed Lowrie scored. (BOS, 1-0)

6th Inning BOSTON: Darnell McDonald homered (5) to left. (BOS, 2-0)

7th Inning BOSTON: Carl Crawford homered (8) to right-center. (BOS, 3-0)

7th Inning KANSAS CITY: Mike Moustakas singled to right. Johnny Giavotella scored. (BOS, 3-1)

8th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez singled to center. Marco Scutaro scored. (BOS, 4-1)
8th Inning BOSTON: Jed Lowrie flied out to center. Darnell McDonald scored. (BOS, 5-1)
8th Inning BOSTON: Ryan Lavarnway doubled to deep left-center. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 6-1)

BOSTON Hitters: Darnell McDonald (3-5, HR, RBI), Ryan Lavarnway (2-4, 2B, RBI), Jason Varitek (1-4, 3B, RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (1-3, RBI), Carl Crawford (1-3, HR, RBI)

KANSAS CITY Hitters: Johnny Giavotella (1-4, 3B), Mike Moustakas (1-3, RBI)

BOSTON Pitchers: Jon Lester (6 IP, 3 H, ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 113 PC), Daniel Bard (2 IP, 3 K, 24 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, 2 K, 12 PC)

KANSAS CITY Pitchers: Danny Duffy (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HR, 102 PC), Aaron Crow (1 IP, H, ER, 2 K, HR, 13 PC), Louis Coleman (0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, K, 25 PC), Tim Collins (0.1 IP, BB, K, 9 PC), Joakim Soria (1 IP, K, 8 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 011 130-6 10 1

KCR 000 000 100-1  3  0

WP: Lester (13-6) LP: Duffy (3-8)

 ROYALS BURN SOX WITH 8-RUN 6TH, 9-4

by Tim Scott

The Royals offense, which seemed to be hibernating in the first two games, angrily awoke from their slumber, slugging out 8 runs against the Red Sox in the bottom of the 6th inning, sufficient enough for a 9-4 Royals victory. With the Royals victory, Red Sox SP Tim Wakefield fell short of his 200th win for the fifth consecutive time, still hanging at 199.

It seemed after the fifth that Wakefield would have his wish granted. In the third, Marco Scutaro had an RBI double-play, driving in rookie Ryan Lavarnway. In the fourth, the Sox pushed their lead to 3-0, thanks to RBIs by Carl Crawford & Darnell McDonald.

Despite an RBI double by Royals DH Billy Butler in the third, the Red Sox maintained a comfortable 4-1 lead after 5 1/2 frames. The Sox cemented their lead with a Lavarnway RBI single (his first MLB RBI).

However, fate would intercept the chances of a victory, and flip the other game completely into the other team's favor. To put in an analogical way, the Royals simply knew what was coming. 

In that fateful 6th inning, Jeff Francouer started the tear with an RBI double. Immediately following him, Mike Moustakas repeated the same feat, pulling the Royals within 1. Two batters later, Chris Getz drove in Moustakas with an RBI single.

With no reasonable chance at his 200th now, Wakefield was taken out in favor or reliever Matt Albers (4-4). Albers did horribly; his ERA went up nearly a full run. His troubles mounted when Alex Gordon launched a go-ahead 2-run double to center, putting the Royals up 5-4. Melky Cabrera & Eric Hosmer (2 RBI) drove in the final 3 runs of the rally, slugging an 8-run sixth, and forcing a commanding 9-4 beating upon the Red Sox.

Luckily, the remainder of the Red Sox bullpen held the Royals to 1 hit in the final 2 innings. Franklin Morales & Dan Wheeler provided the Sox with great relief pitching, holding the score. 

Unfortunately, the Sox were unable to make any attempt at a comeback. Good pitching by the Royals, led by Felipe Paulino (2-5), held the Sox to only 3 hits in the final 3 innings of the game (10 for the entire game). The relievers who overpowered the Sox offense were Blake Wood, Tim Collins, & Greg Holland.

The Yankees lost their game, 9-4 to the Minnesota Twins, so the Red Sox still remain 0.5 games back of the Yankees, heading into Sunday.

Getting for the Sox in the season finale (against the Royals) is Jon Lester (12-6), who pitched well in his last start. He will start against Danny Duffy (3-7), who had a very rough outing against the Yankees in his last start. The game will start at 2:10, and be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

3rd Inning RED SOX: Marco Scutaro grounded into 4-6-3 double play. Ryan Lavarnway scored. (BOS, 1-0)

3rd Inning ROYALS: Billy Butler doubled to right. Alcides Escobar scored. (Tied, 1-1)

4th Inning RED SOX: Carl Crawford singled to center. Dustin Pedroia scored. (BOS, 2-1)
4th Inning RED SOX: Darnell McDonald flied out to right. Josh Reddick scored. (BOS, 3-1)

6th Inning RED SOX: Lavarnway singled to center. Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 4-1)

6th Inning ROYALS: Jeff Francoeur doubled to center. Eric Hosmer scored. (BOS, 4-2)
6th Inning ROYALS: Mike Moustakas doubled to right. Francoeur scored. (BOS, 4-3)
6th Inning ROYALS: Chris Getz singled to right. Moustakas scored. (Tied, 4-4)
6th Inning ROYALS: Alex Gordon doubled to center. Salvador Perez and Getz scored. (KC, 6-4)
6th Inning ROYALS: Melky Cabrera singled to right. Gordon scored. (KC, 7-4)
6th Inning ROYALS: Eric Hosmer doubled to right. Cabrera and Butler scored. (KC, 9-4)

RED SOX Hitters: Carl Crawford (2-4, RBI), Ryan Lavarnway (2-3, RBI), Darnell McDonald (1-3, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-4), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1-4, 2B)

ROYALS Hitters: Alex Gordon (3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Eric Hosmer (2-4, 3B, 2 RBI), Jeff Francoeur (2-4, 2B, RBI), Mike Moustakas (2-4, 2B, RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Tim Wakefield (5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 K, 97 PC), Matt Albers (0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 21 PC), Franklin Morales (1.1 IP, H, K, 17 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, H, 17 PC)

ROYALS Pitchers: Felipe Paulino (6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 101 PC), Brandon Wood (1 IP, H, K, 13 PC), Tim Collins (0.1 IP, H, K, 8 PC), Greg Holland (1.2 IP, K, 16 PC)

Line Score

BOS 001 201 000-4 10 0
KC  001 008  00x-9 14 2

WP: Paulino (2-5) LP: Albers (4-4)

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Syracuse 3, Pawtucket 1: PawSox fall to Chiefs at Fenway 

Sox affiliates swept for first time ever in Futures doubleheader.

by Joshua Kummins (Associate Editor, Boston Sports U18.com)

Special Contributor to the Boston Hot Spot

BOSTON, Mass.After the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs had their time in the spotlight on the field at Fenway Park, the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox took over as they hosted the nightcap of the annual Futures at Fenway doubleheader against their North Division rivals from Syracuse.

The contest is the first of their series this week with the final three games coming back to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket and it was a tough one for the PawSox as the Chiefs took a 3-1 win in front of 29,030 fans.

The defeat marked just the third-ever by a Sox affiliate in the now-annual event in its seventh year. It was the first time that the final games resulted in a doubleheader sweep.

It is certainly a special game for all involved but for Chiefs third baseman Matt Antonelli, it was much more meaningful as he is a Peabody, Mass. native and Wake Forest collegian.

During his pre-game chat with media members, the former St. John’s Prep star in both football and baseball said that he hopes to have a “large amount of people rooting for [him] and projected at least 50 attendees.

The PawSox took a first inning lead against Syracuse righty Brad Meyers as DH Daniel Nava hit a 3-1 pitch over the home bullpen in right-center field. It was Nava’s ninth home run of the season and just the seventh allowed by the Loyola Marymount product all season long.

“Fortunately, I got in a good count and I was just trying to put a good swing on it," Nava said of his dinger. "Really, that's it. I know this park is pretty big and clearly you don't know where it is going to land. Off the bat, I did not know it was going out."

Nava entered the game with a .325 average over his last ten contests and has recently hit safely in ten of his last 12.

Maybe just being here can help you relax," Nava said of his comfort level playing in the park. "It definitely makes it easier to make you focus right there on the field and not on any other distractions."

It did not take long for Antonelli’s crew to get their cheering going as he led off the second inning with a single to left field, coming around to score on an RBI knock by shortstop Seth Bynum in the next at-bat.

PawSox starting pitcher Kyle Weiland pitched well in the third and fourth innings, retiring Syracuse in order. The Notre Dame graduate and career all-time saves leader fanned one in the third and two in the fourth.

They pitched well," said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. "They worked ahead in the count and we didn't have many chances. When we got guys on we didn't get too many of them past second base, and didn't make much solid contact."

"I thought Kyle did a nice job to fight through what he did. He did not have very good command, but to go through five innings and give up...whatever [runs] were his, he did a pretty good job. For him go out there and give us five, I think we were pretty fortunate."

Meyers was strong through the fourth and fifth as he also retired six in a row, including a leadoff called strike three to second baseman Hector Luna in the bottom of the fifth.

The Chiefs took their first advantage of the game against Weiland in the top of that same frame as right fielder Jesus Valdez lined a single through the middle, scoring leadoff man and second baseman Steve Lombardozzi.

Antonelli collected his second hit of the game to open the sixth, doubling off the wall just down the left field line. After hitting third base on a wild pitch, he came around to score on a bloop to center by Bynum for his second RBI of the night.

That marked the end of the game for Weiland as reliever Jason Rice, who has come along strong of late for the PawSox, replaced him after five-plus frames of six-hit, three-run ball, while striking out five. He suffered the loss to fall to 8-9 on the season.

"In the fifth or sixth inning, I started to get a little cramp issue with my calf," Weiland said when speaking to his late-game struggles. "It kind of throws you off a little bit and unfortunately, I was not able to overcome that. That is why they put up [more] runs and they won the game."

"I am prone to it, so I do a lot of preparation to try to avoid it. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, but there are no excuses. I should still be able to go out there and find a level of effort to where it does not cramp up and you can still go to the rest of your outing."

Meyers departed after six innings, while allowing just five hits, one run, and a walk for the Chiefs.

In relief for the Sox, Rice struck out four and allowed just one hit in three innings for the PawSox. Beyeler noted that Rice had been a key member of the team's bullpen this year and he did a good job shutting down a hot offense in a long-relief role.

The PawSox went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning as Jeff Mandel earned his third save of the year with a two-inning performance. Meyers finished with the victory, improving to 5-4.

The teams return to McCoy on Sunday for a Sunday matinee tomorrow afternoon. Syracuse righty Yunesky Maya (2-8) will oppose lefty Felix Doubront (1-4) for a 1:05 p.m. start.

With the loss, the PawSox move into a first-place tie in the I.L. North Division with Lehigh Valley. Both teams have identical 72-55 records.

"We only got a couple weeks left, so we are kind of running out of time," Beyeler said. "These guys just keep working hard...We have a few young guys that we brought up that just need to keep working and get their reps every day.

Joshua Kummins is the associate edtior of Boston Sports U18.com. He is the main writer for Minor League Baseball and Hockey East. Also, he is a special contributor for the Boston Hot Spot.

To read more of Josh's work, go to http://bostonsportsu18.com 

College Football’s Greatest Rivalries 
By Tim Sorota (August 20, 2011)

Boy, I am so excited for college football. It starts in two weeks and I can’t wait. The best thing about college football is rivalries. When two rivals play, you better watch the game. School spirit is on display 100%. So here’s a list of the 20 best college football rivalries. 

20. “The Backyard Brawl”- Pitt vs. West Virginia. The game is typically played the Friday after Thanksgiving. Pitt leads the all time series 61-39-3 
19. Tennessee vs. Florida- Whatever each team’s record is they always play a great game. Florida leads the series 21-19 
18. “The Border War”- Missouri vs. Kansas. The game is typically played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Missouri leads the series 56-54-9 
17. “The Holy War”- BYU vs. Utah. It’s one of the best rivalries because of its name. Utah leads the series 54-34-4
16. “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry”- Georgia vs. Auburn- The Georgia Bulldog has gotten in on this rivalry in the past. He has been known to bite Auburn players. Auburn leads the series 54-52-8.
15. “The Big Game”- Stanford vs. California. In the 1982 installment of “The Game”, with no time remaining on the clock, Kevin Moen ran over a trombone player and scored a game winning TD. It’s now known as “The Play”. Stanford leads the series 56-46-11 

14. “The Civil War”- Oregon vs. Oregon St. They meet in the last week of the season, and on many occasions a BCS bowl is on the line. Oregon leads the series 58-46-10.

13. Michigan vs. Notre Dame- The teams play in the early season and it always brings a good game. Michigan leads the series 22-15-1 
12. “The Rivalry” Leigh vs. Lafayette. The schools are just 17 miles apart and they have the longest rivalry in college football. Lafayette leads the series 76-65-4
11. Florida St. vs. Miami- The game typically decides which team wins the ACC coastal. Miami leads the series 31-24
10. “The Little Big Game in America”- Amherst vs. Williams- A rivalry that is so big in New England. CollegeGameday went there in 2007. Williams leads the series 71-49-5
9. “Jeweled Shillelagh” USC vs. Notre Dame- Both these teams have been so good in the past, it’s often their biggest test on the schedule. Notre Dame leads the series 43-33-5 
8. “The Lone Star Showdown” Texas A&M vs. Texas. This game is played on Thanksgiving night and it’s a battle to see who the best team is Texas is. 
7. “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”- Florida vs. Georgia- The game that is always played in Jacksonville has a tendency to be a party. But on the field, the teams hate each other. Georgia leads the series 47-40-2 (according to Georgia) and 46-40-2 (According to Florida) 
6. UCLA vs. USC- It’s a classic game. The two teams were their home jerseys whether they’re the home team or the away team. USC leads 42-28-7
5. “The Iron Bowl”- Auburn vs. Alabama. A battle of the state of Alabama. Last year may be the best game in the rivalry. Cam Newton led his team to win 28-27 over Alabama. Bama leads the series 40-34-1

4. “The Red River Rivalry”- Texas vs. Oklahoma. The game is played every year at the cotton bowl in Dallas during the Texas state fair. It’s always an event. Texas leads the series 59-41-5.

3. “The Game” Harvard vs. Yale- The battle of two ivy league schools and they are bitter rivals. They have been playing each other since 1975 and Yale leads 65-54-8. 
2. Army vs. Navy- The last game of the college football season is Army vs. Navy. It is a battle between two of our countries service schools. The game is played every year in Philadelphia. Navy leads 55-49-7 

1. Ohio State- Michigan. The greatest rivalry in the history of college football. Its Woody Hayes vs Bo Schembechler. Lloyd Carr vs. Jim Tressel. It’s Desmond Howard striking the Heisman Pose. It’s the #1 Buckeyes beating the #2 Wolverines in 2006. It’s the greatest rivalry and Michigan leads 57-44-6. 

RED SOX OVERPOWER ROYALS, WIN 7-1
by Tim Scott

Tonight, the Red Sox overpowered the Kansas City Royals pitching staff, dishing out 13 hits and 7 runs in a solid victory, 7-1. Adrian Gonzalez & Jed Lowrie each had 3 hits, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a 3-run home run as the Sox rolled to their second straight win.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Andrew Miller (6-1). Miller had a solid pitching performance, going 5.1 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits with 3 strikeouts. 

It would be the Royals that would get on the board first. Alex Gordon drove in Mike Moustakas with a sac fly in the third inning, briefly giving the Royals a 1-0 edge.

However, it would be the Red Sox that would score, and hold the lead for the remainder of the game. It started in the fourth, when Darnell McDonald launched an RBI triple to right-center, scoring in Carl Crawford. Following that, Jacoby Ellsbury pushed the Sox ahead with an RBI sac fly of his own. At the end of 4, the Sox had a comfortable 2-1 lead.

The lead would get more comfortable from that point on. In the fifth,Saltalamacchia launched his 12th home run of the season, against Jeff Francis (4-14), over the left field bleachers, driving in 3 runs, and giving the Sox a 5-1 lead.

The Sox would add more runs in the 8th, Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia contributed an RBI sac fly and RBI single, respectively, giving the Sox an overpowering 7-1 lead.

It was powerful relief pitching by Alfredo Aceves that kept Royals hitters at bay. Filling in for Miller in the 6th, Aceves only allowed 1 hit in 3.2 innings, striking out 3 batters, and getting key outs when needed. In addition, Aceves recorded his second save of the season for the Red Sox.

In other news, Ryan Lavarnway recorded his first major league hit. It was a single to right in the fifth inning. Later, he scored on the Saltalamacchia homer. 

Tomorrow, the Red Sox continue their four game series in Kansas City with an exciting contest at 8:10. Tim Wakefield (6-5) will make his fifth attempt at win #200, as he faces Royal pitcher Felipe Paulino (1-9). The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS
3rd Inning KANSAS CITY: Alex Gordon flied out to right. Billy Butler scored. (KC, 1-0)

4th Inning BOSTON: Darnell McDonald tripled to right. Carl Crawford scored. (Tied, 1-1)
4th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to center. McDonald scored. (BOS, 2-1)
5th Inning BOSTON: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered (12) to left. Jed Lowrie and Ryan Lavarnway scored. (BOS, 5-1)
8th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez flied out to left. Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 6-1)
8th Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia reached on error by Alcides Escobar. Mike Aviles scored. (BOS, 7-1)


BOSTON Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (3-4, 2 2B, RBI), Jed Lowrie (3-4), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1-5, HR, 3 RBI), Darnell McDonald (1-4, 3B, RBI)

KANSAS CITY Hitters: Alex Gordon (0-2, RBI), Jeff Francoeur (1-3, 2B), Mike Moustakas (1-2, 2B), Billy Butler (1-4, 2B)

BOSTON Pitchers: Andrew Miller (5.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 83 PC), Alfredo Aceves (3.2 IP, H, BB, 3 K, 45 PC)

KANSAS CITY Pitchers: Jeff Francis (5 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K, HR, 91 PC), Everett Teaford (3 IP, 2 H, 2 R [1 ER], BB, 3 K, 44 PC), Nathan Adcock (1 IP, BB, 10 PC)

Line Score
BOS 000 230 020-7 13 0
KC   001 000 000-1  4  1

WP: Miller (5-1) LP: Francis (4-14) SV: Aceves (2)

GAME NOTES
BOS-Jacoby Ellsbury left the game in the 8th inning after being hit by a pitch. 

 Cumberland American Goes To The LLWS; Loses 11-0 to California in G1

By Cameron Merritt
After defeating Andover, Ma 13-7 for the New England final, the boys of Cumberland American are heading to Williamsport, PA to represent New England, in the new green 
& white uniforms, in the 65th annual Little League World Series. Cumberland American, a heavy hitting team, averaged 6.2 runs per game in the New England Regional, is the first Rhode Island team to go to the LLWS since Lincoln LL in 2004. New England teams have only won it all 4 times, 1951, 1952,1965, and 1989, all four have been from Connecticut. In 1989, the game winning pitcher was Chris Drury, who threw a 5-hit complete game with 2 RBIs to win, would eventually go on to play in the NHL. (He announced his retirement earlier today) The farthest a NE team has gone recently was Portsmouth, NH, who made it to the US semifinal, & the NE team hasn't made it out of group play since. Due to New England's climate, they are put at a natural disadvantage to some other teams who come from regions where the climate allows them to play and practice year long. However, Cumberland American, who went in the NE Regionals, as much as they love the chance to play on this stage and have fun, would love even more to change that stat and return to Rhode Island as champions. What else would be better to come back to school and say "Over the summer, I went to Williamsport, PA and won the Little League World Series".
UPDATE (August 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm)
Huntington Beach Routs Cumberland American 11-0
Huntington Beach is located in beautiful, sunny southern California, where you can play baseball all year long. Cumberland is located in Rhode Island, with it's frigid winters & you can only play baseball in the spring in summer. This extra experience showed itself as California gave Rhode Island a beating on Friday by a score of 11-0, with Braydon Salzman (3.0 IP, 2H, 1 BB, 5K, 0.00 ERA) & the rest of the California pitching shutting down the hot hitter Rhode Islanders. The game was close for the most part, it was 3-0 going into the 5th, when suddenly the West erupted for 6 runs. California's Windisch was a difference maker, going 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs. New England's problem in this game was that they left too many men on base during the game & the clutch wasn't there. However, one thing about New England is that even after they were down 9-0 going into the bottom of the 5th, they didn't look like a defeated team. In fact, if you didn't see the score, you probably would've thought they were winning! That kind of spirit is really great for a team to have & has helped them throughout the summer. However, a scary moment occurred when the West's Brent Salzman was hit in the head with a line drive, which the blow was luckily lessend by the brim of his hat. He was fine, but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the hat, the perfectly flat brim being dented by the collision with the ball, which was fixed as best as it could by Salzman after he got back up. On Saturday, New England will be taking on the Mid-Atlantic, Clinton County, PA, the hometown boys 30 minutes from Williamsport, who were shut out Friday by Kentucky 1-0 in front of the largest crowd in LLWS history. Look for New England to bounce back in this game. 
AFC North Predictions
By: Zach Weiss

Over the last few years, the AFC North has been a division controlled by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and this year seems to be much of the same. Pittsburgh fell just short to the Green Bay Packers last year in Super Bowl 45, and their craving for a title is now bigger. They have kept their strong foundation in place and safety Troy Polamalu is still anchoring their strong defense alongside James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley. Their offense is led by one of the top NFL QB’s Ben Roethlisberger who has been great for a number of years. The receiving core in Pittsburgh is also phenomenal, lead by now 3rd year wide out Mike Wallace who has made an instant impact in Pittsburgh. Veteran Hines Ward does not seem to be declining as he ages as well. The Steelers also brought in former Jets receiver Jericho Cotchery, who has had his fair share of big seasons and he could really give the Steelers that one piece they’d been missing: A second receiver with experience. And they drafted Defensive End Cameron Hayward in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft and he has got a bunch of upside, he may turn out like Charles Johnson of the Panthers, a guy who leads his teams Defense. Also with young star running back Rashard Mendenhall the Steelers offense is complete, and ranks among the best in the NFL. Therefore, this year the Steelers will finish at 12-4, and division champs. Next, are the Balitmore Ravens, a team who has been led for 3 years now, by young Joe Flacco who is only improving from year to year. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to win a road playoff game in each of his first three NFL seasons.. This year is the year that Flacco will break out and take a big leap forward. Young running back Ray Rice has looked great early in his career. Rice was a star at Rutgers university and has been the same way in the NFL so far. He is only improving and he may this year take the leap towards Stardom.. However a big problem for the Ravens is that they  lost a ton key pieces in the offseason. Their longtime star Tight End Todd Heap decided to take his talent elsewhere, signing a multiyear deal to play with the Arizona Cardinals. Heap was a huge reason for the Ravens success against the Chiefs in the divisional playoff round last year. He caught 10 passes for 108 yards and he had a great career for Baltimore. They also lost 3 of their top 4 receivers. Donte Stallworth was injured for much of the season but he still gave good contributions to Balitmore when healthy and he is a very speedy receiver. They also lost veteran T.J. Houshmanzadeh who was a good contributor in the Ravens offense last year. But he did not totally fit into the offense so he decided to walk away from Baltimore. They also lost former pro bowl Fullback Le’ron Mcclain. Mcclain was a great blocker and was a huge reason for the success of Ray Rice. He signed to play with Kansas City. The Ravens did add ex-Texan Vonta Leach who was selected to the Pro Bowl last year. He helped Arian Foster a lot last year with great blocking, and Foster ran for over 1700 yards in just his second NFL season. He can give Ray Rice a lot of help In the backfield this year But the biggest loss of all for Baltimore this offseason is Receiver Derrick Mason who has been a star in the Ravens organization for such a long time. He signed with the Jets. They lose a locker room presence and one of their top players in Derrick Mason. But the Ravens still have Anquan Boldin, who is a proven veteran who can still get it done on a high level from week to week even at an older age. He will be the X-Factor in the Ravens offense this year. The Ravens also selected rookie Torrey Smith out of the university of Maryland in this past year’s draft and he has a very bright NFL future. They also recently acquired long time Bill Lee Evans who has proven himself as a very versatile receiver. He has good footwork and has a high YAC. He will contribute a lot to the Ravens this year. The Ravens have mainly kept their Defense together. The hard-hitting Ray Lewis does not seem to age and he is still a force to be reckoned with, as is star linebacker Terrell Suggs who has been good for a long time as well. Star Safety Ed Reed had 7 interceptions last year in just 10 games after starting the year on the PUP list. Even without Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Le’ron Mcclain and the other guys they lost, the Ravens can still be a great team this year. They have always been a team that has been led by their Defense and that will continue to be the case this year. With all this said, the Ravens will finish this year at 11-5 and take one of the 2-wildcard spots. Next up are the Cincinnati Bengals, a team who has won just 2 division titles in their history. This year is looking to be much of the same for the Bengals. Former number one overall pick, Carson Palmer who has been their starting QB for 7 years announced retirement, not wanting to be a part of the Bengals organization any longer. Star cornerback Jonathon Joseph decided not to resign and instead joined the Texans organization. The team’s top two receivers, Veterans Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco both decided to leave as well. T.O. still unsigned and Ochocinco got traded to the Patriots. Longtime Defensive Tackle Tank Johnson was cut as well. The Bengals did resign running back Cedric Benson however. But Cincinnati’s quarterback situation is uncertain now, but the lead candidate to start is rookie Andy Dalton who played well in College. They also selected Georgia Star Receiver A.J. Green in the first round of this year’s draft and he has got great upside. 2nd year receivers Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley also look like they can bust out this year. But their Defense looks to be one of the worst this season and that will greatly hurt the team. They have not added much to replace all of the losses they have. The Bengals will finish at 3-13 this year as it will be a rebuilding season, but in the years to come they may improve. Lastly, there is the Cleveland Browns, who took a step forward last year, though finishing just 5-11 running back Peyton Hillis had a breakout season. In the offseason he was acquired for QB Brady Quinn, a trade that was not looked at much at first but proved to be excellent for Cleveland. Hillis rushed for over 1150 yards and ran for 11 TD’s last year and he has got a very bright NFL future. QB Colt Mccoy also thrived after being named the starter last year. He led the team to wins over the New Orleans Saints and also the 14-2 Patriots. They dominated both of those teams. The reason Mccoy got to start at all was because of injuries to the top 2 QB’s Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. But Mccoy was up for the task and he had a great season for Cleveland. The Browns Tight End Ben Watson also broke out last year and emerged as one of the league’s top Tight ends. The receiving core if young, but improving. Mohamed Massaquoi has got a bright NFL future and the team also drafted Greg Little, who is expected to big things for Cleveland this season. Joshua Cribbs ranks among the top kick returners in the NFL and is a great utility man. He’s extremely fast and deceptive, and can play quarterback, running back, and receiver and can do it all. Rookie Cornerback Joe Haden had an exceptional rookie season for the Browns last year, coming up with 6 interceptions, as well as a sack and looked like a veteran, not a rookie. The Browns also have Scott Fujita, D’Qwell Jackson, and Phil Taylor, 3 veterans to anchor the Defense who have also been playing very well the last few years. With the young core of Hillis, Mccoy, Little, and Joe Haden the Browns are on their way to becoming a +.. 500 team in the years to come. The Browns will finish at 9-7 this season and surprise many people, falling just short of the playoffs.

 PEDROIA GUIDES SOX OVER ROYALS, 4-3

by Tim Scott

It was a tight game all around, but the Boston Red Sox were the last ones standing on Friday, edging out the Kansas City Royals in a 4-3 victory. Dustin Pedroia led the charge for the Sox, driving in 3 runs, and Josh Beckett (10-5) had a solid pitching performance for the Sox, as they snapped a 2-game losing streak.

The Royals started the scoring in the first inning, when Billy Butler drove in Alex Gordon on a sacrifice fly. This is the second straight start that Beckett allowed a run in the first. In his previous start against the Mariners, he allowed 5 runs in the first. Luckily, he only allowed one, and held the game tight.

Jason Varitek gave the Red Sox their first burst of run support in the second inning, when he lined an RBI single against Luke Hochevar (8-10), driving in Carl Crawford (who stole 2 bases that inning). However, the rally ended that same at-bat, when Varitek was nailed at second base by Gordon's rocket throw.

The Sox continued their surge in the top of the third. With two on, Pedroia ripped a 2-run single to left, driving in Mike Aviles & Jacoby Ellsbury. The Sox had a solid 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the third.

However, it would be the Royals that would make a surge of their own against Beckett. Gordon continued his hot streak by crushing a 2-run homer to left, driving in Alcides Escobar, and tying the score up at 3.

Despite having 6 strikeouts in his 6 innings of work, Hochevar was unable to keep the band-aid on the Royals' tie. Instead, Pedroia ripped it off with a total slash to center, driving in Jed Lowrie. The Sox would take the lead, 4-3, and never look back.

With dominate relief outings by Daniel Bard & Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox were able to hold the Royals to only 1 hit in the final two innings, securing a solid 4-3 win for the Sox.

Even though the Royals lost, they had two consistent threats on the offensive side of the plate. Gordon went 2-4 with the double and 2-run home run, and Butler went 3-3 on the evening with an RBI to his credit. 

In other news, Ryan Lavarnway made his major league debut for the Red Sox, replacing Kevin Youkilis (15-day DL) on the roster. The rookie went 0-4 with a strikeout in the game, batting 7th and playing DH.

Tomorrow, the series resumes at 8:10, when the Red Sox take on the Royals for Game 2. Andrew Miller (4-1) makes his first start in less than a month for the Sox. He will face Jeff Francis (4-13). The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning KANSAS CITY: Billy Butler flied out to right. Alex Gordon scored. (KC, 1-0)

2nd Inning BOSTON: Jason Varitek singled to left. Josh Reddick scored. (Tied, 1-1)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia singled to center. Mike Aviles and Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 3-1)

3rd Inning KANSAS CITY: Alex Gordon homered (16) to left. Alcides Escobar (Tied, 3-3)

5th Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia singled to center. Jed Lowrie scored. (BOS, 4-3)

BOSTON Hitters: Dustin Pedroia (3-4, 2B, SB, 3 RBI), Jason Varitek (1-3, RBI), Jed Lowrie (1-3, 2B), Josh Reddick (1-3, 2B), Carl Crawford (1-4, 2 SB)

KANSAS CITY Hitters: Billy Butler (3-3, RBI), Alex Gordon (2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI)

BOSTON Pitchers: Josh Beckett (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 K, HR, 110 PC), Daniel Bard (1 IP, H, K, 15 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, 2 K, 15 PC)

KANSAS CITY Pitchers: Luke Hochevar (6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 114 PC), Blake Wood (1.2 IP, H, K, 23 PC), Tim Collins (0.1 IP, BB, 10 PC), Aaron Crow (1 IP, K, 7 PC)

Line Score

BOS 012 010 000-4 9 0

KC  102 000  000-3 8 0

WP: Beckett (10-5) LP: Hochevar (8-10) SV: Papelbon (29)

Great First Half Play Leads to 31-14 Win Over Bucs 
By Tim Sorota (August 18, 2011)


This was the first action for many of the Patriots starters. The first team played great against the Buccaneers in Tampa. The Bucs got €the ball to start the game, then the Pats’ D forced a three and out. Brady got the ball and scored a touchdown. Another Tampa three and out led to the first Ochocinco TD with the Pats. New England added another score to make it 21-0 at the end of the first. The pass rush led by Andre Carter and Eric Moore got to Josh Freeman the whole first half. Jarod Mayo made bone-crushing tackles and Gerard Warren filled up holes in the Bucs’ running game. Tampa’s offensive line was so bad, that Josh Freeman was in risk of getting hurt. Every time Freeman went back to pass, Mayo or Warren or Carter or Moore was ready to knock him out. Thankfully for the Buccaneers, the starters only play the first half. But, the score at the half was 28-0. The deficit would be extremely difficult to overcome. In the 2nd half, Ryan Mallet was the QB for the Pats. He started off rocky by throwing a pick 6. After interception, Stevan Ridley fumbled on a fourth and short attempt. Then, Ridley and Mallet would settle down. They would score 3 points on a Steven Gostkowski field goal. Tampa would add a late touchdown, but that would be it. The Pats would win 31-14.

3 Stars

1. Andre Carter. He was un-blockable in tonight’s game. Every single time Josh Freeman dropped back to pass, Andre Carter was ready to hit him. I really hope he can continue this in the regular season because he will make a major impact if he does. 
2. Nate Solder and Logan Mankins- The left side of the offensive line was dominant. When the Pats ran to the right side, there were gapping wholes. Solder made his first start and he was impressive. Bucs’ end Adrian Clayborn had no impact tonight. 
3. Danny Woodhead- When Woodhead is in the game, he is electric. There were so many runs were Woodhead wouldn’t go down. On one run, in particular, he ran to the right, nothing was there, so he turned around to the left and got a gain of 20+ yards. 

1 Major No-body 
1. Brandon Meriweather- the Pats played great except for Meriweather. He seemed to have no life on the field. I think his emotions are getting the better of him, since there are rumors of him getting cut. When he played in the fourth quarter against the 3rd stringers, he was getting beat. He didn’t make an impact on defense. It wasn’t difficult to beat Brandon Meriweather on this night. Hopefully he will improve in the off-season. 

Miami is in Hot Water (To Say Lightly)
By Tim Sorota (August 17, 2011)

In 1987, the NCAA gave Southern Methodist University “the death penalty”. SMU committed numerous recruiting violations in the 1980’s. They were put on probation many times, but still continued with their illegal recruiting. Finally, their cheating caught up to them when the NCAA suspended its program for the 1987 and 1988 seasons. It was the first and the last time the NCAA has given such a punishment. No one had really even thought of giving any other program the death penalty. Until today. One of the most storied programs in college football, the University of Miami, is in deep doo-doo with the NCAA. If the SMU violations were bad, I don’t know what to call Miami’s. The news of Miami’s infractions came yesterday. Yahoo! Spots writer Charles Robinson wrote an article describing an 11 month investigation Yahoo! Sports did involving the Hurricane’s program. What they found may sink the program forever. All of the problems the university now face is because of one man. That one man is convicted felon Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro is serving a 20 year prison sentence for his role in a $930,000,000 Ponzi scheme. Before he was sent to jail, he worked as a booster for the university. It is reported that he gave football players and other athletes from Miami, millions and millions of dollars. He gave players cars and jewelry, took them to night clubs, bought prostitutes, and gave them access to his yacht and his home. He gave people gifts or cash if they hurt opposing players! Notable players who were involved with Shapiro were Frank Gore, Jacoby Harris (current QB), Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Antrel Rolle, Jonathan Vilma, Willis McGahee, Jon Beason, Kellen Winslow Jr., and Vince Wilfork. It was reported that Wilfork got $50,000. Shapiro says that throughout all this, six coaches knew about what was going on, and didn’t say anything. The NCAA comes down harder on a program when coaches don’t report rule breaks. 


Will they get “the death penalty”? If everything Shapiro says is true, “the death penalty is a legitimate possibility. However, many feel that the NCAA will never give out that penalty ever again. It completely destroyed SMU and the South-West Conference. Since Clemson and Florida State are reportedly looking at leaving the ACC, could the conference afford Miami getting the “death penalty”. The answer is no. The ACC can’t survive with only 9 teams. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech can’t carry a whole conference. But, what punishment would be suitable? 73 players were involved with this man. Is losing a few scholarships and not going to an unimportant bowl game really a worthy punishment? That was the punishment that USC got for illegally recruiting one player. Many argue that the Hurricanes did more than SMU did. It’s up to the NCAA at this point to make a decision now. 

