Lester: We're leaving everything on the field

563302.jpg

Lester: We're leaving everything on the field

TORONTO -- In spring training, the Red Sox talked about turning the page on the team's nightmarish September, when the Sox coughed up a 9 12 game lead for the wild card spot and were eliminated from the post-season on the final night of the season.

Worse, there was the residual ill will that came after details about the team's clubhouse comportment, none of which endeared them to the club's loyal fan base.

But while focusing on purging the memories from last fall, the Sox have stumbled out of the starting gate again, unwittingly inviting comparisons to another part of the 2011 season -- the beginning.

A year ago, the Sox endured the worst start to a seasson in franchise history, returning home from their first road trip winless at 0-6.

This year, they come back to Boston only marginally better at 1-5.

That hardly qualifies as improvement or a step forward.

"We're not playing good right now," lamented Jon Lester, who took the loss Wednesday, but deserved better. "We haven't put it together right now. Nobody in this clubhouse wants to start slow, regardless of years past. We said last year, it's a long season.

"We're going to show up on Friday and keep grinding it out. That's all we can really do. Obviously, this isn't the way we wanted to start. Nobody wants to start this way."

It's scant consolation, but the Sox are at least more competitive on their first trip than they were a year ago. The Sox had a chance to win three of the five, which wasn't the case last April.

"It's just as frustrating,"sighed Adrian Gonzalez, who hit two balls to warning track Wednesday, but was hitless. "It's a whole different season, a different team than last year. But yeah, (we've been more competitive). Two of the three games in Detroit we were right in them. If I remember correctly, we got beat pretty bad in Texas.

"We've been in games. We've been right there at the wire and haven't been able to overcome it. We've got to get that key hit, that two-out RBI, whatever it is, to get us over the hump."

After a day off Thursday, the Sox have their home opener, hosting the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of nine games on the homestand.

It's unclear what sort of reception they'll get Friday from a fan base still smarting from last fall's debacle and further frustrated by the results of the first trip.

"I don't know,"said Lester when asked what he expected. "Hopefully it's good. Hopefully they see that we're grinding it out and leaving everything on the field. Nobody's half-assing anything here. Nobody's half-assed anything in the past. Hopefully, it will be a packed house and they'll get the same things they've gotten in the past (from the team)."

"I think we have the greatest fans in the world," said manager Bobby Valentine. "We'll find out."

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

boston_bruins_alumni_ray_bourque_123115.jpg

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested in Andover this weekend, and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol according to multiple reports.

Andover Police told CBS Boston that the former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Lowell Street. The Bruins legend has lived on the North Shore with his family since retiring from the NHL, and has been a constant presence in the community at charitable events and Bruins functions.

Bourque was released on bail. No additional information was immediately available

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

red_sox_steven_wright_052516.jpg

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to stay on a roll, as will the Red Sox, as they continue their three-game series tonight (9:20) against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Wright (8-4, American League-leading 2.01 ERA) faces Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), in his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox rallied to win the series opener 8-7 with a four-run ninth inning.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Steven Wright RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
---
A.J. Griffin RHP
 

Sweeney on chasing Stamkos, Lucic: 'We will make all the calls'

don-sweeney-bruins-5-20-15.jpg

Sweeney on chasing Stamkos, Lucic: 'We will make all the calls'

BUFFALO – While it certainly doesn’t feel like there’s any chance of it realistically happening, the Bruins plan to reach out to some of the bigger fish on the free agent market with roughly $21 million in cap space to work with.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney lost out on a defenseman trade target in Dmitry Kulikov on Saturday when he was dealt by the Panthers to the Buffalo Sabres and appears far away from acquiring top D-man target Kevin Shattenkirk.

So, the Bruins will turn their attention to the free agent market opening on July 1, and with that in mind Sweeney didn’t rule out the Bruins making a run at Stephen Stamkos, or potentially welcoming back power forward Milan Lucic.

“The interview period has already begun, and we were on the phone today with players that we had targeted. It was our first opportunity to speak with them, and see if things line up. It will play out over the next few days and we will be aggressive about it because we want to improve,” said Sweeney, who was adamant that the Bruins would make all the necessary exploratory phone calls when specifically asked about both Stamkos and Lucic. “We will take the temperature of whoever will help our hockey club, and it if lines up then that’s what we’d like to do.

“There are a lot of coveted ones on the market, and we will make all of the calls. It’s everybody. The city would embrace it, and the organization has great respect for [Lucic]. So there’s no question that we would explore all players.”

There may be some sentimental interest from Lucic's camp in returning to Boston, but there's also a sense the left wing has become comfortable back on his native West Coast. The Canucks in his home city of Vancouver and the Edmonton Oilers are expected to push hard for his punishing, board-rattling services. Wooing Stamkos would be particularly difficult given that the Bruins seem years away from truly competing for a Stanley Cup and have two frontline centers in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

While either one would certainly help a Black and Gold team likely to be losing Loui Eriksson in free agency, much of their existing cap space is going to be eaten up by a contract extension for RFA Torey Krug, a deal for whatever replacement they have in mind for Eriksson should he sign with a different team and the top-four defenseman that Boston has needed since trading Dougie Hamilton at last June’s draft weekend in Florida.