A week of ups and downs come to a close for Boston sports. New and old faces came to both the Red Sox and Patriots this week, while the Celtics racked up a few more wins. The Bruins suffered their worst week of the season to date while the Revolution lost one of their best players of all time. Finally, the week was capped off by three rounds of success from the three local colleges in the area. Let’s start with the teams that are not currently playing.
The Boston Red Sox
After missing out on the playoffs and seeing the San Francisco Giants celebrate their World Series win this week, the Boston Red Sox began their hot stove season. It’s time to start building next year’s team that will hopefully stay healthy and make a another run at the fall classic. It all starts with coaching for the Sox and a new pitching coach was in the works after John Farrell left the team to take on the task of managing the Toronto Blue Jays. In steps Curt Young, the former pitching coach for the Oakland Athletics for the past seven years. A slightly underrated pitching coach, most likely due to Oakland’s lack of success, Young looks promising based on the numbers A’s pitching has compiled under his tutelage. In his seven years as the pitching coach, the A’s compiled an American League best 4.03 earned run average and held an American League low batting average of .257. Also, the Athletics lead the league this season in earned run average (3.56) and shutouts (17). Young will look to help improve next year’s bullpen, an aspect of the team that hurt them very much last year.
Besides building back up their coaching staff the Red Sox still need to fill out their roster for next year. Once the world series was over general manger, Theo Epstein, got straight work on bringing back some key players to the team. David Ortiz, the team’s designated hitter since 2003, was first on Epstein’s list as the club exercised the one year team option it had on Ortiz’s contract for $12.5 million. A good move in my opinion as David Ortiz put up great numbers last year with a .270 batting average, 32 home runs, and 102 runs batted in. Not bad for a guy who is about to turn 35. The Sox got Ortiz for a relatively cheap price, but whether Ortiz is happy about the deal is another question entirely. Ortiz expressed throughout last season that he wanted to retire in Boston, but also wanted more than a one year deal after the season was over. He did not want to go through the same situation involving his contract all over again next season, and now it looks like he will. Epstein has said though that Ortiz is fine with the deal.
The Red Sox also picked up the team option they had on reliever, Scott Atchison, for the veteran minimum and declined the option on utility infielder/outfielder Bill Hall. Also, third baseman Adrian Beltre (surprise surprise) declined his $10 million player option and opted for free agency. Beltre will probably get paid more money than he is worth on another team besides Boston, probably similar to when he was a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers and then signed with the Seattle Mariners.
The New England Revolution
The Revolution are moving through their off season, but lost one of their best all time players this week to retirement. Forward, Taylor Twellman, retired earlier this week due to a history with concussions. His doctor advised him to stop playing soccer if he wanted to live the most possible years of his life. Twellman has only played in two games in the past two season since he suffered a concussion with L.A. Galaxy goaltender, Steve Cronin, back in 2008. Twellman is truly one of the best players in Revolution history as he their all time leading scorer, five time MLS all star, the 2005 most valuable player, had four MLS cup appearances, and was the fastest player in league history to score 100 goals.
Now onto the active teams.
The Boston Bruins
The Bruins had their worst week to date of their season so far. The Bruins went 1-2 on the week after suffering losses to the Washington Capitals on Friday and shootout loss to the Saint Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Bruins did win this past Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres 5-2, and both losses did not necessarily mean the Bruins played extremely poor. On Friday the Bruins were trying to play catch-up most of the night being down 3-0 against the Capitals going into the third period. Boston was able to tie the score up at three, but after pulling goalie Tim Thomas in favor of second year goaltender, Tuukka Rassk, the B’s lost the game with two more goals from the Capitals, one coming off the open net.
The Bruins also lost center David Kreji after he suffered a concussion against St. Louis on Saturday night. He is expected to miss at least of week of action. This is another blow to the Bruins as they are already missing both left wing, Marco Sturm, and center, Marc Savard.
