Sox head back home

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Sox head back home

The last time the Sox walked off the field at Fenway, they'd hit rock bottom.

Blowing a 9-1 lead to the Yankees on National TV will do that to a team.

But in the nine days since, the Sox have somewhat quietly caught their balance. They left at 4-10, losers of five straight. They return tonight against the A's at 10-11, winners in six of their last seven and clamoring to make the final push past .500.

The fact that they've only beaten the Twins and White Sox is somewhat of a buzzkill, but at this stage in the season, a win's a win; and the Sox are finally putting a few together.

Over this stretch, we've seen Bard and Lester throw back-to-back gems. Alfredo Aceves convert three one-run saves. Franklin Morales settle into the set-up role. Josh Beckett make two very good starts (if you don't count the first inning). Meanwhile, the offense (despite being silenced over the last two games) finally clicked, scoring 10 runs in three of the first five games on the trip, and Nick Cafardo made reference to Cody Ross "jerking out" a home run. Amazing!

On the flip side, Carl Crawford's recovery hit another snag, and Bobby Valentine continues to do things that make you wonder how closely he's paying attention, but when you think about where this team was on April 21 (giving up 14 runs in the last three innings against the Yankees) and where they are now (coming off a seven-game trip where they gave up 23 runs, total), why not be a little optimistic? At the very least, it's something for this team to build on.

After three against the A's, Boston has three against the Orioles (the Buffalo Bills of the American League) who should be ready to come back to Earth. After that, the Sox face Kansas City, Cleveland and Seattle. There are some solid teams on that list, but those are all winnable games for the Sox. In fact, they don't have another big time test until they head down to Tampa on May 16. These next two weeks put the Sox in a position to finally find some real momentum.

Tonight, Clay Buchholz is on the mound, looking to turn around his awful season and kick start the home stand.

Here's hoping he stays away from Yoenis Cespedes.

Or if not, that you didn't park your car in the lot behind the Monster.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots place Lewis, Vollmer on reserve/PUP to get to 75-man limit

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Patriots place Lewis, Vollmer on reserve/PUP to get to 75-man limit

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were able to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline without making any eye-opening cuts. 

The team placed right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and running back Dion Lewis on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, which will make them unavailable for the first six weeks of the regular season. The Patriots also released linebacker Ramon Humber, tight end Steven Scheu and offensive lineman Keavon Milton.

Neither Vollmer nor Lewis were expected to be healthy enough to begin the season. By placing them on reserve/PUP, the Patriots are no longer dedicating active roster spots to those players, but they have also kept the option open for one or both to return later in the year. Guard Tre' Jackson was also placed on reserve/PUP on Monday. Receiver Danny Amendola is the lone player to remain on active/PUP, meaning he will continue to count against the active roster and can re-join the team to practice at any time.

Veteran center Dominic Moore among Bruins signings

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Veteran center Dominic Moore among Bruins signings

The Bruins announced some organizational signings and one surprise dip into late summer free agency with a one-year, $900,000 contract for 36-year-old depth center Dominic Moore.

The B’s also announced one year, two-way contracts for forward Brian Ferlin, along with defensemen Chris Casto and Alex Grant, and all three of those players will serve as young, organizational depth players in Providence.

Moore has spent each of the last three seasons with the New York Rangers amid a career 765 NHL games played as a solid face-off and penalty-kill player that has fourth line candidate written all over him.

The Bruins will be former Harvard center Moore’s 10th NHL team. He’s coming off a season where he posted six goals and 15 points in 80 games for the Blueshirts, and has previously played for Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay and San Jose along with the Rangers.

While Moore is a solid candidate for fourth-line duty that will provide leadership, good face-off work, solid and gritty penalty-kill work and all kinds of NHL experience, he is also a 36-year-old on a team that has a ton of center candidates headed into camp. 

Moore’s presence could be problematic if he’s standing in the way of developing young centers Austin Czarnik and Noel Acciari. The expectation is that B’s coach Claude Julien, as he always has in the past with safe veterans like Chris Kelly, will go with a player like Moore over the youngsters if times start getting tough for the Black and Gold.

Ferlin, 24, completed his second professional season with the AHL's Providence Bruins in 2015-16, producing six goals and eight assists for 14 points with 27 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating in 23 games. He was sidelined for much of last season in Providence by a concussion.

Casto, 24, completed his third full AHL season with Providence in 2015-16, establishing career highs with seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points with 47 penalty minutes in 68 games.

Grant, 27, spent the 2015-16 season with the Arizona Coyotes organization, splitting time between the Coyotes and their AHL affiliate in Springfield. He recorded seven penalty minutes in five games in the NHL, while compiling 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points with 57 penalty minutes in 69 games in the AHL.  

 

 

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Pedroia returns, Pomeranz on mound

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Pedroia returns, Pomeranz on mound

Dustin Pedroia returns to the lineup after missing two games to attend a family funeral as the Red Sox play the middle game of their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at Fenway Park.

Pedroia is back at second base, batting leadoff, as the Red Sox look to make it two in a row coming off a 9-4 victory on Monday night.

Brock Holt, who filled in a second in Pedroia’s absence, moves to left field and Bryan Holaday catches left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-10, 2.95 ERA) for Boston. Pomeranz struck out a career-high 11 in his last start against the Rays, last Thursday in St. Petersburg. 

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.53) starts for the Rays.

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy DH

Tim Beckham SS

Scott Souza Jr. RF

Corey Dickerson LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Travis Shaw 3B

Brock Holt LF

Bryan Holaday C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Drew Pomeranz LHP