Blakely: Lack of free throws hurts Celtics

964183.jpg

Blakely: Lack of free throws hurts Celtics

SAN ANTONIO Throughout most of Saturday's loss, Doc Rivers made a point to the officials about the free throw discrepancy that just continued to grow as the game progressed.

In the end, San Antonio took 20 free throws (with 15 makes) compared to Boston which took eight free throws (with six makes).

"They went into the fourth quarter with (seven) fouls, total," said Rivers whose team had been whistled for 17 personal fouls going into the fourth.

Rivers added, "what can you do? It is what it is. It's hard to win games on the road when a team goes to the line like that."

Boston's Kevin Garnett knew coming in that the C's would likely not get too many favorable whistles blown.

"San Antonio reminds me of the old Utah," said Garnett. "You know what you're getting when you come in here. These guys are a well-oiled machine. This place is one of the hardest places to play in. You're not going to get many calls in here to begin with. It's your team against whoever else is in here. You come here, it's a tough place to play. We didn't expect to get any calls. And then in return, they tend to give calls to the most aggressive team. At times they were driving the ball a little more than we were."

It's no secret that the Celtics are a jump-shooting team with no real inside presence other than Kevin Garnett.

Relying so much on the perimeter to score will at times render results like the ones we saw on Saturday.

And while the C's want to be an inside-out team, their roster is structured in such a way that they really don't have much of a choice but to lean more heavily on their perimeter shots falling than driving lay-ups and dunks.

"We got some open ones, didn't make 'em," said Terry who had 18 points off the bench - 17 coming in the first half. "Those are the kind of looks you want; wide open."

Rivers said the lack of free throws was also a contributing factor in making an already solid San Antonio defense, even better.

"The thing that free throws do," Rivers said. "Is they allow you to set your defense. And it allowed them to do it a lot tonight."

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

red_sox_craig_kimbrel_052517.jpg

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.