Shane Victorino stopped switch-hitting again. For the Red Sox, it’s a good thing he did. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Victorino drove a Jose Veras curve down the left field line into the seats atop the Green Monster. The Red Sox took back the lead, 5-2 with…
Versatility, versatility, versatility. If you want to be drafted by the Patriots, it usually has to show up somewhere in your scouting report.
Yes, even if you're an offensive lineman.
At pick No. 78 overall, which was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Saints, coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio grabbed perhaps the most versatile lineman in this class.
Joe Thuney of North Carolina State measures in at 6-foot-5, 304 pounds and has experience at both guard and tackle. He also served as a backup center for the Wolfpack.
Thuney is athletic enough (he recorded a 4.95-second 40-yard dash, 110-inch broad jump at this year's combine) to project at really any position along the line as a pro. Many believe he'll be best-suited as a guard or center at the next level due to his size, but he moves well enough to be able to shadow pass-rushers.
Touted as someone with tremendous "football character," he's one of those players that Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff will appreciate because he loves the game. And to top it off, he's one of the smartest guys in the draft. He was a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy (also known as the Academic Heisman), and graduated cum laude with a degree in accounting before his junior season.
First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over New York Yankees...
* David Ortiz still has a flair for the dramatic.
Matched against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Ortiz cracked a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ortiz now has 18 RBI in 23 games -- he didn't start in four of those games - and at 40, remains the one hitter opposing teams want to face with the game on the line.
Before the homer, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, with four strikeouts.
* All things considered, Henry Owens did OK.
Owens didn't fool anybody. He couldn't command his fastball, and when the Yankees did hit it, they hit it pretty hard. He walked three and hit another. But Owens managed to limit the damage in a big way, allowing just two hits in six innings despite 10 baserunners.
Occasionally, he would get bailed out by his changeup, which seems to be the lone pitch he has that is better than average by major league standards.
* Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit when it counts.
Bradley got the Red Sox offense going with a two-run, two-out double off Masahiro Tanaka, when the Sox were down to their final seven outs.
In the last week along, Bradley hit an extra-inning homer; a solo homer that represented the only run of the game; a ninth-inning triple; and Friday's big two-base hit.
That he has 10 RBI from the bottom of the order suggests he can provide some sock from that spot.
* Matt Barnes continues to make strides.
Since allowing a homer to Kevin Kiermaier on the last homestand, Barnes has allowed just one run in his last four appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average (5-for-24).
* The Yankees bullpen gets all the attention, but in relief of Owens, Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel faced nine hitters and retired them all.
Cyrus Jones had the look of a Patriots cornerback long before he was picked with the No. 60 overall selection in the second round of this year's draft.
An SEC standout? Yup. A product of Nick Saban's Alabama defense? Even better. Special teams experience? He might be the best punt returner in this year's draft class with four returns for touchdowns in 2015.
Jones is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but he ticks off every other box that the Patriots could want in one of their defensive backs. He's a competitive player who has a physical edge at the line of scrimmage and isn't afraid to fire up field to chip in against the run. He can play press-man or zone, and his solid build (196 pounds) helps him knock receivers off of their routes.
Many believe that because of his physical style and his size that Jones will be limited to a role as a slot corner. But with good ball skills (he was a five-star recruit as a receiver coming out of high school) and solid top-end speed (he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at Alabama's pro day), he may be able to compete for a role on the outside.
Jones was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. The Patriots met with Jones multiple times during the pre-draft process, and must have felt comfortable enough with him as a person to take him with their first pick of the weekend.
The Patriots could use some depth at corner with Malcolm Butler (restricted free agent after 2016) and Logan Ryan (unrestricted free agent after 2016) not guaranteed to return after this season. Jones is a physical, competitive corner who has competed against upper-echelon opponents and isn't afraid to contribute in run support. He's also an accomplished return man, who has brought back four punts for touchdowns. He was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. If Jones looks like a good fit character-wise -- Belichick will surely get what he deems a trustworthy report from Alabama coach Nick Saban -- the Patriots could make him their choice. An offensive tackle could be the choice here, but there are long, intelligent players who could be had in the third round. Based on this mock, at least.