Bruins get their third-period groove back

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Bruins get their third-period groove back

NEWARK The third-period letdowns were the first sign that the recent road trip through the NHL sunshine belt didnt represent the real Bruins.
The B's dropped two of the first three games and were outscored 6-2 in the final period, which has been winning time for the Black and Gold this year. They looked tired and resigned to their fate while dropping games to the Hurricanes and Lightning.
But all that changed after Andrew Ference rattled home a howitzer from the left point minutes into the third period against the New Jersey Devils Thursday night. It was the first of four consecutive goals in a 4-1 win at the Prudential Center.
We had competed a lot harder in the first two periods than we had in a while, but I thought we needed more shots and opportunities in the third period, said coach Claude Julien. The Devils were making it hard on us, but once we got that Ference goal in the third period, breakouts were cleaner and things seemed to be a lot better.
Our execution was better, we got our second wind and that goal really lifted us.
Was it case of enough is enough after the emotionally skimpy first 40 minutes against New Jersey?
A little bit . . . we were also trying not to get frustrated and start pointing fingers, said Shawn Thornton, whose line accounted for two of the goals. We werent getting the calls, but sometimes you need to play through that stuff and do it together. Its in this room. You cant put it on anybody else.
I think that was the biggest thing: Going out and playing our game as a team without getting frustrated. We wanted to try and put a good 20 together. We knew that we had a chance if we could do that, and we did.
The Bruins are still outscoring opponents 67-30 in the final period this season, and it speaks volumes about the teams depth that it immediately reverts back to form when its whole forward lineup is intact.
The Red Wings rank as the only team higher than the Bs plus-37 goal differential over the final 20 minutes, but it appears its only a matter of time before it's the Bruins' domain again now that they have their third-period groove back.

All three Patriots QBs will travel to preseason finale vs. Giants

All three Patriots QBs will travel to preseason finale vs. Giants

FOXBORO - While there’s no official word yet on how the playing time will be divided among the Patriots quarterbacks, all three will travel to New Jersey for the preseason finale against the Giants on Thursday night.

There has been plenty of speculation about how much playing time Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett would get, and if Brady would even travel with the team. 

Brady will begin serving his four-game Deflategate suspension on Saturday at 4 p.m. so the game provides his last opportunity to play before he returns to the Patriots before he returns for preparations for the Week 5 matchup in Cleveland on Oct. 9. 

Brady said Tuesday that he hoped to play Thursday night.

More to come….

 

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

BOSTON - Without saying so directly, John Farrell broadly hinted that the Red Sox appear ready to call up Yoan Moncada as rosters expand from the current 25-man limit Thursday.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the chances of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion would be similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. 

Without saying that [Moncada's promotion] is a definite, there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox have already held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

The Red Sox try to end their short homestand at 3-3 and take two of three from the last-place Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale this afternoon at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright (13-6, 3.18 ERA), who allowed five first-inning runs to the Kansas Royals in his last start - his first since coming off the disabled list - is on the mound for the Red Sox. Left-hander Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.80) starts for the Rays.

The Red Sox begin a nine-game road trip to Oakland, San Diego and Toronto on Friday night. 

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier 2B

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller DH

Nick Franklin RF

Logan Morrison 1B

Tim Beckham SS

Corey Dickerson LF

Bobby Wilson C

Drew Smyly LHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Sandy Leon C

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF