You're Joshin' if you think he's great


You're Joshin' if you think he's great

By Michael Felger

Three nuggets to chew on as we come out of the dog days of summer.

Are you beginning to get the picture on Josh Beckett yet? Hes pretty good. But hes not great -- and those who think otherwise are simply ignoring the facts.

Beckett is completing his fifth year with the Red Sox this season and has made 134 starts in the American League. That's a good sample size, more than enough to accurately pass judgment. And over that time his ERA is 4.22. That's it. 4.22. That's what he is.

Obviously, Beckett has had some stellar postseasons (7-3, 3.07 lifetime). I'd take him in October -- no question about it. But getting there has become a problem. His failure in New York on Sunday versus Dustin Moseley wasn't all that hard to predict. Beckett's last five starts against the Yankees have produced an 0-3 record with a 10.54 ERA and 32 earned runs over the last 27 13 innings. Brutal.

So that's the deal with Beckett right now. Hes a guy who will bully the dregs like Cleveland and Seattle, but will get lit up by the iron. Sunday should have been a clear advantage for the Sox, and if Beckett had done his job the Sox would have walked away from the weekend with three out of four wins against the division leaders, setting themselves up for a very interesting final seven weeks.

But he wasn't up to it.

The chatter surrounding possible movement on Tom Brady's contract is increasing heading into Thursdays exhibition opener against New Orleans, which makes perfect sense. The Saints game is a meaningful threshold.

Without a new contract, Brady is assuming a huge amount of risk by playing football this month. His next contract will probably include around 50 million in guarantees, and since he's set to make just 6.5 million this year, that means Brady's exposure is north of 40 million. This is where his situation is dramatically different from that of Peyton Manning, who is making 16 million this season and has earned around 30 million more than Brady since the two signed extensions in 2004-05. There's just more at stake for Brady.

Which is why it would behoove the Patriots to mitigate that risk for Brady prior to Thursday's game. If a long-term extension is too complicated in the current labor environment, then a one-year raise should be in order, something to tie Brady over until the CBA comes into focus.

It's one thing for Brady to be participating in training camp practices wearing the red (non-contact) jersey. It's another for him to be lining up against the defending champion Saints, who will be hitting him for real. Taking care of him before that point is just the right thing to do.

Maybe that's what he and Bob Kraft were discussing on the golf course the other day.

So it turns out that the same year a sketchy Canadian doctor by the name of Anthony Galea is charged with trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs, two of his highest-profile clients Alex Rodriquez and Tiger Woods suffer the worst seasons of their careers. Hmmm. Just a coincidence, right?

Woods certainly has other factors at play in his slump, but he still deserves the speculation. No one would be surprised if it turned out PEDs were a big part of his story.

Then theres the case of the NFLs reigning defensive rookie of the year, Houston's Brian Cushing, who is claiming his positive test last year was the result of over-training. It turns out, according to Cushing, that he suffers from a rare syndrome called "over-trained athlete syndrome," which can trigger hormonal spikes after breaks in training. And thats why he tested positive for a female fertility drug.

Right. Thats it.

E-mail Felger HERE and read his mailbag on Thursday. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter


Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter

Minutes before they opened their regular season Thursday against the Celtics, the Bulls announced the signing of shooting guard R.J. Hunter.

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: Chippy first half between Celtics-Bulls


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Chippy first half between Celtics-Bulls

Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder are former teammates at Marquette. Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo have tremendous respect for one another as competitors.

But in the heat of battle, friendships and respect can at times fall by the wayside which is exactly what happened in the first half between these two Eastern Conference foes.

After a chippy first half, the Bulls went into the half ahead 57-49.

The last couple of minutes in the second quarter were much closer than the halftime score would indicate.

Butler drained a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer sounded that nearly doubled Chicago’s halftime lead.

His shot brought a conclusion to a first half which included four technical being called on one play in which Crowder was whistled for an offensive foul.

On that play, Butler seemed to tie up Crowder’s legs with both players on the floor. Crowder then seemed to forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest. That led to some back-and-forth smack talk between Thomas and Rondo.

All four players were whistled for technical fouls.

Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points.

As the Celtics soon discovered, finding open spots on the floor against the Bulls was much, much tougher than it was 24 hours earlier against the Nets.

Chicago continued to play with control and led by double digits throughout the second quarter.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s Boston-Chicago game.



Dwyane Wade

The prodigal son looked good in his first game playing in front of lots of family and friends. He led all scorers with 14 points which included 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Avery Bradley

The Celtics seemed to have found their stride in the second quarter with Bradley leading the charge. He led all Boston players with 12 points at the half.

Jimmy Butler

The face of the Bulls franchise got off to a slow start, but soon picked up his play at both ends of the floor in the second quarter. He had 11 points at the half along with grabbing five rebounds.



Taj Gibson

He was a problem for the Boston Celtics right from the start, providing the kind of low-post scoring the Bulls will be looking for in the second half. At the half, Gibson had eight points and six rebounds.

Rajon Rondo

The former Boston Celtic was doing what he has done well for most of his career – getting others involved. At the half Rondo had three points and a game-high six assists with four rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

Boston needed him to be more of a scorer than a facilitator on Thursday, and Thomas was more than willing to oblige. He had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.



Celtics 3-point defense

The Bulls got one good look after another from 3-point range, with the Celtics showing few signs of making the necessary adjustments. The Bulls connected on 53.8 percent of their 3-pointers (7-for-13) in the first half.