Boosters are really bad for college football. What do they even do? All you hear is them being bad and hurting programs. SMU lost two full seasons because of boosters. Now Miami may lose a season too. They pay players and put programs on probation? Why is that good for football teams? Many boosters end up in prison just like Nevin Shapiro. Isn’t it just a little fishy how much time players spend with “innocent” boosters? I certainly think it is. It seems like a monthly thing in college football that a school is being punished because of the actions by their boosters. Now because of one booster, Nevin Shapiro, a whole program is in serious jeopardy. 

 PRICE PITCHES RAYS TO 4-0 WIN OVER SOX

by Tim Scott

After a grueling doubleheader the previous night, the Red Sox offense was really asleep, only connecting on 3 hits as they stumbled further down the standings, losing to the Rays, 4-0, in the finale of their 3-game series.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was John Lackey (11-9), who endured another tough start. He allowed 4 runs (3 earned) in 6.2 innings, with 7 strikeouts, but got no run support form the Red Sox.

Lackey's troubles began in the second inning, when Ben Zobrist had an RBI groundout, scoring in Johnny Damon, and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead.

But the real trouble came in the fourth and fifth innings, when BJ Upton & Evan Longoria each had solo home runs over the Green Monster, securing a 3-0 lead over Lackey.

Lastly, the Rays took their final stroke of pride in the seventh inning, when Zobrist had an RBI double against Lackey, forcing the Rays to a powerful 4-0 lead.

David Price (11-10) pitched a great game for the Rays, going 8 innings, allowing 3 hits with 6 strikeouts to his credit. The only three batters to get hits for the Sox were Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, & Kevin Youkilis. Ellsbury's lone hit was a triple that gave the Sox temporary optimism.

Tomorrow, the Sox will head to Kansas City to play the Royals for a 4-game series. Josh Beckett (9-5) will get the start for the Sox, while he'll face former #1 pick Luke Hochevar (8-9). The game starts at 8:10, and will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning RAYS: Ben Zobrist grounded out to third. Johnny Damon scored. (TB, 1-0)

4th Inning RAYS: BJ Upton homered (17) to left. (TB, 2-0)

5th Inning RAYS: Evan Longoria homered (19) to left. (TB, 3-0)

7th Inning RAYS: Ben Zobrist doubled to left. Kelly Shoppach scored. (TB, 4-0)

RAYS Hitters: Ben Zobrist (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI), BJ Upton (2-4, 2B, HR, RBI), Johnny Damon (2-5, 2B), Evan Longoria (1-3, HR, RBI)

RED SOX Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3, 3B), Dustin Pedroia (1-3), Kevin Youkilis (1-4)

RAYS Pitchers: David Price (8 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 116 PC), Kyle Farnsworth (1 IP, 13 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: John Lackey (6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R [3 ER], 3 BB, 7 K, 125 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1.1 IP, H, 3 K, 26 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, 15 PC)

Line Score

TBR 010 110 100-4 7 0
BOS 000  000 000-0 3 1

WP: Price (11-10) LP: Lackey (11-9)

NIEMANN, RAYS STING SOX OUT OF 1ST, 6-2

by Tim Scott

The Red Sox were simply outplayed in the second half of the doubleheader. The Rays pitched better, hit better, and ran better, topping the Red Sox 6-2, ultimately knocking them out of first (due to a Yankees 9-7 over the Royals). BJ Upton & Ben Zobrist each had 3 hits for the Rays, and Desmond Jennings, Johnny Damon, & Casey Kotchman each contributed 2 in the winning effort.

The Rays started the scoring against Erik Bedard (0-1) in the second, with a fielder's choice by Sean Rodriguez that resulted in a run, due to an error by Jed Lowrie. Matt Joyce made the score 2-0 with an RBI groundout.

In the top of the third inning, the Red Sox pulled something they have not done in 17 years. Rodriguez hit a ground ball to Lowrie. Lowrie stepped on third, threw it to Dustin Pedroia, who stepped on second, and threw it to Adrian Gonzalez to wrap up the Red Sox' first triple play since July 8, 1994, when John Valentin turned an unassisted TP against the Seattle Mariners.

In the bottom of the third, Jason Varitek   launched his 8th homer of the season off of Jeff Niemann (8-4), putting the Sox within 1.

In the fifth, the Rays added to their lead, when Jennings launched his fifth homer of the season over the Green Monster, giving the Rays a 3-1 lead.

Jacoby Ellsbury helped the Sox inch closer to the lead, launching his 22nd homer of the year (and his second of the day) to right field. After 6, the Sox were only down 3-2.

Trouble struck the high point, when Matt Albers stepped on the mound in what became one of the messiest innings ever. Upton started the trouble, when he had an RBI single to right. Then, Zobrist stole home on a double steal, putting the Rays up 5-2. Kotchman drove in Upton with an RBI single to secure a 6-2 lead.

Niemann wound up going the distance for the Rays, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, with 10 strikeouts to his credit. With that, the Rays were able to secure the nightcap with a stunning 6-2 win.

The series wraps up tomorrow afternoon at 1:35, when the Sox try to regain first place. John Lackey (11-8) will get the start for the Sox, while the Rays will counter with their ace David Price (10-10). The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning RAYS: Sean Rodriguez reaches on fielder's choice. Ben Zobrist scored on throwing error by Jed Lowrie. (TB, 1-0)

2nd Inning RAYS: Matt Joyce grounded out to second, BJ Upton scored. (TB, 2-0)

3rd Inning RED SOX: Jason Varitek homered (8) to right. (TB, 2-1)

5th Inning RAYS: Desmond Jennings homered (5) to left. (TB, 3-1)

6th Inning RED SOX: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (22) to right. (TB, 3-2)

8th Inning RAYS: Upton singled to right. Evan Longoria scored. (TB, 4-2)

8th Inning RAYS: Ben Zobrist stole home against Matt Albers. (TB, 5-2)

8th Inning RAYS: Casey Kotchman singled to center. Upton scored. (TB, 6-2)

RAYS Hitters: Ben Zobrist (3-4, 2 SB), BJ Upton (3-4, SB, RBI), Desmond Jennings (2-5, HR, RBI), Johnny Damon (2-5, 2B), Casey Kotchman (2-4, RBI)

RED SOX Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (1-4, HR, RBI), Jason Varitek (1-3, HR, RBI), Jed Lowrie (1-3)

RAYS Pitchers: Jeff Niemann (9 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K, 2 HR, 114 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: Erik Bedard (6 IP, 7 H, 3 R [1 ER], 6 K, HR, 102 PC), Matt Albers (1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 30 PC), Franklin Morales (0.2 IP, H, K, 14 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, H, 12 PC)

Line Score

TBR 020 010 030-6 12 0
BOS 001  001 000-2 3 1

WP: Niemann (8-4) LP: Bedard (0-1)

GAME NOTES:

Red Sox turned a triple play in the third inning. 

NFL Power Rankings
By Tim Sorota (August 16, 2011)

This is the 2nd Boston Hot Spot NFL Power Rankings. The 2nd edition will be much different than the first, due to the end of the lockout and free agency. There is only one real terrible team. All the others are at least competitive. 

1. Green Bay Packers- 2nd straight ranking as number 1. Aaron Rodgers is one of the most explosive QBs threw the air in the entire league. Cullen Jenkins was the only major loss the team had in the off-season. The team has good depth at defensive line, so they will not feel Jenkins loss very much. 
2. Philadelphia Eagles- The winners of free agency were, without a doubt, the Philadelphia Eagles. They landed Nnamdi Asomugha, (#1 free agent), Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Steve Smith, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. And, of course, they still have Michael Vick. They were called a “dream team”, but they are not a “dream team”. They are a good team. 
3. New England Patriots- Another team that did very well in the off-season was the Patriots. They went 14-2 and improved even more. Their one weakness was in the pass rush, so they signed Shaun Ellis away from the Jets. They also acquired Albert Haynseworth and Chad Ochocinco. 

4. New Orleans Saints- The team is one year removed from their championship season. They traded Reggie Bush, but, signed Darren Sproles from San Diego. Their back-field is pretty set with Sproles, Mark Ingram, and Pierre Thomas. Drew Brees and his explosive wide receivers will certainly be hungry to avenge their post-season loss to Seattle.  

5. Atlanta Falcons- Quarterback Matt Ryan is ready for a break-out year. They drafted Julio Jones, and in his first pre-season game he looked great. He along with Roddy White could be a great receiving core for Ryan to throw to. 
6. Baltimore Ravens- The defense is still one of the best in the league. Joe Flacco is a good young QB. However, he lost two of his favorite targets in Derek Mason and Todd Heap. He’s going to have to find another receiver to throw it to when Anquan Boldin is covered. 

7. Houston Texans- The team had a horrific secondary last season. They signed Jonathan Joseph to help that. They also hired Wade Phillips to be the defensive coordinator. He has had previous success in turning bad defenses into good defenses. In addition, their offense is explosive. 
8. New York Jets- They still have a good secondary, but the rest of the team got worse. The team struggled getting to the quarterback, last year. Their only proven past rusher signed with their arch rival in the off-season. 
9. Pittsburgh Steelers- The team went to the Super Bowl last year, but their offensive line was really bad against the Redskins in their first pre-season game against Washington. Will it improve? If not, the team won’t be back in the Super Bowl. 
10. Indianapolis Colts- The team is no longer the favorite in the AFC south. The team is old and they will need a great season from Peyton Manning in order to win the division. He is coming off an injured neck, so his production may decrease. 

11. San Diego Chargers- Phillip Rivers had a phenomenal season last year. Ryan Matthews will have the full load in the running game. However, his production will decrease because he doesn’t have Darren Sproles to take some of the pressure off him. They also had special teams problems last year, but they returned a kick for a TD in their last pre-season game. 
12. Detroit Lions- The defensive line is one of the best in the league. Nick Farely has a foot injury, but appears he will be able to recover. Matt Stafford is proving himself as a good veteran quarterback. 
13. Minnesota Vikings- With the addition of Donovan McNabb, young QB Christian Ponder will have a good mentor. The team has AP and they still have a scary-good defensive line, even without Ray Edwards. 
14. Kansas City Chiefs- They are a solid team. Jamal Charles is turning into one of the league’s best running backs. However, he isn’t there yet. Matt Cassel played well, but he isn’t elite. The team is good, they aren’t great. 
15. Seattle Seahawks- With the additions of former Vikings Sidney Rice and Tavares Jackson, the Seahawks should be able to win the NFC West. Rice has proven himself in Minnesota, and Jackson will help the offense.

16. Tampa Bay Bucs- The team is extremely young. To many people’s surprise, the team went 10-6. Since the team isn’t old, they will continue to improve over the next couple of seasons. However, they don’t have any great players. 
17. St. Louis Rams- They were one win from the playoffs last season. The pass game was working in their first pre-season action. The defense is young and they will improve from last year. Expect them to be around 8-8 this season. 
18. Dallas Cowboys- Failing to make the playoffs caused a lot of concern in Big D. So I expected them to make a big splash in free agency. They didn’t. How can they manage to get better without any major additions? They’re alright but could’ve been much better. 
19. Tennessee Titans- The major concern going into the lockout was QB. They have improved by signing veteran Matt Hassleback. They will be ranked higher on the rankings when they sign Chris Johnson. They need him.

20. New York Giants- With Brandon Jacobs, Amhad Bradshaw, and Eli Manning on offense they will be able to score points. The defense, however, has taken some hits over the off-season. Prince Amukamara broke his foot in the training camp and Osi Umenyiora is in a contract dispute. 
21. Chicago Bears- The NFC north champions ranked 21? Yes. Why? Their offensive line is terrible. Jay Cutler got sacked and sacked and sacked in the first pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills! They can’t win if they can’t protect Jay Cutler. 
22. Jacksonville Jaguars- Blaine Gabbbert is a rookie, but he played very well against New England last week. Garrard will help him out and MJD will do the running. They are missing a good wide-out and they don’t have a solid defense. 
23. Buffalo Bills- Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. (Except the 22 teams ahead of them. But who cares?) I look to see the Bills improving a lot this season. Brad Smith is a new tool to this offense. Expect them to maybe win seven games this year.

24. Washington Redskins- They looked good in their first pre-season game. John Beck and Rex Grosman aren’t terrible. Brian Orakpo is turning into one of the better pass rushers in the NFL. 
25. Miami Dolphins- The team was heavily pursuing Broncos QB Kyle Orton. They didn’t get him. That means Chad Henne or Chad Pennington will have to play. That concerns many Phins fans considering Henne is inconsistent and Pennington is injury prone. 
26. Denver Broncos- They were ranked last in the first power rankings. They are no longer the worst team in the NFL. Kyle Orton is playing really well in training camp and so is Brady Quinn. The QB battle is making the team stronger. 
27. Arizona Cardinals- With the addition of Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald will have someone who can get him the ball. With the NFC west being so weak, the Cardinals may be able to cause some damage and potentially make the post-season. 
28. Carolina Panthers- They did some good things in the off-season. Singing DeAngelo Williams and trading for Greg Olson will help out rookie QB Cam Newton a lot in the regular season. However, don’t expect them to win anytime soon. 
29. Oakland Raiders- Darren McFadden is one of the best young backs in the league. But, the defense lost its best player Asomugha. He will be impossible to replace, so the secondary will struggle. 
30. Cleveland Browns- They haven’t gotten any better since the last power rankings. I expect them to struggle a lot this season. Peyton Hillis may be able to have another successful season, but the defense won’t be good. 

31. San Francisco 49ers- Braylon Edwards will help out Alex Smith (or whoever is playing Quarterback!). But, the defense will get exposed this season. Also, the team will have to make a decision on who will play QB this season. 
32. Cincinnati Bengals- Carson Palmer retired. Chad Ochocinco was traded to New England. Jonathan Joseph signed with Houston. The three best players on a bad team last year all left. That doesn’t suit well for 2011. Don’t expect them to win more than 4 games this year. They are going to be bad. 

 ELLSBURY GOES DEEP AS SOX WIN 3-1

by Tim Scott

In the first game of a day-night doubleheader, the Red Sox proved victorious with great pitching from Jon Lester (12-6) and a towering 3-run home run by Jacoby Ellsbury as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-1.

Even though the Sox won, the Rays had the first run, when Evan Longoria drove in Desmond Jennings on a groundout. After that, Lester was flawless. After allowing 2 hits in the first, Lester only allowed 1 other hit in the game. Lester wound up pitching 7 solid innings, striking out 8 Rays on 113 pitches.

Lester was challenged throughout the game by the pitching of "Big Game" James Shields (11-10). Shields went the distance for the Rays, only allowing 3 hits and striking out 6 Red Sox batters.

Shields's only folly came in the third inning, when Ellsbury lined his 21st home run of the season over Pesky Pole, driving in Josh Reddick & Mike Aviles, giving the Sox a solid 3-1 lead.

Daniel Bard & Jonathan Papelbon pitched solidly in relief, allowing 0 hits in 2 innings, with Bard racking up 2 strikeouts. With that, the Red Sox took the day portion of the DH, 3-1.

Erik Bedard (0-0, 4.50 ERA) gets the start for the Sox in the nightcap, while he faces the Rays' Jeff Niemann (7-4). The game started at 7:10 ET and is on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning TAMPA BAY: Evan Longoria grounded out to third. Desmond Jennings scored. (TB, 1-0)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (21) to right. Josh Reddick and Mike Aviles scored. (BOS, 3-1)

Tampa Bay Hitters: Evan Longoria (1-4, RBI), Ben Zobrist (1-4, 2B), Desmond Jennings (1-4, RBI)

Boston Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3, HR, 3 RBI), Josh Reddick (1-3), Mike Aviles (1-3)

Tampa Bay Pitchers: James Shields (8 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 6 K, HR, 114 PC)

Boston Pitchers: Jon Lester (7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 8 K, 113 PC), Daniel Bard (1 IP, 2 K, 12 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, 10 PC)

Line Score

TB  100 000 000-1 3 0
BOS 003 000 00x-3 3 0

WP: Lester (12-6) LP: Shields (11-10) SV: Papelbon (28)

ORTIZ, ELLSBURY WORTH EXTENSIONS

by Taylor Snyder 

There are two players in my opinion that should definitely be extended at the end of the 2011 season, and those 2 are Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz. The 1st player that should definitely be extended is Ellsbury, because of his major contributions for the Red Sox for this whole season. He, in my opinion, is carrying the Red Sox with his explosive hitting and great fielding. His big numbers show it all with 21 HR’s and 77 RBI’s with 153 hits this season, and he is one of the hottest players in baseball right now. He has done so much to help the team. The good thing about Ellsbury though is he will be leading off for the Sox through 2013, but then after that is when they will have too worry about him. But as of right now, he is definitely worth a keep for a long time in Boston. The other player that the Sox should definitely re-sign is Big Papi himself, David Ortiz. He is a big keeper in Boston because of his long hard work he has done in Boston, winning 2 World Series titles with them, and being such a fan favorite. I don’t see how you could ever put him on another team. He should stay in Boston for a very long time. He has improved greatly since 2010. In 2010 he had 32 homers and 102 RBI’s. This year Ortiz 24 homers and 74 RBI’s and is batting 300. And has still got a good amount left in him for the remainder of the season. Every time I watch Ortiz play it seems like he just gets better every time, and I think he will just continue to improve. A couple of years ago people thought Ortiz was fading away after struggling the whole 2008 and 2009 season. But Ortiz has shown us something, and that’s that he will just continue to improve and will never let down the fans of Boston. But I am not the only one a lot of people agree that they couldn’t envision him anywhere else. Ortiz is a great hitter and he is a great player so if I were the Red Sox GM, I would sign Ellsbury and Ortiz over the off-season! 

Pats Looking at Signing More Veterans
By Tim Sorota (August 15, 2011)

Darren Sharper, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Renaldo Hill will all be flying in to either Logan Airport or TF Green (Providence) Airport in the recent future. They will all work out with the New England Patriots. Darren Sharper was the leader of the defense on the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in 2009. Sharper was called “one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league” by fan Demetry James in his 2010 YouTube video “Greg Jennings (Broken Leg) scores on Saints”. Sharper is a 14 year veteran who has been selected to five pro-bowls. However, he is 35 and only started one game last season. Hill is another player who is towards the end of his career. He is entering his 11 NFL season and hasn’t had as much success as Sharper. Last season, the Patriots didn’t have a need at safety. But this off-season Brandon Meriwether got in trouble with the law.. He hasn’t cooperated very well, and it’s angered the organization. He is a pro-bowler and can potentially be one of the best safeties in the league. However, if his risk isn’t greater than the reward, he will be cut or traded. The team is sending him a message by playing him on the 2nd team. If the team signs Sharper or Hill, does that mean Meriwether is out the door? I certainly hope not. Sharper may only have one good year left and you don’t know how Hill will do. Meriwether is a pro-bowler and a rising talent. His character hasn’t gotten in the way of his play at any point in his career. Earlier this off-season, the Patriots acquired Chad Ochocinco from the Bengals. His former teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh is in talks about joining New England. His production has declined a lot over the past few seasons. The team already has young receivers like Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, and from Andover, Mass (my home-town) Buddy Farnham. If Houshmandzadeh is signed, he will take plays away from those three. It doesn’t make much sense. It seems to be a waste of money. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  

 MLB DRAFT SIGNING DEADLINE TODAY

Who will the Red Sox sign by the end of the night?

by Tim Scott

Tonight is one of the craziest nights in the baseball season. Today is the deadline to sign all 2011 Draft players. Many significant deals in the past have been made on deadline, most notably the signings of Bryce Harper (2010) and Stephen Strasburg. 

Currently, #1 pick Gerrit Cole has not signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he's expected to sign by the end of the night. 

Currently, the Red Sox have signed 5 of their top ten picks. However, the Red Sox have not signed their four first-round selections: RHP Matt Barnes, C Blake Swihart, LHP Henry Owens, and OF Jackie Bradley Jr. 

Here is some analysis on who the Red Sox have signed, who they should be able to sign, and the picks they most likely won't be able to acquire.

ALREADY SIGNED

OF Williams Jerez (2nd Round, Brooklyn, NY)

Jerez was won of the first picks to sign with the Red Sox, when he signed on July 12. Jerez has good credentials with the bat, hitting .692 in his high school league in New York. Currently, with the GCL Red Sox, the speedy OF is hitting .250 with 8 RBIs and 4 SB. According to SoxProspects.com, he is expected to play 2012 with the Lowell Spinners.

C Jordan Weems (3rd Round, Columbus, GA)

Weems was a recent signee into the Red Sox organization. A very good offensive and defensive catcher, the Red Sox did not hesitate to select him in the third round. Currently with the GCL Red Sox, Weems is struggling to adapt to pro ball, only hitting .100 (2-20) in 6 games. He has also struck out 7 times. He is expected to make a slow yet steady rise throughout the Red Sox farm system in the future.

LHP Miguel Pena (6th Round, San Jacinto JC)

A draftee for the third consecutive season, having been picked by San Diego and Washington in the past, Pena decided to settle down and become a member of the Red Sox organization. With solid numbers at San Jacinto JC (10-3, 1.91 ERA, 93 K), Pena made the jump up to Lowell for the 2011 season. He possesses valuable pitches that will take him far. Currently on the disabled list with an undisclosed injury, Pena was in the midst of a hot streak, going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 5 games with the Spinners. Due to his injury, he might have to repeat the 2012 season with the Spinners.

3B Travis Shaw (9th Round, Kent State)

Shaw signed immediately after the draft for an $110,000 signing bonus. Previously drafted by the Sox in the 32nd round (2008), Shaw wrapped up his career at Kent State with stellar numbers. Even though he played 3B in college, scouts believe he should move to 1B due to his frame. Shaw has done well in his first season with Lowell, hitting .283 with 6 HR and 26 RBI in 40 games. Shaw is expected to play with Greenville in 2012.

OF Cody Koback (10th Round, Wisconsin-Stevens Point)

Koback was a recent signee of the Red Sox, signing on July 31. He is a solid contact hitter with above-average speed.  With Wisconsin-Steven Point, Koback hit a spectacular .424 AVG with 8 HR and 47 RBI in 44 games. Currently, with the GCL Red Sox, Koback is tearing it up, hitting .357 with 1 RBI in 10 games. He is expected to start 2012 with Lowell.

EXPECTED TO SIGN

LHP Matt Barnes (1st Round, Connecticut)

There are many reasons why Matt Barnes was the 2011 first round pick for the Red Sox. He has a very good fastball (clocked out at a whopping 97 MPH!), and also throws a solid changeup, curveball, and slider. The 6'4'' righty had a solid season with the Huskies in 2011, going 11-4 with a 1.62 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 16 starts. His signing status is almost certain. According to sports blog OverTheMonster, Barnes is almost certain to sign a contract with the Sox. Should he sign, Barnes should begin his professional journey with Greenville. However, Alex Speier of WEEI contradicts that, saying that it won't be shocking if Barnes does not sign before the deadline. Time will tell on this decision.

C Blake Swihart (1st Round, Bedford, TX)

The signing of Blake Swihart will have some sort of dramatic conclusion. Swihart fell down to the 26th overall pick due to his strong commitment to play with the University of Texas in 2012, and due to the fact he is seeking a $4 million signing bonus. Scouts project that Swihart might also play 3B if he signs with the Red Sox. Due to his demands, should the Red Sox sign him, he will take a chunk of Red Sox draft money, which might affect other signings throughout the night.

LHP Henry Owens (1st Round, Huntington Beach, CA)

Even though Owens has a scholarship to pitch with the University of Miami (FL) in 2012, Owens is projected to be signed by the end of the night, and play with the GCL Red Sox. Owens possesses a 6'7'' frame, with some good stuff on the mound. With his high school, he went 11-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 114 K in 13 games. If Owens signs, he might get an excess above his slot value. If he does sign, he should pitch with Greenville in 2012.

RHP Noe Ramirez (4th Round, Cal State Fullerton)

Ramirez was a good pitcher in a class of great pitchers this year. If he went in another year, he would definitely go higher than where has selected this year. However, the Sox picked him up in the fourth round, and hope to sign him. Like fellow draftee Jackie Bradley, Ramirez is a Scott Boras client, which means he will get a big bonus and a late deal should he sign. The Red Sox have offered big deals like these for late draftees, so Ramirez will be no different. Should Ramirez sign, he should begin 2012 with the Lowell Spinners. 

8:00-Red Sox sign Noe Ramirez to a contract with a $625,000 signing bonus.

UNLIKELY TO SIGN

OF Jackie Bradley (1st Round, South Carolina)

A pivotal part of South Carolina's championship success the last 2 years, it is no wonder why Bradley was snatched as the 40th overall pick. Even though he had an off-season in his junior year, the Sox saw value in him, and selected him in the sandwich round. According to his agent, Scott Boras, it is unlikely that Bradley will sign with the Red Sox. Instead, the real question is if Bradley will return to South Carolina for his senior year. He could return, or play in an independent league to increase his draft value in 2012.

11:55-Red Sox sign Bradley to a contract worth $1.1 million.

SS Mookie Betts (5th Round, Brentwood, TN)

Recently, Betts turned down a slot-recommended deal, which indicates that this shortstop might be heading to play ball with the University of Tennessee. Stranger things have happened, but seems highly likely that Betts will not sign with the Red Sox tonight. 

LHP Cody Kukuk (7th Round, Lawrence, KS)

Kukuk was originally expected to be selected as a late-first round. But due to his demands for a high signing bonus ($1.05 million), he slipped down to the seventh round, where the Red Sox drafted him. According to WEEI.com, he sent an email to all 30 MLB teams saying that if he didn't get a big signing bonus, he would enroll at the University of Kansas in 2012. It will be a stretch, but it seems likely that Kukuk won't sign.

10:45-Red Sox sign Kukuk to a contract.

OF Senquez Golson (8th Round, Pascagoula, MS)

Signing Golson is one of the biggest questions the Red Sox have been pondering thus far. Golson, with his talent and speed, is also playing football at the University of Mississippi. According to sources, he has started practicing with the team. The signs are pointing to him not signing with the Sox, but due to the new NFL CBA limiting signing bonuses of rookies, he could sign for an enticing offer. 

12:00-Golson declined a contract by the Red Sox.

WWE Summer Slam Recap

By Andrew Simmons

Summer Slam is WWE’s second biggest PPV of the year, and I would like to say that this summer slam lived up to the hype.

The first match of the night was an unexpected six man tag team match.

The Miz, Rtruth, and Alberto Del Rio took on John Morrison, Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio.

The match, which was a pretty quick passed match with several highflying spots, ended when Rey Mysterio dialed up the 619 on R Truth.

Mysterio pinned him and got the win.

It was a decent match; no great moments, but no real bad moments. I will give this match a grade of C+.

The next match was Sheamus vs. Mark Henry.

The story behind this match is that Mark Henry has been on a tear of late injuring The Big Show, Kane, and Vladimir Koslov. Sheamus was the one superstar to step up to the challenge.

Mark won this slow, paced power matchup by count out after slamming Sheamus through a barricade. Sheamus was not able to get to the ring before the referee finished his count of 10.

The match was boring, but when Henry slamed Shameus through the barricade, it was very cool.

I will give this match a C- because it was not a pay-per-view worthy match.

Next, Cee-Lo Green came out, and held a mini concert. I think that’s pretty cool, but nothing special.

The next match was the Divas Championship match: Beth Phoenix vs the champion Kelly Kelly.

Kelly Kelly won the match when she rolled up Phoenix for the 3 count.

I can't rate Divas Matches like i would a normal match, because they are very different, but this was without a doubt the best divas match in at least a year.

Next Match: Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barret.

This match was a very even match that could of easily gone either way.

It ended when Wade Barret did a spring board clothes line, and then did his finisher wasteland and got the win.

The next match was for the world heavy weight title: Randy Orton vs. the champion Christian in a no holds bared match.

For all of the WWE noobs out there, this means anything goes (no disqualification).

First former WWE superstar, Edge, comes out and tells Christian that he can't help him because he has to do it by him self, and that he has become a whining little girl.

Then, the match started, and it was the best match of the night a lot of hardcore moment including randy orton putting Christian through 3 tables

The match ended when Christian went for a spring board move, and Orton did an RKO onto the steel steps In the end, Orton won the match.

This Match I’m going to give an A+. This was easily a match of the year candidate.

The Next Match was John Cena vs. Cm Punk, for the unification of the WWE Championship.

The Main Event match was a good match that started out with major mat work. All in all, it was a pretty entertaining match, but paled in comparison to the Orton-Cristian match.

The Match ended when Punk put the go-to-sleep on Cena, and had him for the three-count. However, Cena's foot was on the ropes, and The Ref (HHH) did not notice. Punk won the match. Then, after the match, former WWE wrestler Kevin Nash, also known as Diesel, kicked punk in the face, and then did a jackknife powerbomb. He left through the crowd, then Alberto Del Rio came out and cashed in the money in the bank contract, which guarantees him a shot at the title whenever he wants.

Del Rio kicked punk in the head, and won, so he is the new champ.

The match itself was a B+, but the aftermath was an A.

The overall Pay-Per-View was stellar and I would give it a B+. 

 SOX LOST 5-3, NO 200TH FOR WAKE

by Tim Scott

Tim Wakefield could not finish his conquest for a 200th win for the 4th straight time, falling to the Mariners in a heartfelt battle, 5-3. Even though he lost, Wakefield went the distance, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits with 4 strikeouts.

If it wasn't for a rowdy third inning, Wakefield would've secured his 200th win and given the Red Sox a win. It started when Jack Wilson drove in Casper Wells with an RBI infield single. That was quickly followed by an RBI sac fly by Franklin Gutierrez. Also, Mike Carp had an RBI single in the inning to push the Mariners lead up to 3-0.

The Sox scored once in the fourth, by way of a sacrifice fly by Jed Lowrie. Otherwise, for most of the game, the Red Sox were silenced by the impressive pitching of Charlie Furbush (3-4), who only allowed 4 hits in 7 innings and struck out 6 hitters.

Yet the Mariners kept piling up the runs. Dustin Ackley singled in a run in the fifth, and Casper Wells launched his 2nd homer in as many days harshly over the left field wall, as the Mariners climbed to a 5-1 lead.

However, the Red Sox would temporarily shift the momentum towards their favor. In the 8th, against Jeff Gray, Kevin Youkilis launched a 2-run bomb to left, driving in Dustin Pedroia, and putting the Sox within 2 of the Mariners lead.

In the ninth, Brandon League shut down the Red Sox 1-2-3, striking out 2, and solidifying his 29th save, and a Mariners 5-3 victory.

The Yankees-Rays tilt was postponed due to rain, so the Red Sox remain 1.5 games atop the Yankees in the East.

For travelling purposes, the Red Sox will take the day off. On Tuesday, the Red Sox will have a day-night double header at Fenway, beginning at 1:05. In the day game, Jon Lester (11-6) will start for the Sox against James Shields (11-9). At 7:10, the night game, the Sox will start Erik Bedard (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. the Rays Jeff Niemann (7-4). The games will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

3rd Inning MARINERS: Jack Wilson singled to short. Casper Wells scored. (SEA, 1-0)

3rd Inning MARINERS: Franklin Gutierrez flied out to left. Wilson scored. (SEA, 2-0)

3rd Inning MARINERS: Mike Carp singled to right. Kyle Saeger scored. (SEA, 3-0)

4th Inning RED SOX: Jed Lowrie flied out to left. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (SEA, 3-1)

5th Inning MARINERS: Dustin Ackley singled to center. Ichiro Suzuki scored. (SEA, 4-1)

6th Inning MARINERS: Casper Wells homered (7) to left. (SEA, 5-1)

8th Inning RED SOX: Kevin Youkilis homered (17) to left. Dustin Pedroia scored. (SEA, 5-3)

RED SOX Hitters: Kevin Youkilis (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (1-4), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4), David Ortiz (1-4), Jed Lowrie (1-3)

MARINERS Hitters: Casper Wells (1-3, HR, RBI), Ichiro Suzuki (2-4), Dustin Ackley (1-3, RBI), Mike Carp (1-4, RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Tim Wakefield (8 IP, 9 H, 5 R [4 ER], 2 BB, 4 K, HR, 94 PC)

MARINERS Pitchers: Charlie Furbush (7 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 95 PC), Jeff Gray (1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, HR, 19 PC), Brandon League (1 IP, 2 K, 17 PC)

Line Score

SEA 003 011 000-3 6 2
BOS 000 100  020- 5 9  0

WP: Furbush (3-4) LP: Wakefield (6-5) SV: League (29)

Remaining Bruin’s Free Agents

by: Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

For my next article I decided to take a look at the remaining free agents that played in the Boston  Bruins system last year and where they might go.  Some of the players mentioned will resign while others will go to other teams or remain free agents.  

Here is an explanation of the different group meanings:

Group 2: Restricted Free Agents who can sign offer sheets with other teams in exchanged for draft picks

Group 3: Unrestricted Free Agents who have reached age 27, or have played 7 years in the NHL Lets get right to it.

Group 6: Unrestricted Free Agents who have played 3 years of professional hockey and have played less than 80 games for defenseman and forwards and less than 28 games for goalies

Unrestricted Free Agents: Players whose contract expired and do not meet the qualifications of Group 3 or 6.

Let’s get right to it.

Group 2 Restricted Free Agents: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Stefan Chaput, Brad Marchand

First off I’d like to look at Brad Marchand.  I have written for another site about this before and basically management made him their top priority this offseason and Marchand definitely wants to be back.  This deal should happen within the next few weeks to keep Marchand in Black & Gold.  Expect somewhere around 2-3 years $2.5-$3.5 million per year.  ext, I believe both Bodnarchuk and Chaput will resign as both are valuable prospects in the Bruin’s minor league system.

Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agents: Shane Hnidy, Kirk MacDonald, Mark Recchi, Jeremy Reich, Nolan Schaefer.

First of all we can cross Mark Recchi off the list due to him announcing retirement this season.  Next we move on to Shane Hnidy “the chief”.  Hnidy has been a solid lockdown defenseman for the B’s however, his time in Boston is likely over due to the surplus of D-men for the Bruins.  Jeremy Reich’s fate will likely be the same as he will have to look for a new team.  He plays the role of the tough guy and spent the whole year in Providence.  He won’t be able to crack the B’s lineup so he will likely move on.  As for McDonald and Schaefer, the B’s could go either way.  Both are minor league players and expendable, so they may resign or they may not.

Group 6 Unrestricted Free Agents: David Laliberte

Similar to Schaefer and MacDonald, the B’s could go either way.  However I think Laliberte will resign due to his youth and potential.

Unrestricted Free Agents: Matt Dalton, Cody Wild

Don’t expect Wild or Dalton to resign due to the surplus of talent in the Bruin’s system.  However one or both of these players resigning is not out of the question. 

SEATTLE BURNS SOX WITH 5-4 WIN

by Tim Scott

Safeco Field was the site of pure torture and torment for the Boston Red Sox. After a 5-run first, and a bad-call, the Red Sox were unable to overcome those obstacles, and took a hard loss, 5-4, at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

Josh Beckett (9-5) had arguably one of his worst starts of the season. His troubles, which led to the demise of the game, took off in the first. It started when Ichiro Suzuki lined a solo home run to right, giving the Mariners the early 1-0 lead. 

The troubles continued a few batters later, when Mike Carp ripped a 2-run singe to center, driving in Franklin Gutierrez & Dustin Ackley. Eventually, Casper Wells capped the rally with a 2-run homer of his own, giving the Mariners a 5-0 advantage after 1 inning.

In the fourth, the Red Sox had a good chance at scoring a run. Dustin Pedroia flied out to right. Jacoby Ellsbury attempted to score from third, but Suzuki threw him out at home plate, ending the Sox's chances that inning. That play resulted in Terry Francona's ejection from the game.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox erupted for four runs in the inning. It started when Ellsbury lined his 20th home run of the season to right, driving in Marco Scutaro. Soon afterwards, Dustin Pedroia repeated the same feat, giving the Red Sox new life, trailing only 5-4.

But it would be the Mariners bullpen that would shut down the Sox's hopes. After relieving Felix Hernandez (11-10) from hardships, Jamey Wright & Brandon League only allowed 1 hit in the final two innings to secure the win for the Mariners.

