Hanrahan on Bailey: 'All you can do is root for each other'


Hanrahan on Bailey: 'All you can do is root for each other'

BOSTON   In December 2011, the Red Sox traded three young players, including Josh Reddick who went on to have a stellar season, to the As to acquire  Andrew Bailey to be their new closer, after the loss of Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies in free agency.
But, Bailey was hurt at the end of spring training in an odd play while attempting to cover first base and underwent surgery on his right thumb on April 4, the day before Opening Day. Bailey didnt make his season debut until Aug. 14, and struggled for the remainder of the season. In 19 games, spanning 15 13 innings, he posted a record of 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA, six saves, and three blown saves.
Now, Bailey has lost the closers job to Joel Hanrahan, who was acquired in a trade with the Pirates on Dec. 26 two days shy of a year to the day when Bailey was acquired. In the last two seasons Hanrahan is fourth in the National League with a combined 76 saves and a 2.24 ERA. In that span he has recorded 128 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .205 batting average, being named a NL All-Star in both seasons. He and Atlantas Craig Kimbrel are the only pitchers to collect at least 35 saves and post an ERA under 3.00 in both 2011 and 2012.
Hanrahan has the resume and the qualifications to take over the closers job. On the proverbial paper, he represents an upgrade. His 36 saves in 2012 are one more than the Sox as a team were able to post.
Still, being brought in to take the place of a pitcher who will now be one your bullpen mates can make for some uncomfortable dynamics.
But Hanrahan knows its part of the package. A former starting pitcher, the second-round pick of the Dodgers out of Norwalk High in Iowa in 2000, he was granted free agency after the 2006 season. In late 2008, while with the Nationals, he was named the teams closer. Less than a year later, with just five saves, he was traded to the Pirates.
Hanrahan doesnt know Bailey, but from what hes heard, the Sox erstwhile closer is a good guy and a good teammate. Hes looking forward to getting to know him and working with him.  And, hell be rooting for him.
I think thats part of the business, Hanrahan said. Ive been through a situation like that before.
I talked with former As and now Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who knows him from their Oakland days and talked about what kind of guy is he. I dont really know him at all. McCarthy said he's going to be a great guy. He thinks we'll get along great and all you can do is root for each other to have success and pull for the team and that's what we're going to do I believe. He was in a tough spot. Any time you injure your hand in spring training, that's not fun, especially coming over to a new team. I'm sure he's got a lot to prove this year.
Which can only help the Sox.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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