Sox get off on wrong foot with loss to Rangers, 9-5


Sox get off on wrong foot with loss to Rangers, 9-5

By Sean McAdam

LEADOFF SPOT: Jon Lester had never before given up three homers in a single start. Daniel Bard hadn't allowed four runs in an outing since his rookie year.

So when both things happened Friday, you got the sense it wasn't going to be the Red Sox' day. And it wasn't as they dropped their regular season opener, 9-5 to the Texas Rangers in a slugfest.

Lester twice coughed up two-run leads, with the big blow against him a three-run homer by Mike Napoli in the fourth.

After David Ortiz tied the game with a solo homer in the top of the eighth, the Rangers responded right away with four runs in the bottom of the inning off Bard, including a pinch-hit two-run double by former Sox outfielder David Murphy. Murphy's opposite-field slice kicked up chalk on the left field line and gave the Rangers a lead they wouldn't lose.

Adrian Gonzalez, in his Red Sox debut, collected three RBI. Carl Crawford wasn't nearly a successful, going hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: David Murphy. The former Red Sox outfielder came off the bench to deliver a tie-breaking two-run pinch-hit double in the bottom of the eighth and put the Rangers ahead for good.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Napoli, a noted Red Sox killer while with the Angels, didn't do anything differently with his new team, belting a three-run homer off Jon Lester and adding a walk in the eighth to help set up Murphy's heroics.

THE GOAT: Daniel Bard. Bard was hit around for four runs in the eighth and was saddled with the loss. In 73 appearances last season, Bard gave up more than a run twice. The four runs off him tied a career high.

TURNING POINT: On a 3-and-2 pitch to Napoli, Bard threw a slider which missed, walking Napoli and setting the four-run inning in motion.

BY THE NUMBERS: David Ortiz had a game-tying homer off lefthander Darren Oliver. All of last season, Ortiz hit just two homers off lefties.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We battled all day to stay in that game. It sucks to be the one that gives it away.'' -- Daniel Bard.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)