Today, the rubber game of the series will be played to determine the winner at 4:10. Tim Wakefield will try to pursue his 200th win, and he will counter Charlie Furbush for that honor. The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning MARINERS: Ichiro Suzuki homered (2) to right. (SEA, 1-0)

1st Inning MARINERS: Mike Carp singled to center. Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley scored. (SEA, 3-0)

1st Inning MARINERS: Casper Wells homered (6) to left. Mike Carp scored. (SEA, 5-0)

6th Inning RED SOX: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (20) to right. Marco Scutaro scored. (SEA, 5-2)

6th Inning RED SOX: Dustin Pedroia homered (16) to right. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (SEA, 5-4)

RED SOX Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-3, HR, 2 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (1-4, HR, 2 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4), Mike Aviles (2-3), Marco Scutaro (1-3, 3B)

MARINERS Hitters: Casper Wells (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), Jack Wilson (2-3, 2B), Mike Carp (1-3, 2 RBI), Franklin Gutierrez (2-4), Ichiro Suzuki (1-4, HR, RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Josh Beckett (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 99 PC), Matt Albers (1.2 IP, H, 3 K, 26 PC), Franklin Morales (0.2 IP, K, 6 PC), Alfredo Aceves (0.2 IP, 2 K, 10 PC)

MARINERS Pitchers: Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 107 PC), Jamey Wright (1 IP, H, BB, 18 PC), Brandon League (1 IP, 2 K, 14 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 004 000-4 10 0
SEA 500 000 00x-5 9 1

WP: Hernandez (11-10) LP: Beckett (9-5) SV: League (28)

GAME NOTES

RED SOX MGR Terry Francona ejected in the fourth inning for arguing a call at home plate.

 NEW ENGLAND FOOTBALL TOP 20

PRESEASON EDITION (To qualify, the college/university has to be in the New England States of CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, and ME)

1. Boston College Eagles (ACC)

2. Connecticut Huskies (Big East)

3. New Hampshire Wildcats (FCS)

4. Massachusetts Minutemen (FCS)

5. Harvard Crimson (FCS)

6. Yale Bulldogs (FCS)

7. Rhode Island Rams (FCS)

8. Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (FCS)

9. Bryant Bulldogs (FCS)

10. Brown Bears (FCS)

11. Dartmouth Big Green (FCS)

12. New Haven Chargers (DII)

13. American Intl. Yellow Jackets (DII)

14. Southern Connecticut Owls (DII)

15. Bentley Falcons (DII)

16. Williams Ephs (DIII)

17. Trinity Bantams (DIII)

18. Framingham St. Rams (DIII)

19. Western NE Golden Bears (DIII)

20. Amherst Lord Jeffs (DIII)

 REDDICK POWERS SOX PAST M's, 6-4

by Tim Scott

It was a see-saw game from start to finish, but it would be the Red Sox that would overcome, and beat the Seattle Mariners, 6-4 in Seattle. David Ortiz and Josh Reddick had 2 RBIs on the night as the Red Sox won their first game since Tuesday.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was John Lackey (11-8). Lackey went 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits with 3 strikeouts. 

Lackey was the beneficiary of a consistant Red Sox offensive attack. Despite being down 2-0 in the second, Ortiz changed all of that, by hitting a solo homer to center. The Sox would tie the score later in the inning, on a Mike Aviles RBI sac fly. 

However, the Mariners would retake the lead. Dustin Ackley started up the engine, with an RBI single in the second, giving the Mariners a 3-2 lead. The Mariners would follow that up with an RBI double from Mike Carp (who had 2 RBIs earlier in the first), securing a Mariners 4-2 advantage.

Yet, it would be the future of the Red Sox that would secure the winning effort. In the fifth, Jed Lowrie hit a solo home run to right, coming within 1 of the Mariners lead. 

The Sox would follow that up in the sixth, when Reddick hit a go-ahead 2-run blast to right, scoring in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and provided the Sox with a 5-4 lead. The following inning, Ortiz would drive in Adrian Gonzalez with an RBI single, finalizing the Sox 6-4 lead.

Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard, & Jonathan Papelbon mowed down the Mariners from the 7th-inning on, allowing 2 hits, and striking out 5 combined batters.

The Red Sox will continue the series later tonight at 10:10 against the Mariners. Josh Beckett gets the start for the Sox. He will face Felix Hernandez. The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning SEATTLE: Mike Carp singled to center. Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez scored. (SEA, 2-0)

2nd Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz homered (24) to center. (SEA, 2-1)

2nd Inning BOSTON: Mike Aviles flied out to right. Carl Crawford scored. (Tied, 2-2)

2nd Inning SEATTLE: Dustin Ackley singled to left. Luis Rodriguez scored. (SEA, 3-2)

4th Inning SEATTLE: Carp doubled to center. Gutierrez scored. (SEA, 4-2)

5th Inning BOSTON: Jed Lowrie homered (4) to right. (SEA, 4-3)

6th Inning BOSTON: Josh Reddick homered (5) to right. Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 5-4)

7th Inning BOSTON: Ortiz singled to left. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 6-4)

BOSTON Hitters: David Ortiz (2-5, HR, 2 RBI), Josh Reddick (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4, 2B), Dustin Pedroia (2-4), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-4)

SEATTLE Hitters: Mike Carp (3-5, 2B, 3 RBI), Dustin Ackley (2-4, RBI), Franklin Gutierrez (2-4)

BOSTON Pitchers: John Lackey (6 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 108 PC), Franklin Morales (0.2 IP, H, K, 14 PC), Daniel Bard (1.1 IP, BB, 3 K, 21 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, H, K, 14 PC)

SEATTLE Pitchers: Blake Beavan (6.1 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, BB, K, 3 HR, 96 PC), Jeff Gray (1.2 IP, H, BB, K, 15 PC), Daniel Cortes (1 IP, H, 9 PC)

Line Score

BOS 020 012 000-6 13 0
SEA 210 100 000-4 12 1

WP: Lackey (11-8) LP: Beavan (3-3) SV: Papelbon (27)

Wait a Second, I Need to Review This

By Shane Godek

Last night’s preseason games were the first that tested the NFL’s new review policy, in which every scoring play must be reviewed. So no matter the play, or how easy it was to see that the player scored, a referee went under the curtain and reviewed the play from 7 different angles. Don’t get me wrong, I love instant replay. It helps get calls correct when the zebras make a mistake, and it can correct a mistake that a referee made. But do we really need it on every scoring play?

Picture this. A running back trots into the end zone after breaking free on a 50 yard run. Wanting to celebrate his run, he tosses the ball into the air after he crosses the line. There wasn’t a defender within 10 yards of him, and there is no question that he scored a touchdown. Or is there? After watching 7 replays, the referees notice he may have thrown the ball before he crossed the line. So they begin to use every camera angle to make sure that he did in fact have possession of the ball. Meanwhile, the viewers at home see that he clearly scored a touchdown, but they still have to wait 10 minutes while the officials play the video over and over again. The announcers try to keep you entertained by showing their state-of-the-art slow motion program that allows them to slow the play down for the fans at home. After 5 minutes of seeing every angle the station has to offer, the fans may being to flip channels, or find a snack, or get up to use the bathroom. At the stadium, the crowd mulls around awkwardly because they can’t show a play under review on the Jumbo-tron, and they are left with ten minutes of watching the players wait. The point is, this isn’t entertainment. Football is a very entertaining sport to watch, but when you start to slow it down, fans begin to lose interest. When I turn the game on, I want to see guys making plays, not filling their cups up with Gatorade while they wait for referees to finish reviewing a clear touchdown. Football has already slowed down due to long commercial breaks, but these breaks are making the game longer. What is going to happen if both teams score 5 times in a game? Will there be an extra half hour of reviews, or will they realize that some plays are obviously touchdowns. I would hate to see football be slowed down to the pace of a baseball game, but with these games taking 2 hours already, more worthless instant replays could turn one of the most exciting sports into a 3 hour affair that features more reviewing then playing. Fans pay to see big hits, and electrifying runs, not a ref ducking under a curtain to determine if a player got 4 feet in bounds, or just 3 and a half. An NFL game is four 15 minute quarters. That’s 1 hour of playing time. So there is no reason to have the games take any more than 2 hours. Speed the games up, or watch fans gradually lose interest. Your decision, Roger Goodell. 

Pats Thump Jags 47-12
By Tim Sorota (August 11, 2011)

The Patriots put on a royal beating on this Thursday night in Foxboro, Massachusetts. However, the game didn’t start out great for New England. Jacksonville was starting rookie QB Blaine Gabbert and they were not starting all pro Maurice Jones-Drew. New England wasn’t starting their full defense either. The first drive of the game, Rashard Jennings ran all over the New England front. Kyle Love, in particular, got swallowed up by Jacksonville’s down blocking. The Jags put three points on the board after a Josh Scobee field goal. In New England’s first possession, Aaron Hernandez fumbled and it led to another Jaguar field goal. After those three points, the game turned around. Brian Hoyer would take the Patriots on an 8 play, 3:57 drive that would lead to a Stevan Ridley touchdown run of 1 yard. The Jaguars would quickly punt and 3 plays later Taylor Price would make a remarkable catch to make the score 13-6. The Jags would add 1 field goal and the Pats would add 2 before half time. At the half the score was 19-9. In the second half, New England scored a touchdown on every single possession they had. They were led by rookie QB Ryan Mallett, who made smart decisions from the pocket. Ridley continued his hard-nosed running and was joined by teammate Richard Medlin, who scored 2 TDs. Jacksonville could only manage a 31 yard field goal. At the end of the game, the score was 47-12. 

3 Stars 

1. Brian Hoyer. He looked like an experienced NFL QB in the game tonight. He was cool and collected in the pocket. He completed 15 passes out of 21 attempts for 171 yards. It was said on tonight’s broadcast that the Patriot coaching staff liked Hoyer as much as Matt Cassel. Hoyer certainly proved their point with tonight’s performance. 

2. Dane Fletcher. He was the leader of the defense tonight. He looked like a perfect “mike” linebacker. He made a number of important plays in the early stages of this game. He was in the right place at the right time, and the Jaguars had to know where he was at all times or he would hurt them. 3. Mark Anderson. He didn’t record make a dent on the stat sheet, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t make an impact. He was extremely quick of the edge and pressured Gabbert and made him uncomfortable in the pocket. He will be a player of impact this season. 3 No Bodies 
1. Darius Butler. He is on the edge of being cut and his performance tonight only hurt his chances of being employed by the Patriots. He was constantly being beat by Jaguar receivers. This guy started last year and now he can’t stop a noise bleed. 
2. Kyle Love. He is not Vince Wilfork that’s for sure. He was swallowed up by a single blocker, much less two blockers. When he is relied on to push the center or guard into the running back, instead, he was pushed out of the way. It allowed Rashard Jennings to run all over him. 
3. Carson Butler. He was nothing more than terrible on special teams tonight. The man he was “blocking” made the tackle on every single kick-off return. He stood around wondering what had just happened. Well I can tell him, he got cut. 

 LATE TWINS RALLY TOPS SOX, 5-2

by Tim Scott

Even though the Sox had late surge in the eighth inning, the Red Sox were unable to hold down the Minnesota Twins in the series finale, losing 5-2 after the Twins scored 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Red Sox snapped their 4-game winning streak, and currently hold a 1.5 game lead over the Yankees.

Despite a horrific eighth inning, Jon Lester (11-6) pitched an alright game for the Sox. The lefty went 7.1 innings, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, with 4 strikeouts. He also had 5 walks on the evening.

It would be the Twins that would strike first. In the first inning, Jim Thome lined an RBI single to right, driving in Joe Mauer, and giving the Twins a 1-0 lead early on.

In the 6th inning, the Twins struck again, this time via an RBI double by Mauer. This play was controversial because the Red Sox thought the ball did not touch the fan, which would nullify the ground-rule double. However, the call was upheld, and the Twins took a 2-0 lead.

Throughout the night, the Sox were baffled by Nick Blackburn. Blackburn only allowed 6 hits over 6.2 innings, striking out 4 and allowing only 1 run (0 earned).

In the seventh inning, the Red Sox start a rally. Marco Scutaro started the rally, by driving in Mike Aviles with an RBI single, putting the Sox within a run, 2-1.

In the eighth inning, David Ortiz would continue to torment his former team, by launching his 23rd home run of the season, and tying the score up at 2.

However, it would be the bottom half of the eighth inning that the Twins would really bring it. Thome started the fire again, this time with an RBI double that broke open the tie, 3-2. Danny Valencia and Tsuyoshi Nishioka provided the other 2 RBIs for the Twins, giving them a 5-2 lead after 8.

Glen Perkins (4-2) and Joe Nathan provided the relief for the Twins, shutting down the Sox, and giving the Twins a solid 5-2 win.

The Red Sox will take the day off tomorrow, but will begin a 3-game series with the Seattle Mariners at 10:10 on Friday. John Lackey (10-8) will get the start for the Sox while the Mariners will counter with Blake Beavan. The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning TWINS: Jim Thome singled to center. Joe Mauer scored. (MIN, 1-0)

6th Inning TWINS: Mauer doubled to left. Ben Rever scored. (MIN, 2-0)

7th Inning RED SOX: Marco Scutaro singled to left. Mike Aviles scored. (MIN, 2-1)

8th Inning RED SOX: David Ortiz homered (23) to center. (Tied, 2-2)

8th Inning TWINS: Thome doubled to left. Mauer scored. (MIN, 3-2)               8th Inning TWINS: Danny Valencia doubled to left. Jason Repko scored. (MIN, 4-2)
8th Inning TWINS: Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled to center. Valencia scored. (MIN, 5-2)

RED SOX Hitters: David Ortiz (2-3, HR, RBI), Mike Aviles (2-3, 2B), Marco Scutaro (1-5, RBI)

TWINS Hitters: Jim Thome (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Delmon Young (2-2), Joe Mauer (1-2, 2B, RBI), Danny Valencia (1-4, 2B, RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Jon Lester (7.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 119 PC), Alfredo Aceves (0.1 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 15 PC), Andrew Miller (0.1 IP, BB, K, 8 PC)

TWINS Pitchers: Nick Blackburn (6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R [0 ER], 2 BB, 4 K, 108 PC), Glen Perkins (1.1 IP, 2 H, ER, K, HR, 28 PC), Joe Nathan (1 IP, K, 17 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 000 110-2 8 0
MIN 100 001 03x-5 11 1

WP: Perkins (4-2) LP: Lester (11-6) SV: Nathan (9)

 RED SOX ROLL PAST TWINS, 4-3

by Tim Scott

The feeling was satisfactory for the Red Sox tonight. Becoming the benefactors of a Yankees 6-4 loss to the Angels, the Red Sox outplayed the Minnesota Twins, winning 4-3, and their 4-game winning streak is extended further. 

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Erik Bedard. Bedard did not factor into the decision, going 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, along with 6 strikeouts to his credit. However, he did have 4 walks on the evening.

It was the Twins that would strike first. Michael Cuddyer started the fire with an RBI sac-fly to right. Bedard, who had control problems throughout the night, walked in the second run, in the form of Delmon Young. At the end of the first, the Twins were up with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

However, it would be the Red Sox that would make another commanding comeback against the Twins. Tonight's hero was Darnell McDonald, who blasted a 2-run home run against Francisco Liriano. McDonald's 5th home run of the year evened up the score at 2 after 5 innings.

Jason Varitek, who scored on the home run by McDonald, continued the Red Sox rally with an RBI single to left, scoring in Jed Lowrie, and giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.

After Bedard left the game, Matt Albers (3-2), despite getting the win, created a lot of tension on the mound in the sixth. The costly blow was an RBI double by Tsuyoshi Nishioka, evening the score at 3.

With the bases loaded in the seventh, David Ortiz bounced an infield single to the pitcher, which managed to score in Dustin Pedroia, and give the Sox the go-ahead run, 4-3.

The Red Sox bullpen from the seventh inning on was dominant. Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard, & Jonathan Papelbon held batters to just one hit over 3 innings, with 2 strikeouts combined. With that, the Red Sox held their tight lead, and took home the 4-3 victory.

Tomorrow, the Sox wrap up their three-game series with the Twins at 8:10. Jon Lester (11-5) will get the start for the Sox, while the Twins will counter with Nick Blackburn (7-9). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning MINNESOTA: Michael Cuddyer flied out to center. Ben Revere scored. (MIN, 1-0)
1st Inning MINNESOTA: Delmon Young walked. Joe Mauer scored. (MIN, 2-0)

5th Inning BOSTON: Darnell McDonald homered (5) to left. Jason Varitek scored. (Tied, 2-2)

6th Inning BOSTON: Varitek singled to left. Jed Lowrie scored. (BOS, 3-2)

6th Inning MINNESOTA: Tsuyoshi Nishioka doubled to right. Danny Valencia scored. (Tied, 3-3)

7th Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz singled to the pitcher. Dustin Pedroia scored. (BOS, 4-3)

BOSTON Hitters: Darnell McDonald (2-3, HR, 2 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4, 2B), Jason Varitek (1-3, RBI), David Ortiz (1-3, RBI)

MINNESOTA Hitters: Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2-4, 2B, RBI), Joe Mauer (2-5, R), Danny Valencia (2-4, R)

BOSTON Pitchers: Erik Bedard (5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 90 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 2 K, 30 PC), Franklin Morales (0.2 IP, H, K, 20 PC), Daniel Bard (1.1 IP, K, 14 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, 7 PC)

MINNESOTA Pitchers: Francisco Liriano (6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, 4 K, HR, 109 PC), Matt Capps (0.1 IP, H, ER, 2 BB, 18 PC), Phil Dumatrait (0 IP, H, 2 PC), Alex Burnett (1 IP, 7 PC), Jose Mijares (1.2 IP, 2 K, 23 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 021 100-4 6 0
MIN 200 001 000-3 6 0

WP: Albers (4-3) LP: Capps (3-6) SV: Papelbon (26)

 ORTIZ HELPS SOX BEAT TWINS, 8-6

by Tim Scott

After playing a grueling 4-hour game against the Yankees the previous night, the Red Sox had another late rally in the 9th inning to top the Minnesota Twins, 8-6. David Ortiz was pivotal in the win, going 4-5 with a double, homer, and 3 RBIs. 

In his third attempt at gaining his 200th career win, Tim Wakefield came up empty again. Even though he couldn't get the win, the 45-year old knuckler went 7 innings, allowing 5 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits, with 4 strikeouts to his credit. 

The Sox were the first to get on the board, courtesy of an RBI single by Marco Scutaro. The Sox could have had more runs on the play, but Jed Lowrie (in his 1st game since coming off the DL) was thrown out at third.

However, it would be in the second inning when the Twins really started to challenge Wakefield. Jason Kubel started the fury with an RBI single, driving in Michael Cuddyer. It was a close play at home, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia misplayed the ball, and Cuddyer was able to score.

It continued when Kubel scored on a Jim Thome double to center. Eventually, Thome scored on a passed ball by Saltalamacchia. At the end of the inning, the Twins were up 3-1.

Kubel kept the drive moving for the Twins, lining a solo home run to right, adding to a 4-1 Twins lead.

The following inning, Joe Mauer doubled in Trevor Plouffe, rising the pressure upon the Red Sox, and forcing a 5-1 lead upon them.

Despite being down 5-1 after 5 innings, the Red Sox didn't give up hope. With Scott Baker getting increasingly tired after every pitch. It would be in the 6th inning that the Red Sox would regain the momentum, and get back in the game.

It started when Adrian Gonzalez drove in Carl Crawford with a sac fly to get back within 3. Two batters later, David Ortiz launched a 441-foot bomb to right field, driving in Gonzalez, and putting the Red Sox within one of the Twins lead. 

Then, it was Saltalamacchia, who made up for the errors in the second inning with a game-tying home run to right, pinning the score at an even 5-5.

Two innings later, Mike Aviles reached on a fielder's choice. The significance of the fielder's choice was that Mauer misplayed the throw from Matt Tolbert, allowing Ortiz to score, untying the knot, and putting the Sox on top, 6-5.

However, Wakefield's attempt at win #200 was spoiled when Alfredo Aceves (8-1) entered the game. In the 8th, Kubel lined a single to center, scoring in Plouffe, and tying the score at 6.

Glen Perkins (3-2) entered the game in the 8th inning, but it was in the 9th inning when he really melted. With 2 on, Ortiz continued his stride with an RBI single to center, scoring in pinch-runner Darnell McDonald. The next batter, Saltalamacchia, drove in Dustin Pedroia with an RBI double, giving the Sox a sturdy 8-6 lead.

In another impressive outing, Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 25th save of the year, retiring all three batters he faced (2 with strikeouts), and securing the third straight Red Sox win.

Tomorrow, the series resumes at 8:10, when the Sox try to go for their fourth straight victory. Erik Bedard (4-7 in SEA) will attempt to secure his first win as a member of the Red Sox. The Twins will counter against Francisco Liriano (7-9). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro singled to center. David Ortiz scored. (BOS, 1-0)

2nd Inning MINNESOTA: Jason Kubel singled to right. Michael Cuddyer scored on error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. (Tied, 1-1)

2nd Inning MINNESOTA: Jim Thome doubled to center. Kubel scored. (MIN, 2-1)

2nd Inning MINNESOTA: Thome scored on a passed ball by Saltalamacchia. (MIN, 3-1)

4th Inning MINNESOTA: Kubel homered (9) to right. (MIN, 4-1)

5th Inning MINNESOTA: Joe Mauer doubled to center. Trevor Plouffe scored. (MIN, 5-1)

6th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez flied out to left. Carl Crawford scored. (MIN, 5-2)

6th Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz homered (22) to right. Gonzalez scored. (MIN, 5-4)

6th Inning BOSTON: Saltalamacchia homered (11) to right. (Tied, 5-5)

8th Inning BOSTON: Mike Aviles reached on a fielder's choice to short. Ortiz scored on an error by Joe Mauer. (BOS, 6-5)

8th Inning MINNESOTA: Kubel singled to center. Plouffe scored. (Tied, 6-6)

9th Inning BOSTON: Ortiz singled to center. Darnell McDonald scored. (BOS, 7-6)

9th Inning BOSTON: Saltalamacchia doubled to left. Dustin Pedroia scored. (BOS, 8-6)

BOSTON Hitters: David Ortiz (4-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Marco Scutaro (3-4, RBI), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (2-3, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-5)

MINNESOTA Hitters: Jason Kubel (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), Trevor Plouffe (2-4, 2B), Matt Tolbert (2-3)

BOSTON Pitchers: Tim Wakefield (7 IP, 8 H, 5 R [3 ER], 4 K, 102 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1 IP, 2 H, ER, 13 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, 2 K, 14 PC)

MINNESOTA Pitchers: Scott Baker (6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 HR, 93 PC), Phil Dumatrait (0.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 14 PC), Matt Capps (0.2 IP, 5 PC), Glen Perkins (1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R [1 ER], K, 23 PC), Joe Nathan (0.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 15 PC)

Line Score

BOS 010 004 012-8 17 2
MIN  030 110 010-6 10 1

WP: Aceves (8-1) LP: Perkins (3-2) SV: Papelbon (25)

RED SOX TRANSACTIONS:

  • Activated SS Jed Lowrie from the disabled list. Optioned LHP Randy Williams to AAA Pawtucket.

2011-2012 College Football Bowl Predictions

by James Conway
Orange Bowl: 
Florida State vs. Texas A & M
The Seminoles will completely dominate the ACC because EJ Manuel knows how to run this offense. No other team will come close because last year’s champ Virginia Tech lost many of its core players.
Texas A & M was not thought of as a contender because of the loss of Von Miller but with their new defensive strategy and a great recruiting class playing this year, replacing Miller may be easier than it sounded. Also, Mike Sherman is a fantastic coach.

The Fiesta Bowl:
Louisiana State vs. Oklahoma State
Even though LSU plays in the same division as Alabama they will still be able to get a great amount of wins. They can coast right under the Crimson Tides’ wing but their record and great talent with take them to the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma State has a great team returning. Brandon Weeden was phenomenal last year and the 6 foot 1, 211 pound Justin Blackmon will be able to haunt secondaries all around the league.

Sugar Bowl:

Stanford vs. Boise State 

All I have to say for Stanford is one name: Andrew Luck. He is a favorite to be a Heisman contender and he has been nothing less than a dominant force while playing with Stanford. This is a case where one player has the power to carry a team the whole way.

Boise State has consistently been a powerful team the past few years and with Kellen Moore still at QB, I don’t see that changing just yet.

Rose Bowl:
Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Wisconsin faced one off season challenge which was replacing JJ Watt, and believe me they did that. The defense is looking stellar and there new top 3 running backs could all potentially run for a 1000 yards. Also, looking back to last year they were all above physicality and power and they still have that this year.
Oregon will definitely have another wonderful season, that not a question but I cannot see them making another BCS Championship run. Yes they still have Darron Thomas and LaMichael James as well as the new back Lache Seastrunk BUT they lost way too much on defense and an elite team like that cannot just rely on offense.

BCS Championship Game:
Oklahoma vs. Alabama
Oklahoma has Landry Jones as their quarterback and he is truly magnificent and he has many targets for wide receivers especially Ryan Broyles. There defense did not lose many players and look to be molding into an impenetrable force.
Alabama has two great quarterbacks right now in camp in Phillip Sims and AJ McCarron and picking the starter is the hardest thing they have to do this offseason. Not many changes need to be made to the defense and Trent Richardson is returning as the starting back and his strength as well as size with help the Crimson Tide tremendously.

  REDDICK BRINGS SOX BACK TO TOP, 3-2

by Tim Scott

It might have been a roller coaster game, but the Boston Red Sox managed to beat the odds, and regain first place in the AL East with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees. The hero of the game was Josh Reddick, who got the game-winning single against Phil Hughes (2-5) for the win.

The length of the game (4 hours, 15 minutes) eclipsed 2 truly great pitching performances. Getting the start of the Red Sox was Josh Beckett, who went 6 solid innings allowing just 1 run on 6 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts to his credit. 

For the Yankees, Freddy Garcia surprised the critics, by holding the Sox to just 1 run on 5 hits over 5 innings. 

Marco Scutaro, who would go 4-4 on the night, gave the Red Sox the first run of the game, by driving in Kevin Youkilis on an RBI single to left.

However, it would be in the 5th inning when the Yankees would provide the equalizer. In an unlikely form, Eduardo Nunez launched his 4th homer of the year against Beckett over the Green Monster to tie the score at 1.

Two innings later, against Matt Albers, leadoff batter Brett Gardner launched a line drive homer into the bullpen, helping the Yankees gain a 2-1 lead.

Many Red Sox jams were aborted after Garcia left the game. With quality relief performances from Boone Logan, Cody Wade, Rafael Soriano, & David Robertson, the Red Sox could only get 3 hits in those 3 innings, but the most alarming stat was 0 runs.

After Albers allowed the homer, Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard, & Jonathan Papelbon held the Yankees to 1 hit in 2 innings of work. Also, Wheeler struck out all 3 Yankees he faced, which gave the Sox momentum for the 9th inning.

Entering the inning, many experts thought the Red Sox were done when one of the greatest closers of all time, Mariano Rivera, entered the game. But there's something about Fenway Park that gives the Sox a boost in confidence against the closer. After all, it was Rivera that allowed Dave Roberts to steal the base that ultimately led to a Red Sox comeback and a trip to the World Series. Maybe the same could be written tonight.

The rally began with a Scutaro double off the Green Monster. Scutaro advanced to third on a sac bunt by Jacoby Ellsbury, and he would score on a sac fly by Dustin Pedroia, handing Rivera a blown save, and the Red Sox more life in extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, Daniel Bard pitched a flawless inning, retiring all three batters he faced (Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, & Nick Swisher).

In the bottom half, the Red Sox ganged up on Hughes, and really hit the ball well. It started when David Ortiz lined a ground-rule double to right. Eventually, he was replaced as a pinch-runner by Darnell McDonald. 

After an intentional walk of Carl Crawford, the stage was set for Reddick. On the first pitch, Reddick lined a fair ball into the left field corner, scoring in McDonald, and giving the Red Sox a 3-2 victory.

With the win, the Red Sox regain full possession of first place, and more momentum heading into their series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

That series will begin on Monday, with Tim Wakefield (6-4) getting the start for the Red Sox. Wakefield will try to achieve his 200th career victory, but he will have to counter with Twins starter Scott Baker (8-6) to reach that plateau. The game will start at 7:00, and be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro singled to right. Kevin Youkilis scored. (BOS, 1-0)

5th Inning YANKEES: Eduardo Nunez homered (4) to left. (Tied, 1-1)

7th Inning YANKEES: Brett Gardner homered (5) to right. (NYY, 2-1)

9th Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia flied out to left. Scutaro scored. (Tied, 2-2)

10th Inning BOSTON: Josh Reddick singled to left. Darnell McDonald scored. (BOS, 3-2)

YANKEES Hitters: Brett Gardner (3-5, HR, 2 SB, RBI), Russell Martin (2-4), Eduardo Nunez (1-4, HR, RBI)

BOSTON Hitters: Josh Reddick (1-5, RBI), Marco Scutaro (4-4, 2B, RBI), Carl Crawford (3-4), David Ortiz (2-4, 2B), Dustin Pedroia (1-3, RBI)

YANKEES Pitchers: Freddy Garcia (5 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, K, 96 PC), Boone Logan (0.1 IP, H, BB, 11 PC), Cody Wade (0.2 IP, H, 18 PC), Rafael Soriano (1 IP, K, 18 PC), David Robertson (1 IP, H, 2 K, 16 PC), Mariano Rivera (1 IP, H, ER, 9 PC), Phil Hughes (0.1 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 13 PC)

RED SOX PITCHERS: Beckett, Albers, Morales, Wheeler, Papelbon, Bard

LINE SCORE

NYY 000 010 100 0-2 8 0

BOS 010 000 001 1-3 11 0

WP: Bard (2-5) LP: Hughes (2-4) 

Sometimes Dreams Don’t Come True 
By Tim Sorota (August 7, 2011)

This was what was supposed to happen. The Pirates were supposed to hold off St. Louis and Milwaukee, and win the N.L. Central. Then, they were going to shock the Phillies in the first round. For an encore, they were going to beat San Francisco in the NLCS and go to the World Series. Then, in the A.L., Cleveland would win their division. Next, in the playoffs they would beat the Red Sox and the Yankees and go to the fall classic. It was supposed to be a Pirates-Indians World Series. The series would end with both teams winning 3 games and then they wouldn’t play game 7. Everyone wins and everyone is happy. That didn’t happen, nor will it happen. On July 19, both “miracle” teams were in first place. Pittsburgh had the best record they’d ever had at that point in the season since 1992. Both teams were in two of the worst teams in the majors last season. At the trade-line in past years, the Pirates and Indians trade away their best players to rebuild. This year, the teams were buyers. Cleveland acquired the top pitcher on the market, Ubaldo Jimenez. They outbid the New York Yankees! No team can outbid the New York Yankees! Pittsburgh acquired 1B Derek Lee and LF Ryan Ludwick. Right around the acquisitions of Lee and Ludwick, the team started their collapse. It started with a series against the best team in the N.L., the Philadelphia Phillies. Pittsburgh was swept. “Hey it was the Phillies” fans said “we will bounce back against the Cubs”. They didn’t. The Cubs beat the Pirates four straight games. They were swept by a team that is currently 16 games out of first. If it could get any worse for the Bucks, it did. They were swept by the San Diego Padres who are in last. July 19 they were 51-44 and had a ½ game lead in the N.L. Central. Today is August 7 and they are 54-59 and 10 games out. Can they still win the division? Yes, but it will take a miracle. The other “dream” team is in better shape.. They are not in first, but they are in spitting distance. The Indians are 4 games behind Detroit and still have a legitimate shot at going to the post season. If Jimenez and Fausto Carmona can pitch like they’re capable, they can potentially win their division. But both teams making the playoffs? Extremely unlikely. Hopefully, either the Pirates or Indians can make the playoffs because both of them won't. 

 ELLSBURY, LACKEY POUND YANKS, 10-4

by Tim Scott

In a true stunner, the Red Sox ran the score up on the Majors'-winningest pitcher, CC Sabathia (16-6), to beat the Yankees, 10-4, and regain a share of first place. The Red Sox were led by Jacoby Ellsbury's 6 RBIs, and a 4-4 night from Carl Crawford. 

Getting the start for the Sox was John Lackey (10-8), who went 6 strong innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts on the evening.

It was a close game up until the 3rd inning, when Ellsbury opened the run-gates with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring in Crawford. Immediately after, Dustin Pedroia doubled in Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give the Sox a comfortable 2-0 advantage.

However, the Yankees came storming back against Lackey in the fourth. Thanks to an RBI double play by Nick Swisher and a game-tying single by Eric Chavez, the Yankees managed to tie the score at 2, putting the Sox in a familiar yet uncomfortable position.

Despite the 2-2 tie against a power pitcher in Sabathia, the Red Sox never relented, and really opened the floodgates in the fourth. Crawford and Marco Scutaro lined RBI singles to left and center, adding more pressure on Sabathia. At that point, he allowed as many earned runs in 4.2 innings as he did in the entire month of July.

The game really opened up when Ellsbury lined a three-run homer (his 19th of the year) to right. In sum, Sabathia allowed the most runs in a single outing during his Yankee career tonight (his ERA elevated to 2.81), and only lasted 2 more innings.

Even though the Yankees got 2 more runs in the 5th (Derek Jeter RBI single) and 8th (Mark Teixeira's 32nd HR of the year), the Sox were still determined to make more of a run. 

With rookie Hector Noesi on the hill, the Red Sox really tied off against the youngster. A 2-RBI single by Ellsbury, and a Pedroia sac fly gave the Red Sox a very comfortable advantage, putting a 10-4 strain on the Yankees pitching staff.

When Dan Wheeler retired Teixeira on a fly out to right, the Red Sox regained the confidence they needed, and a jump up in the standings. Currently, the Sox and Yankees remain in a deadlock tie for first in the AL East (69-43 each).

It will be winner-take-all tomorrow night, when the Sox and Yanks take on each other in the rubber game of the series. The Red Sox will send out their ace Josh Beckett (9-4) to regain first place for Boston, while the Yankees will send out veteran Freddy Garcia (10-7). The game will start at 8:05, and be broadcast on ESPN.

GAME STATS

3rd Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to right. Carl Crawford scored. (BOS, 1-0)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia doubled to deep left. Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 2-0)

4th Inning YANKEES: Nick Swisher grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Curtis Granderson scored. (BOS, 2-1)

4th Inning YANKEES: Eric Chavez singled to left. Mark Teixeira scored. (Tied, 2-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Crawford singled to left. Kevin Youkilis scored. (BOS, 3-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro singled to left. Mike Aviles scored. (BOS, 4-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Ellsbury homered (19) to right. Crawford and Scutaro scored. (BOS, 7-2)

5th Inning YANKEES: Derek Jeter singled to center. Francisco Cervelli scored. (BOS, 7-3)

8th Inning YANKEES: Mark Teixeira homered (32) to right. (BOS, 7-4)

8th Inning BOSTON: Ellsbury singled to center. Josh Reddick and Crawford scored. (BOS, 9-4)
8th Inning BOSTON: Pedroia flied out to center. Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 10-4)

YANKEES Hitters: Francisco Cervelli (3-4, 2B), Mark Teixeira (1-4, HR, RBI), Eric Chavez (2-4, RBI), Derek Jeter (1-5, RBI)

BOSTON Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-4, HR, 6 RBI), Carl Crawford (4-4, 2B, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (1-4, 2B, 2 RBI)

YANKEES Pitchers: CC Sabathia (6 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, BB, 6 K, HR, 94 PC), Luis Ayala (1 IP, 2 BB, 27 PC), Hector Noesi (1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 31 PC)

BOSTON Pitchers: John Lackey (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 115 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1 IP, H, 15 PC), Daniel Bard (1 IP, 2 H, ER, K, HR, 16 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, H, BB, K, 22 PC)

Line Score

NYY 000 210 010-4 10 0

BOS 002 500 030-10 11 1

WP: Lackey (10-8) LP: Sabathia (16-6)

 THE SITUATION AT NOTRE DAME

by James A. Conway

Notre Dame Footballs’ Head Coach, Jim Kelly, is hoping to pick The Fighting Irish’s starting quarterback for the 2011-2012 season just 19 practices into training camp. This will leave 10 practices for the soon to be named starter to work with the offense exclusively. In the race for starting quarterback this year are four potentially great players. The favorites are Dayne Crist who started last year, going 8-5 before needing season ending knee surgery and Tommy Rees who started the last four games after Crist’s injury bringing the team four victories which included a win in the Sun Bowl over Miami. Sophomore Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson are the underdogs but Kelly claims to like everyone leaving the head coach just as uncertain as we all are. Notre Dame has faded the past few years from being an elite football program to becoming the victims of some surprising upsets. But when September comes they will be in the hunt for a BCS National Championship with one of these quarter backs hopefully leading them there. Notre Dame is currently seeded 18th in the USA Today Pre-Season Poll.

