Brady warns against complacency with Jets

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Brady warns against complacency with Jets

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a saying quarterback Tom Brady has repeated at press conferences before.

"The season doesn't really start until Thanksgiving," it goes.

If that's the case, New England's real work begins in just two days. The Patriots will play New York on the road Thanksgiving night. A divisional game is no easy way to start grinding out a playoff run, let alone on short rest.

"It feels different than any game you really play," Brady said Tuesday. "We're just trying to put as much as you can into it. These three or four days -- there's just no time for anything other than the Jets. You just try to watch as much film as you can. We're fortunate to have played them three weeks ago, so there's some recall from that previous game and preparation that we put in before that game, but . . . it's definitely a challenge.

"I think we're at that point where every game is bigger than the last one. It was a good win for us against Indianapolis the other night, but now we need to put together another one. This team makes it tough on you, they do quite a few things defensively and they really played us well last time."

Brady believes his teammates will manage fine -- if they stay smart.

"We're just trying to prioritize our time. We don't have much of it; we have to leave tomorrow. Hopefully, everyone is spending it wisely -- not playing video games and stuff like that -- trying to understand our plan and what we need to do," the quarterback smiled. "It's a very tough place to play -- we've always played this team very tough."

New England barely escaped the Jets' last effort, winning 29-26 in overtime. Brady has only had two games this season with a worse completion percentage (61.9) than he did in that Week 7 game. The 6.2 yards per pass is tied for his lowest of the year.

The Patriots quarterback remembers it well, and he's expecting another fight.

"Obviously we didn't execute very well. We had some opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of. And they play really well. They always seem to play us well. There's one game where we beat 'em up pretty good a few years ago, but other than that they've been tight games. That's just the way it always is against the Jets."

Rex Ryan's defense can cause problems even in the worst of times. Brady noted the array of blitz schemes and personnel groupings New York likes to throw at opponents to create chaos.

Of course, many of them are familiar to the Patriots; these two teams have faced off 21 times during Brady's tenure. But any advantage gained must be balanced against the danger of complacency -- exactly why Brady stressed the importance of this short week's work.

"I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence where, 'Oh, yeah, we know this team -- it's the Jets.' But you've got to prepare just as hard," he said. "You may know the players and some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have.

"You just can't take anything for granted against this team. They'll have something new for us. They always do."

Sunday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineup: Ortiz a late scratch

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Sunday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineup: Ortiz a late scratch

David Ortiz was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup because his left foot is sore after getting hit by a pitch Saturday. Travis Shaw moves up to the fourth spot in the order at first base, Hanley Ramirez becomes the DH and Josh Rutledge will bat seventh at third base.

After extending his streak to 21 games Saturday, Xander Bogaerts faces a familiar foe in R.A. Dickey. So far the matchup has been favorable for the shortstop, batting .364 through 35 at-bats against the knuckleballer. 

Dickey, on the other hand, has been on the wrong side of matchups against Boston since joining the Blue Jays. In 2016 alone, he's allowed eight runs in 9.2 innings in his two starts against the Red Sox. He faces a lineup that has five players who are hitting .275 or better against him through at least 10 career plate appearances against the righty. Shaw leads that charge, going 4-10 so far off Dickey with a homerun and two doubles. Rutledge is the lone Red Sox hitter yet to face Dickey.

The lineups:

BLUE JAYS:
Jose Bautisa RF
Josh Donaldson 3B
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Devon Travis 2B
Darwin Barney SS
Kevin Pillar CF
Ezquiel Carrera LF
Josh Thole C
---
R.A. Dickey P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Travis Shaw 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Josh Rutledge 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Blake Swihart LF
---
David Price P

The price of being the ace

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The price of being the ace

David Price has a chance for his first “ace” moment to show Boston he’s truly the pitcher they paid for.

The bullpen is spent after giving up the game late Saturday, to go with the team dealing with a three game skid -- the longest since their three-game losing streak from April 17th – April 19th.

On top of the Sox not having lost four-straight yet in 2016, Price is back at the Rogers Centre for the first time since his playoff run with the Blue Jays last year.

So this game should have a playoff feel to it -- as much as one can in late May -- especially with the Toronto picking up steam.

And lastly for Price, he’s started to figure things out since making a mechanical adjustment following his atrocious 4.2 inning start against the Yankees earlier in the month.

But he hasn’t had to throw against a top of the line offense yet.

The lefty dominated Houston, much like everyone has this year and also did well against Colorado.

In between those two he did face a strong opponent in Kansas City, but the Royals still haven’t completely gotten things together (although they did mount a ridiculous comeback Saturday against the White Sox).

Toronto’s scored over seven runs in three of their last four, winning all four of those games and seven of the last 10 contests -- putting them four games behind Boston in the AL East standings.

Price does have a few things going for him entering Sunday’s contest.

He threw well against his old team earlier this year -- seven innings, two earned runs, nine strikeouts and zero walks -- when his mechanics weren’t where he wanted them.

Also after being traded to Detroit from Tampa Bay in 2014, Price was dominant in his returning start at Tropicana Field.

Although he took the loss 1-0, the lefty dealt, chucking a one-hitter over eight innings, striking out nine without walking a batter -- and the one run off of him was unearned.

Price has yet to pitch at Comerica Park since leaving the Tigers, so that’s something Boston may deal with later in the year, too.

Now Price has to block all of this from his mind and execute pitches, in what is his biggest test this point in the season.

A lot for him to ignore in what could’ve easily been a regular start had Boston’s bullpen done its job Sunday -- but then again, this is a part of the price of being an ace.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Former Boston College hockey star dealing with drug addiction

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Haggerty's Morning Skate: Former Boston College hockey star dealing with drug addiction

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like I was watching the Heart of a Champion in that Golden State/Oklahoma City game last night. That Klay Thompson is something else.

 

*PHT writer James O’Brien wonders what the next step is for Troy Brouwer now that he’s ready to hit free agency, and the ride has finally come to an for the Blues this season.

 

*Excellent piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Paul Dupont on the sad story of Kevin Stevens, and the drug addiction demons that have had him in their clutches for a long time. I’ve known about Stevens troubles for a while, and it’s too bad because he really is a gregarious guy when you get to know him.

 

*Allan Muir speculates on the future of Steve Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning now that the offseason has begun for both of them.

 

*P.K. Subban doesn’t sound like he’s got any hard feelings about being left off Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey, and said he’ll still be rooting them along.

 

*Pat Hickey mentions the Subban snub, but is incredulous that Habs center Alex Galchenyuk was left off Team North America.

 

*Larry Brooks breaks down how exactly former Bruins head coach and New York Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan was able to emerge from John Tortorella’s shadow some 10 years later.

 

*For something completely different: sad story all around in Cincinnati where they had to had to shoot an endangered gorilla dead when a four year old child fell into his enclosure.