Red Sox-Tigers beanball war could escalate later in season


Red Sox-Tigers beanball war could escalate later in season

DETROIT -- The Red Sox and Detroit Tigers don't exactly have a long, angry history with one another.

Thanks to the unbalanced schedule, they usually only play two series per season against one another.

But when the two teams meet again at the end of May at Fenway, it could get interesting.

Adrian Gonzalez was drilled in the ribs by Detroit reliever Phil Coke in the eighth inning and Gonzalez believed it was in retaliation for Matt Albers hitting Prince Fielder is the lower leg in the late innings of Saturday's 10-0 shutout by the Tigers.

Fielder had homered twice in that game. Gonzalez had hit a two-run homer in his previous at-bat in the sixth inning Sunday.

Coke's first pitch sailed behind Gonzalez, which Gonzalez didn't think much of. But then the next one got him in the ribs, prompting a warning to both dugouts by the umpires.

"I'm not a big fan of warnings because you take away the immediate retaliation of it," said Gonzalez. "You know it's going to happen. We've all got seven more years here. It might not happen the next series, but eventually it's going to happen."

Gonzalez didn't believe Albers was intentionally going after Fielder Saturday, noting that there were two strikes at the time.

"It didn't even cross my mind (that Albers was going after Fielder)," said Gonzalez. "I just think it's a bad call on their end because now it's putting (Miguel Cabrera's) and Prince's careers at risk. You know it's going to happen eventually."

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.