 SOX BOW OUT OF FIRST TO YANKS, 3-2

by Tim Scott

All it took was one bad inning to turn what was a stellar outing from Jon Lester (11-5) into a costly one, as the Red Sox lost, 3-2, to the New York Yankees. With this loss, the Red Sox drop out of first place, now sitting a meager 1 GB behind their rivals.

Despite the loss, it was the Red Sox that jumped to an early lead in the third. Jacoby Ellsbury started the surge with an RBI double that bounced off the Green Monster, and gave the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

One inning later, David Ortiz launched his 21st homer of the season over the right field wall, which gave the Sox a 2-0 lead. 

The Sox had a chance to capitalize further against Yankees starter Bartolo Colon. They had the bases loaded, and the man at the bat was the MLB RBI leader Adrian Gonzalez. Instead, Yankees MGR Joe Girardi made a wise decision, by bringing in reliever Boone Logan (3-2). Ultimately, it was Logan that had the last laugh, when he struck out Gonzalez to end the inning.

Through 5 innings, Lester was dominating the Yankees lineup, allowing 0 runs on 2 hits with 7 strikeouts to his credit. However, it would be in the 6th inning when the course of the game would be changed for the worst.

With runners on, Curtis Granderson ripped a liner to center, which drove in Eduardo Nunez and put the Yankees on the board. Eventually, an RBI double play by Robinson Cano tied the score, and ultimately, Nick Swisher doubled in the go-ahead run to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

In addition to their offensive surge in the the 6th, the Yankees never looked back due to their bullpen. Cody Wade, Rafael Soriano, & David Robertson held the Sox hitless from the 6th inning onward, setting the stage for Mariano Rivera to get his 29th save of the season, and give the Yankees a 3-2 victory.

Tomorrow is Game 2, and the Red Sox hope to bounce back against the Yankees, and regain possession of 1st place. The game will start at 4:10, with John Lackey (9-8) getting the start for the Sox against MLB wins leader CC Sabathia (16-5). The game will be on FOX.

GAME STATS

3rd Inning RED SOX: Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to center. Marco Scutaro scored. (BOS, 1-0)

4th Inning RED SOX: David Ortiz homered (21) to right. (BOS, 2-0)

6th Inning YANKEES: Curtis Granderson singled to center. Eduardo Nunez scored. (BOS, 2-1)

6th Inning YANKEES: Robinson Cano grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Derek Jeter scored. (Tied, 2-2)

6th Inning YANKEES: Nick Swisher doubled to left. Granderson scored. (NYY, 3-2)

YANKEES Hitters: Nick Swisher (2-3, RBI), Curtis Granderson (1-4, RBI)

RED SOX Hitters: David Ortiz (1-4, HR, RBI), Carl Crawford (2-4, 2B), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3, 2B, RBI), Josh Reddick (2-4)

YANKEES Pitchers: Bartolo Colon (4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K, HR, 94 PC), Boone Logan (1 IP, H, 2 K, 18 PC), Cody Wade (0.1 IP, 7 PC), Rafael Soriano (1 IP, K, 11 PC), David Robertson (1 IP, 11 PC), Mariano Rivera (1 IP, H, 2 K, 14 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: Jon Lester (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 108 PC), Matt Albers (2 IP, BB, 2 K, 29 PC), Randy Williams (0.2 IP, K, 15 PC), Alfredo Aceves (0.1 IP, 3 PC)

Line Score

NYY 000 003 000-3 5 0
BOS 001  100  000-2 8  0

WP: Logan (3-2) LP: Lester (11-5) SV: Rivera (29)

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE'S SITUATION

by James Conway

During the late weeks of May, the Ohio State Football program was all over the news, especially former Head Coach Jim Tressel. Now just over two months later Tressel’s name is in the news again but this time he was not actually involved. Two days ago several freshman on the school’s team this year were seen wearing wrist bands reading ‘JT’ in support of the missed coach. Ohio State athletic leaders have confiscated these wrist bands and refunded the player’s money. These wrist bands may or may not be a NCAA violation so OSU’s spokesman Jerry Emig said the University is taking a “cautionary” approach. One thing is for sure though, the last thing Ohio State’s football program needs is NCAA investigators once again looking for material that could hurt the school and its profound football team. Ohio State is currently ranked 16th in USA Today’s Pre-Season Poll but with a terrible offseason including the vacating all 2010’s victories, the 5 game suspension issued on Terrelle Pryor and 4 other teammates as well as the Tressel resignation, it will be interesting to see how the Buckeyes respond come September.  

B’s Players Ready to Breakout

by: Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

With very few losses during the offseason, the Bruin’s retained most of their Stanley Cup winning NHL team but are there players that are ready to have a breakout year?  The answer is yes.  Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, and Rich Peverley are all ready for a larger role in the Bruin’s lineup.

Nathan Horton finished last year with 53 points in 80 games but could very well get 70 next year.  This is because, Horton was moved to the first line mid-year and after that began to hit the scoresheet much more.  With a year in the Bruin’s system already under his belt, look for Horton to score 30-35 goals next year along with 70 points while playing alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

The next player ready for a breakout season is Tyler Seguin.  Seguin netted just 22 points in his rookie year last year with the B’s and now could see a lot more ice time while playing on the second line.  Seguin has a lot of talent and appeared much more relaxed and controlled during the playoffs.  Look for Seguin to get roughly around the same stats as Horton is predicted with around 70 points.

Last, Rich Peverley will have a much better year next year for the black & gold.  Peverley struggled during the regular season with just 7 points in 23 games for the B’s.  However, in the playoffs, Peverley was able to thrive on the ice and should be able to do more of the same next season. 

 SOX CAN'T MASTER MASTERSON, FALL 7-3

by Tim Scott

A former Red Sox pitcher proved to be the dominant force between the Indians' 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox tonight. In Erik Bedard's debut, it was former Sox farmhand Justin Masterson (9-7) mastered the Red Sox offense, going 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits with 9 strikeouts on the night.

Despite the loss, it was the Red Sox who got on the board first. Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz drove in runs in the first, to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Yet, it was from that point on that the Indians had control.

It was in the second inning when the Indians roared against Bedard. On two infield hits, the Indians managed to turn routine groundouts into RBI production zones, with Matt LaPorta and Austin Kearns driving in runs on an infield single and fielder's choice respectively.

The Indians fully took the lead the following inning, when Carlos Santana drove in Asdrubal Cabrera on an RBI single to give the Indians a 3-2 lead.

However, the Red Sox would briefly bounce back into the game. Against his former teammate, Josh Reddick drilled a liner to right that went over Pesky Pole, and tied the score up at 3. It was Reddick's 5th homer of the season.

Once Bedard ended his outing after 5 innings of work, Franklin Morales (0-1) entered the game. It was then when the Indians brought out the wrecking ball. A few batters into his outing, Morales allowed Santana to launch a 2-run bomb to center field, which ultimately gave the Indians outright control of the game, 5-3.

In the 7th, Travis Hafner doubled against new reliever Andrew Miller, which drove in Cabrera, and gave the Indians a 6-3 advantage.

Also, in the 9th inning, the Indians drove in their 7th and final run, courtesy of new import Kosuke Fukodome's RBI double. 

Due to the domination of the Indians bullpen (Vinne Pestano, Tony Sipp & Chris Perez), the Red Sox were unable to recover from their deficit, and fell 7-3.

Since the Yankees won 7-2 against the White Sox, the situation in the AL East is currently in a tight tie for first between the Red Sox and Yankees.

That tie will be settled tomorrow evening, when the Red Sox host the Yankees at 7:10. Jon Lester (11-4) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Yankees will counter with Bartolo Colon (8-6). The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning RED SOX: Adrian Gonzalez doubled to center. Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 1-0)

1st Inning RED SOX: David Ortiz singled to right. Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 2-0)

2nd Inning INDIANS: Matt LaPorta reached on an infield single to first. Carlos Santana scored. (BOS, 2-1)

2nd Inning INDIANS: Austin Kearns grounded out to first. Kosuke Fukodome scored. (Tied, 2-2)

3rd Inning INDIANS: Santana singled to right. Asdrubal Cabrera scored. (CLE, 3-2)

4th Inning RED SOX: Josh Reddick homered (5) to right. (Tied, 3-3)

6th Inning INDIANS: Santana homered (16) to center. (CLE, 5-3)

7th Inning INDIANS: Travis Hafner doubled to center. Cabrera scored. (CLE, 6-3)

9th Inning INDIANS: Kosuke Fukodome doubled to left. Cabrera scored. (CLE, 7-3)

INDIANS Hitters: Carlos Santana (3-4, HR, 3 RBI), Kosuke Fukodome (3-5, 2B, RBI), Travis Hafner (3-4, 2 2B, RBI), Matt LaPorta (2-5, 2B, RBI)

RED SOX Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-3), Josh Reddick (1-4, HR, RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (1-4, 2B, RBI)

INDIANS Pitchers: Justin Masterson (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 9 K, HR, 118 PC), Vinnie Pestano (1.1 IP, BB, K, 16 PC), Tony Sipp (0.2 IP, 9 PC), Chris Perez (1 IP, 12 PC)

RED SOX Pitchers: Erik Bedard (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 70 PC), Franklin Morales (0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, HR, 12 PC), Alfredo Aceves (0.2 IP, H, 2 K, 14 PC), Andrew Miller (2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 71 PC), Dan Wheeler (0.1 IP, 5 PC)

Line Score

CLE 021 002 101-7 14 1
BOS 200 100 000-3 5 1

WP: Masterson (9-7) LP: Morales (0-1)

 ELLSBURY DOES IT AGAIN! SOX WIN 4-3

by Tim Scott

He did it again! For the second straight night, less than 24 hours after the first, Jacoby Ellsbury led the Sox to another walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. This time, it was a solo home run to straight center that did the trick, giving the Sox a beneficial 4-3 win over the Indians.

Getting the start for the Sox was the ageless wonder Tim Wakefield, who was denied another attempt at his 200th win. Even though he didn't factor in the decision, the 45-year old starter went 6.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts to his credit. 

Yet, it was the Sox that gave Wakefield an early boost in the first. David Ortiz provided the early spark, driving in Adrian Gonzalez & Kevin Youkilis to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco.

However, in the fourth, the Indians would come storming back. Jason Kipnis launched his 3rd home run in as many days, inching the Indians closer to the lead, 2-1. In the same inning, Travis Hafner leveled the playing field with an RBI double, driving in Asdrubal Cabrera to tie the score at 2.

Soon, in the bottom of the 4th, the Red Sox retook the lead. Marco Scutaro reached on a fielder's choice, driving in David Ortiz, and the Sox were back in business with a 3-2 advantage.

Entering the seventh, it seemed like Wakefield would get his 200th win. But, Ezequiel Carrera spoiled his chances, lofting a ground-rule double to right, which scored in the tying run (Lonnie Chisenhall). Immediately after that, Randy Williams entered the game, and pitched an excellent performance (1.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K).

In the 8th, after Carrasco walked Youkilis on his 112th (career-high) pitch of the night, the Indians turned to their own lefty specialist Tony Sipp to finish the job. Sipp stranded a runner at second base, and also managed to retire all 3 Red Sox batters he faced.

After Jonathan Papelbon retired the Indians 1-2-3 in the ninth, it would be the offense's turn to finish the job. With Indians RP Joe Smith on the mound, the Sox were confident that they could make a run. Despite Darnell McDonald and Scutaro already retired, it would be Ellsbury that would wield the ultimate at-bat of the night.

One night removed from his walk-off single against Vinnie Pestano, Ellsbury was determined to repeat the feat. After taking strike one looking, Ellsbury launched a missile to deep center field. All Carrera could do was look up, and the ball was out of the park.

Ellsbury hit his 2nd walk off hit in as many days, and gave the Red Sox a well-deserved win. It also helped greatly, because the Yankees destroyed the White Sox with an 18-7 win, so the difference between the rivals remains at 1 game.

Tomorrow, the series wraps up at 7:10 at Fenway. Erik Bedard (4-7 w/SEA) will make his Red Sox debut against the Indians, who will counter with former Sox pitcher Justin Masterson (8-7). The game will be televised on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz singled to left. Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis scored. (BOS, 2-0)

4th Inning CLEVELAND: Jason Kipnis homered (4) to right. (BOS, 2-1)

4th Inning CLEVELAND: Travis Hafner doubled to right. Asdrubal Cabrera scored. (Tied, 2-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro reached on a fielder's choice to short. Ortiz scored. (BOS, 3-2)

7th Inning CLEVELAND: Ezequiel Carrera hit a ground-rule double to right. Lonnie Chisenhall scored. (Tied, 3-3)

9th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (18) to center. (BOS, 4-3)

CLEVELAND Hitters: Jason Kipnis (1-2, HR, RBI), Ezequiel Carrera (1-3, 2B, RBI), Travis Hafner (1-3, 2B, RBI)

BOSTON Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (1-5, HR, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-4), Adrian Gonzalez (2-4), Josh Reddick (2-2), David Ortiz (1-3, 2 RBI)

CLEVELAND Pitchers: Carlos Carrasco (7 IP, 9 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 5 K, 112 PC), Tony Sipp (1 IP, 2 K, 14 PC), Joe Smith (0.2 IP, H, ER, HR, 8 PC)

BOSTON Pitchers: Tim Wakefield (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR, 99 PC), Randy Williams (1.1 IP, BB, K, 24 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, K, 14 PC)

Line Score

CLE 000 200 100-3 5 1
BOS 200 100 001-4 10 1

WP: Papelbon (4-0) LP: Smith (2-2)

Bedard to Boston!

by Taylor Snyder 

The Boston Red Sox were looking for a pitcher at the trade deadline to help their pitching staff with all of the injuries they have had. The Sox currently have Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Bobby Jenks on the DL. These were three pitchers that were supposed to step it up for the Sox this year. Jenks, who was a big acquisition for them, and Buchholz, who was supposed to be a top pitcher for the Sox after having a good past years with the Red Sox. The Red Sox would be seeking Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez this season sits at a record of 6-9 and has an ERA of 4.46, and has a career record of 56-45 and a 3.66 ERA. Jimenez has spent 4 and half years in Colorado, and has very successful years. He has become one of the top pitchers in baseball over the past couple of years. He would be a great fit for Boston to support their good pitching staff. But this trade that Boston had hoped for would not be done, when the Cleveland Indians outbid the Red Sox in acquiring Ubaldo Jimenez. The Indians would have to give away 4 impressive prospects. These 4 men were pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, as well as Joe Gardner and Matt McBride. Some Indians fans saw this as a huge win, but some others think it’s a huge mistake because of Jimenez not producing well this year, and not becoming the top pitcher the Rockies had hoped for. Sox fans were upset to see Jimenez go to the Indians, but they wouldn’t be done yet. The sox would go out and acquire Erik Bedard from the Seattle mariners at the last second before the trade deadline. It was a 2 step deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that they made a minute earlier in order to get the Mariners to accept the trade. Red Sox owner Theo Epstein said, “We would not have been satisfied if we would not have got a starter before the trade deadline”. Bedard was not the first choice for the Sox because he missed a lot of the season with injuries, and not impressing anyone in his last start. With Jimenez gone, and Rich Harden’s medical history, they knew to think ahead and work out a deal with the Dodgers and package prospect Portland outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang with a Dodger prospect outfielder Trayvon Robinson to land Bedard and a minor-league reliever Josh Fields. Despite Bedard struggling lately, he still liked his performance before injuring his knee. He was at one point one of the league’s most dominant pitchers with a 8-3 record in 11 starts with a 1.77 ERA a 191 Batting average against, 16 strikeouts and 15 walks in 71 1/3 innings. Those are some very impressive and promising numbers, which is why Theo had some faith in Erik. All Bedard needs to do is stay intact for two months, because he represents a short-term fix and not a long term solution. But when it is all done, we would like to get top players like Harden or Jimenez, but we all welcome Erik Bedard to Boston and see what he can do for the Red Sox pitching staff. 

B’s Renew Affiliation with Reading Royals

by: Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)
Today the Boston Bruins organization renewed their partnership with their East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate the Reading Royals.  The Royals currently develop many Bruins prospects including the B’s third round pick in 2008 goaltender Michael Hutchinson,  goaltender Adam Courchaine, and forward Yannick Riendeau.

Last year, the Royals won their division with a 44 wins 23 losses and 5 overtime/shootout losses for a total of 93 points.  Led by a stingy defense and star forward Andrew Sarauer, the Royals had success throughout the entire season. Sarauer finished with 25 goals and 67 points to lead the Royals to a division title.

Next Year will mark the third year that the Royals will serve as the Bruin’s ECHL affiliate.



Cy Young Predictions

By

Matthew Stolbof

This year has been known as the year of the pitcher. Pitchers from both leagues have been dominating and, it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop now. C.C. Sabathia is just overpowering his opponents with a league leading 16 wins, and Justin Verlander is not far behind with 15 wins.

Jered Weaver has also been great with 14 wins and a league leading 1.88 ERA.  Josh Beckett is also dominating batters with a 9-4 record with a 2.20 ERA and, let’s not forget the quiet but good Cleveland Indian pitcher Josh Tomlin who has 11 wins for the Tribe.

Moving on to the N.L., you got Roy Halladay, who’s doing great as usual with a N.L. leading 14 wins. The veteran Ryan Vogelsong, of the baseball Giants, is doing pretty good with a 2.19 ERA, which is leading the N.L., and is keeping the Giants tied for first in the N.L. West. Dodgers pitcher, yes I know a pitcher from the Dodgers is doing good. Anyway, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is the only good pitcher for the Dodgers with 13 wins which is 2nd in the N.L., and has a 3.05 ERA.

Lets not forget our relief pitchers too. Jose Valverde, of the Detroit Tigers, has 29 saves. leading the A.L., and the great Mariano Rivera is not far behind him with 28. Joel Hanrahan, of the surprising Pirates, has 30 saves, and how can we not forget the man who has the scariest beard in the majors: Brian Wilson, of the San Francisco Giants, is leading the N.L. with 33 saves.

So now that I talked about just a few of the great pitchers in the MLB, I will now give my Cy Young award predictions so far and, I will also give out a closer of the year award for both leagues.

AL Cy Young: Jered Weaver LAA

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, PHI

Closer of the Year AL: Jose Valverde Det

Closer of the Year NL: Brian Wilson SF

-Be sure to also check out my radio show on spreaker.com. It’s called “Sports Talk with Matt” and in the show I well obviously talk about sports. I am on everyday at 11:30 A.M. 

Rug Burn Ball Rankings: Top 3 Players per Team

By Andrew Simmons

In rug burn ball, there are 3 true positions (attack flex and defense). Though there are goalies, I consider them part of defense. So I felt the need to write about the top player at each position per team.

I will start with the champion, The Mullet Maniacs, whose coach was KJ Hoover.

The number 3 player is Jack “Singapore” Machulski [Flex]

Jack was a fantastic player who really knew how to score the ball. Though not the highest-rated star Jack knew how to score better then any one else in the game.

2 Josh Fyffe

Josh was a flex who could score at will, and was one of the main reasons his team took home the hardware.

1 KJ Hoover

KJ, the number one goalie in rug burn ball, could stop anything that came his way, and was the player/coach and owner of the team that won the championship, plus he scored the final goal in the championship game.

The next team up is the 2011 runners-up, Miller Time.

3 Tim Best: The goalie for the majority of the season after being acquired from Jammin’ with Jaffe, he played there during their playoff run to the championship game.

2 Fritz

Fritz. a flex player, was a steal at the second pick in the supplemental draft. He was one of the top players in the whole league.

1 Jeff Miller

The coach, owner, and star player on the runner up team, Jeff was able to play and position himself on the floor. He usually played flex but also sometimes had to play goalie. With out Jeff Miller, Miller Time would easily be the worst team in the league.

The next team up is The Bad Hair Bureau, captained by Zeke Sprague.

3 there was no obvious number 3 for BHB during the pre allstar break. It was Taylor Snyder, but then after it, he was traded and the number 3 went to Evan Cooper, who was the goalie during the latter part of the season.

2 Andrew Simmons

Andrew, the best young player on BHB, was one of the top attackers in the game. He scored often, and led his team to the biggest comeback in rug burn ball history.

1 Zeke Sprague

Zeke was the founder of the sport, the commissioner, and the best player in the league. Zeke could actually score at will, and was the leading scorer of BHB. Some times, his temper flared, and he argued with refs. He will always be a legend in rug burn ball.

On the clock now is Jammin with Jaffe (postseason)/Saltalamafia (regular season), captained by Jon Jaffe.

3 Tanner Walters

Tanner, the steal of the draft, was picked in the 7th round, and was used as a defender and flex. Sasquatch, as he's called, was a very good player.

2 Matt Carrigan: A second year player and excellent striker for Jaffe’s team. He’s a player with a very good arm, and could riffle the ball in to the net better than most.

1 Jon Jaffe

Though injured at the beginning, Jaffe played very well for his team, leading his team to the upset of the year. That was when the Saltalamafia beat the Mullet Maniacs in a regular season game.

Ginger Giants, captained by Adam Balk.,

3 Andrew (striker)

Andrew was one of the best players in the league at tip-ins and drop shots. He was part of one of the most dominant teams in RBB.

2 Benji Friedman

Defender of the year Benji knew what he had to do for his team to win. He only scored once, but he was a star defender who protected the goal like few can.

1 Shane Godek

The number one pick in the 2011 draft, Shane was a star flex player who was dominant at long shots, and could even defend with the best of them 

The last team is All Heart, who was captained by Jeremy Treatman and Sarah Barshop.

3. Jeremy Treatman

Though highly overrated when playing, Jeremy was a very good goalie, and when he played it, allowed other All Heart players to score more goals.

2 Jimmy Siettmann

Jimmy was an underrated player because he mainly played defense and goalie. He knew how to be a lock down defender, and whenever he played an attacking position, he scored.

1 the other co rookie of the year Tyler Murry, who when at goal was the best goalie on his team, and when at flex, had games were he was the only player who scored. In sum, Tyler was an excellent player

Lastly, this goes to the best player who got traded, and that was Kevin Linsey, though he rode the bench for the saltalamafia and Mullet Maniacs, he had one of the best single game playoff performances when he netted 4 goals against All Heart. 

2011 RBB Awards
by Taylor Snyder

An award is given to a player that shows great skill and passion for the game both on and off the court. This year there were a number of awards given out to players that showed us who they are and why they got an award. This 1st award is regular season MVP and that went to Jeff Miller of “Miller Times”. Jeff received this award because of being one of the top scorers in the league and being a great captain and player. Jeff before starting the season missed the cut on the Boston hot spot top 15 and was furious about this. Therefore all the officials agreed that Jeff had worked hard enough and should definitely deserve this award. The 2nd award was playoff MVP and the winner of this was KJ Hoover of “mullet maniacs”. KJ deserved to win this award for various reasons. One reason was because he did lead his team to win the 2011 title with him in goal. He also scored the game winning goal to win the championship. He also made a lot of key saves for his team down the stretch in the playoffs and allowed the least goals by a team in the whole playoffs. And KJ was also voted best captain. It was an easy pick for playoff MVP this year. The 3rd award was defensive player of the year. This award went to none other than Benji Freidman of the “ginger giants”. Benji was a winner of the defensive player of the year in 2010 so it was no surprise that he would win it again this year. Benji is by far the best defensive player RBB has ever seen. Benji is quick, explosive, powerful, and is not afraid to throw himself in front of that ball. He led the league in blocks and really helped his team on the defensive side. He pushed his team down the stretch with him on defense and keon in goal the giants were a top ranked defensive team. The 4th award is rookie of the year and that was a tough pick because there were so many rookies that stepped it up for their team. But the winner is Tyler Murry of All Heart. Tyler had the most goals by any rookie in 2011 and was the main reason that All Heart was able to score in such close situations. Timmy Wing and he were two very good players that attacked and no one was able to figure it out so that’s why Tyler scored so many times. Tyler was an explosive player that got a ton of trade offers throughout the season. At some points it looked like he would be traded but Sarah team owner said “there is no way I will release my best player”. Tyler was definitely a fair pick for rookie of the year. The 5th award was an award the RBB officials enjoyed to give away and that was best distraction and that went to Andy Lenser. Andy was a funny and entertaining player that everyone loved. Andy was such a nice player and loved joking around with everyone on the court. Andy was known for his yelling in front of goal and his funny pranks to catch a forward off guard. Andy scored a couple times and some thought that he would comeback in 2011 and be even better from 2010 but he used this year as a fun year and joked around most of the year. The last award is most improved player and the RBB staff was honored to give this to Kevin Linsey. Kevin was the biggest shock in RBB history only scoring 2 times in 2010. Kevin scored over 6 goals this year and started off the year on the bench being a 3rd string and eventually before you knew it he was a starter. A lot of people hated on Kevin most of the year and in my opinion I thought it wasn’t very nice. Kevin is an awesome player and a great kid and when he stepped on that court he got the crowd into it. The crowd went crazy for Kevin throughout the whole year. And when Kevin scored the winning goal against all heart in the playoffs fans went crazy! They jumped on the court and all ran to Kevin. He scored 7 more goals than last year and improved a lot and that’s why he deserves most improved player. Those are all the awards for 2011. Now it’s time to see who will get these awards in 2012, but we will have to wait for that too comes. 

 ELLSBURY LEADS SOX TO 3-2 WALKOFF WIN

by Tim Scott

It may have taken a 1 hour, 35 minute rain delay, an intense pitching duel, and some mighty threats, but the Red Sox were able to avoid all of the pressure, and walk-off to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

After the long rain delay, the Red Sox gave the ball to Josh Beckett for the start. Two batters into the game, he hurled a fastball to Jason Kipnis, who clubbed it into the bullpen for a solo home run. The Indians had the early lead, 1-0 after 1.

In the second inning, a series of strange events occured. On a routine grounder, Carl Crawford was able to reach on a fielder's choice because Kipnis misplayed the ball. Eventually, Jason Varitek drove in a run on a strikeout, tying up the score at 1-1.

Quickly into the fourth, the Indians came roaring back. This time, it was Lonnie Chisenhall who gave the Sox trouble. The rookie slammed a ball into the bullpen, giving the Indians their 6th homer in 2 days, and also the 2-1 lead.

The Indians gave the Red Sox a lot of problems early on, and David Huff was responsible primarily. Huff went 5 innings, allowing 1 run (0 ER) on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts. However, he threw 102 pitches, so he had to end his stellar performance early.

Instead, it was his replacement Rafael Perez that blew a comfy lead for the Indians. Kevin Youkilis was the culprit, launching a solo missile over the Green Monster, and driving the Red Sox to a tie at 2-2.

The bullpen for the Red Sox did excellent. Franklin Morales and Jonathan Papelbon (3-0) only allowed 1 hit combined over 3 innings of work, and struck out 4 batters as well. 

However, the Sox would really come through in the 9th. Against Vinnie Pestano (1-1), the Sox managed to get 2 on with 1 out, setting the stage for Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury lined a routine grounder down the third base line for a basehit, scoring in pinch-runner Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and giving the Red Sox a 3-2 win by way of the walk-off. 

The Sox maintain sole possession of first place with their win. Also today, the Yankees beat the White Sox, 6-0. Currently, the Sox lead the Yankees by 1 game.

With the walk-off win, the Sox gain valuable momentum heading into Game 3 of the contest. Getting the start for the Sox tomorrow is Tim Wakefield (6-4), who is pursuing win #200 with the Red Sox. Countering him will be Carlos Carrasco (8-9). The game will start at 7:10 and be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning CLEVELAND: Jason Kipnis homered (3) to right. (CLE, 1-0)

2nd Inning BOSTON: Jason Varitek struck out swinging. David Ortiz scored on WP by D. Huff. (Tied, 1-1)

4th Inning CLEVELAND: Lonnie Chisenhall (3) to right. (CLE, 2-1)

6th Inning BOSTON: Kevin Youkilis homered (16) to left. (Tied, 2-2)

9th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center. Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 3-2)

CLEVELAND Hitters: Jason Kipnis (1-4, HR, RBI), Lonnie Chisenhall (1-4, HR, RBI)

BOSTON Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (1-5, RBI), Kevin Youkilis (1-4, HR, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-4, SB)

CLEVELAND Pitchers: David Huff (5 IP, 5 H, R (0 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 102 PC), Rafael Perez (0.2 IP, H, ER, K, HR, 12 PC), Joe Smith (1.1 IP, H, K, 15 PC), Tony Sipp (1 IP, BB, K, 17 PC), Vinnie Pestano (0.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 10 PC)

BOSTON Pitchers: Josh Beckett (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7 K, 2 HR, 85 PC), Franklin Morales (2 IP, H, 3 K, 22 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, K, 10 PC)

LINE SCORE

CLE 100 100 000-2 7 2
BOS 010 001 001-3 8 0

WP: Papelbon (3-0) LP: Pestano (1-1)

GAME NOTES

The game was delayed for 1 hour, 35 minutes due to rain.

BOS-3B Kevin Youkilis was ejected in the bottom of 8th by 1B umpire Gerry Davis for arguing balls and strikes.

TRANSACTIONS

Boston activated SP Erik Bedard to the active roster. Optioned INF Drew Sutton to AAA Pawtucket. 

 The 2011 Season in Review: Mullets Take the Title Home.

by Taylor Snyder

The 2011 Rug Burn Ball season was everything that it possibly could be. It was intense, thrilling, exciting, and dramatic. All of these words relate to one thing and that it excitement. Excitement is something that fans were hoping for at the start of the season, and boy did they get it! The season started out with the combine and draft. The combine was the 1st ever for rug burn ball. The combine was filled with rookie talents showing off what they could do and a couple of veterans surprised the crowd with how much they had improved. Some of these veterans were Tim Scott, Shane Godek, Matt Carrigan, and Taylor Snyder. But the one that shined in the combine the most was Shane Godek. Shane last year was a great forward that scored a decent amount, but was never the top player. When Shane showed off in the 1st round of the combine he surprised everyone. But the combine was not about Shane; it was about Matt Carrigan doing great work. Matt did great in the sprint and was one of the top drop shooters. But who could forget the rookies? Owen May ran a 1.9 in the sprint making the fastest time in the combine. Preston of All Heart was the 2nd to fastest time. One player that had improved on his arm a lot was Taylor Snyder of Bad Hair Bureau & Saltalamafia. After all was said and done in the combine it was time for the draft. The 1st pick of the 2011 draft was Shane Godek which came as no surprise. Shane was selected by the ginger giants. The 2nd pick was Matt Carrigan who was selected by Saltalamafia. The rest of the 1st round was self-picks by the rest of the owners. The 2nd round was the round were most of the top rookies went. That was for example Mullet Maniacs selecting Jack “Signapore” Machulski. Bad hair Bureau selected Owen May the fast and explosive player. Preston was also selected by All Heart. The Saltalamafia selected Tim Scott as well. The 3rd round was kicked off with Bad Hair Bureau selecting Taylor Snyder. Some other names going in the same round were Zach Dyne and Matt Stolbof. Later in the rounds some other veteran players like Tim Sorota were selected by Miller Times. The draft was quite until the 7th round with just 10 players left. Saltalamafia made the most amazing pick ever selecting Tanner Walters (aka “Sasquatch”). This was a great veteran player who had a great 2010 season. The remainder of the draft was picks like Andres Cordoba to the Ginger Giants, and Zach Lawless to Miller Times. After a long draft with a lot of picks. it was time to close things down and gets the arena ready for tip-off. The next day was opening day and everyone couldn’t wait to get started. But at the last minute there was a change saying “We will be moving back to the arena from the 2010 season to play the 2011 season”. People were excited because of the great year of 2010, they knew that with this the season would just get better. It was tip-off and it was Bad Hair Bureau vs. Mullets the game was a blowout at first when Frank “The Tank” Feeney scored 6 of his team’s 7 goals. They got up 6-2 then the bureau came back and cut it close but the mullets held on and won 7-5. Then followed by Ginger giants beating All Heart and Miller times beating Saltalamafia. The 2nd round of games was Bad hair bureau VS. All Heart. This game was about Zeke Sprauge and Taylor Snyder. Taylor Snyder shined the whole game with a explosion scoring 4 goals, and 3 assists. Snyder scored 3 times in under 2 minutes along with Zeke closing the door scoring 3 goals and leading Bad Hair Bureau to a 7-5 victory. That concluded night 1. The 2nd and 3rd night was where it got started. The 2nd night was ending in 4 out of the 6 teams drawing to 500. And the Mullet maniacs and ginger giants battling for the top seed. The Ginger Giants would play next and this was rookie Andres Cordoba’s time to shine. Cordoba went on a scoring rage scoring 5 times in 1 game. He took over the spotlight and kept on non-stop scoring. With all these goals he was able to lead his team to the top seed. The next game was Saltalamafia vs. Miller Times. This game was all about the crowd favorite Tim Scott. Scott scored a hat trick and totally awoke the crowd into cheers. He scored 2 of those 3 goals behind the halfway mark scoring at impossible angles. After Scott getting the crowd into it, it was time for bad hair bureau to keep it going. The score was 6-0 and All Heart had the lead. Bad hair bureau was just 1 goal away from falling to 1-3 and setting them up for a bad spot. Then Cinderella broke free from her tower and bad hair bureau made the greatest comeback in rug burn ball history scoring 7 times, including 6 un-answered. All of the sudden they had the lead at 7-6. Andrew Simmons had already scored 4 times in the game and all eyes were on him. Then Simmons answered with his famous drop shot scoring and completing the greatest comeback in RBB history. The 2nd night was over for playing. But for off the field it was just getting started. At about 11:47 PM the trade market exploded. With over five trade, These trades were Taylor Snyder and Clayton Collier heading to Saltalamafia, Tim Scott going to Miller Times. This surprised seeing a great player like Tim Scott being traded. Bad Hair bureau in return got Connor the big defender to come play for them. The trades were supposed to be kept quiet till morning but that was broke only 30 minutes later at 1:00 when all over the news was the trades being announced. This put everyone is shock to see all there top players being traded and brought worry to them. The final day of the regular season was Wednesday night and all these new players were ready to shine for their new teams. Saltalamfia came with a new name to the court and that was “Jammin with Jaffe”. Andres Cordoba added to his goals with a leading victory with Shane Godek for their team the Ginger Giants. Benji Freidman also did great for his team on the defensive end. All Heart also battled there was to the 4th seed lead by their great rookie Tyler Murry. Tyler scored all of their goals and kept of firing for his team the whole final night. Jammin with Jaffe lost 2 games in a row making it to 2-5 tied with BHB. So it was token down to a tiebreaker game for who would get the 2nd to last seed. Despite being very dull and quiet the game was important in some ways, both teams were worn out so there was no effort on the court. But in the end Jammin with Jaffe came out on top with a win. Now with all of the places set it was time for the playoffs. But there was issues right before the playoffs when players: Taylor Snyder, Ethan Sears, Preston, Frank Feeney, Tim Scott, Andrew Simmons would be suspended for the 1st game for various reasons. The playoffs were ready to get started and BHB VS. Miller Times would be first; the 1st game BHB won 7-4 and the 2nd game Miller times blew them out winning 7-3. They were tied up in wins but the goals is what made the difference. Miller Times would be advancing on to the Final Four. Now it was time for All Heart VS. Jammin with Jaffe. The 1st game came as a shock when Jaffe’s team was able to win without Snyder or Sears. Despite captain Timmy Wing could effort he could win it for his team in the 1st game. This game Matt Carrigan stepped it up and Zach Weiss played good defense. But the 2nd game was all about heart. All heart scored 6 un-answered goals and took a 6-2 lead and eventually shut the door on Jammin with Jaffe. This ended the season for Jaffe’s team who were picked to be the underdog run at the beginning of the playoffs. This upset players like Jon Jaffe and Taylor Snyder who deeply wanted a title in 2011. Ginger Giants, Mullets Maniacs, Miller Times, and All Heart were the 2011 final four. All Heart was absolutely dominated by the Mullet maniacs in the final four losing both games despite Tyler Murry scoring 6 goals in all in both games. The mullets were led by Kevin Linsey who scored 4 times including the game winner that made the crowd go absolutely insane. This was the end of All Heart who put up a great fight throughout the whole season. Now it was time for the better matchup which was Ginger Giants VS. Miller Times. The 1st game Ginger Giants won who were led by Byron who scored 5 times and had the best game of his career. Byron carried his team to a 7-5 win that game. But then the 2nd game was when it got debatable when the ginger giants were leading 6-3. If the giants held that 1 goal off they would be in the finals. Then Shane Godek scored and they won 7-3. Or did they win? They took it to replay and it showed that Godek’s knee apparently left the ground. This was described as a bad call because of the way he moved made the throw legal. But in the end it was ruled “no goal”. Soon after this Miller Times “Zach Lawless” scored a goal. Then Benji scored and won the game for Ginger Giants. But it wasn’t over because of Lawless goal we would be heading to sudden death. Then in Sudden Death, Jeff Miller scored and it was all over. Miller Times had won and the championship would be Miller Times VS. Mullet Maniacs. The game was hard fought but the Mullets pulled away with KJ Hoover in net. Eventually KJ Hoover scored a full court shot that slipped by Tim Best and the Mullet Maniacs were champions! The Mullet Maniacs won the 2011 RBB title. The season was over and everyone was disappointed for it to end. They never wanted the season to end but not everything will go on forever. When all is over we say goodbye to 2011 and let the champion celebrate but we all know that it’s time to get ready for 2012!

