Lester: We're leaving everything on the field

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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."

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.