The Boston Celtics
The Celtics had another strong week and had four wins against Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Oklahoma City. It was an exciting week for team captain Paul Pierce as well as he was able to notch his 20,000 point on Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. It was an emotional night for Pierce as he teared up in his post game interview since it was just a few years ago that fans and Pierce himself did not think he would be in a Celtics’ uniform for much longer. Pierce joins John Havelick and Larry Bird as the only players in Celtics history to score 20,000 points all with Boston.
Kevin Garnett involved himself in controversy this week after Tuesday’s night win in Detroit. Apparently Garnett, one of the league’s biggest trash talkers, told Piston’s forward Charlie Villanueva that he looked like a cancer patient. Villanueva put this news up on his twitter account and also said that “he could take Garnett in the boxing ring if it came down to it.” The whole incident is ridiculous on both sides. Garnett may have crossed a boundary since Villanueva actually has a disease making him hairless, but Villanueva also acted like tattle over the internet on an issue that should have been left on the court.
Rajon Rondo also continued to be phenomenal in the assists category this week as he currently leads the NBA in said category. He tied John Stockon for the most assists in a season through the first three games this year and already has 103 assists total. Shaquille O’Neal has also already hit the injury block and did not play at all this week thanks to a bruised right knee, but was able to make the first road trip of the season with the C’s as they traveled first to Oklahoma City on Sunday. No surprise there that the team is resting Shaq. His role is to be available come playoff time when they will need him to be the force under the basket that he truly is.
The New England Patriots
After an impressive win over the Minnesota Vikings last week the Patriots were all over the news leading up to their terrible loss today to the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots were amidst the rumors of what team would be picking up wide receiver, Randy Moss, after his quick departure from the Vikings. It was a good thing the Patriots did not pick things back up with Moss as they have seen success again in the form of the success they saw during their super bowl seasons in 2001, 2004, and 2005.
The Patriots were also able to bring offensive lineman, Logan Mankins, back into action this week. Mankins was holding out on his contract to start the season, but reported to practice for the first time this past Wednesday. Mankins signed for $1.54 million for the season, and even started against the Browns over Dan Connolly. While getting Mankins back, the Patriots cut ties with corner back, Terrence Wheatly. Wheatly never lived up to his expectations with the Patriots as he only managed to rack up a whopping six tackles in his few seasons in New England.
The worst news of the week happened for the Patriots on Sunday with their terrible loss to the Cleveland Browns. This was labeled the perfect trap game for New England as they are looking more towards their next game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Overlooking and underestimating the Browns left the Patriots on the short end of a 34-14 loss. Nothing seemed to be working for the Patriots in the game and fell behind early in the first quarter 10-0 after allowing a field goal and a muffed kick off. From that point on the Browns never looked back.
A successful week in college football for the three big teams in the area. Boston College racked up against Wake Forest 23-13 as they grabbed a set of back-to-back wins from last week. BC moved overall to 2-4 in the conference and 4-5 overall and are now ranked fifth in the Atlantic division of the ACC.
Harvard had a 23-7 win over Columbia in the Ivy League. This is their third straight win and they are 4-1 in the conference and 6-2 overall. Harvard is in second place overall in the Ivy League.
Finally, over in the CAA, UMass got their second win in as many weeks against the Maine Blackbears 39-24 in Amherst. With the win, the Minutemen are now third in the CAA with a 4-2 conference record and 6-3 overall record.
So after a week of ups and downs throughout Boston sports the teams the new week is now upon us. The Bruins and Patriots will look to rebound after disappointing ends to the week, while the Celtics look to continue their winning streak through their first major road trip of the season.
About the Author
Written by Geoff Poster
I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. I currently work for WODS Radio and Mix 104.1 Radio in Boston, MA as both a board operator and member of the promotions department. I am interested in pursuing a career in sports media. I currently have a Boston sports podcast entitled The Last Name Show, and I also write for the website SportsofBoston.com