The Art and Strategy of Fighting in the NHL

by: Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

One of the most exciting yet controversial subjects in hockey today, fighting is not simply an eruption of emotions, but a strategical boost to a team’s energy and morale. It attracts all ages with its excitement and restoration of “Old Time Hockey”.  If you look around the league at players who are considered ‘fighters’ or ‘goons’ you see players like Chris Neil, Ryan White, Daniel Carcillo, Ben Eager, and even Boston’s own Shawn Thornton.  The reason players like these fight is for two reasons.  One is to stick up for a teammate and the other is to pump up their own team. 

Many times during games players target the other teams star players with bone-crushing hits to throw them off their game.  That is when a player like Shawn Thornton steps in and picks a fight with someone to stick up for that teammate or protect him.  Many star players in the NHL are small and fragile and their team’s season could be destroyed if they were to be injured.  Therefore, having a tough guy who can fight and protect your players is essential to the team and the game of hockey in the NHL.  In reality, goons help keep players on the ice, which ultimately makes the game better for everyone involved.

The next reason players fight is to help boost a team.  Often times when a team is down 2 or 3 goals or is playing poorly, a player will go out and pick a fight to try and boost the players on the bench.  This “boost of energy” caused by the fight has often times turned the game around and been exactly what the team needs to win the game.

Even though fighting is at times sloppy and ill-timed, it can be used in strategy and is essential in protecting players and hockey in general here in the NHL.  

Moss Retires 

Does he go down as one of the greatest wide receivers of all time?

By: Matthew Stolbof

         Yesterday Randy Moss announced his retirement after playing for 15 years in the NFL. Moss has always been one of the top receivers in the league and is without a doubt one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. This go-to receiver was drafted as the 21 pick of the 1998 draft of the Minnesota Vikings. Moss would of probably been pick earlier but, his issues off the field made him become a later pick in the draft.

Randy Moss’s rookie year with the Vikings would be a year to remember. He received for 1,313 yds which led the league and also scored 17 TD which also led the league. Moss would later be named the offensive rookie of the year in 1998. Moss would play another 6 years with the Vikings and would lead the league in rec TD for another 2 times with them.

In 2005 Moss would go on to play for the Oakland Raiders for 2 years. Moss didn’t seem as excited to play for Oakland as he did for Minnesota because would only score 11 TD in 2 years and would only catch 102 passes. In 2006 Moss only received for 553 yards which made him get traded to the New England Patriots.

In Moss’s first year with New England he had the best season of his career. In 2007 Moss caught 93 passes for 1,493 yards and scored 23 TD most all time by any wide receiver in a single season. In Moss’s next 2 years with the Pats he would lead the NFL in TD with 13 in 2009.

In the 2010 season Moss would play for 3 NFL teams. In the beginning of the season Moss only played 4 games with the Pats but, scored 3 touchdowns. Then he would later get traded to his former team the Minnesota Vikings and would only receive for 174 yards and, then he would finally get traded to Tennessee where he would play the his final 8 games of his career with the Titans.

Even though the end of Moss’s career was a little shaky Moss is still one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. Randy Moss is 5th all time in reception touchdowns with 154. He is also 8th all time in receptions with 954. Moss may have never won a super bowl in his career but, he still has one of the greatest wide receiver careers ever in the NFL and will be remembered for years to come. 

 INSTANT REPLAY BURNS OUT SOX, 9-6

by Tim Scott

What turned out to be a rarity in any circumstance proved to be the difference. A single by Asdrubal Cabrera that was overturned due to instant replay because the ball left a scar on a lady's leg ended up burning out the hopes of a Red Sox victory. With that, the Indians rolled to a 9-6 win.

Cabrera was the main star on the night for the Indians. In the game, the All-Star shortstop went 3-5 with an eye-popping 2 home runs and 4 RBIs at times which proved costly for the Red Sox.

Who might've been the cause for this stunning loss? Getting the start for the Sox was John Lackey. Lackey may have had a no-decision, but allowed 5 runs on 8 hits in 6.2 innings, and 5 strikeouts. Lackey also allowed 2 home runs in the game (back-to-back jacks from Cabrera and Travis Hafner) and threw 106 pitches (only 74 strikes).

Even though Lackey had his issues, the Red Sox maintained good ground early on. In the first, Marco Scutaro gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with an RBI single. That was followed up in the 3rd, when Kevin Youkilis drove in Adrian Gonzalez with a triple. However, Youkilis was thrown out at home plate while trying to stretch into a homer. 

Soon afterwards, Carl Crawford lined a solo homer (his 7th of the season) into the rightfield bullpen, upping the Red Sox lead to 3-1. It seemed as if the Sox had figured out Indians starter Josh Tomlin, but it was soon after when the Indians discovered Lackey's weak spot.

In the 4th, the Indians grabbed a slice of the Red Sox lead, when Kosuke Fukodome drove in a run with a fielder's choice. However, it was in the 6th inning that trouble started to roam onto Fenway.

Entering the game, Cabrera was hitting .289 with 17 homers. It was in the 6th inning when Cabrera discovered his power stroke. Against Lackey, he lofted a fly ball over into the bullpen area, giving the Indians the 4-3 lead, and more insecurity for Lackey.

Historically, after giving up the lead, Lackey is pretty rough, and gets batters out. He didn't prove that tonight. The next batter, Hafner, launched another home run, this time to right center, extending the Indians lead to 5-3.

Yet the Red Sox managed to even out the damage, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia launched his 10th home run of the year to right, driving in Crawford, and evening the score at 5. This would be the last time the Sox would be tied up with the Indians.

After Lackey was taken out after allowing a hit to Ezequiel Carrera, lefty Franklin Morales came in, and struck out Michael Brantley to end the seventh. 

Despite scoring 5 runs in the first 7 innings, the bulk of the Indians offense would come in the 8th. Entering the game, Daniel Bard had the highest shutout streak in the American League, going 26.1 innings without allowing a run. That streak ended tonight, and it came with a fateful overturned call thanks to instant replay.

This was the situation. With Jason Kipnis on first, Cabrera lines a shot to right. It appears at first that the ball made an awkward ricochet off the wall, and RF Josh Reddick made a clean throw to third. However, Indians manager Manny Acta debated that the ball bounced off something in the stands and back onto the field, thus making it a home run. After a few minutes of deliberation and instant replay, it turns out the ball hit a woman in the knee, and it ricocheted back onto the field. The play was overturned, and Cabrera had homer #2 for the night, giving the Indians a 7-5 lead.

Bard allowed another run via a Matt LaPorta double, and the Indians ended the inning with an 8-5 lead.

In the 9th, Indians rookie Jason Kipnis launched his second career home run against Matt Albers, increasing the Indians lead.

Despite an RBI double by Jacoby Ellsbury in the 9th, the Indians were able to close out the victory, and defeat the Red Sox 9-5. 

The Red Sox had 12 hits and left only 4 men on base, but it was pitching that led to their loss tonight. As a whole, the 5 Sox pitchers (Lackey, Morales, Bard, Randy Williams, Albers) allowed 9 runs on 13 hits, and allowed 4 home runs. 

Tomorrow, the Sox hope to avenge tonight's loss at 7:10, when they play Game 2 against the Indians. Josh Beckett (9-4) will get the start for the Sox while the Indians counter with David Huff (1-1).  The game will be on NESN, and BHS blogger Tim Scott will try to get the game on live feed. If not, the game will just be on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro singled to right. Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 1-0)

3rd Inning CLEVELAND: Michael Brantley doubled to deep right. Ezequiel Carrera scored. (Tied, 1-1)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Kevin Youkilis tripled to center. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 2-1)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Carl Crawford homered (7) to right. (BOS, 3-1)

4th Inning CLEVELAND: Kosuke Fukodome reached on a fielder's choice to short. Asdrubal Cabrera scored. (BOS, 3-2)

6th Inning CLEVELAND: Cabrera homered (18) to right. Jason Kipnis scored. (CLE, 4-3)

6th Inning CLEVELAND: Travis Hafner homered (10) to right. (CLE, 5-3)

6th Inning BOSTON: Saltalamacchia homered (10) to right. Crawford scored. (Tied, 5-5)

8th Inning CLEVELAND: Cabrera homered (19) to right. Kipnis scored. (CLE, 7-5)

8th Inning CLEVELAND: Matt LaPorta doubled to left. Carlos Santana scored. (CLE, 8-5)

9th Inning CLEVELAND: Kipnis homered (2) to right. (CLE, 9-5)

9th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to left. Mike Aviles scored. (CLE, 9-6)

CLEVELAND Hitters: Asdrubal Cabrera (3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI), Jason Kipnis (3-5, 2B, HR, RBI), Ezequiel Cabrera (2-4)

BOSTON Hitters: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), Carl Crawford (2-4, HR, RBI), Kevin Youkilis (2-4, 3B, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-5)

CLEVELAND Pitchers: Josh Tomlin (6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 K, 2 BB, 94 PC), Rafael Perez (1 IP, H, 12 PC), Vinnie Pestano (1 IP, 2 K, 10 PC), Chris Perez (1 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 K, 23 PC)

BOSTON Pitchers: John Lackey (6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 HR, 106 PC), Franklin Morales (0.1 IP, K, 3 PC), Daniel Bard (0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, HR, 20 PC), Randy Williams (0.2 IP, 2 H, 11 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, H, ER, K, HR, 16 PC)

Line Score:

CLE 001 103 031-9 13 0

BOS 012 002 001-6 12 1

WP: R. Perez (4-1) LP: Bard (1-5)

GAME NOTES

BOS-SS Marco Scutaro left the game in the top of the 5th due to dizziness.

 THE REAL UFC MVP

by Dennis Begley

I LOVE UFC!!!!!!!! So I just want to take a few minutes to talk about the UFC, and how they have absolutely no TOP star. I mean basketball has Lebron , Golf has Tiger (or had should I say), football has Manning, hockey has Thomas, and baseball has Gonzalez, but I mean my main guys the lonely UFC has no top star. I mean of course it has stars, I mean you really can't pick the top star. There is of course great fighters, but no top star . So I mean I love UFC; they are great guys, but once they get in the cage they change and become complete basket cases. I mean I love UFC because that's where people like me that want to wrestle for a living go to. It's basically real pro wrestling, and I mean how can you not respect a guy who has the strength to get into a cage, and possibly beaten up real bad. So go UFC fighters. Applause to you. Anyway, though thats not the point. My point is how can this place not have a real star. I mean the whole industry does not have a MVP trophy (or MVF for most valauable fighter). Maybe it's because there's so much competion maybe it's because not enough competion. I mean there's a hall of fame and there's only four people in it. So I mean there's stars Chuck Lidell, may be old but he has a really hard punch, and my personal favorite, Brock Lesnar, is probably the best wrestler in all of UFC and also bulit like a car. So he will just pick you up and slam you the ground. He will either ground and pound you or put you in a submission and make you quit and tap out. Tito Ortiz might be getting a little old too, but has some beast ground and pound and makes the ref stop the match. Also, Anthony "The Spider" Silva has the best kick in the business, and with his kicks he can knock you with only one or a couple. So it's hard to say who is the best. I would have to say even though how much it kills me to say this and not say Brock Lesnar . Anthony "the spider" Silva, I mean if you have seen how fricken hard his kicks are; THEY ARE INSANE. So yes, that is who I believe is the UFC MVP but there still is no ultimate star like a lebron, Tiger or Manning . So I will be back with definitely more UFC coverage. 

Top Free Agents Still Out There

by Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

For my third article here with The Boson Hot Spot I decided to take a brief look at some of the free agents around the league that are still available for teams to sign and where they might go.  This article will only pertain to unrestricted free agents. This is because you can count on your hands the number of restricted free agents that have gone to different teams in the past decade or so. Therefore I want to focus on free agents that will likely be changing locations.  Lets get right to it.

5. Kyle Wellwood: Previous Team- San Jose  Last Year Stats 35 GP: 5G-8A-18P

Once again injuries have sidelined Wellwood but with that being said, he is one of the best two-way centers available that will shut down opposing offenses and still be able to contribute in the offensive zone.  I think a contender like Detroit could use his services to shut down opposing teams.  Detroit struggled at keeping the puck out of the net and this caused their early exit in the second round and would be stronger defensively with Wellwood in the lineup.

Possible Destination: Detroit Red Wings

4. Chris Campoli: Previous Team- Chicago  Last Year Stats 77 GP: 4G-17A-21P

I am still shocked this guy has not been picked up.  He is 27 years old and is a very productive defensemen that can play well in the defensive zone and put up the numbers on the score sheet.  A team like Nashville could use a guy like this to strengthen the back half of the blue line.  They have the cap space and with Weber and Suter already in the mix, Nashville will be a team to watch next season.

Possible Destination: Nashville Predators

3. Bryan McCabe: Previous Team- New York Rangers  Last Year Stats 67 GP: 7G-21A-28P

At age 36, McCabe still has a booming shot and good vision, which allows him to move the puck very well.  He would be a great pickup for a team looking for a puck-moving defenseman.  Montreal would be a likely destination as they are searching for someone to fill the spot left by James Wisniewski.  The Canadiens have been known to sign players late in their careers at a large price (Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Erik Cole) and will do it again if they have too.

Possible Destination: Montreal Canadiens 

2. Ray Emery: Previous Team- Anaheim  Last Year Stats 7W-2L GAA 2.28

Emery has been haunted by injuries the past few years but when healthy, he is a top 15 goalie in the NHL.  He has great fundamentals, stays square to the shooter and never gives up on a play.  Although he has not played much, his numbers are great and many teams could us his services.  Teams that might be in the mix include Chicago and Winnipeg but the most likely destination would be Phoenix.  There is a gaping hole between the pipes for the Coyotes and they signed Mike Smith to fill it.  Smith simply won’t make the cut as a starting goalie and has proved that in his prior tenure with Tampa Bay.  Therefore, Phoenix should look to Emery for support in net.

Possible Destination: Phoenix

1. Teemu Selanne: Previous Team- Anaheim  Last Year Stats 73 GP: 31G-49A-80P

This 41 year-old winger is a hall of famer without a doubt.  He put up great numbers last year even at over 40 years old.  He is coming off knee surgery so we will have to see how that affects him and has considered retirement, but I believe we will see him lace up the skates for at least one more year.  If he decides to play, where will it be?  The answer is Anaheim.  He has played there for the majority of his career and will likely return but you never know if a real dark horse could sweep in and entice the superstar.  Selanne wants to win again so maybe just maybe a team like Detroit with a legitimate shot at winning could make a good pitch, but other than that he will likely return next year as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

Possible Destination: Anaheim Ducks 

Deadline Recap

by Shane Godek

This year’s trade deadline has now come and passed, and teams have made additions to their roster to help get them prepared for a World Series run. Here are my winners and losers of the MLB trade deadline.

Winners:

From the AL-Cleveland Indians: The Indians got the crown jewel of the trade market when they acquired Ubaldo Jimenez. They gave up 4 top prospects, but their farm system is deep enough to recover. This deal bolsters their rotation and makes them a more formidable contender in the Central. By trading for Ubaldo, the Indians showed they are serious about winning right now, and having that mentality in your clubhouse is huge. Now it is clear that the Indians are all in for this season. They also dealt away Orlando Cabrera, who does have playoff experience, but has seen a decrease in his numbers and no longer needed on the Indians with Astrubal Cabrera locked in at short, and Jason Kipnis expected to finish the year at second. The Indians dealt for Kosuke Fukudome as well, who will give them outfield depth they desperately need after losing both Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore for most, if not all of the season. The Indians are no longer a team getting some lucky breaks and relying on guys over performing. They are the real deal, and look poised to challenge in the A.L Central.

From the NL- St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards were one of the more active teams on and around the trade deadlines, acquiring 4 players that will help them in the NL Central race. They added pitchers Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepcynzki, as well as shortstop Rafael Furcal. Jackson gives them a solid 1-2-3 punch in the rotation with him, Chris Carpenter, and Jamie Garcia. Dotel is a power pitcher coming out of the pen that will be another arm at the disposal of manager Tony La Russa. Rzepcynzki will give there P.A announcer a nightmare every time he comes in to pitch, but he is a underrated talent. He has held lefties to just a .157 average this season, and will have the chance to start for the Cardinals in the future. Furcal boasts a horrendous .197 batting average, but is a defensive upgrade over Ryan Theriot, and will have the motivation of playing for a contender and a team whose paycheck wont bounce. The Cardinals did lose Colby Rasmus, a young, talented center fielder who has struggled this season, but in terms of this year, they needed to add the players they did to make the playoffs. Now St. Louis looks like it is ready to catch Milwaukee and take the N.L Central crown.

Other winner: The Pirates added Ryan Ludwick and Derrick Lee to help give their offense a boost that will help them try to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Losers:

From the AL- New York Yankees: The Yankees didn’t make any bad trades; they flat out didn’t make any trades at all. They lost out in the Jimenez sweepstakes, and then they didn’t add Heath Bell or another elite pitcher. Fans of the Bronx Bombers have to be having some doubts heading into the second half of the season with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia taking up the number 2 and 3 spots in the rotation. You can’t continue to expect them both to maintain their sub 4 ERA’s, and it’s not like A.J Burnett is going to suddenly decide to start earning his 82.5 million dollar contract. The offense will have no problem scoring runs, and the bullpen is solid with David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, but who on the starting rotation would you trust to start a playoff game after CC Sabathia? I don’t think the fans are going to be very confident watching Bartolo Colon trot out there, or Phil Hughes and his 8.24 ERA. The Yankees will still make the playoffs, but I’m not sure if they can make a run with the team they have now.

From the NL- Houston Astros: The Astros sent Hunter Pence and Michael Bourne packing, and in addition lost what little fan base they had. Sure, they landed the mother lode of prospects, but potential doesn’t sell tickets, current talent does. I understand they made the best moves for their organization in the long term, but in return they lost what little support the team had for the short term. The only deal I thought would help them was to dump Wandy Rodriguez and his giant contract, because the money they have locked up with him could really be better used on adding more players. He still may be moved if he clears waivers, which he is expected to do. I now have a message to all remaining Astros fans.

Dear fans of the Astros,

Your two best players are gone, so your team will stoop to a new level of awfulness. You now are left with only Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez, who has a foot out the door. Soon, your roster will fill up with guys who would be in the minors on most teams. Actually, that describes half your current roster. You have hit what most fans would call rock bottom. My condolences go out to you. Good luck over the next few years.  You will need it. If you need something to be happy about, look at Cubs fans. They have gone 103 years without a title. You don’t have a title yet, but hopefully your drought won’t be that long. Then again, you have the foundation to have an even longer drought. Once again, good luck.

Sincerely,

A happy Red Sox fan

A quick note on the hometown team the Red Sox: They added Erik Bedard. If he can stay off of the D.L, then the Sox could have a steal. They did give up two of their better prospects in pitcher Stephan Fife and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang. Neither are elite, but they both have been showing promise this season. The Sox deal could be a real hit or miss. As a Red Sox fan, I hope Bedard turns out to be a stud, not Eric Gagne.

 THE 2011 RBB HALL OF FAME CLASS

by Dennis Begley

Well, since NFL hall of famer week is coming, I thought that it would be great to talk about the people that should be in the Rug Burn Ball (RBB) Hall of Fame. This class would be the first ever hall if fame class, and will be known throughout history forever. Well saying there is a hall of fame class this year, the top ten people that should be nominated should have to be right of the bat. Zeke Sprague would easily be put in first, not even having to fight other nominations. Not only is he the best player and coach of all time, he made the sport, so obviously he would probably have his whole area in the hall of fame, and not just a plaque similar to James Naismith in the Basketball Hall of Fame. A great player and coach, he made the game, which makes him easily part of the hall of fame, and makes it in without even a glance at the other nominations. Second is Jon Jaffe. Very well known as the second best player in rbb history next to zeke, he was a great goalie apparently had an insane 2010 season. Not the best 2011 season but, hey as i said in previous article, I am a rookie and may have no buisness in what I am saying, but this is just my opinion. Another nomination...KJ Hoover! A great goalie who got post season MVP, he blocked many shots and had a great 2011 season. He had two goals in the championship; one from his own crease and one in the only play he didn't play goal in the whole year. He came out of net played offense had the ball passed to him and scored the championship winning goal. Fourth would have to be the leader of all the Boston Hot Spot, Tim Scott. A great player, he was very passionate and intense with the sport. A legend, he's a well known great guy who is very passionate. Next is Shane Godek. Maybe i am being a little biased because he was on my team, but he was a great player. An insane player/team captain of the Ginger Giants, he led us to a high seed at second place, which gave us a bye to the semi finals. He was also a great scorer and assist maker, and was also part of the Ginger Giants big three along with Benji Friedman and Keon. Also my favorite thing about Shane would have to be his heart and love for the game. If he got hurt, he would just get up and keep playing. In the semi finals game, he was hurt bleeding and I believe he got a concussion but kept playing and scored goals. I believe shane is a easy pick for the 2011 hall of fame class and I am glad that i had the privilege to play with you Shane. Next is Benji Friedman, a great defensive player. He earned the defensive MVP award, and had many blocked shots and great ground ball recoveries. He could score from his own side of the field with a cannon for arm ,and of course is part of the ginger giants big three, along with his great breakout year this year. Next is ex-Tropic John Paul Chunga. I have never had the privilege of meeting him because apparently, he had to be somewhere else this year, but he seems to be a great player and I hope to meet him next year, and see him be a continuing force in the rbb community. Next up, Jack  "SINGAPORE" Machulski had a great year last year, winning the rbb championship and this year, realy controlled rbb with his 2nd straight championship ring. He was a fighting force, and scored many goals and in my opinion deserved regular season offensive MVP this year. Two more nominations, and then we will get into who i believe deserves to be put into the hall of fame. They have to be Tyler Murrey, who was to Co-Rookie of the Year and an all-star in his first year. He definitely deserves to vie for a shot at the hall of fame, and next I can't believe I almost forgot Jeff Miller. I played against him in the semi-finals, and I believe he was a great player. He was hard to play defense against, and didn't have as good of year this as last year apparently. But still Jeff Miller is number three on almost every single list of best rbb players ever assembled. So now, these are who I believe deserve to be in the RBB Hall of Fame.  Easily Zeke, but hes in his own division now. Most likely KJ, who was great player and goalie deserves this induction. Third Tim Scott because he is a legend and the hall of fame is for legends. Fourth I believe Shane Godek. I was so glad i had the oppritunity to play with him; he deserves this, and fifth Jack "SINGAPORE" Machulski. Is it hard not to induct him after he stunned goalies this year. He had among the most goals recorded this year and was just an all around great player. So that what I believe should be the 2011 Hall of Fame Class.

Keep Tuukka Rask in Black & Gold

by: Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

Arguably the best goalie currently riding the bench in the NHL, Tuukka Rask has had his name appear in numerous trade rumors.  Two seasons ago Rask was the starting goalie for one of the strongest teams in the NHL, but lost his job in Prague during the second game of the season against Pheonix to Tim Thomas.  We all know how that turned out as Thomas went on to have a record setting year by breaking Dominic Hasek’s save percentage record and taking home his second Vezina trophy in three years.  

Now with Thomas firmly in place as the B’s number one goalie, questions surround Tuukka Rask.  His value is high with many teams desperate to find a starting goalie.  Teams like Tampa Bay, Florida, and Philadelphia showed interest but all potential deals fell through once each of those teams signed goalies earlier this July.  Let there be no questions, there is interest in Tuukka and he is likely worth a first round pick along with a second-third round pick.  Although his value his high, the black & gold should keep him in a Bruins uniform for many reasons.

For instance, Tim Thomas is 37 years old and nearing the end of his career. He has had injury problems with a hip problem in the 09-10 season that sidelined the net-minder for awhile and affected his play for the rest of the season.  As a hockey player myself, those can be nagging injuries and can come back to haunt you especially as a goalie.  That being said, that injury did not seem to slow him up this year at all, but I worry that this injury could arise in years to come.  Therefore keeping Rask is essential if Thomas were to go down with an injury or if his play were to drop off drastically due to his age. 

In addition, Rask is a solid goalie that can’t be replaced within our own system.    Last year Rask posted just 11 wins in 29 games along with a goals against average of 2.67 and a save percentage of .918.  Certainly not Rask-like numbers but the year before he had a record of 22 wins and 12 losses with a goals against average of 1.97 and a save percentage of .931.  If he can play like that in the future, the Bruins will not have any goalie problems for about 10 years.  If Rask were to be traded, the Bruins would have to look internally for their next backup.  The only option would be recent acquisition Anton Khudobin. Khudobin has just 2 game of experience in the NHL for the Minnesota Wild and will need more development if he is to be the backup in Boston.  Tuukka Rask’s value may be high but he ultimately is essential to the Bruins future between the pipes.  

WWE NEWS (7/31/11)

by Andrew Simmons

The latetest storyline in the WWE involves Cm Punk, one of the biggest stars in the WWE who has been the main focus of WWE most recent storyline. This storyline started 5 weeks ago, when Cm won the number 1 contendership for the wwe title and cut a promo about how he was going to leave the WWE  after he wins the title. Then Cm won the title 3 weeks ago at money in the bank paper view and left the WWE. After that Vince McMahon was fired as the head of the WWE and they had a tournament for who the new champion is. John Cena won the tournament and Cm Punk came back so now at Sumerslam in 2 weeks Punk vs John Cena for who the real wwe championship. Every one in the wrestling community is looking very forward to that. 

Lack of Deal May Cost Yankees in Playoffs
By Tim Sorota (July 31, 2011)

When Cliff Lee was acquired by the Texas Rangers, members of the media said that he was being “rented” before the Yankees would sign him in the off-season. So going into the offseason, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and Owner Hal Steinbrenner had one goal: do everything in their power to sign Lee. On December 15, 2010, Cliff Lee was introduced as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Yankees’ fans everywhere were enraged with Cashman and Steinbrenner. They were so sure they were going to get Lee, they had no back-up plan when he didn’t sign. When veteran Andy Pettite retired, the rotation was C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon. In the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview, it said the team had to get a starter. Fast forward to this week of the trade deadline and the team is getting production from Nova, Colon, and Garcia, but Garcia and Colon are older and may be un-trustworthy in the post season. Hughes and Burnett have been inconsistent. So they still need a starter. Luckily for them, two proven pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez are both on the market. One of them must come to New York, doesn’t he? Well, none of them did. Jimenez was traded to Cleveland while Hernandez stayed with the Mariners. Here’s a proposed trade that the Yankees could’ve offered: Yankees send Catcher Jesus Montero (#7 prospect in MLB) and Pitcher Manny Banuelos (#17) to Seattle in return for Felix Hernandez. If you’re the Mariners, you have to accept the trade because you’re getting two ofthe top prospects in the game and if you’re the Yankees, it’s a great deal. You can afford to give up Montero because you already have three of the top catching prospects. Apparently neither Cashman nor Steinbrenner were willing to give up those players or Seattle wanted more. Well anyway, they didn’t get anyone. So they must move on. Assuming New York makes the playoffs, they must rely heavily on C.C. Sabathia. He has to win every single start or the team will go nowhere. Assuming Sabathia can win every start (which is a huge task to ask); they will still Nova, Hughes, Burnett, Colon, or Garcia to pitch well. I don’t see that happening. They will get to the ALCS and face the Red Sox. Then, Burnett will get hit hard and so will Hughes. They just don’t have the match ups against a team like Boston. They could’ve had the matchups had Cashman acquired someone.  

 PEDROIA LEADS RED SOX TO 5-3 WIN

by Tim Scott

Today was truly a great day for the Boston Red Sox. Along with the acquisition of Erik Bedard from the Seattle Mariners, the Red Sox managed to secure another, more significant victory. They edged out the Chicago White Sox, 5-3, taking 2 out of 3 in the series.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Andrew Miller. After 5.2 innings, Miller left the game with another no-decision to his credit, allowing 3 earned runs on 10 hits with 8 strikeouts to his credit. Miller also allowed 1 walk, and threw 106 pitches on the afternoon.

It was the Red Sox who struck the board first. In the second inning, Jason Varitek lined his 7th home run of the year off of Mark Buehrle, driving in Darnell McDonald, and providing the Red Sox with a 2-0 advantage after 2 innings.

But the White Sox would finally get under Miller's nerves, and they started in the second inning. Brent Morel started the charge for the White Sox, driving in a run with a double to deep center. 

In the third, Alex Rios capitalized on an opportunity, by driving in Carlos Quentin with an RBI single. In the fourth, Alexei Ramirez drove in Gordon Beckham with an RBI single of his own. At the end of four, the White Sox had the upper hand, leading the Red Sox, 3-2.

However, it would be in the 7th inning that the Red Sox would storm back and fend off the pesky Chicagoan Sox. Dustin Pedroia, who ended the month with a .407 average, drove in 2 runs with an RBI single against Jesse Crain (5-3), giving the Sox a comfortable 4-3 advantage.

In the 9th, Adrian Gonzalez provided the Red Sox with insurance runs, driving in Jacoby Ellsbury with an RBI single, giving the Red Sox a 5-3 lead.

If there was a part of the game that the Red Sox dominated in, it would be relief. Alfredo Aceves (7-1), Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon held the White Sox to only 1 hit over 2.1 innings of work, with 5 strikeouts (3 from Papelbon) to their credit. 

The Red Sox return to Fenway Park to start a four game series with Cleveland Indians. Game 1 of that series will be tomorrow at 7:00. John Lackey (9-8) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Indians will counter with Josh Tomlin (11-5). The game will be on NESN and ESPN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning BOSTON: Jason Varitek homered (7) to left. Darnell McDonald scored. (BOS, 2-0)

2nd Inning WHITE SOX: Brent Morel doubled to center. Tyler Flowers scored. (BOS, 2-1)

3rd Inning WHITE SOX: Alex Rios singled to left. Carlos Quentin scored. (Tied, 2-2)

4th Inning WHITE SOX: Alexei Ramirez singled to center. Gordon Beckham scored. (CWS, 3-2)

7th Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia singled to center. Marco Scutaro and Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 4-3)

9th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez doubled to right. Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 5-3)

BOSTON Hitters: Dustin Pedroia (2-4, 2 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (2-5, 2 2B, RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (2-5, SB), Marco Scutaro (2-4)

WHITE SOX Hitters: Brent Morel (2-3, 2B, RBI), Alexei Ramirez (2-5, 2B, RBI), Carlos Quentin (2-5), Alex Rios (1-5, RBI)

BOSTON Pitchers: Andrew Miller (5.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, BB, 8 K, 106 PC), Alfredo Aceves (1 IP, BB, K, 25 PC), Daniel Bard (1.1 IP, H, K, 15 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, 3 K, 17 PC)

WHITE SOX Pitchers: Mark Buehrle (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HR, 105 PC), Jesse Crain (0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R [1 ER], 15 PC), Chris Sale (1 IP, BB, 2 K, 19 PC), Jason Frasor (1 IP, H, ER, BB, K, 25 PC), Will Ohman (0.2 IP, H, BB, K, 13 PC)

Line Score

BOS 020 000 201-5 10 1

CWS 011 100 000-3 11 0

WP: Aceves (7-1) LP: Crain (5-3) SV: Papelbon (24)

GAME NOTES:

CWS-Paul Konerko left the game in the top of the 5th with an injured left leg after being hit by a pitch in the 4th.

RED SOX TRANSACTIONS

  • Red Sox acquired SP Erik Bedard and RP Joshua Fields (minors) from Seattle for OF Chih-Hsien Chiang (minors).
  • Red Sox traded SP Stephen Fife (minors), C Tim Federowicz (minors), and RP Juan Rodriguez (minors) to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Red Sox are Wheeling and Dealing

By: Shane Godek

                A day before the trade deadline, the Red Sox tried to improve their roster for their playoff run. They first went to the Kansas City Royals and made a deal to acquire utility infielder Mike Aviles. Aviles has five homeruns and ten steals on the season and can play second and third base, as well as his natural position, shortstop. The Sox surrendered third baseman Yamaico Navarro along with right-handed pitching prospect Kendal Volz. Navarro has scattered 8 hits over 37 at bats this season for the Sox, and is considered to be a potential every day starter in the future. Volz was a ninth round pick for the Red Sox, and has shown some promise this year, striking out 56 batters over 51 and 1/3 innings. This deal gives the Red Sox an upgrade on their bench, as well some added speed. It is expected that Aviles will be sent down when Jed Lowrie returns, and the Red Sox will try to turn him into and outfielder before roster expansion in September.

                The Red Sox also traded for Oakland pitcher Rich Harden… almost. The principle to send prospect Lars Anderson to the A’s for Harden was on the table, but the Red Sox backed out after team doctors didn’t like what saw in Harden’s medicals. For a guy who has shown the only thing he does consistently in his career is get hurt, this shouldn’t come as much of a shock. The Red Sox dodged a bullet by backing out of the deal at the last second. All that Harden would have given  them was another arm that needs rehabbing in the minors a month from now. With Ubaldo Jimenez already traded, and Hiroki Kuroda making it clear he wants to go down with the ship in L.A, the Red Sox are going to turn their attention to acquiring pitcher Erik Bedard. Even though Bedard recorded only 4 outs and gave up 5 runs in his return from the the D.L on Friday, the Sox would like to add another arm to the rotation. Personally, I think the Red Sox would get the same pitcher in Erik Bedard as they would in Rich Hill. They would be better off calling up Kevin Millwood and taking their chances with him if they need another starter. He has a 4.1 ERA in 12 starts for the AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox this year, and has actually logged 41 career postseason innings with a 3.92 ERA. Granted, the last time he played October baseball was in 2002, but I really don’t think he would do worse than Rich Harden or Erik Bedard, and he doesn’t cost us a prospect.

