10 things that would make this Red SoxYankees series interesting

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10 things that would make this Red SoxYankees series interesting

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Dudes! The Sox are about to throw down with the Yankees over this weekend so they have, like, a super chance to really bear down and gain ground in the Wild Card race!

Yeah, not really. But here are 10 things that could at least make the series worth watching.

1. Beckett comes to the stadium packing: The guy loves guns and has a vile temper. Sounds like the perfect way to get a leg-up on Andy Pettitte tonight. "My 12-gauge shotgun says that my 5-5 record and 5.71 ERA actually IS better than your 12-2, 2.81 crap." BOOM: roasted.

2. Adrian Beltre hits...from his knees: Instead of swinging himself down into proposal form, I want him kneeling when he starts every at-bat. Yup. I do.

3. Free beer.

4. More free beer.

5. Everybody on Boston's team dresses up rookie-style: It makes people laugh! And laughing is more fun than losing!

6. Baseball brawl: A real one. What I have in mind is actually a hockey fight on a baseball diamond. Again, why the hell not?

7. Ballpark operations changes the routine: No "Sweet Caroline" and nobody does The Wave. This is non-negotiable. Any persons who attempt either can be shot by Josh Beckett.

8. No drama from Derek Jeter: Red Sox pitchers will bean the Yankees shortstop every time he comes up to bat. We like you, Jeets, but there is no faking at Fenway. Not unless Steven Tyler is lipsyncing or Jimmy Fallon is pretending to be an actor.

9. Mike Lowell gets the standing ovation he deserves: Since arriving in Boston, Lowell has battled his body to do everything the Sox have asked him to--and, at times--more. On October 2, the fans should honor him as a true class act.

10. The Red Sox win: It still probably won't get them into the playoffs, but this is Boston we're talking about. Being obnoxious is what this city does best.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.