Sox begin spring training with 6-5 'B' game loss to Twins

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Sox begin spring training with 6-5 'B' game loss to Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox began their spring training game schedule Thursday afternoon, losing a B game to the Twins, 6-5, at Hammond County Stadium. While the results will not count in Grapefruit League standings or results, it gave manager Bobby Valentine a chance to get into the rhythm of game activities.

Tim Bogar was there as the bench coach doing his thing, Valentine said. Bench coaches Alex Ochoa and Jerry Royster and I need a rhythm as to what were going to be doing. Bogey needs a little rhythm with me also. This is all necessary stuff.

Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard, who are expected to move into the rotation this spring, pitched the first and second inning, respectively. Aceves, who threw 26 pitches, 17 for strikes, allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout. Bard allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout, throwing 25 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Aceves was ok, Valentine said. He threw a lot of pitches that he wanted to work on. He was ok with his work so I was ok with his work. Bard had good pitches, upset with his selection. He threw changeup behind the count 1-0, and then he threw the two-seamer after he hung the slider. He wasnt too happy with that. But his stuff was all right. He was working on the two-seamer. He didnt get much work on his changeup or his slider but pitched out of the windup and got that over with. Pitched out of the stretch and looked OK.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway opened the scoring with a solo home run to left in the first inning.

Lavarnway got a little jammed and hit it 380 feet, Valentine said. I think he can improve on his catching and Im sure that he will.

But the Twins came back with a run off Aceves in the bottom of the frame, and took the lead in the second with a run off Bard.

Former Red Sox minor leaguer Aaron Bates hit a two-run home run off Jesse Carlson in the fourth to extend the Twins lead, 4-2. Brian Dinkelman added a two-run double in the fifth off Tony Pena, Jr.

Nate Spears two-run triple in the sixth cut the Sox deficit to 6-4. Daniel Butlers solo homer in the seventh completed the Sox scoring.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias, who made a nifty running basket catch on in foul territory behind third base, led off the game with a first-pitch single to center field. He also grounded into a double play in the third, and walked.

He walked once today, Valentine said. I think plate discipline is a wonderful thing and it comes from confidence in a mechanic and aggressive attitude I believe. He has an aggressive attitude and when he has a good mechanic he can have good plate discipline.

As planned, the Sox had nine pitchers throw one inning each.

I think I saw things that people are working on that they brought into the
competition, Valentine said.

Andrew Bailey, who had been slowed by a strained lat suffered during the vertical leap part of his physical, threw a bullpen session Thursday morning.

Bailey threw a bullpen, said he felt better, Valentine said. Still really didnt let go because he doesnt want to have a setback.

Miss St turns it on in 2nd half to beat UMass, 47-35

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Miss St turns it on in 2nd half to beat UMass, 47-35

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Aeris Williams ran for a 16-yard touchdown and Jamoral Graham returned an interception 38 yards for a score on the next play from scrimmage to help Mississippi State erase a third-quarter deficit and beat Massachusetts 47-35 on Saturday.

The two scores 17 seconds apart were followed four minutes later by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Nick Fitzgerald to Farrod Green that made it 41-21 just before the end of the third quarter.

Fitzgerald completed 25 of 38 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran for 110 yards for the Bulldogs (2-2). Fred Ross caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns for Mississippi State, which once again struggled to play well for two halves in a row.

Andrew Ford, making his second start for the injured Ross Comis, completed 24 of 40 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns for UMass (1-3). But he also overthrew his receiver on the first play after Mississippi State's go-ahead touchdown, and Graham was there to make it 34-21.

UMass failed to move on its next possession and punted it back to the Bulldogs, who took over on their own 39-yard line. Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 on the drive and also added a 15-yard run as Mississippi State converted its third touchdown in 4 minutes, 11 seconds.

The Bulldogs are coming off a loss to then-No. 20 LSU in which they rallied from a 20-0 deficit only to lose 23-20. They also led South Alabama 17-0 at halftime in their opener but lost 21-20. Against South Carolina, Mississippi State led 24-0 at halftime before holding on for a 27-14 win.

Marquis Young ran for 125 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown in the first quarter that gave UMass a 7-3 lead. Jalen Williams caught two touchdown passes, and Bernard Davis and Sadiq Palmer each had one for the Minutemen.

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Every few months, our buddy Manish Mehta gets suitably bored or his bosses at the New York Daily News get sufficiently impatient with him and he goes off with some prediction that winds up being the absolute direct opposite of what actually happens.

He would be like the drippy-nosed kid at his own birthday party trying to bust open the piñata for an uncomfortable length of time. Except, eventually, somebody takes pity on that kid. With Manish, nobody ever feels bad and he’s left out there swinging long after the party’s over and everyone’s gone home.

Tom Brady’s suspension has provided multiple opportunities for Manish to walk into screen doors.

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First, after Brady bailed in July on taking his suspension to the SCOTUS, Mehta spun it forward and said the Jets would be looking real good after four games with Jimmy Garoppolo driving the bus.

Brady will be in full-fledged F.U. mode by the time he faces the Jets for the first time in Week 12. But what if the Patriots start off winless or 1-3 with Garoppolo? Will Brady's greatness be enough to overcome such a sluggish start given that his team has the second toughest strength of schedule in the AFC (behind the Jets and just ahead of the Bills and Dolphins)?

"I feel like, in this division, you got to win 10-plus games, maybe 11-plus games," Decker said. "That means you almost have to go perfect the rest of the year (after a 1-3 start). You can be in a situation where you play a hard Sunday game and, all of sudden, you got a (quick turnaround) on a Thursday night. … You can factor those things in and make a case that it's more difficult to go on a run after starting 1-3."

After the Patriots started 2-0 and Garoppolo broke, Mehta waded in again.

Not even the greatest football mind of the generation will be able to wiggle out of this jam.

The Patriots face a new reality now that Jimmy Garoppolo wrecked his shoulder on Sunday: The Evil Empire will be looking up at the Jets in the AFC East standings when Tom Brady returns….

(Jacoby) Brissett has been a NFL player for FIVE MONTHS. He'll have THREE DAYS to prepare for his first start. Belichick is brilliant, but let's be realistic. He's not going to climb this mountain.

Friday, Manish made a Mehta Culpa in the New York Daily News and on CSN's SportsNet Central. His prediction of Brissett going bellyup and the Patriots being behind the Jets by the time Brady made his return was, “one giant swing and a miss,” wrote Mehta.

“I was wrong like pre-Socratic philosophers, who thought the world was flat. I was wrong like the Chicago Daily Tribune headline writer, who prematurely buried Truman in '48. I was wrong like Lex Luthor, who thought he could destroy Superman three or four hundred times.

Mehta got an avalanche of “You’re a ******* moooooorrrrrrooooonnnnn!!!!” tweets Thursday night. This was his blanket attempt to say, “Yes. Yes I am.”

And for a second, you worry. Is Manish done? Has he taken his blindfold off, put down his stick and gone into the house for good? No more wild swings and misses?

And then you realize it is his raison d’etre. He’ll be back. And – like this guy – he’ll be gloriously mistaken.