                If the Red Sox are going to make any moves, it will be to acquire bullpen depth. Guys like Rafael Betancourt and Grant Balfour could both be on the market, and the Red Sox could benefit from adding another arm to their pen. After that, there isn’t much on the market that the Red Sox would want. A guy like Ryan Ludwick may intrigue the Sox, but it appears that the Indians and the Pirates are making it a two horse race for Ludwick’s skills. Another right handed bat that may attract the Sox is Josh Willingham, but the Red Sox don’t appear to be willing to meet the A’s price for him. He and Ludwick would add power from the right side of the plate, and play right field for Boston, something that the Sox could use.

                The Red Sox certainly have talent in house, but is it enough to compete with the other American league teams that are adding pieces add the deadline? Only time will tell us that. Maybe this year will be the year that the Sox don’t pull off a monster deal. You can never count them out though. As long as Theo Epstein is leading the front office, they are always a threat to swoop in at the last second and steal a player away from another contender. If they do make a deal, let’s just hope they catch lightning in a bottle, not J.D Drew in a bottle. 

 Changes in RBB Rules Should Be Made

by Dennis Begley 

Honestly, I believe some of the rules for RBB are very blown and over the top out of proportion. The rules are to harsh, and refs can take some rules to far. I know i'm a rookie, so I may have no business putting my nose into this, but I believe this sport has to many rules and regulations. Some of them have cost people games. Such as the sudden death rule, I believe it be so much cooler to be like soccer and have penalty kicks i think it would be much more intense, and also the whole two limbs must be on the floor the whole time cost actaully my team, the Ginger Giants, a championship match because when my teammate Shane Godek was in the air as he was shooting for the game winning goal, which he didn't get because his limbs weren't on the ground. HE WAS IN THE AIR, and so my team lost the semi-finals due to a dumb call because the refs aren't lessening the rules, and also now to how you can't move with the ball in every single sport. You are allowed to move with the ball soccer, lacrosse, hockey and basketball, so I believe they NEED to make that a rule because it makes the game much more fun to watch; it makes the defense stronger, and keeps the goalie up on his feet more so this deserves to definitely be a rule in the 2012 season. Finally, to how little the physicality in this sport, there is almost no physicality that makes every sport so much more exciting to watch, so I would love to see the refs losen this rule just a little bit more it makes defense easier to defend, and makes the game VERY EXCITING to watch. This will make RBB games more intense because it of how it couples the physicality would make this sport a great sport to watch, and also to my knowledge there has never been a fight in this sport. Every sport has had a fight even GOLF has had a fight obviously, with the more physicality could lead to this and make the game a very very exciting sport to watch obviously. The rule should be you get kicked out of the game if you get into a fight, but it also makes the game very cool for the fans to watch, but maybe rug burn ball isn't ready for this. Injuries are already high enough, but I would just love to see these rules instituted into the 2012 rbb season and lead into the most exciting season hopefully ever of rbb.

The Patriots Interesting Off-Season Moves
By Tim Sorota (July 30, 2011)

On Thursday the Patriots acquired veteran Defensive Tackle Albert Haynseworth. It certainly sent a shock through New England. Coach Bill Belichick has doesn’t tolerate lazy and selfish players. In the past, Haynesworth has been widely considered both of those. The team already has all-pro Vince Wilfork, who plays the same position. But, the deal could turn out great. Haynesworth was a pro-bowler with Tennessee before going to the Redskins. Sometimes, Wilfork is moved to Defensive End and Haynesworth would be moved to D end. Having both Wilfork and Haynesworth on the field at once would cause fear to opposing Running Backs, if they both perform to high levels like they’re capable of. Later in the day the team added WR Chad Ochocinco. This deal shocked me. Ochocinco seems to be a cocky self promoter. Since trading Randy Moss, I wouldn’t think they would go for a guy who is extremely similar off the field. The only difference is this: Ochocinco is much more of a possession receiver. Unlike Moss, Ochocinco will go over the middle and fight for a ball. And, they gave up next to nothing for him. They pretty much got him for free. A guy who can give you 60+ catches and you only have to give two draft picks, why wouldn’t you take it? If he doesn’t produce, Brandon Tate can take his place. He has a safety net. Albert Haynseworth had a safety net, until Friday. The Patriots on Friday announced that they had released long-time Pat Ty Warren. Warren was a two-time champion and was a key contributor on the 2007 team that was 16-0. With Warren gone, Haynesworth was pretty much traded for Warren. If you announce that Warren was traded for Haynesworth, a lot of people would be extremely upset. People are saying that Warren was released because he failed his conditioning test. Haynesworth has a history of failing those tests. Warren failed his because he had a bad ham-string. Haynesworth fails them because he is out of shape. He hasn’t started practicing and Coach Belichick said “There are many things he must do first”. Would you want a guy who is out of shape or a guy who has a recoverable injury? The Pats chose out of shape. Since Warren is gone, Haynesworth has no safety net. If he stinks and doesn’t make the team, Brandon Deadrick will have to start or Kyle Love. Both the initial trades were great, and still can be. Ochocinco will be a good receiver and produce. Albert Haynesworth is a different story. It’s hard to tell whether or not he will help the team. I could see both these deals doing wonders for the team, and I can also see them being horrible. 

 LESTER PITCHES RED SOX TO 10-2 VICTORY

by Tim Scott

After a rough slide of 2 consecutive losses, the Red Sox managed to pull together, and went back on the winning path with an impressive 10-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The day started with the acquisition of Mike Aviles (who played an inning in the field) from the Royals. From the start, it was a sign that the Sox were taking care of business.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Jon Lester (11-4), who was trying to overcome his ND vs. the Royals on Monday. He did so successfully, going 8 solid innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits with 8 strikeouts to his credit. 

Despite four quiet innings, the Red Sox really exploded in the 5th against White Sox starter Philip Humber (8-7). Jarrod Saltalmacchia started the charge with an RBI double. Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia each added sacrifice flies, and Kevin Youkilis drove in a run with an RBI single. The Sox were up 4-0 after 4.5 innings.

The White Sox had brief surges of confidence in the 7th and 8th innings. Paul Konerko and Gordon Beckham each had solo home runs, and the White Sox inched back 5-2.

In the 8th, the Sox had an RBI from Scutaro, but it was in the 9th when the Sox really shined. Adrian Gonzalez and Youkilis had back-to-back home runs, which drove in three runs. Also, Saltalmacchia and Scutaro drove in 2 more runs, and the Sox rolled to a 10-2 victory.

Today's game was truly a refreshment for the Sox as opposed to their last two. The Sox slugged out 15 hits, drove in 10 runs, and only left 9 men on base. They also held the White Sox to 2 runs on 5 hits, despite only 4 LOB.

The Sox wrap up the series on Sunday at 2:10 against the White Sox. Andrew Miller (4-1) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the White Sox will counter with Mark Buehrle (8-5). The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

5th Inning BOSTON: Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled to right. Carl Crawford scored. (BOS, 1-0)

5th Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro flied out to right. Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 2-0)

5th Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia flied out to right. Josh Reddick scored. (BOS, 3-0)

5th Inning BOSTON: Kevin Youkilis singled to third. Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 4-0)

7th Inning WHITE SOX: Paul Konerko homered (25) to left. (BOS, 4-1)

8th Inning BOSTON: Marco Scutaro singled to center. Reddick scored. (BOS, 5-1)

8th Inning WHITE SOX: Gordon Beckham homered (8) to left. (BOS, 5-2)

9th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez homered (18) to right. Pedroia scored. (BOS, 7-2)

9th Inning BOSTON: Youkilis homered (15) to left. (BOS, 8-2)

9th Inning BOSTON: Saltalamacchia doubled to right. Crawford scored. (BOS, 9-2)

9th Inning BOSTON: Scutaro singled to center. Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 10-2)

BOSTON Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-4, RBI), Kevin Youkilis (2-5, HR, 2 RBI), Carl Crawford (2-4, 2 RBI), Jarrod Saltalmacchia (2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Marco Scutaro (2-3, 2 RBI)

WHITE SOX Hitters: Paul Konerko (1-3, HR, RBI), Gordon Beckham (1-3, HR, RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Jon Lester (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 8 K, 98 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, H, BB, 16 PC)

WHITE SOX Pitchers: Philip Humber (4. IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 86 PC), Will Ohman (1.2 IP, 2 H, BB, K, 36 PC), Jason Frasor (0.2 IP, K, 9 PC), Brian Bruney (1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, 2 HR, 58 PC), Matt Thornton (0.1 IP, K, 3 PC)

LINE SCORE

BOS 000 040 015-10 15 0

CWS 000 000 110-2  5  1

WP: Lester (11-4) LP: Humber (8-7)

RED SOX TRANSACTIONS:

  • RED SOX acquired INF Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals for UTL Yamaico Navarro and RHP Kendal Volz (minors)

A Quick Overview of the Founding of the WWE 

By Andrew Simmons 

Just to let you know all professional wrestling is fake, and has a predetermined winner and loser, but that does not mean it is not one of the most entertaining things on television.
The WWE was founded in 1952 by Vince J. McMahon. Then the WWWF (the World Wide Wrestling Federation), it was a territorial professional wrestling promotion in New York. Most of the big matches at the time were in Madison Square Garden. WWE did not become the international powerhouse it is today until Vince K McMahon took over after his father died in the 1980's. It was Vince who had the idea for Wrestlemania, which was the first ever Pay-Per-View in professional wrestling history. This event brought mainstream attention because of Muhammad Ali, Mr T, and Cyndi Lauper. The main star of the WWE during that time was Hulk Hogan, who revolutionized professional wrestling, and made it the way it is today. The WWE has turned into a billion dollar organization, and WWE episodes have had guest such as Mike Tyson, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone, and other huge stars from the world of sports.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Brickhouse Wrestling Clinic
by Dennis Begley
Brickhouse Wrestling Clinic is a wrestling clinic. Not fake, terrible wrestling, but teaches real wrestling takedowns, reversals and pins for wins that brings out your real full potential in the sport led by probably the best coaches in all of New England. It is located in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the head coach is Sean Harrington, a 2 time Massachusetts state champion and 2 time New England champion as well as a two time college All-American at UMASS-Lowell. Along with assistant coaching Harvard, he is the best youth coach and one of the best high school coaches of all time. His assistant coach is also Coach Gilbride, coach of Nashoba. This clinic is the best wrestling clinic around, and has made many good wrestlers into amazing wrestlers; changing losing season wrestlers into state champs, and will change any wrestler into a great wrestler. I give this place a five out of five stars, and I'm telling you wrestlers if you wanna get better come here.


Why the Bruins Are a Better Hockey Team and Can Repeat

by Tyler Murry: Majority Writer: Hockey (Boston Bruins)

“Get the Duck Boats ready” were the final words of Boston’s own Dave Goucher as he announced the game on the radio last June, as the Bruins knocked off the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.  The B’s first cup win since 1972. The real question is, how can the Bruins win it all again? 

The Bruins for the most part have kept the team intact. Some notable losses include wingers Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder along with defenseman Tomas Kaberle.  Recchi the 43 year-old veteran announced during the year that he would retire if the Black and Gold could take home the cup, and surely his leadership and defensive presence will be missed. Not to mention his 14 goals and 35 assists as well.  He is not a guy on the ice that you can replace but the B’s have a strong core of young prospects and role players that can step up and fill his minutes.  Someone like Tyler Seguin or Rich Peverley are ready for a larger role in the Bruin’s lineup, and this can be their opportunity.  

As for the 31 year-old sniper Michael Ryder, he is a fairly big loss but can be replace.  Michael Ryder was signed to a 2 year deal worth $7 million with the Dallas Stars earlier this July (NHL.com).  Ryder did put up 41 points in the regular season and was a big time contributor offensively in the playoffs but he was at times soft in the defensive zone.  Head coach Claude Julien is known to emphasize a physical style of play where defense comes first.  Thats not Ryder’s game and although my be missed on the offensive side of the ice, he will not be missed in the defensive zone.  He will do well in Dallas but his exit from Boston has been overdue and will be replaced by the surplus of youth in the Bruin’s system such as 2009 1st round pick Jordan Caron.    Caron put up just 7 points in 23 games this year but showed glimpses of greatness and is ready for a spot on the Bruin’s lineup.

The next notable loss for the Bruins was defenseman Tomas Kaberle who signed a 3 year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes worth over $12 million this offseason (NHL.com).  Kaberle was a rental player whom was acquired at last years trade deadline.  To say he underachieved was an understatement.  He made mistake after mistake in the Bruin’s end and was responsivle for numerous goals.  Therefore the Bruins knew they needed to upgrade the defense and did just that by adding Joe Corvo.  Corvo will help the Bruins offensively and will be a rock-solid defenseman in their own zone.

Overall, the Bruins have not made any big splashes this offseason but with the strong core of youth such as Steven Kampfer, Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron,  and Zach Hamill, they will not only be contenders but favorites to win it all again.  The Bruins kept the core of the team intact while making small and affordable acquisitions to help strengthen the team. The addition of Corvo makes the defensive core stronger and mix that with a strong offensive lineup and the best goalie tandem in the league and you’ve got yourself a threat to win and once again parade on the duck boats in Boston next June. 

 RED SOX WEEK IN REVIEW (7/24-7/29)

by Tim Scott

RED SOX 12, Mariners 8 (July 24, 2011)

With Hot Spot bloggers Tim Scott and Kevin Linsey in the audience, the Red Sox did not disappoint, completing the sweep of the mediocre Mariners. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Josh Reddick each had multi-hit games, and Tim Wakefield (6-3) got his 2000th career strikeout as a member of the Red Sox. The Mariners were powered by homers by Miguel Olivo and Brendan Ryan, but the Sox came up with the win, 12-8.

ROYALS 3, Red Sox 1 (July 25, 2011) 

In a 14-inning thrill ride, the Royals managed to crash the Red Sox homestreak joy ride, winning 3-1, and spoiling Jon Lester's return from the DL. The Royals scored 2 runs in the 14th against Randy Williams (0-1), courtesy of Mike Aviles and Alcides Escobar. Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Reddick managed to get 7 key hits for the Red Sox. Two of Reddick's hits were doubles. 

RED SOX 13, Royals 9 (July 26, 2011)

Dustin Pedroia was the hero of the 13-9 Red Sox win, going 4-5, with just a home run short of the cycle. Ortiz also went 4-5, hitting 3 doubles and driving in 5 runs. Alfredo Aceves (6-1) got the win for the Sox, going 3.1 solid innings, with 3 strikeouts to his credit. Gonzalez also had 3 RBIs in the winning effort. For the Royals, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler went deep, and Aviles had 3 hits.

RED SOX 12, Royals 5 (July 27, 2011)

Pedroia and Gonzalez had 3 hits each, and Ortiz had a crucial grand slam, as the Red Sox rolled to their second straight win, 12-5. Despite a lackluster outing, John Lackey (9-8) got the win, striking out 3 in 5.2 innings. Jacoby Ellsbury also had 2 RBIs in the win. The Royals were powered by Gordon, Butler, Hosmer, Jeff Francoeur, and Brayan Pena, who each had multi-hit games. Hosmer and Butler each hit home runs in the game.

ROYALS 4, Red Sox 3 (July 28, 2011)

Despite key offensive production by Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Drew Sutton, the Sox were unable to aid Josh Beckett (9-4), as the Sox dropped a close 4-3 contest to the Royals. Butler and Mike Moustakas each had key RBIs against Beckett, helping their starter Luke Hochevar (7-8) get the win. Chris Getz led the Royals with 2 hits.

WHITE SOX 3, Red Sox 1 (July 29, 2011)

In what appeared to be a great pitching duel, Gavin Floyd (9-9) out-pitched Wakefield (6-4), as the White Sox rolled to a 3-1 win. Only Saltalamacchia, Sutton, and Marco Scutaro had hits for the Sox, with Saltalamacchia driving in their lone run with home run #9 in the 3rd. Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski had the RBIs for the Royals, with Pierzynski hitting the crucial 2-run homer in the 7th inning. 

 ELLSBURY LEADS SOX TO 3-1 WIN

by Tim Scott

A pitcher's duel throughout the game, the Red Sox managed to continue their hot streak against the Seattle Mariners, winning 3-1. This is the third straight win for the Sox, and the 14th straight loss for the struggling Mariners. 

Getting the start for the Sox was Josh Beckett (9-3). Beckett impressed, going 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits along with 7 strikeouts. Beckett managed to lower his already impressive ERA to 2.07, which is the third-best in MLB.

However, the Mariners starting pitcher also had a great performance. Despite being tacked with the loss, rookie Blake Beavan (1-2) did well in the first 6 innings. However, his night was overshadowed when he allowed 3 runs in the 7th inning.

Essentially, it was only the 7th inning when offense took force. In the top half, for the Mariners, Mike Carp hit his 2nd homer in as many days, launching a Josh Beckett offering over the right field wall.

The Mariners were up 1-0 heading into the bottom half of the frame. With 2 on, Jacoby Ellsbury continued to assault AL pitching with a 2-run single, scoring in Jason Varitek and Marco Scutaro. Also, Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch by reliever Aaron Laffey to give the Sox a 3-1 lead.

Great relief work by Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, who notched save #23 with a 17-pitch ninth, led the Sox to an impressive 3-1 win over the Mariners.

Earlier in the game, Dustin Pedroia extended his 20-game hitting streak with a double off of Beavan in the 2nd. The second baseman went 2-4 in the win. Ellsbury and Scutaro also had two hits for the Sox.

The only bright spot in the Mariners' loss was Dustin Ackley, who went 3-5, leading the charge for the struggling M's.

Tomorrow, the Sox and Mariners wrap up their three-game series at Fenway at 1:35. Tim Wakefield (5-3) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Mariners counter with All-Star Michael Pineda (8-6). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

Also, tomorrow, Boston Hot Spot reporters Tim Scott and Kevin Linsey will cover the game live from Fenway Park. They will cover the game via live blogging. Their blog of the game can be accessed at Cover It Live.com, and they will begin blogging at 1:30. Hope you can tune in!

GAME STATS

7th Inning SEATTLE: Mike Carp homered (2) to right. (SEA, 1-0)

7th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center. Jason Varitek and Marco Scutaro scored. (BOS, 2-1)

7th Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch by Aaron Laffey. (BOS, 3-1)

SEATTLE Hitting: Dustin Ackley (3-5), Mike Carp (1-4, HR, RBI)

BOSTON Hitting: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-4, 2 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-4, 2B), Marco Scutaro (2-3, 2B)

SEATTLE Pitching: Blake Beavan (6.2 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 4 K, 104 PC), David Pauley (0 IP, H, 2 PC), Aaron Laffey (1.1 IP, BB, 17 PC)

BOSTON Pitching: Josh Beckett (7 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 7 K, HR, 118 PC), Daniel Bard (1 IP, H, BB, K, 19 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, H, K, 17 PC)

Line Score

SEA 000 000 100-1 9 2

BOS 000 000 30x-3 10 0

WP: Beckett (9-3) LP: Beavan (1-2) SV: Papelbon (24)

 TOP 25 RUG BURN BALL PLAYERS

Voted for by: The Writers of the Boston Hot Spot

1. Zeke Sprague (Wang Bang) 16.7 Rating
2. Jon Jaffe (Munchkins) 15.3 Rating
3. Jeff Miller (Munchkins) 14.0 Rating
4. John Paul Chunga (Tropics) 13.3 Rating
5. Jake Smith (Wang Bang) 12.5 Rating
6. Alex Putterman (Tropics) 12.0 Rating 
7. Tim Scott (Munchkins) 12.0 Rating 
8. Roger Bourland (Tropics) 11.7 Rating
9. Michael Singh (We Suck) 10.0 Rating
10. Shane Godek (Wang Bang) 8.7 Rating
11. Elliot Rosen (Natty Ice) 7.1 Rating 
12. Jack Machulski (Wang Bang) 7.0 Rating
13. Tim Sorota (We Suck) 7.0 Rating 
14. Timmy Tully (Wang Bang) 5.8 Rating
 

15. Tyler Hylton (Natty Ice) 5.3 Rating

16. Andy Lenser (Munchkins) 5.1 Rating 

17. Alex Lebowitz (Tropics) 4.6 Rating
18. Matt Carrigan (Munchkins) 4.4 Rating
19. Mark Weinstein (Wang Bang) 4.1 Rating
20. Brenden Lamb.-Ryan (WB) 3.5 Rating 
21. Benji Friedman (Tropics) 3.3 Rating
22. Byron Toleffson (Munchkins) 2.9 Rating 
23. Matthew Tonis (Tropics) 2.8 Rating 
24. Taylor Snyder (Munchkins) 2.1 Rating
25. Matt Stolbof (Natty Ice) 1.4 Rating

RBB Players Pumped for 2011 Draft

by Taylor Snyder

The 2011 Boston Rug Burn Ball League draft is tomorrow, and the players, fans, and staff are filled with excitement. It’s hard to believe we are just 2 days away from the first tip-off. The draft is the first ever, and it is expected to be dramatic and very fun for everybody. The players are already getting their things packed and heading down to the arena to get ready for it. The big focus about this whole draft will be the veteran players. One veteran that will definitely be back with his great shots will be Jack “Singapore” Machulski. Singapore was one of the top goal scorers in the 2010 season, and was a very dangerous player. He will definitely be a 1st round pick in my opinion. One other player who is very excited for the season than none other than Tim Scott. Scott was a fan favorite last year and was a great scorer, so I project him in 2nd or 3rd round. He will definitely be a good and safe pick for whatever team can get him. But besides the veterans, who could forget about all the rookies? There are a ton of rookies coming to play in the BRBBL, and with all them coming, the draft will be longer that expected. It's also hard to project were they will be picked because of there little experience and their unknown talent. I think that they will be picked in the lower rounds perhaps 5 or 6 would be a safe place to say were they will be drafted. The draft start time will most likely be 8 or 9 PM tomorrow night at Boston University. Andres Cordoba, a notable rookie stated earlier to the press and fans “I am shaking with excitement.” This shows just how ready and pumped up these players are. The one person I think you should definitely keep a eye on during the draft is Shane Godek. Shane was a very powerful forward who scored and assisted a lot. I think he is a very powerful player that is a very good draft pick. I would definitely get him 1st round a build around him with one more veteran player, and then get young guns to support your team. That’s how I think the draft will turn out. It’s really hard to believe that the draft is tomorrow, and tip off is Monday. It seems like just yesterday Wang Bang won the 2010 RBB cup. Now it is time for a new season filled with big anticipation. So get ready rug burn ball fans, because the season is just a matter of short days away from starting. Are you ready for the 2011 season?

RED SOX POUND MARINERS, 7-4

by Tim Scott

The Boston Red Sox were not intimidated by 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez (8-9) on Friday. Instead, they pounded his stuff all around Fenway Park, rolling to their 2nd straight win, 7-4 against the Seattle Mariners.

Getting the start for the Sox was John Lackey (8-8). Despite having a rough first inning, Lackey was able to overcome the obstacles, and throw 7 solid innings, allowing 1 run on 8 hits with 4 strikeouts to his credit.

The Mariners struck first in the first, when Dustin Ackley lined an RBI single to left, scoring in Ichiro Suzuki. At the end of the first, the M's had a 1-0 advantage.

But the Sox stormed back in the first, thanks to a Kevin Youkilis RBI single to left. Dustin Pedroia, who extended his 19-game hitting streak with a single in the first, scored on the play, tying the score up at 1.

From that point on, the Red Sox had the upper hand on the struggling Mariners, who have now lost 13 straight games. In the third, Jacoby Ellsbury continued his tear of AL pitching, launching his 16th homer of the season to right, putting the Sox up 2-1.

However, it was in the 7th when the Red Sox really erupted. Adrian Gonzalez started the 5-run rally by driving in Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury with a single. Also, Kevin Youkilis had a 2-run double, and David Ortiz had an RBI single of his own to propel the Sox, 7-1.

The Mariners had a brief attempt at a comeback, when outfielder Mike Carp launched his first homer of the season against Franklin Morales, a 3-run blast that put the Mariners within 3 of the Sox lead, 7-4.

Yet it was the relief mastery of Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon that kept the glue in place, retiring the last 4 Mariners hitters with ease, and giving the Sox the 7-4 win.

Tomorrow, the series resumes at 7:10 between the Red Sox and Mariners. Josh Beckett (8-3) will get the start for the Sox, while the Mariners counter with rookie Blake Beavan (1-1). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning SEATTLE: Dustin Ackley singled to left. Ichiro Suzuki scored. (SEA, 1-0)

1st Inning BOSTON: Kevin Youkilis singled to left. Dustin Pedroia scored. (Tied, 1-1)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (16)  to right. (BOS, 2-1)

7th Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez singled to center. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 4-1)

7th Inning BOSTON: Kevin Youkilis doubled to left. Pedroia and Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 6-1)

7th Inning BOSTON: David Ortiz singled to center. Youkilis scored. (BOS, 7-1)

8th Inning SEATTLE: Mike Carp homered (1) to right. Miguel Olivo and Justin Smoak scored. (BOS, 7-4)

SEATTLE Hitting: Ichiro Suzuki (2-5, 2B, 2 SB, R), Miguel Olivo (2-4, 2B), Jack Cust (2-4, 2B), Mike Carp (1-4, HR, 3 RBI)

BOSTON Hitting: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-5, HR, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (3-3), Kevin Youkilis (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (1-3, 2 RBI)

SEATTLE Pitching: Felix Hernandez (6.1 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 BB, HR, 117 PC), Jeff Gray (0.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 10 PC), Josh Luebke (1 IP, K, 14 PC)

BOSTON Pitching: John Lackey (7 IP, 8 H, ER, 4 K, 101 PC), Franklin Morales (0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, K, HR, 25 PC), Daniel Bard (0.1 IP, 3 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, K, 7 PC)

Line Score

SEA 100 000 030-4 11 1

BOS 101 000 50x-7 13 0

WP: Lackey (8-8) LP: Hernandez (8-9) SV: Papelbon (22)

GAME NOTES

BOS-Kevin Youkilis left game in 7th inning with an injured right hand.

Kobe Going Overseas?

by Matt Stolbof

         In Ankara, Turkey, the club team Beskitas have been talking to the Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant about playing for their team if there is no NBA season, due to the lockout. Ergin Ataman, who is the coach of the club team, has said that,”Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us." Beskitas is also the same team that signed New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams.

      Beskitas is saying that in order to pay Kobe, they will need to get say a sponsor. Ataman is saying, “Our board will evaluate that.” Sources have said that Beskitas had made an offer to Kobe of $500,000 a month but, Kobe is saying that he would like to have $1 million a month if he is going to play in Turkey. Kobe Bryant is also considering China as another country to play for during the lockout.

        Beskitas has also made big signings in the past. Last year, they signed former 76er and 2001 NBA MVP Allen Iverson. A.I.’s time in turkey was a short trip due to injuries.

         Another Net player, Sasha Vujacic, is also playing in Turkish league but, for the club team Anadolu Efes. He has agreed to a 1 year deal with the team and he does have a 2nd year option.

         The star center Dwight Howard is also thinking of playing overseas. He is considering to play in China if the NBA and the NBPA don’t get a deal done this year.

         Players in the NBA are thinking of going overseas so, they can play during the lockout, including star players like Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. Right now the possibility of a 2011-2012 season is very slim so, we should be expecting to see more and more NBA players to be playing in European leagues. Hopefully the NBA will have an NBA season next year and players won’t have to go overseas. 

 ELLSBURY POWERS SOX TO 4-0 WIN

by Tim Scott

Even though the game started at 12:35 (the second earliest game the Sox will play this year), the Boston Red Sox managed to best the Orioles in every category, edging them 4-0 to wrap up the 3 game series.

Getting the start for the Sox was Andrew Miller (4-1). Miller, despite 6 walks, managed to hold the Orioles to only 2 hits in 5.2 innings. He also had three strikeouts, and got out of jams whenever necessary.

The Sox were fueled by power from one source. It might sound ironic, but Jacoby Ellsbury launched two homers against the Orioles. The first came in the third, over the rightfield wall (401 ft). Also, he launched the second to right with a distance of 379 feet. The unlucky pitcher who allowed the homers was Jake Arrieta (9-7).

Also, the Sox got some RBIs from Jason Varitek (RBI groundout in 4th) and Carl Crawford (RBI walk in 8th). 

The Orioles only had 2 hits on the night. The first was by Craig Tatum in the fifth, and Derrek Lee added one more in the 6th. All of these hits came against Miller.

The Red Sox, however, had 12 hits. The majority came from Jacoby Ellsbury (2), Adrian Gonzalez (4), Josh Reddick (2), and Carl Crawford (2). Also, Dustin Pedroia, who now has an 18 game hitting streak, and Kevin Youkilis had hits in the winning effort.

Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon kept the Orioles hitless for 3.1 innings, avenging the 6-2 loss yesterday.

The Red Sox take the day off tomorrow, but return to Fenway Park to play the Seattle Mariners in a 3-game series. John Lackey (7-8) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Mariners counter with 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez (8-8) at 7:10. The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

3rd Inning BOSTON: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (14) to right. (BOS, 1-0)

4th Inning BOSTON: Jason Varitek grounded out to second. Josh Reddick scored. (BOS, 2-0)

7th Inning BOSTON: Ellsbury homered (15) to right. (BOS, 3-0)

8th Inning BOSTON: Carl Crawford walked. Adrian Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 4-0)

BOSTON Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (4-5), Jacoby Ellsbury (2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI), Josh Reddick (2-3), Carl Crawford (2-3, 2B, RBI)

BALTIMORE Hitters: Derrek Lee (1-4), Craig Tatum (1-3)

BOSTON Pitchers: Andrew Miller (5.2 IP, 2 H, 6 BB, 3 K, 103 PC), Matt Albers (1.1 IP, 2 K, 13 PC), Daniel Bard (1 IP, 9 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, K, 13 PC)

BALTIMORE Pitchers: Jake Arrieta (7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 HR 111 PC), Mark Hendrickson (0 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB 21 PC), Mark Worrell (1 IP, 2 K, 12 PC), Jason Berken (1 IP, H, BB, 9 PC)

 Line Score

BOS 001 100 110-4 12 0

BAL 000 000 000-0  8  0

WP: Miller (4-1) LP: Arrieta (9-7)

 Tim Scott's Top 20 Rug Burn Ball Players

by Tim Scott

Here is my top 20 list of the greatest Rug Burn Ball Players. This list was made out of popular demand and reaction from the readers. Enjoy!

20. Brendan Lambert-Ryan (Wang Bang): The goalie helped aid his team to the first championship ever with his polished skills.

19. Mark Weinstein (Wang Bang): Weinstein's brain and ability made him a crucial part of any team's success. 

18. Tyler Hylton (Natty Ice): Hylton and teammate Elliot Rosen (#12) made for a duo that was lethal enough for 4th in the inaugural season.

17. Alex Lebowitz (Tropics): The leader of the Tropics, Lebowitz was good at any position, despite making a costly blunder in Game 1 of the semifinals. 

16. Andy Lenser (Munchkins)-Good leadership qualities; captain of the Munchkins during the regular season

15. Tim Sorota (We Suck)-Captain of We Suck; led the team in goals on a team that only won 1 game.

14. Matt Carrigan (Munckhins)-Great all-around player, was a force in the middle of the field, leading to many goals.

13. Timmy Tully (Wang Bang)-Self proclaimed "quarterback" of the team, led the team in assists and steals.

12. Elliot Rosen (Natty Ice)-The leader of Natty Ice, he led the team in goals, and was a great all-around player. 

11. Jack Machulski (We Suck/Wang Bang): Singapore was a certified goal scorer who had a gift in finding the net for whatever team he played for. 

10. Shane Godek (We Suck/Wang Bang): Another clutch player, Godek was a crucial player in the Wang Bang championship recipe.  

9. Michael Singh (We Suck): VJ was a very talented goalie, making saves left and right for We Suck. 

8. Tim Scott (Munchkins): Game 1 of the Semifinals, on what was one of the most classic goals is the reason I'm 8th. 

7. Roger Bourland (Tropics): Bourland was one of the toughest goalies, and his grit was proven when he took many hits to the face in Game 2 of the finals. 

6. Alex Putterman (Tropics): The Defensive Player of the Year, Putterman's knowledge of the game and his execution of the skills made him intimidating to all.

5. Jake Smith (Wang Bang): The 2010 MVP, Smith was a ferocious goal scorer and was very valuable to those who played with him.

4. John Paul Chunga (Tropics): The Pope of Rug Burn Ball is a natural-born striker with a nose for the net.

3. Jeff Miller (Munchkins): A fan-favorite amongst the Munchkins, Miller was a talented goal scorer who made goalies intimidated with his talent. 

2. Jon Jaffe (Munchkins): A goalie who used every part of his body to make saves, Jaffe had one of the highest save percentages in the league (93.5%)

1. Zeke Sprague (Wang Bang): The founder and current player-commissioner, Zeke was critical to Wang Bang's success as a powerhouse team. Without him, RBB would never come to light as a great game.

Don't agree with this list? Send your list to Tim Scott on Facebook, and we will have a composite list posted on Saturday, July 23. 

 Jeff and Jaffe: The Perfect Combo

by Taylor Snyder

The Munchkins were a average team last year when getting to the playoffs. They were in 2nd to last; 1 point ahead of "We Suck". They needed a player that would pick their goalie spot up, and they also needed a star forward. The two players that they knew would be perfect for this job would be Jon Jaffe, the great goalie, and Jeff Miller, the powerful forward and defender. The Munchkins had a serious problem with their goalie as they were currently switching out players in goal. They tried Drew, Matt Carrigan, and they even put me in goal for one game. It was obvious that their really big problem was at goalie. The Munchkins discussed deals with notable free agents, and players from every different rug burn ball league. Then finally, they talked deals with Jaffe, and they were able to persuade him enough to come join the team. The only thing left was a forward, and for this job would be Jaffe’s good friend, Jeff Miller, who would come over to play for the Munchkins in the package they traded for. The Jeff and Jaffe trade was sometimes called “the greatest trade in rug burn ball history”. With Jeff Miller leading at the forward spot they would be unstoppable as Jeff would be one of the top scorers in the league, and the top scorer for his team, The Munchkins. Jaffe was the perfect goalie for the Munchkins. Jaffe would make the most remarkable saves with all parts of his body, which is why he would get so many injuries. This did not slow him down one bit, as he fought throughout the whole playoff stretch for the Munchkins. Jeff Miller was also a big solution for the Munchkins because of his great power and great shot angles. He would make the munchkins very dangerous near the opposing team’s goalie. Jeff is ranked in the top 5 best forwards in the league because of his great ability to score goals, and to drive a team forward, along with teaching them to never give up and just keep playing. This trade was something that turned the whole season around for the Munchkins. Without these two great players on their team the munchkins would’ve probably never made the playoffs. The two great combo will be returning in 2011 for what should be an energetic season. Recently Jeff Miller was not ranked in the top 15 best players of 2010 which made him furious and saying “How can they forget the only player on their team that scored for them?” This made Jeff very upset and got him even more fired up for the season. These two great players will be ready for 2011 to come so they can strike again and make their mark in rug burn ball history. The season is believe it or not just 5 days away from starting and 4 days away from the draft. So get ready for this year because Jeff and Jaffe are coming.

