Red Sox continue to struggle offensively

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Red Sox continue to struggle offensively

TORONTO -- When the season began a week ago, much of the attention was focused on a suspect starting rotation and a reshuffled bullpen.
But six games into the season, it's been the offense -- of all things -- that has hurt the Red Sox.
In five of their losses to date, the Red Sox have scored three runs or fewer. Only once, in fact, have they scored more four runs in a game, and in that contest, the pitching was so bad that not even a dozen runs could buy a victory.
As a team, the Sox are hitting a woeful .236 and have just two homers.
On Wednesday, the Sox mustered just three hits -- all in the same inning (the third) when they scored their lone run. From the end of the third through the end of the eighth, they didn't have a single baserunner.
Even in the ninth, when Toronto lefty Ricky Romero faltered and walked the first two hitters of the inning, the Sox still couldn't produce a run, leaving the potential tying run in scoring position against closer Sergio Santos.
Part of the problem has been the lineup's inability to get any runs early in games. In six games, the Sox have scored a grand total of three runs before the sixth inning.
"It comes and goes," shrugged Kevin Youkilis, who was 0-for-4. "You're going to have streaks when you're tearing the cover off the ball and scoring a lot of runs and sometimes you're not."
"It will even out," vowed Dustin Pedroia. "I think early, you press and you want to get off to a great start and it takes you out of your approach."
Romero had five 1-2-3 innings in a row Wednesday and the Sox seemed to be making his job easier by being overly aggressive at the plate.
"We need to get back to the basics," said Pedroia. "Seeing the ball, having deep counts and trying to knock that starter out of the game. We need to start having better at-bats earlier in the game and score first to give our pitchers some breathing room. We haven't done that yet."
Manager Bobby Valentine bemoaned some tough luck, noting that the Sox had two hard-hit balls in the first inning alone caught on the warning track.
"I thought we hit a lot of balls really hard and had nothing to show for it," said Valentine. "We hit some balls right to Death Valley. I thought we swung the bats well, but just couldn't get it going because balls were right at people.
I think the offense is fine. We've got a lot of really good players who keep swinging the bats well. We're having good at-bats. It's not like we're walking back to the bench holding our bats. We're walking back in disbelief most of the time."

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

BOSTON – The Bruins are undefeated this season when they manage to cobble together three goals in a game. 

It took a little extra as David Pastrnak knifed through former BC defenseman Mike Matheson in overtime for his second goal of the game, and his 15th of the season, to take a 4-3 win over the Panthers at TD Garden. 

It was thought the final offensive push they needed took place in the third period when Ryan Spooner hopped on the David Krejci line with David Backes, and fired a shot at the Boston net that Backes redirected through Roberto Luongo for his seventh of the season. 

But the Panthers tied it up on a Demers goal late in the third period, and that set up Pastrnak’s brilliant one-on-one move for the game-winner for the Black and Gold. 

The Bruins led off the scoring on a nice play by Tim Schaller winning a battle to enter the Florida zone, and then circling around behind the net before burying a one-timer from the slot as he crashed the net to connect with a David Krejci dish headed straight his way. 

The Panthers tied it a period later when the legend, Jaromir Jagr, buried a chance from the slot after his line had hemmed in the David Krejci line and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid pairing for an extended shift in the Boston zone. It was goal No. 754 of Jagr’s brilliant NHL career as he continues to go strong for the Panthers, and it also tied the game 1-1. 

The Bruins looked like they might haven the lead for good on David Pastrnak’s 14th goal of the season, but it wasn’t mean to be. Pastrnak started it all by protecting a puck and retaining possession from his knees in the corner of the offensive zone. Eventually Patrice Bergeron fired a puck wide of the net, and Brad Marchand unleashed a spinning, no-look pass to a waiting Pastrnak for the easy score past Roberto Luongo. 

The Panthers tied it a second time in the third period when Reilly Smith stripped a puck from Patrice Bergeron going up the center of the ice, and eventually it found its way to Aleksander Barkov for a ripped shot from long distance for his fourth goal of the season. 

Then Florida tied it again in the final minutes of the third on a Jason Demers rebound bid after Mike Matheson’s shot went wide of the net and took a wild carom off the end boards in the exact opposite direction. 

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night. 
 
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely. 
 
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
 
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
 
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown. 
 
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game. 

 

STARS
 
James Harden

The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers. 
 
Isaiah Thomas

He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half. 
 

STUDS
 
Jaylen Brown

He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.

Trevor Ariza

He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.

 

DUDS
 
Jonas Jerebko

He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts.