Curran on Patriots mental toughness, defense

948287.jpg

Curran on Patriots mental toughness, defense

The Patriots walked out of New York with a convincing victory over the Jets, and now they have ten days to get themselves rested.  Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran believes the team has showed significant mental toughness over their recent stretch.

Overall, what this team has done in the span of time that it had to go to Seattle, come back home and play the Jets, then go over to Wembley and play there. They have shown a lot."  said Curran. "This is a very mentally tough team.  You don't see them making a spade of mistakes the way the Jets did."

The team may be mentally tough, but is the defense better now in comparison to earlier in the season?"

"I believe it is.  It's still going to be a team that has it's difficulties especially in coverage." continues Curran. "What Brandon Spikes brings to the field is something this team hasn't seen since Rodney Harrison went away.

"I'm not going to go give high-fives to Matt Patricia, but the defense is playing better, and I give the players a lot of credit for that."

Kimbrel ninth-inning meltdown doesn’t alarm Farrell

red_sox_craig_kimbrel_042516.jpg

Kimbrel ninth-inning meltdown doesn’t alarm Farrell

NEW YORK -- John Farrell isn't necessarily alarmed by Craig Kimbrel's poor outing Wednesday night, viewing it as an aberration. But just the same, he'd like to get his closer into a game on the final weekend to flush the bad taste of Wednesday's ninth.

Until the clincher, Kimbrel had allowed just two hits in the previous 23 at-bats (.087) since Sept. 4. And since being re-instated from the DL on Aug. 1, Kimbrel was 13-for-13 in save opportunities with 32 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched and a .113 batting average against.

Kimbrel was brought into the game in the bottom of the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before issuing three straight walks, the last of which forced in a run.

He threw 28 pitches and didn't record an out before being lifted in favor of Joe Kelly, who allowed Mark Teixeira's walk-off grand slam in a 5-3 Yankees victory.

"He was erratic, there's no doubt,” said Farrell. "The command was not there. The power was there, obviously, but the command was not. It turned into a situation where he gets to [almost] 30 pitches. Could we have let him go further, or could the decision have been made to leave him in the game? Sure

"But [Wednesday] night was more of an aberration. Certainly, since he's come off the DL, he's been stingy in those situations. That was a one-time outing last night [given the unusual circumstances].”

Farrell said it's "important” to get all of the Red Sox relievers into games before the season ends Sunday.

"How often, how high stress...the games will dictate that,'' Farrell said. "But yeah, it will be important to Craig back on the mound before we end, regardless of whether it's a save situation.”