 SOX CAN'T TOP ORIOLES, LOSE 6-2

by Tim Scott

When the opportunity arose, the Red Sox couldn't capitalize, and they wound up losing to the Baltimore Orioles, 6-2, snapping a three-game winning streak.

Kyle Weiland (0-1) made his second major league start for the Sox, and didn't continue to impress. In 6 innings, Weiland went 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, with 3 walks and 2 strikeouts to his credit.

Weiland started experiencing problems early, especially in the second inning. It started when Mark Reynolds doubled to deep left, scoring in speedster Adam Jones, putting the Orioles on the board first for the second night in a row. Quickly, Nolan Reimold followed up with an RBI groundout, scoring in Matt Wieters.

For the second straight night, the Red Sox were down 2-0 at the end of 2 innings. Usually, the Sox are successful in overcoming early deficits of 2 or more runs, but tonight was a different story.

Despite having the most losses in the majors (with 13), Jeremy Guthrie (4-13) was solid for the Orioles tonight. In 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits, with 4 strikeouts on 110 pitches.

He was successful in the first 4 innings, allowing just 4 hits and holding the Majors-best run-scoring offense scoreless.

To make matters worse, the Orioles got one more piece of offense against Weiland, thanks to a Matt Wieters RBI single. 

However, in the 5th inning, Jarrod Saltalamacchia propelled the Sox with his 8th homer (his 2nd in 2 days), which scored in Josh Reddick, and pulled the Sox within one of the Orioles lead.

But the momentum would soften in the 8th. After a stellar performance on Sunday, Alfredo Aceves ran into a speed bump. With a runner on, Derrek Lee smacked a 2-run bomb to right. Also, Mark Reynolds followed up with a solo shot, making it a back-to-back home run performance.

Jim Johnson held the Sox hitless for two innings, and snapped the Red Sox surge by retiring Carl Crawford with a groundout. 

The Sox will wrapup the series with the Orioles at 12:35 pm. Andrew Miller (3-1) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Orioles will counter with Jake Arrieta (9-6). The game will be broadcast on NESN.

GAME STATS

2nd Inning ORIOLES: Mark Reynolds doubled to left. Adam Jones scored. (BAL, 1-0)

2nd Inning ORIOLES: Nolan Reimold grounded out to short. Matt Wieters scored. (BAL, 2-0)

3rd Inning ORIOLES: Wieters singled to right. Nick Markakis scored. (BAL, 3-0)

5th Inning RED SOX: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered (8) to right. Josh Reddick scored. (BAL, 3-2)

8th Inning ORIOLES: Derrek Lee homered (10) to right. Wieters scored. (BAL, 5-2)

8th Inning ORIOLES: Reynolds homered (21) to center. (BAL, 6-2)

RED SOX Hitters: Josh Reddick (3-4, 2B), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1-3, HR, 2 RBI)

ORIOLES Hitters: Mark Reynolds (3-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), Matt Wieters (2-3, RBI), Adam Jones (2-4), Derrek Lee (1-3, HR, 2 RBI)

RED SOX Pitchers: Kyle Weiland (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 100 PC), Alfredo Aceves (2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, K, 35 PC)

ORIOLES Pitchers: Jeremy Guthrie (7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, 110 PC), Jim Johnson (2 IP, 22 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 020 000-2 8 0

BAL 021 000 03x-6 8 0

WP: Guthrie (4-13) LP: Weiland (0-1) SV: Johnson (1)

Almost Champions

The U.S Women’s team suffers a crushing loss in the World Cup final to Japan.

By: Shane Godek

While confetti rained down on them in Frankfurt, Germany, the U.S women’s national team was not the ones celebrating. That honor was reserved for the Japanese team, the victorious side in a heart-stopping match that ended with a penalty shootout. The U.S women’ national team came out of the gates on fire, firing shots from all angles and distances, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Once Abby Wambach hit the crossbar in the 27’ minute, you got the feeling that the USWNT (United States Women’s National Team) needed to change something to score. That change came at half time, when Alex Morgan entered the game as substitution for the injured Lauren Cheney. In the 69th minute, Morgan used her speed to break loose on a great long pass from Megan Rapinoe, and then blasted a left foot shot that found the goal.  The USA held the lead for 11 minutes, but Japanese team would not back down. Aya Miyama scored after the USA’s defense failed to clear a cross that landed on Hope Solo’s doorstep. After the ball is knocked around for a few seconds, Miyama stepped up and drove it home to even the score at 1-1. This would be the score heading into extra time, but after the quick break, the USWNT struck. In the 102nd minute, Abby Wambach did what she is the best in the world at, which is heading the ball into the net. She scores, and now the USWNT is just over 15 minutes away from being crowned champions.  In the 115th minutes, U.S goalkeeper Hope Solo goes down with a knee injury. After walking it off and getting it looked at by medical staff she remains in the game. On the ensuing corner for Japan, team captain Homare Sawa flicked the corner on with an incredible maneuver, and the ball deflected off Abby Wambach and into the U.S net. With this crushing blow dealt to the U.S nationals, they make one final push to get the winner. Despite getting a free kick just outside the box on a red card for Japan, the USWNT can’t find the winner, so the game goes to penalty kicks.

There isn’t a more nerve wracking, exciting event in all of sports than a penalty shootout to decide the World Cup. This one certainly didn’t disappoint. After Shannon Boxx gets her shot saved by Japanese keeper Kaihori, Japan takes the lead in the shootout on the shot of Aya Miyama. Down 1-0, Carli Lloyd tries to get the USA going, but her shot sails over the net. On the next PK for Japan, Hope Solo makes a clutch save to keep the PK score at 1-0 Japan. Needing a goal, the USWNT sends Tobin Heath to the spot. Heath, a sub for Megan Rapinoe who normally would take this shot, gets her try blocked by Kaihori. The pressure is once again on Hope Solo to make a save. She gets a piece of Sagakuchi’s shot, but it rolls in under her fingers. The USA is all but beat. They need a goal and a save to stay alive. Wambach gives them the goal, but Solo can’t make the save. The county of Japan has needed something to cheer about since they were crushed by the earthquake and tsunami that struck their country earlier this year. This certainly qualifies as something worth cheering for.  They get to hoist the cup, and the USA gets to walk off the field empty handed.

In this tournament, there was one big winner: women’s soccer as a whole. This year’s tournament has captivated the world and the USA in particular. There were a record 7,000 tweets per second during the final. This is a testament to how much of the world was watching the game, and how much support there was for these two teams. Even though it was only for a few weeks, the USA caught world cup fever. This team saw an out pour of support for them, and they rode that support to a final. For the first time since 1999, a large portion of the country actually cares about women’s soccer. This is a huge victory for women’s soccer.

Japan won the game on heart and hustle. They deserve to walk away as champions after their showing in the final. The USA should also walk away from this tournament with their heads held high.  They shouldn’t be ashamed of their efforts. This entire tournament has been one month of heart-stopping, drama filled, crazy soccer that has been a pleasure to watch and write about. Thanks to everyone who has been reading my articles and I hope to see you in 2015!

 PEDROIA DOES IT AGAIN; SOX WIN 15-10

by Tim Scott

The Red Sox rallied late in the 8th inning, battling against the Orioles bullpen, and winning their third straight game versus the Orioles, 15-10.

The Red Sox got the start from Tim Wakefield, who went 4.2 innings, allowing 7 runs (3 earned) on 9 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. 

Wakefield's first folly came in the first, when Derrek Lee tripled to deep center, scoring in Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, putting the Orioles up 2-0.

But the Sox came roaring back against Orioles starter Brad Bergesen. In the 3rd, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a solo homer, and, along with RBI singles from Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez put the Red Sox up 3-2 after 3.

In the fourth, Marco Scutaro (Error) and Jacoby Ellsbury (Sac Fly) drove in more runs for the Sox, extending their lead to 5-2. Their early surge was capped in the 5th, when Josh Reddick lined a solo homer to right.

However, it was in the fifth when the Orioles came storming back against Wakefield. JJ Hardy started the rally, when he lined a 2-run bomb to left, and then Adam Jones repeated the feat, only with a solo shot. Before you knew it, the Sox were down 7-6...to the Orioles!

The Sox eventually tied the score in the 7th, when Kevin Youkilis drove in Jacoby Ellsbury with a complementary RBI single. But that was only the start of something much greater.

The Orioles sent Mike Gonzalez (1-2) to the hill in the 8th, and he had a very forgettable performance. It started when Dustin Pedroia had a 2-run double, then Kevin Youkilis had a 2-run double, followed by an RBI single by Carl Crawford, and then a bases-clearing double by Darnell McDonald. Eventually, the score was 15-7 Red Sox after the top of the 8th.

The Sox had a brief hiccup in the 8th on the pitching side. After a solid relief performance by Dan Wheeler (2-1), the Red Sox handed the ball to call-up Randy Williams, who allowed 3 runs to the Orioles in the 8th before Franklin Morales ended the Orioles hopes in the 9th.

The Sox have won 3 straight, and head into game 2 of this series with heavy momentum. Tomorrow, the Sox will start rookie Kyle Weiland (0-0) against the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie (3-13). That game will begin at 7:05 and will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning BALTIMORE: Derrek Lee tripled to center. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters scored. (BAL, 2-0)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered (7) to left. (BAL, 2-1)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Dustin Pedroia singled to left. Marco Scutaro scored. (Tied, 2-2)

3rd Inning BOSTON: Adrian Gonzalez singled to left. Jacoby Ellsbury scored. (BOS, 3-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Scutaro safe on error at first. Carl Crawford scored. (BOS, 4-2)

4th Inning BOSTON: Ellsbury flied out to left. Saltalamacchia scored. (BOS, 5-2)

5th Inning BOSTON: Josh Reddick homered (4) to right. (BOS, 6-2)

5th Inning BALTIMORE: JJ Hardy homered (14) to left. Felix Pie scored. (BOS, 6-4)

5th Inning BALTIMORE: Jones homered (16) to left. (BOS, 6-5)

5th Inning BALTIMORE: Nolan Reimold doubled to left. Wieters and Lee scored. (BAL, 7-6)

7th Inning BOSTON: Kevin Youkilis singled to left. Ellsbury scored. (Tied, 7-7)

8th Inning BOSTON: Pedroia doubled to right. Darnell McDonald and Scutaro scored. (BOS, 9-7)

8th Inning BOSTON: Youkilis singled to center. Ellsbury and Pedroia scored. (BOS, 11-7)

8th Inning BOSTON: Crawford singled to right. Gonzalez scored. (BOS, 12-7)

8th Inning BOSTON: Darnell McDonald doubled to left. Youkilis, Reddick, and Crawford scored. (BOS, 15-7)

8th Inning BALTIMORE: Hardy singled to left. Josh Bell scored. (BOS, 15-8)

8th Inning BALTIMORE: Nick Markakis singled to left. Robert Andino and Hardy scored. (BOS, 15-10)

BOSTON Hitters: Jacoby Ellsbury (3-4, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI), Kevin Youkilis (2-6, 3 RBI), Carl Crawford (2-5, RBI), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2-5, HR, RBI), Darnell McDonald (1-1, 2B, 3 RBI)

BALTIMORE Hitters: JJ Hardy (2-5, HR, 3 RBI), Adam Jones (2-5, HR, RBI), Matt Wieters (2-5), Derrek Lee (2-4, 3B, 2 RBI), Nick Markakis (1-5, 2 RBI), Nolan Reimold (1-5, 2B, 2 RBI)

BOSTON Pitchers: Tim Wakefield (4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 93 PC), Dan Wheeler (2.1 IP, BB, 3 K, 38 PC), Randy Williams (1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, K, 31 PC), Franklin Morales (1 IP, 3 K, 18 PC)

BALTIMORE Pitchers: Brad Bergesen (5 IP, 8 H, 6 R (4 ER), 3 K, 2 HR, 79 PC), Troy Patton (1 IP, H, ER, BB, 2 K, 28 PC), Jason Berken (0 IP, H, 2 PC), Mike Gonzalez (1 IP, H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 34 PC), Matt Worrell (0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, 11 PC), Chris Jakubauskas (1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K, 27 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 321 180-15 16 0

BAL 200 050 030-10 12 1

WP: Wheeler (2-1) LP: Gonzalez (1-2)

 PEDROIA LEADS SOX, 1-0 IN 16 INNINGS

by Tim Scott

This game was truly one of the greatest (and longest) the Red Sox will probably play this year. In a 16 inning pitchers duel, the Red Sox rolled to a series win over the Rays, 1-0.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Josh Beckett, who went 8 innings, allowing only 1 hits and 6 strikeouts. 

He had to contend with Rays starter Jeff Niemann, who had an equally stellar performance, going 8 innings with 2 hits, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts.

After the two starters ended their nights, the game was truly a tug-of-war against the bullpens. The Red Sox pitched Daniel Bard (1 IP), Matt Albers (1.2 IP), Franklin Morales (1.1 IP), Alfredo Aceves (5-1; 3 IP), and Joanthan Papelbon (1 IP, SV), who only held the Rays to 2 hits in 8 innings.

The Rays went ahead and pitched Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, JP Howell, Jake McGee, Juan Cruz, Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes, and Alan Russell (1-2). They allowed three hits in their 16 innings of work.

But the ultimate moment of the game came in the 16th inning, when Dustin Pedroia lined an RBI single to right off of Russell, scoring in Josh Reddick for the game's lone run. 

Along with a Papelbon save in the 16th, the Sox rolled to their second consecutive win. Their next game is on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles at 7:05 in Baltimore. Tim Wakefield (5-3) will get the start for the Red Sox, while the Orioles will start Brad Bergesen (1-6). The game will be on NESN.

GAME STATS

16th Inning RED SOX: Dustin Pedroia singled to right. Josh Reddick scored. Marco Scutaro to second. (BOS, 1-0)

RED SOX Hitters: Dustin Pedroia (3-7, 2B, RBI), Adrian Gonzalez (1-7), Marco Scutaro (1-5)

RAYS Hitters: Johnny Damon (1-6), Evan Longoria (1-5), Sean Rodriguez (1-6)

RED SOX Pitchers: Josh Beckett (8 IP, H, 6 K, 106 PC), Daniel Bard (1 IP, H, BB, K, 27 PC), Matt Albers (1.2 IP, H, 2 K, 20 PC), Franklin Morales (1.1 IP, K, 19 PC), Alfredo Aceves (3 IP, 2 K, 27 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, K, 11 PC)

RAYS Pitchers: Jeff Niemann (8 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 118 PC), Kyle Farnsworth (1 IP, H, 2 BB, K, 19 PC), Joel Peralta (0.1 IP, BB, 9 PC), JP Howell (0.2 IP, 3 BB, 25 PC), Jake McGee (0.1 IP, BB, K, 14 PC), Juan Cruz (0.2 IP, K, 9 PC), Carlos Ramos (1 IP, 7 PC), Brandon Gomes (3 IP, 2 BB, 3 K, 48 PC), Alan Russell (1 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 21 PC)

Line Score

BOS 000 000 000 000 000 1-1 5 0

TB   000 000 000 000 000 0-0 3 0

WP: Aceves (5-1) LP: Russell (1-2) SV: Papelbon (21)

GAME NOTES:

TB: Rays MGR Joe Maddon was ejected after arguing a check swing call in the 11th.

TB: Rays bench coach Dave Martinez was ejected for arguing in the 11th.

 ORTIZ, REDDICK LEAD SOX TO 9-5 WIN

by Tim Scott

When they needed to the most, the Red Sox rallied behind starter John Lackey (7-8), winning 9-5 over the Rays, and maintaining stable ground over the Yankees (who won earlier, 4-1 over the Blue Jays).

Lackey went 5.2 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 10 hits, with 7 strikeouts to his credit. In the first inning, many thought that this would be another short yet bitter outing for the starter.

The scoring started when Casey Kotchman reached on an infield single, scoring in Johnny Damon. Matt Joyce pitched in an RBI single soon after, and BJ Upton capped the Rays first inning surge with an RBI single of his own. At the end of the first, the Rays had a comfortable lead of 3-0.

From the start, the Sox would have to face a challenging starter in James Shields (8-8). After a tight first inning, Josh Reddick launched a 2-run homer to right, narrowing the score to 3-2.

But it was in the third inning when the Red Sox took total control. Thanks to 2 RBI doubles by JD Drew and David Ortiz (which scored in 3 runs combined), the Red Sox had a safe 5-3 lead, giving Lackey some comfort. 

To cap the early surge, Jacoby Ellsbury continued one of his own, launching another solo homer to right, adding to the 6-3 Red Sox lead.

Despite an attempt at a comeback, thanks to a Matt Joyce solo homer in the Rays favor, the Sox controlled most of the game with ease. They ran Shields into one of his worst outings of the year, as he went 6 innings allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, but he did have 8 strikeouts.

In the 7th, the Sox hit deep into the Rays bullpen. Dustin Pedroia started the late surge with a solo homer. This marks the 5th time that Pedroia has homered over the last 5 games.

In the 9th, the Sox really went hard to solidify their lead. Kevin Youkilis drove in a run with a walk, and then David Ortiz followed up with an RBI groundout. 

Even though Evan Longoria had an RBI single, the Red Sox won, 9-6, and still maintain a comfortable lead over the New York Yankees (1.5 GB). Lackey improved to 7-8 on the year, and the Sox are now 1-1 after the All-Star Break.

Tomorrow, the Sox wrap up their 3-game series with the Rays at 8:05 on Sunday Night Baseball. The matchup should fit its billing, as Josh Beckett (8-3) takes the mound for the Sox, while the Rays counter with Jeff Niemann (4-4). The game will be on ESPN.

GAME STATS

1st Inning RAYS: Casey Kotchman reached on infield single to short. Johnny Damon scored. Ben Zobrist to second. (TB, 1-0)

1st Inning RAYS: Matt Joyce singled to right. Zobrist scored. Evan Longoria to third. (TB, 2-0)

1st Inning RAYS: BJ Upton to left. Longoria scored. Joyce to second. (TB, 3-0)

2nd Inning RED SOX: Josh Reddick homered (3) to right. Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored. (TB, 3-2)

3rd Inning RED SOX: David Ortiz doubled to deep center. Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis scored. (BOS, 4-3)

3rd Inning RED SOX: JD Drew doubled to deep right. David Ortiz scored. (BOS, 5-3)

4th Inning RED SOX: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (13) to right. (BOS, 6-3)

5th Inning RAYS: Joyce homered (13) to right. (BOS, 6-4)

7th Inning RED SOX: Dustin Pedroia homered (13) to right. (BOS, 7-4)

9th Inning RED SOX: Youkilis walked. Marco Scutaro scored. Ellsbury to third. Pedroia to second. (BOS, 8-4)

9th Inning RED SOX: Ortiz grounded out to the pitcher. Ellsbury scored. Pedroia to third. Youkilis to second. (BOS, 9-4)

9th Inning RAYS: Longoria singled to right. Kotchman scored. (BOS, 9-5)

RED SOX Hitting: Jacoby Ellsbury (2-4, HR, RBI), Dustin Pedroia (2-5, HR, RBI), David Ortiz (1-3, 2B, 3 RBI), Josh Reddick (1-4, HR, 2 RBI)

RAYS HItting: Matt Joyce (3-5, HR, 2 RBI), Casey Kotchman (2-5, 3B, RBI), BJ Upton (2-5, RBI), Sam Fuld (1-4, 3B)

RED SOX Pitching: John Lackey (5.2 IP, 10 H, 4 R [3 ER], BB, 7 K, HR, 107 PC), Randy Williams (1 IP, K, 10 PC), Daniel Bard (1.1 IP, H, K, 18 PC), Jonathan Papelbon (1 IP, 2 H, ER, K, 16 PC)

RAYS Pitching: James Shields (6 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 106 PC), Juan Cruz (0.2 IP, H, ER, HR, 7 PC), Cesar Ramos (1.1 IP, 2 K, 16 PC), Brandon Gomes (0 IP, 2 H, 2 R [0 ER], 13 PC), Jake McGee (0.1 IP, K, 6 PC), Adam Russell (0.2 IP, BB, K, 16 PC)

Line Score

BOS 023 100 102-9 9 2

TB  300 010 001-5 13 2

WP: Lackey (7-8) LP: Shields (8-8)

TRANSACTIONS:

Red Sox placed RHP Bobby Jenks (back tightness) on 15-day DL. Purchased the contract of LHP Randy Williams from Pawtucket (AAA), and designated LHP Tommy Hottovy for assignment.

 SOX LOSE, 9-6 TO RAYS, SNAP STREAK

by Tim Scott

In their first game back from a long All-Star break, the Sox pitching wasn't fresh, as they dropped a 9-6 contest to the Tampa Bay Rays, snapping their 6-game winning streak.

Getting the start for the Red Sox was Andrew Miller (3-1). Miller had his shortest outing of the year, going 2.2 innings, allowing 7 runs on 5 hits, with 5 walks on 85 PC. 

His problems began in the first inning, when he allowed an RBI single to BJ Upton, which scored Ben Zobrist, and put the Rays up 1-0.

After Darnell McDonald launched his 3rd homer of the season against David Price (9-7), the Rays got to more business, when Zobrist launched a grand slam over the left field wall, giving the Rays a beneficial 5-1 lead.

Eventually, Jacoby Ellsbury continued his hot streak with home run #12 of the season, putting the Sox back in the game, 5-2.

Yet, Zobrist and Sam Fuld drove in runs in the third by ways of a walk and an RBI single respectively. 

Later in the game, Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro hit homers, and Kevin Youkilis had an RBI single. But the Rays made the difference with former Red Sox 1B Casey Kotchman launching a 2 run home run in the 6th, which gave the Rays the 9-6 lead.

Tomorrow, the Sox will continue the series against the Rays. John Lackey (9-6) will get the start for the Sox, against the Rays James Shields (9-7). The game will be at 4:10 on FOX. 

GAME STATS

1st Inning RAYS: BJ Upton singled to center. Ben Zobrist scored. Evan Longoria to second. (TB, 1-0)

2nd Inning RED SOX: Darnell McDonald homered (3) to left. (Tied, 1-1)

2nd Inning RAYS: Zobrist homered (11) to left. Elliot Johnson, Sam Fuld, and Johnny Damon scored. (TB, 5-1)

3rd Inning RED SOX: Jacoby Ellsbury homered (12) to right. (TB, 5-2)

3rd Inning RAYS: Fuld singled to right. Casey Kotchman scored. Kelly Shoppach to second. (TB, 6-2)

3rd Inning RAYS: Zobrist walked. Shoppach scored. Fuld to third. Damon to second. (TB, 7-2)

6th Inning RED SOX: Dustin Pedroia homered (12) to center. (TB, 7-3)

6th Inning RAYS: Casey Kotchman homered (4) to right. Upton scored. (TB, 9-3)

7th Inning RED SOX: Marco Scutaro homered (5) to left. Yamaico Navarro scored. (TB, 9-5)

8th Inning RED SOX: Kevin Youkilis singled to right. Pedroia scored.

RED SOX Hitting: Dustin Pedroia (3-4, 2B, HR, RBI), Kevin Youkilis (2-4, RBI), Marco Scutaro (1-4, HR, 2 RBI)

RAYS Hitting: BJ Upton (2-5, RBI), Ben Zobrist (1-3, HR, 5 RBI), Casey Kotchman (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), Kelly Shoppach (2-3, R)

RED SOX Pitching: Andrew Miller (2.2 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, HR, 85 PC), Alfredo Aceves (2.1 IP, H, BB, K, 47 PC), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, K, 15 PC), Franklin Morales (1 IP, H, 15 PC), Matt Albers (1 IP, H, BB, 2 K, 26 PC)

RAYS Pitching: David Price (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 7 K, 3 HR, 121 PC), Joel Peralta (0.2 IP, H, 2 ER, BB, K, HR, 17 PC), Jake McGee (0.1 IP, K, 5 PC), Juan Cruz (0.1 IP, 2 H, ER, 14 PC), JP Howell (0.1 IP, K, 6 PC), Kyle Farnsworth (1.1 IP, K, 20 PC)

Line Score

BOS 011 001 210-6 8 0

TB   142 002 00x-9 11 0

WP: Price (9-7) LP: Miller (3-1) SV: Farnsworth (18)

The Home Stretch
by Shane Godek

The women's national team is one win away from being champions
     Greatness isn't something that comes easy. It only comes to those who have the strength, skill, and resiliancy to rise above everybody else. This Sunday, the US women's national team has a chance to achieve greatness. They are one win away from etching themselves in the history of women's soccer forever. Their only obsticle now between them and their ultimate prize is the Japanese team. The Japanese nationals pulled off an upset of the host country Germany in the quaterfinals, and have fought tooth and nail to reach the USA in the final.Considered to be one of the best passing teams in all of soccer, Japan is playing with the support of a nation the was recently ravaged by the fatal earthquakes that occured in this past March. They want to bring the cup home with them, but I don't believe they will be able too. The USA is the more determined team that has already shown the world it won't quit. After pulling of the thrilling come from behind victory over Brazil, the US women's team isn't going to stop until they finish the task at hand. Abby Wambach has shown why she is considered one of the most dangerous players in the world, and has shown to be a clutch goal scorer. US keeper Hope Solo has also risen to the occasion of the World Cup, making critical saves when the team needs her the most.  I predict the United States wins the final over Japan this Sunday, with the score 2-1.

    I hope that everybody tunes in to the game, because it is sure to be an exciting one, being played on the biggest platform possible. This entire tournament has been riveting, and I'm sure the final won't disappoint. Go team USA! 

Shane has covered the entire Women's World Cup for the Boston Hot Spot. You can follow Shane on twitter @segodek

 Top 15 Rug Burn Ball Players

by Taylor Snyder

The following are my power rankings of the 15 best Rug Burn Ball players that have graced the playing field. Here they are:

15. Matt Carrigan- Matt was a very skilled and had a great arm. He could make plays from all over, and I think he really should've gotten more publicity for making all around great plays, and scoring from all angles. 
14. Benji Friedman- Benji was a very good player, and in my opinion, one of the best bench players in the league. He didn't start too much but when he did he would always play great. He was one of the top defenders in the league. 
13. Tyler Hylton- Tyler was a co-captain on Natty Ice and scored a lot of times. He was very explosive, brought a lot of energy, and would always be all over making plays. He and his teammate, Elliot Rosen, were a great combo and helped Natty ice on a great run.
12. Jake Smith- He was a great player for Wang Bang. He had great height, great skills, and won the 2010 MVP. Usually a MVP candidate would be ranked higher, but even though of all Jakes remarks and great playing for Wang Bang and scoring the winning goal in game 3, I still think that there are some better players ahead of him. 
11. Andy Lenser- Andy was the captain of the 3rd place "Munchkins" . A lot of people don't remember Andy's great skills and leadership. He was a great teammate to have, and did a great job with the munchkins. He was explosive, smart, had a great arm, and knew when the time was right for everything. Sadly Andy had to depart right before the final 4 tournament, only to hear the next morning by teammate Taylor Snyder that the Munchkins had lost in the semifinals. 

10. Jack "Singapore" Machulski- Singapore was often given the nickname "Sharpshooter" because of his very strong arm, great aim, and all the goals he picked up. He was put on 3 different teams in the 2010 season. he eventually ended up on Wang Bang. He was a amazing player with great skills, and I feel like come next season, he could be the best. 
9. Shane Godek- Shane was a great forward with a lot of goals. He would always alternate between bench and starting, so he wasn't ever named a official starter. Whenever Shane was on the floor, though, he would make it exciting by getting close to the net and threatening. With that, he brought great excitement. 
8. Tim Sorota- He was the captain of "we suck". We Suck did not have the greatest year ever, but Tim did. He was a great player that scored a lot and helped lead We Suck pretty deep, but couldn't get them to a final 4. His breakthrough game was vs. the munchkins in a pool game that went into 4 OT's, and took over a hour. After all the running and pace in the end, he was able to pull of the win for we suck breaking a record for longest rug burn ball game ever. 

7. Tim Scott- He was a great player for the Munchkins, and everybody loved him because of his kindness and ability to make everyone smile when he played. When Andy had to leave early, he was given the captain job for the remainder of the playoffs. Tim Scott brought some great talent to the field, and no one could ever forget his game winner in game 1 vs. the Tropics. 
6. Mike "VJ" Singh- Mike the goalie was great for We Suck. It was always between him and Sorota for the best player on we suck. Without mike in goal, it wouldn't even be possible for We suck to even win a game. Mike made some impossible saves and at the end of the regular season, and was given 3 offers to come join because of his great skills in goal. 
5. Elliot Rosen- Elliot was the captain of Natty Ice, and was most remembered for being the best on the team for his scoring. One thing that made him unique was when he brought the green head band in for good luck in the semis. He was  not just a goal scorer, he would make a lot of assists, and could play some great defense.

4. "Pope" John Paul Chunga- Pope was easily the best player on the Tropics besides Roger. Pope played great for the Tropics. He led the team in goals, and was even in the top 5 for most goals scored in 2010. Pope could do it all Assist, play defense, score; he makes stuff happen. He was also a very fast player with a cannon for an arm. He is a very talented rug burn ball player that really wore teams down in close games, because of his shooting range.
3. Jon Jaffe- Jaffe was the goalie for the Munchkins who had some of the funniest yet amazing saves ever. He would save it with every part of his body, which caused him to have so many injuries. Without him in goal for the Munchkins i don't think the Munchkins would've gone too far. The Munchkins defense was very sleepy, and sloppy in the playoffs, which caused so many shots on goal. He is a great player, and saved the munchkins on defense in the tightest games. 
2. Roger Bourland- Roger is a player that I think should be ranked really high. He was the best goalie of 2010, and was a heck of a player. When he was on, you couldn't score on him once. He was a great goalie, and people today still wonder if the tropics would've had a great run in the playoffs without him. He saved lots of balls that were game winners or  important goals. Roger denied the Munchkins the whole semi-final series and kept the Tropics in the finals series the whole way because of his great saves in goals. He in my opinion is the best goalie in rug burn ball.
 

1. Zeke Sprague- Zeke not only invented the game rug burn ball, but is the commissioner of the league. He was the captain of the championship team Wang Bang. Zeke had the fastest shot in the league and was #2 in the league in most goals scored. it seemed like every couple of seconds, Zeke would score again. He was a awesome player and scored everywhere on the court. Zeke in my opinion is the number 1 player because he was the best at doing it all, and because of his amazing passion and skills.

 FIELDER LEADS NL TO 5-1 ALL-STAR WIN

by Tim Scott

The feeling in the air had a special feel to it, a feel unfamiliar to the National League enthusiasts that still feel the euphoria from the 2010 win. 

The feel was repeated in grand fashion, as the NL rolled to their second consecutive win over the American League, 5-1, in the 82nd installment of the All-Star Game.

This is the first time the National League has won two consecutive All-Star games since 1994. In the first ever All-Star game held in Phoenix, Arizona, the National League secured home-field advantage for the World Series.

The hero of the game was Brewers 1B Prince Fielder, who went 1-2 with a big 3-run home run that proved to be the difference maker. 

Even though the National League won the game, the AL had the first laugh. In the 4th inning, Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) hit a solo home run off of Cliff Lee (Phillies), to give the AL a 1-0 lead.

Then, with Rangers P CJ Wilson (0-1) pitching, Fielder launched the monumental blast to center (410 ft), scoring in Carlos Beltran (Mets) and Matt Kemp (Dodgers), giving the NL a 3-1 lead.

In the 5th, the NL struck again, in the form of an RBI single by Dodgers OF Andre Ethier off of Angels closer Jordan Walden, putting the NL on top, 4-1.

The NL had the last laugh in the 7th, when Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval doubled in Hunter Pence (Astros), giving the NL a 5-1 lead.

The winning pitcher was Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, who got a key out in the fourth when the AL was threatening. The save was recorded by Giants closer Brian Wilson. 

The AL offense was mainly silenced by dominant NL pitching. The only batters that had hits were Gonzalez, Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Josh Hamilton (Rangers), Matt Joyce (Rays), Adrian Beltre (Rangers), and Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox). The team also left 6 men on base, and struck out 5 times.

If it wasn't for the 5 runs, the AL pitchers would have had a fine game. They managed to strike out 9 batters (including 2 from Mariners P Michael Pineda), and every pitcher except for Rangers P Alexi Ogando had at least 1 strikeout in the game.

The top NL performers were Fielder, Ethier, Sandoval, and Cardinals C Yadier Molina, who doubled off of Indians closer Chris Perez in the 6th.

The 2012 game will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, the first time the venue has hosted an All-Star Game since 1973. 

GAME STATS

4th Inning AMERICAN: Adrian Gonzalez homered to left. (AL, 1-0)

4th Inning NATIONAL: Prince Fielder homered to center. Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp scored. (NL, 3-1)

5th Inning NATIONAL: Andre Ethier singled to right. Rickie Weeks scored. Ethier out at 2nd on throw. (NL, 4-1)

7th Inning NATIONAL: Pablo Sandoval hit a ground-rule double to left. Hunter Pence scored. (NL, 5-1)

AL Hitters: Adrian Gonzalez (1-2, HR, RBI)

NL Hitters: Prince Fielder (1-2, HR, 3 RBI), Andre Ethier (1-2, RBI), Pablo Sandoval (1-1, 2B, RBI), Yadier Molina (1-1, 2B)

AL Pitchers: Jered Weaver (1 IP, BB, K, 14 PC), David Robertson (1 IP, H, K, 14 PC), Michael Pineda (1 IP, 2 K, 10 PC), CJ Wilson (1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, K, HR, 22 PC), Jordan Walden (1 IP, 2 H, ER, K, 20 PC), Chris Perez (1 IP, H, K, 15 PC), Brandon League (1 IP, 2 H, ER, K, 19 PC), Alexi Ogando (0.2 IP, 6 PC), Gio Gonzalez (0.1 IP, K, 6 PC)

NL Pitchers: Roy Halladay (2 IP, K, 19 PC), Cliff Lee (1.2 IP, 3 H, ER, HR, 25 PC), Tyler Clippard (0.1 IP, H, 3 PC), Clayton Kershaw (1 IP, K, 8 PC), Jair Jurrjens (1.2 IP, H, K, 23 PC), Craig Kimbrel (0.1 IP, BB, 14 PC), Jonny Venters (0.2 IP, K, 4 PC), Heath Bell (0.1 IP, 5 PC), Joel Hanrahan (0.1 IP, H, K, 5 PC), Brian Wilson (0.2 IP, 7 PC)

Line Score

AL 000 100 000-1 6 0

NL 000 310 10x-5 9 2

WP: Clippard LP: CJ Wilson SV: B Wilson

MVP: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee)

 THREE LISTS OF TEN

by Kevin L. 

Modeled after Matthew Berry’s Ten Lists of Ten he often writes for ESPN.com, here are three lists of ten…

List #1- Jobs you don’t want in sports (counting down to the worst, #1)

10. Baseball hitter- Yes, being a baseball player can be looked at as an undesirable job. In 1920 (yes, it was the Dead Ball Era) Carl Mays of the New York Yankees hit Ray Chapman, a great shortstop, in the head with a pitch. Chapman died the next day and remains the only player to die from being hit with a pitched ball. After hearing that, how do you feel about your childhood ambition?
9. NFL kicker/punter- NFL kickers and punters are the only players who don’t have to be amazingly strong to do their job. Often, kickers have gotten hurt from being plowed on a blocked field goal or from being run over on a kick return. Punters have been nailed on blocked punts, sacked on fake punts, and hit on fake field goal attempts (punters are often the holders on the field goal, and attempt a pass if it is a fake field goal.)
8. Rugby player- Rugby is tackle football with a different ball. In Rugby, after a player is tackled, the defense aims to sit on the ball-carrier as long as possible without getting a penalty for stalling. That makes you really want to play that sport…
7. MLB umpire- Three things make umpiring an undesirable job. One, whatever call you make, somebody will boo. Two, have you ever heard of Jim Joyce? Three, umpires are in the field of play and have been hurt by baseballs, especially the home plate ump, if there is a wild pitch or passed ball.
6. Hockey Goalie- At the 2010 NHL All-Star Game festivities, Zdeno Chara set the record in the Hardest Shot competition with a slapshot over 104 mph! Now, does that give you more respect for Tim Thomas? Does it make you happier to have Chara on the Bruins, and not another team? Hopefully, it does.

