Belichick: McCourty a total team-first player


Belichick: McCourty a total team-first player

The Patriots secondary came into focus again after Sunday's win over Jacksonville.

It was impossible not to notice all the personnel shuffling that went on in the backend of the defense because it began at kickoff.
With Alfonzo Dennard inactive, cornerback-turned-safety Devin McCourty returned to left corner. Aqib Talib, active but battling a hip injury, played just eight snaps. Marquice Cole got significant time in the slot. Patrick Chung was back at starting safety.
For all the mixing and matching, coach Bill Belichick noted Monday how important McCourty's ability to be moved around is. The player went back to corner after playing every defensive snap at safety for eight-straight games.
"Devin gives us a lot of flexibility; he's such a versatile guy. He's an excellent tackler, which makes him a candidate to play inside at safety. Of course, you know about his speed and toughness, good ball skills, and the fact that he can go outside and play competitively in this game, where we needed him, or come inside when we needed him in there at safety and give some stability back there. He's so unselfish. Hes well prepared. He's got a good set of skills for either position really, corner or safety.
"He's a total team-first player and I think thats reflected in the fact that his teammates selected him as a captain in his second year on the team. Thats pretty unusual," Belichick said. "That's the way he is; he's very unselfish and does what he needs to do or where he's needed and he does it well. Hes come through for us defensively and in the kicking game in a variety of roles."
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia agreed.
"Obviously as a leader and a captain of our defense of our team, Devin understands that and just wants to do whatever he can to help us win. And certainly for him to be able to do that and continue to kind of be a multi-faceted player for us is very beneficial for us and a credit to his work and his preparation every week."

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.


Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.


Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.


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