5. Hockey penalty box official- Penalty box officials are the guys in suits who open the door for penalty committers and open them when their penalty ends. Sounds good, except for the fact most hockey players are mad when they get a penalty, and they are really strong and good at fighting. Makes you want to be FAR away from the player, not right next to him for two minutes (or more, if the player gets a major or game misconduct.)

4.Hockey ref- Yes, hockey is a dangerous sport. Referees have to skate around the ice, which is hard, and they have to watch all the players for penalties. Also, they are responsible for offsides calls and icing calls, which can be a matter of inches. Not to mention, a player might mistake you for an opponent, and check you into the boards.
The Top Three
3.NFL lineman
- I think we all know how bad of a job this is.
2. Eating Contest Competitor- Ugh. Don’t get me started on how Joey Chestnut’s bite is stronger than a German shepherd’s; and that his stomach can expand to four times its normal size (Thanks, ESPN Sportscience for those nice facts). This would not be fun at all.
1. Judge in NFL lockout case- If this counts as a sports job, It would be absolutely terrible.

List #2: Top 10 Rugburnball players, according to your broadcaster from the finals

10. Jack Machulski, forward, a lot of teams- Singapore was often traded, but was a great player for all teams.
9. Benji Friedman, defense, Tropics- Benji was as good a sub as anyone in the league and played great D.
8. Shane Godek, forward, Wang Bang- Shane was good at everything, like another Shane, Shane Victorino.
7. Roger Bourland, goalie, Tropics- Roger played a great goalie as well, and would have been a finalist for a Vezina trophy if this was the NHL.
6. Tim Sorota, captain/forward, We Suck- Arguably the best team leader besides Tim Scott, Sorota has skills too.
5. Mike “VJ” Singh, Goalie, We Suck- Mike Singh was arguably the best goalie of the tournament who’s surname isn’t Jaffe.
4. John Paul “Pope” Chunga, forward, Tropics- He scored many goals for the Tropics last season.
3. Zeke Sprague, every position, Wang Bang- His athletic superiority makes him a superstar.
2. Jon Jaffe, goalie, Munchkinz- He can use all parts of his body in making a save.
1. Tim Scott, midfielder, Munchkinz- his leadership and teamwork makes him the best, although he may not have the best shot.

List #3: Worst penalties in sports
10. Handball (soccer)-
A handball grants the other team a free kick, and you look pretty bad doing it…
9. Committing a balk (baseball)- If you commit a balk, you look bad, and all runners get to move up a base. This may sound minimal, but it could score a runner from third, or send a runner from first into scoring position. D. J. Carrasco of the Mets committed a walk-off balk (a balk-off) earlier this year, committing a balk in the bottom of the tenth with a runner on third. Bad idea!
8. Offsides (soccer and rugburnball) –Offsides, if committed, will nullify a goal in both sports.
7. Personal Foul (football)- Fifteen yards and a first down. Ouch.
6. Managerial Ejection (baseball)- The manager is an important part of a baseball team, and losing the manager can mean the difference between winning and losing, because the bench coach has to manage for the rest of the game.
5. Foul a three pointer(basketball)- This grants three free throws to the shooter. It can create a four point play, if the three pointer went in the hoop.
4.Technical (basketball)- Two technicals and you’re tossed, so getting one can’t help.
Top Three
3. Tackle in the penalty box (soccer)- This grants a penalty kick to the opposition, and penalty kicks go in about half the time. In a sport in which 3-2 is a high scoring game, one goal can mean life and death.
2. Fighting- Game Misconduct (hockey) Fighting is a bad enough penalty (five minutes in the sin bin) but the refs can also tack on a game 
misconduct, which is like ejecting them. That can end your night quickly.

1. Pass Interference (football)- Ah, the worst penalty ever. This can be as much as 98 yards and a first down. However, in college football, it is different, they only give ten yards and a first down.
-Your Bruins writer

 New Rule Changes and Draft Announced

by Taylor Snyder

There will be a number of changes that will be added on for the 2011 Rug Burn Ball season. The first big one that was announced that in 2011 there will be a draft. The draft will most likely run like the NFL and NBA style where everyone gets a pick, and each team is on a clock for 1:00 to decide their pick. The draft will go on until every player is selected. The Board Of Governors (BOG) will decide who drafts first and the other details for the draft. The decision will most likely lead up to a lottery where they would pick a name from a box and the order they pick in will be who will go first, and who will go last. This year, something new will happen to the tournament style. The Rug Burn Ball League has decided to bring up more kids from the Continental Rug Burn Ball League to come join the majors for the 2011 season. What this means is that there will be so many kids, that there will be more kids on a team, and most likely 2 more teams will be added on. So in this case this could affect some of the classic rug burn ball rules because of all the kids on the court, they may have to put 7 instead of 5 on the court at a time. This is just one change. Another would be with all the new players coming up, the charter teams from last year would most likely fold, so what this means is there would be brand new teams. There have been rumors floating around about what the team names will be but, nothing has been final. The captains of the teams this year are going to be the counselors and the older campers, preferably over 16. This Rug Burn Ball season may be one of the most interesting we have seen yet due to all the rule changes and new franchises coming on. One of the last rules that has not been finalized, and may never be, is the decision to have a combine for the players. The reason this may be a good idea is for the captains and teams to look at the skill of the players to refresh their minds on who is good and who is not and who changed most over the off-season. This rule will most likely not come into place this year, unless the B.O.G decides to make it happen. But out of all these rug burn ball changes, the ones that interests everyone the most are the draft and the new players. Everyone is curious about the draft because they want to know how it will lay out and which teams are drafting first. This has brought a lot of attention to people after the new rules were announced. They are also wondering if it will be a competitive or non competitive season with all the young talents coming to play. The main thing they wonder is how these new players will play, because of being in the minors for so long, and coming up to play with great veteran players. Will there young talents shine and make a stand? Or will the young players struggle in 2011? Those are the questions people are asking. The 2011 season will give us the answer to all the questions floating around. So what do you say? Let's try out these rules in 2011.

Time to Finish the Job

After a monumental win, Team USA needs to focus on the task at hand.

by Shane Godek

After the exciting game that was played on Sunday, you want to believe that Team USA has won it all. The team showed courage and resiliency by coming back in overtime to tie it up, even though they only had 10 players on the field.  Unfortunately, they are not yet the champions of women’s soccer. The team now has to face France in the semi-final. The French team is a formidable opponent, having beat England in the quarter-finals to advance to the semis. The French nationals are a young, skillful group that could exploit the United States midfield, which has shown some inconsistencies in this tournament. Team USA needs to come to play, and take charge of the game.

To be honest, this is Team USA’s game to lose. They are the better squad, and are hands-down the best team left in this tournament. The only team good enough to beat Team USA is Team USA. As long as they focus on playing their game, and avoid stupid mistakes, they should be able to dominate the match.  

My Prediction: USA beats France 3-1

Make sure to tune in to the game at 11:30  on Wednesday, July 13th.

Follow Shane Godek on Twitter @segodek. 

NFL Power Rankings 
By Tim Sorota (July 12, 2011)

The NFL is in a lockout, but that’s not stopping the Boston Hot Spot from publishing NFL power rankings. Below is the rankings of the 32 teams and why they are there. 
1. Green Bay Packers- They are the defending Super Bowl Champions and they are loaded. They have one of the best Quarterbacks and a solid defense led by Linebacker Clay Matthews and Safety Nick Collins. 
2. New York Jets- I hate the Jets (just saying that). But, they have a great secondary with Antonio Cromartie and the best corner in the game Darrelle Revis.

3. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens are led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, two of the best defensive players in the game. They have a young offense Quarterback, Joe Flacco, who will be one of the best in the league in years to come. 
4. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ben Roethlisberger is an all pro quarterback and Rashard Mendenhall provides a good running game. The defense is getting older and they are over-rated. 

5. Indianapolis Colts- Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis still provide a solid pass rush on opposing Quarterbacks. Oh and they have Peyton Manning. 

6. Atlanta Falcons- Last year, the team went 13-3 in the regular season. They made a great draft day selection by drafting Julio Jones, wide receiver from Alabama. Jones will be able to help pro-bowl QB Matt Ryan. 
7. New Orleans Saints- The team is one year removed from its epic Super Bowl victory over the Colts. Much of that championship team is still there. The team isn’t getting much younger. 
8. New England Patriots- The Patriots had the best offense in the NFL last year. Their defense is still really young and not very good yet. I don’t think they’re really as good as their 14-2 record says they are. 
9. Philadelphia Eagles- Mike Vick plays QB for the Eagles. If not for Tom Brady’s super year, Vick would’ve won the MVP award. He has good support from WR Desean Jackson and RB Lesean McCoy. They would’ve gone farther in the playoffs if they hadn’t run into the Packers. 
10. San Diego Chargers- Their offense and defense were both ranked #1, so why aren’t they ranked higher on the rankings? Their special teams stink! It cost them many games last year. They need to improve in order to go up on the rankings. 
11. Chicago Bears- The Bears made it to the NFC championship game. They really weren’t NFC championship game worthy. They got a 1st round bye and beat a Seattle Seahawks, who should’ve have been in the playoffs. 
12. Minnesota Vikings- they had a really bad year last year, but they are better. They have a great running back and a great defensive line. 
13. Kansas City Chiefs- Matt Cassel was an under the radar MVP candidate last season. They won the AFC West, but, the west was in a down year. 

14. New York Giants- After winning the Super Bowl, the Giants haven’t had very much success. They have a, inconsistent offense and defense. They can either be great or terrible. 

15. Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys started off so terrible last season that the coach got fired. Down the stretch, however, they did start winning games. They will be better in 2011
16. Tampa Bay Bucs- They were horrible in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. They are really young but did well last year and they will continue to improve. 
17. Detroit Lions- Nick Farley was the team’s first round selection. He will join rookie of the year Ndamukong Suh. That makes one scary defensive line. 
18. Houston Texans- Andre Johnson is the best wide receiver in football. Matt Schaub is a really underrated QB. However, they have an inconsistent defense. 
19. Jacksonville Jaguars- They’ve always been close to the playoffs but haven’t made it in. They are a mediocre team. 
20. Miami Dolphins- No one really knows who will be playing QB for the Dolphins this year. They do have Cameron Wake on defense who is a good player
21. St. Louis Rams- Last season, they were one win away from winning the NFC west. The team is very young and will win the NFC west for years to come. 
22. Seattle Seahawks- They are the lowest ranked playoff team by far. They shouldn’t have made the playoffs last year. They pulled off an upset of the Saints, but I don’t see that happening this year. 
23. Cleveland Browns- Peyton Hillis is one of the best young running backs. Last year, they were really confusing. They beat the Pats and Saints but lost to the Bills and the Bengals. 

24. Oakland Raiders- The Raiders best days are still ahead of them. Darius Heyward-Bey and Darren McFadden will be good players for the offense in the years to come. 25. Buffalo Bills- They had one of the worst records in the NFL. They were better than their record said they were. They took the AFC winning Pittsburgh Steelers to over-time. But, they have a big Quarterback issue.

25. Buffalo Bills- They had one of the worst records in the NFL. They were better than their record said they were. They took the AFC winning Pittsburgh Steelers to over-time. But, they have a big quarterback issue.

26. Tennessee Titans – They have a decent team but NO quarterback. They took a huge gamble taking Jake Locker with the 8th pick. With Kerry Collins retiring, Locker will have to play right away. 
27. San Francisco 49ers- Patrick Willis is on the defense and Vernon Davis and Frank Gore are on the offense. Other than that, they have no one. They can’t win games with three good players. 
28. Washington Redskins- Mike Shannahan is the head coach, so, the team has good coaching. They have a few good players, but they haven’t been able to win any games. 
29. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals have a terrible defense. Their offense is mediocre. Carson Palmer wants out. They drafted A.J. Green, who is a good player. 
30. Carolina Panthers- The team was good within the last few years. Some of the players are still there. Last season they didn’t play well at all. 
31. Arizona Cardinals- Since the departure of Kurt Warner, the team is looking for an identity. They have lost a lot of players from their Super Bowl team. They have failed to replace them.

32. Denver Broncos- They are TERRIBLE. By far the worst team in the NFL. They have an absolutely horrific defense. Von Miller will hopefully be able to help out the team. 

What Players, Staff, and Fans are Going to Expect. 

by Taylor Snyder

The 2011 Rug Burn Ball season is just around the corner, and after a great and thrilling 2010 it's time to put that behind us and look forward to what should be a 2011 season filled with excitement. One issue that was a problem over the off-season was the trades. One team that has already been working on trades is the Munchkins, who finished 3rd last year. The Munchkins, in recent trade offers, have tried to acquire Tim Sorota, the captain of "We Suck". The deal would have consisted of releasing Drew and Alec, the two brothers, to the free agent list for "We Suck" to acquire and take Tim Sorota to the munchkins. This deal was turned down recently but this turn down did not affect the munchkins one bit as Tim Scott of the Munchkins had this to say after the Sorota trade. "I think we [The Munchkins] have the most experienced team on the field, and we should do well. The other teams will have a rebuilding year which will make us a prime choice for a championship". Andy Lenser, who was the captain of the Munchkins in 2011 stated "I expect our team [The Munchkins] to be very good if we can keep our team together and not lose key players like Jeff [Miller] and [Jon] Jaffe". The Munchkins were a team that made a great underdog run led by their young players, making great goals and great goalie skills by Jon Jaffe. They will look to find a title this year. One team that everyone has a good eye on is "We Suck," who finished dead last in the standings last year. "We Suck" had a struggling year with Defense and Offense together. Michael Singh was a very big help for them as he was able to come up with the most saves of the year next to Roger Bourland. When asked about their team in 2011 they had both a positive and negative response. Tim Sorota stated, "I don't think there will be a "We Suck" in 2011. I don't know which stars are returning. Therefore i may think about joining another team. or I may stay there. We will just have to see". Kevin Linsey stated "I expect are team [We Suck] to contend for a title this year" . The last team that everyone is excited to see in 2011 is "Wang Bang" who is the 2010 Rug Burn Ball Champions. Wang Bang was a team that was very big and aggressive last year. They lost 2010 MVP Jake Smith over the off season, as well as Mark Weinstein, who led their team in assists. Not to mention Timmy Tully, who was very dangerous in the scoring area. With all these big names gone, everyone is starting to wonder how good Wang Bang's chances are. When asked about Wang Bang, Shane Godek said, "I expect our veteran players to step it up for our team". Wang Bang's best option would probably to hold on to their big named players and get good young draft picks to build around their veterans. But the big problem about that is Wang Bang gets the very last draft pick due to the fact of them winning the title in 2010. So the big Wang Bang issue for this year is getting decent players that have potential to build around their big named players, that may be the key to success for Wang Bang this year. The season is just 13 days away and the combine/draft is just 12 days away. As it continues to get very exciting as the season approaches, this just makes the fans and players more excited for the season to start.

Vrabel to Become Buckeyes’ Linebacker’s Coach 

By Tim Sorota (July 11, 2011)

This summer hasn’t been the best for the Buckeyes. Well who I’m a kidding? It’s been awful! It’s one of the worst summers for a program in the history of division 1 football. It really couldn’t be much worse. Their beloved head coach, Jim Tressel, had to resign because of NCAA violations. Buckeye nation found out that a potential Heisman Trophy candidate is a liar and a cheater. Now there is a major quarterback battle between Senior Joe Bauserman, Red-shirt Freshman Ken Guiton, Freshman Braxton Miller, and Sophomore Justin Siems. With Coach Jim Tressel out the door and the program in turmoil, recruits started de-committing from Ohio State. Let’s face it, the new head coach, Luke Fickell, isn’t going to bring in anymore freshman. Fickell was the former linebackers coach from the Buckeyes. That leaves a position open on the defensive side of the ball. Who should fill it? Send in Fickell’s old teammate and former NFL star Mike Vrabel. Vrabel was an Outside Linebacker and played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and won 3 super bowls with the New England Patriots. He graduated Ohio State in 1996. His former Patriot’s teammate, Tedy Bruschi said that Vrabel was one of the smartest guys he’s played with. Vrabel knew what plays offenses were calling. Since many high school recruits know the name Mike Vrabel, they may be more interested in playing for him and coming to Ohio State. Last season’s Buckeye’s defense was one of the best in the nation. This year’s expectations aren’t as high, but they will have a strong defense. Vrabel will have a firsthand experience of two good linebackers. The first is a 6-2 senior named Andrew Sweat. He is a middle linebacker who recorded 42 tackles last year. The next is a potentially great Outside Linebacker named Etienne Sabino. Sabino is a senior who didn’t play in his junior year. He will become a much better player with the addition of Mike Vrabel to the coaching staff. Vrabel will also help groom younger Buckeyes. Some football fans may wonder about Vrabel. Well his hire is a win-win. He isn’t the head coach, so if he is making mistakes, someone can fix it. If Luke Fickell makes a mistake, no one can correct him. Vrabel has a great upside being a player himself. Mike Vrabel was a great hire by Ohio State. 

Follow Tim Sorota on twitter @Sorota_HotSpot

With a swift victory over Holy Cross, the New Hampshire Wildcats maintain their status as the number-one team in New England. (picture courtesy of New Hampshire Wildcats Athletics) 

Norwich running back Danny Triplett (33) tries to avoid an oncoming Western New England defender on Saturday. Norwich would win the game, 26-24, on a game-winning field goal by Patrick Wilson. (picture courtesy of Norwich University Athletics)

Dontra Peters, the leading rusher for the 2011 Wildcats, hopes to lead the New Hampshire Wildcats to a 2012 Colonial Athletic Association title. (picture courtesy of New Hampshire Athletics)

Zach Baden, who was a major contributor to the 9-1 Harvard squad as a freshman in 2011, looks to continue his contributions in 2012 with an even better squad. (picture courtesy of Harvard Crimson Athletics) 

UCONN quarterback Johnny McEntee will look to lead his young Huskies squd to a bowl appearance in 2012, after falling one win short in 2011. (picture courtesy of Fantasy Football Help) 

Offensive lineman Chris Howley, who received many accolades for his performance, will be a factor to the success of the 2012 Maine Black Bears football team. (picture courtesy of Maine Black Bears Athletics) 

Ryan Osiecki, who was named the best quarterback in Division II, will try to lead a revamped New Haven football program to a Division II championship. (picture courtesy of New Haven Athletics)

Brown defensive back/returner AJ Cruz will hope to charge his team's spirits as the Brown Bears contend for the Ivy League football title. (picture courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics) 

Holy Cross wide receiver Gerald Mistretta hopes to guide the Holy Cross offense to the 2012 Patriot League football title. (picture courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics) 

Quarterback Jake Jablonski (15) will attempt to lead Southern Connecticut State to new heights in 2012, as a veteran core of players try to win the Northeast 10 crown. (picture courtesy of New Hampshire Register) 

The Trinity (CT) football team has a reason to celebrate; they are predicted to be the top team in the New England Small Colleges Athletic Association. (picture courtesy of Trinity College Athletics) 

Quarterback Chase Rettig looks to lead the Boston College Eagles to a successful season in 2012, but will have to battle tough opponents along the way. (picture courtesy of Boston Herald) 

Defensive back Nick Okano, who was named First Team All-Ivy, looks to bolster Yale's defense in 2012. (picture courtesy of Yale Bulldogs Athletics) 

Quarterback Bob Bentsen, who led the team to 2 wins in 5 starts last year, hopes to lead the Rams back to contention in the Colonial Athletic Association. (picture courtesy of the Providence Journal).  

Marken Michel demonstrates the new uniforms for the UMASS Minutemen. A new conference, new coach, new stadium, and new talent symbolize how the Minutemen will have to adjust in 2012. (picture courtesy of Massachusetts Minutemen Athletics) 

Junior running back Terrell Williams will be a factor on a young but promising American International squad in 2012. (picture courtesy of American International Athletics) 

All-Conference offensive lineman Nick Halloran looks to be a major role player for the Bentley Falcons this season. (picture courtesy of Bentley College Athletics) 

Malikke Van Alstyne, who ran for 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, hopes to lead the Framingham State Rams to an NEFC title in 2012. (picture courtesy of Gridiron Training) 

Eddie Jewel, a defensive back for Bridgewater State, returns to charge a strong defensive team that could lead the Bears to NEFC glory. (picture courtesy of Bridgewater State Athletics)

Western New England defensive back/linebacker Phil Tsopanides (31) tackles a Mass Maritime player. Tsopanides, along with 65 other returning players, look to go to another NEFC football championship. (picture courtesy of MassLive)

Jimon Hill, who ran for 898 yards in his junior season, looks to build off of that as the Merrimack Warriors attempt to go for the Northeast 10 Conference crown. (picture courtesy of Merrimack Athletics)

Quarterback Kris Sadbourin, who is a dual-threat quarterback, looks to lead the Norwich Cadets to another ECFC title. (picture courtesy of Norwich University Athletics) 

New Hampshire's football team, who opens their season Thursday, August 30 at Holy Cross, opens the season at #1 in the Hot Spot Football polls (picture courtesy of New Hampshire Athletics) 

KJ Hoover (left) and Jack "Singapore" Machulski look to take the league by storm in 2012. (picture courtesy of Facebook) 

Deven Marrero, the 24th overall pick from Arizona State, looks to be a presence in the Red Sox infield in the future. He is currently playing with the Lowell Spinners. (picture courtesy of the Boston Globe) 

 RBB 2012 PREVIEW by Taylor Snyder

Tyler Murry, who was the Rookie of the Year in 2011, is expected to be a favorite for the MVP award in 2012. Also pictured is All Heart goalie Jeremy Treatman and GM Sarah Barshop. (picture courtesy of Facebook)

Newport 15, New Bedford 5 by Tim Scott

 Kasey Coffman went 3-4, just a triple shy of the cycle, as the Newport Gulls rolled past the New Bedford Bay Sox, 15-5 in a NECBL contest. (picture courtesy of the Newport Gulls)

RUG BURN BALL 2012 by Jackson Gorgas

 KJ Hoover (left) hopes to repeat as league champion and MVP in the 2012 edition of Boston Rug Burn Ball. (picture courtesy of Facebook)

FRANKLIN MORALES IN THE ROTATION by Tim Scott

 Franklin Morales, who has pitched nicely in three starts in the rotation, should stay in the rotation after Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett return from the disabled list. (picture courtesy of ESPN)

2012 NBA DRAFT RECAP by Tim Scott

Jared Sullinger, a forward from Ohio State, was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 21st overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. (picture courtesy of Sports Illustrated) 

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4 (by Taylor Snyder)

 David Ortiz reacts after hitting a home run in the fifth inning. This was Ortiz's 21st of the year, and 399th for his career. (picture courtesy of The Boston Globe)

Anthony Davis, the 6'10'' freshman forward from the University of Kentucky, is the consensus number one overall pick in the NBA Draft, expected to go to the New Orleans Hornets. (picture courtesy of Windy Citizen Sports). 

Thomas Robinson, a junior forward from Kansas University, is predicted to go #2 to the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2012 NBA Draft. (picture courtesy of Washington Post) 

Bradley Beal, a freshman shooting guard from the University of Florida, is projected to be the third overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, selected by the Washington Wizards. (picture courtesy of Draft Express.com) 

Harrison Barnes, a sophomore forward from the University of North Carolina, is predicted to go fourth overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2012 NBA Draft. (picture courtesy of AP) 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a forward/center from Kentucky, is expected to go fifth overall to the Sacramento Kings. (picture courtesy of Forever Sneak.com) 

THE LEGACY OF KEVIN YOUKILIS by Tim Scott

 Dustin Pedroia hugs Kevin Youkilis after Youkilis left Sunday's game against the Atlanta Braves. Shortly afterward, Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox for RHP Zach Stewart and INF Brett Lillibridge. (picture courtesy of USA Today)

 TIGERS 10, Red Sox 0 (April 7, 2012)

Miguel Cabrera (24) and Prince Fielder congratulate each other after Cabrera hit home run #2 against Josh Beckett. Fielder would hit his second shortly after, and the Tigers would win, 10-0, against the Red Sox. (picture courtesy of New York Times)

 TIGERS 3, Red Sox 2 (April 5, 2012)

Alfredo Aceves walks off the mound after allowing a walk-off RBI single to Austin Jackson in the Tigers 3-2 Opening Day win against the Red Sox. (picture courtesy of The Boston Globe) 

A MESSAGE FROM TIM SCOTT

Tim Scott announces his retirement from Rug Burn Ball after 3 successful seasons. Here is the last tip of the cap as an affiliated member of SBC. (picture courtesy of Tim Scott) 

RHODE ISLAND STATE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP by Tim Scott

 Players from Mount Pleasant and North Kingstown battle it out during the regular season. Both teams qualified for the state championship. (picture courtesy of the Providence Journal) 

RED SOX SPRING TRAINING BEGINS by Tim Scott

 Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine hopes to lead the Red Sox back into contention this season. (picture courtesy of New York Daily News). 

Jarrod Saltalamacchia after losing 4-3 to the Baltimore Orioles last night. (picture courtesy of USA Today) 

The Massachusetts Minutemen have made a steady run to the #5 spot in the New England Top 20 rankings. (picture courtesy of Obsessed with Sports) 

Ted Ginn hopes to lead his San Francisco 49ers to a victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. (picture courtesy of LA Times) 

RED SOX WEEK IN REVIEW (Sept. 13-18, 2011)
Dustin Pedroia reacts after striking out on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. (picture courtesy of BoSox injection) 

Barrington High School captains Jack Ryan (#4), Drew Brown (#3), and Jake Nyzio (#50) meet at midfield for the coin toss before the Eagles home opener. (picture courtesy of Barrington Patch)

Wes Welker running away from Benny Sapp on his way to a 99 yard TD reception. That score was a part of 38 points New England put up in their week 1 win over Miami. (photo courtesy of Patriots.com) 

 PATRIOTS-DOLPHINS PREVIEW (September 11, 2011)

Hot Spot Patriots Writer Tim Sorota predicts the intensity of the Patriots-Dolphins game to be significant, like this picture from the 2007 game. (picture courtesy of Boston Globe).

 REDSKINS 28, GIANTS 14 (Game of the Week, Sept. 11, 2011)

Fred Davis and Tim Hightower celebrate after a touchdown during a 28-14 win over the New York Giants. (picture courtesy of Kansas City Star)

 RED SOX WEEK IN RECAP (9/6/11-9/9/11)

John Lackey leaves the game with an injured shin as the Red Sox dropped 4 of their last 5. (picture courtesy of Boston Globe).

 SAVARD SHUT DOWN by Tyler Murry

After suffering a career-jeopardizing concussion, Marc Savard will miss another season with the Boston Bruins. (picture courtesy of Associated Press)

The State of Our Game by Arthur Bailin

Jeff Miller and Shane Godek, two of the big storylines of 2011, face off during the 2011 Rug Burn Ball playoffs. (picture courtesy of Sports Broadcasting Camps)

 Ed Dickson of the Ravens makes this catch against the Saints in their December 19 matchup last season. This is my Super Bowl matchup: Ravens vs. Saints. Who will win? (Photo courtesy of Baltimore.CBSlocal)

BLUE JAYS 1, RED SOX 0 (Final/11) [September 5, 2011]

 Brett Lawrie is mobbed by Blue Jays teammates after hitting a walk-off home run in the eleventh inning of a 1-0 Blue Jays win. (picture courtesy of Canada Sports Net)

 RANGERS 11, RED SOX 4 (September 4, 2011)

Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront wipes his face after allowing a 3-run triple to Josh Hamilton in the sixth inning of a 11-4 Red Sox loss. (picture courtesy of Associated Press)

 PATRIOTS CUT MERIWEATHER, TATE, & MORRIS by Tim Sorota

Brandon Meriweather (#31) and James Sanders (#36) were both thought of as two of the best young safeties in the game. But, yesterday, Meriweather was cut. Sanders was cut on the 30th. (picture courtesy of the BostonHerald)

 NEW ENGLAND TOP 20 (Week 2)

Connecticut, with a victory over Fordham, took the #1 spot away from Boston College in this week's polls. (picture courtesy of The Minaret) 

RED SOX 12, Rangers 7 (September 3, 2011) 

Josh Reddick tosses a ball into the stands in the fourth inning of the Red Sox 12-7 triumph over the Texas Rangers. (picture courtesy of The Globe and Mail)

NORTHWESTERN 24, Boston College 17 [September 3, 2011]

BC quarterback Chase Rettig threw for 375 yards in a season-opening loss to Northwestern. (picture courtesy of Boston Sports U18.com) 

 CONNECTICUT 35, FORDHAM 3 (September 3, 2011)

Connecticut running back Lyle McCombs had 4 rushing touchdowns as UCONN beat Fordham, 35-3 on Saturday. (picture courtesy of UCONN.com)

RANGERS 10, Red Sox 0 (September 2, 2011)

Jacoby Ellsbury slides into a tag by Elvis Andrus in the first inning of a 10-0 loss to the Texas Rangers. (picture courtesy of The News Tribune)

 YANKEES 4, RED SOX 2 (September 1, 2011)

Dustin Pedroia connects on a two-run homer in the fourth inning of a Red Sox 4-2 loss to the Yankees. (picture courtesy of MassLive)

RED SOX ACQUIRE 1B/OF CONOR JACKSON FROM OAKLAND FOR MINOR LEAGUE RELIEVER JASON RICE. (picture courtesy of Bloody Sox)

 RED SOX 9, Yankees 5 (August 31, 2011)

Jason Varitek is congratulated by Josh Reddick after hitting a 2-run homer to right in a 9-5 Red Sox victory. (picture courtesy of The Globe and Mail)

 BOSTON CANNONS: 2011 MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE CHAMPIONS (article written by Matthew Tonis & picture courtesy of Comcast Sports Net)

 RED SOX 9, Athletics 3 [August 27, 2011) GAME 1

Dustin Pedroia watches as the grounds crew puts the tarp on the field during the 9-3 Red Sox victory over the Oakland Athletics win. (picture courtesy of Desert News)

 ATHLETICS 15, Red Sox 5 [August 26, 2011]

Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury slides in safely at third base during the Athletics' 15-5 win over the Red Sox. (picture courtesy of Associated Press)

 RED SOX 6, Rangers 0 [August 25, 2011]

Adrian Gonzalez hits the first of his two home runs against the Texas Rangers on Thursday night. (picture courtesy of CBC Canada)

RED SOX 13, Rangers 2 [August 24, 2011]

 Red Sox DH David Ortiz slides into home plate in the fifth inning, avoiding a tag by Rangers C Make Napoli. The Red Sox would win 13-2 to regain 1st in the AL East. (picture courtesy of Globe & Mail).

 A FADING DYNASTY by Matthew Tonis

In a recent game against Chivas USA, New England defender Darrius Barnes could not play well against a midfielder. The team is 4-11-11 this season, in 8th place. (picture courtesy of LA Times)

 RED SOX 11, Rangers 5 [August 23, 2011]

Adrian Gonzalez rounds the bases after his second homer as Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis watches in agony. The Sox would win 11-5. (picture courtesy of Associated Press)

 TIM SOROTA'S BCS BOWL PREDICTIONS (August 23, 2011)

Hot Spot blogger Tim Sorota predicts that the South Carolina Gamecocks will make a run at the 2011 championship. (picture courtesy of Yahoo Sports)

LLWS (Cumberland 8, Netherlands 7) Aug. 23, 2011

 The Cumberland American Little League team celebrates their 8-7 victory over Rotterdam, Netherlands. (picture courtesy of USA Today)

 RANGERS 4, Red Sox 0 [August 22, 2011]

Dustin Pedroia fields a ground ball as Rangers DH Michael Young watches during the 4-0 Rangers triumph over the Red Sox. (picture courtesy of Associated Press).

 PRYOR TO OAKLAND by Matt Stolbof

Terrelle Pryor, who was selected by the Oakland Raiders in today's supplemental draft, could've been a good fit to other teams in the NFL. (picture courtesy of SI.com)

US OPEN PREVIEW by Landon Komishane

Rafael Nadal is predicted by Hot Spot tennis reporter Landon Komishane to win the 2011 US Opne. (picture courtesy of War Internet News)

RED SOX PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (August 22, 2011)

 Jacoby Ellsbury, despite missing the final 2 games due to his back injury, was awarded the Hot Spot Hitter of the Week. (picture courtesy of BoSox Injection)

Pennsylvania 2, Rhode Island 0 (LLWS, August 20, 2011] 

Cumberland player Matthew Murphy (NE) reacts to the 2-0 loss to Clinton County, Pennsylvania in the elimination game of the 2011 LLWS. (picture courtesy of Providence Journal)

RED SOX 6, Royals 1 [August 21, 2011]

 Ryan Lavarnway connects on a 2-run double in the eighth inning of tonight's 6-1 Sox win over the Royals. (picture courtesy of Associated Press)

 ROYALS 9, Red Sox 4 [August 20, 2011]

Tim Wakefield fields support from Marco Scutaro as he exits his fifth failed attempt at his 200th win. The Sox would lose, 9-4 to the Royals. (picture courtesy of Associated Press)

FUTURES AT FENWAY RECAP by Joshua Kummins

PawSox DH Daniel Nava was 1-for-2 with a two-run home run and a walk in today's Futures at Fenway game against Syracuse. (picture courtesy of MLBlogs.com)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S GREATEST RIVALRIES by Tim Sorota

Ohio State and Michigan have the fiercest rivalry in college football, according to Hot Spot writer Tim Sorota. (picture courtesy of Mildly Relevant.com)

 RED SOX 7, Royals 1 [August 19, 2011]

Andrew Miller throws a pitch during Friday's game against the Kansas City Royals. (picture courtesy of Desert News)

CUMBERLAND AMERICAN GOES TO THE LLWS by Cameron Merritt

Players of the Cumberland American LL (RI) team will be representing New England in the 2011 Little League World Series. (picture courtesy of the Providence Journal)

 AFC NORTH PREDICTIONS by Zach Weiss

Troy Polamalu hopes to lead the Steelers' defense to a solid season in 2011. (picture courtesy of Glogster.com)

 RED SOX 4, Royals 3 [August 18, 2011]

Carl Crawford collides into Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the fourth inning of the Red Sox 4-3 win over the Royals. (picture courtesy of WEEI.com)

 PATRIOTS 31, Buccaneers 14 [August 18, 2011]

Eric Moore gets pressure on Josh Freeman. Freeman was often rushed making throws in a 31-14 loss to the Patriots. (Picture courtesy of Patriots.com)

 MIAMI IS IN HOT WATER (TO SAY LIGHTLY) by Tim Sorota

Nevin Shapiro with Vince Wilfork in 2002. Wilfork received $50,000 from Shapiro in his college career at Miami. Shapiro provided many goods and services to the Hurricanes. He is now serving a 20 year prison sentence.

 RAYS 4, Red Sox 0 [August 17, 2011]

David Price throws a pitch during the first inning of the Rays' 4-0 win over the Red Sox. (picture courtesy of Boston Globe)

 G2: RAYS 6, Red Sox 2 [August 16, 2011]

Dustin Pedroia reacts after the completion of the first Red Sox triple play since 1994. The Sox lost, 6-2, eventually. (picture courtesy of CBC Canada)

 NFL POWER RANKINGS by Tim Sorota

Nnamdi Asomugha was the prize free agent signing for the Eagles. They didn’t stop there. Because of their off-season moves, they are ranked #2 in the current power rankings. (Picture courtesy of Leighvalleylive.com)

 G1: RED SOX 3, Rays 1 [August 16, 2011]

Jacoby El