Tigers win in extras, Jeter's season over

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Tigers win in extras, Jeter's season over

NEW YORK -- Three innings earlier, Raul Ibanez had, incredibly, struck again, rocketing another improbable homer into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium, giving his team new life, one more time.

It was the third homer of this post-season for Ibanez. All three have come in the ninth inning or later, making Ibanez the unlikeliest of October heroes for these New York Yankees.

It seemed like this game was headed in the same direction as Game 4 of the Division Series against Baltimore, when Ibanez tied the game in the ninth with a pinch-hit homer, then won it in the 12th.

A two-run homer from Ichiro Suzuki -- the first post-season homer of his career -- and the one from Ibanez, both off embattled closer Jose Valverde, had wiped out a 4-0 Detroit Tigers lead in the span of four batters.

Surely, this night, like so many October nights in this ballpark or the one it replaced across the street, would have a happy ending for the Yankees.

Except it didn't. Not hardly.

In the 12th inning, the Tigers took the game back with two runs. Worse, for the Yankees, shortstop Derek Jeter went diving for a grounder by Jhonny Peralta and fractured his left ankle, ending his season.

And just like that, the Yankees went from nearly finishing off another late-inning comeback to losing not just the game, but their captain, too.

Sucker punch to the gut.

"It's going to test the resolve of this team,'' said Derek Lowe, in the aftermath of the Tigers' 6-4 victory. "It's probably going to take a little bit of time, to have the reality sink in. It is what it is. But within an hour or so, to go from Ibanez doing what he does to this.... this isn't an ideal situation.''

"That's kind of crushing,'' said Nick Swisher when told of the diagnosis on Jeter. "It's tough.''

Around the home clubhouse, the Yankees were all trying to say the right things: that they would miss Jeter, of course, but that they would go on, just as they had earlier in the year when their closer for the ages, Mariano Rivera, went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Jeter, of course, had been playing with a bone bruise on the same left ankle. He had come out late in Game 3 when the ankle worsened, and in Game 4, he was limited to DH duties, marking the first time in his career that Jeter had not played shortstop in a post-season game.

His teammates are accustomed to him playing through pain, shrugging off injuries. Not this time. When he went sprawling for the ball hit by Peralta, he flipped the ball toward second baseman Robinson Cano as if there had been a force play at second. There wasn't. It was Jeter just trying to get the ball to someone else.

From the dugout, Joe Girardi knew this wasn't any ordinary injury.

"Oh boy, if he's not getting up,'' said Girardi, recounting the moment, "something's wrong.''

And indeed it was. Jeter was carried off the field by the manager and the team trainer, carried right into his off-season.

Earlier, it had been Ibanez figuratively carrying the Yankees, doing what others in the New York lineup have been unable to do. Robinson Cano, arguably the team's MVP during the regular season, is hitless in his last 23 at-bats.

For the third time in the last four games, Alex Rodriguez was lifted for a pinch-hitter. And Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson looked inept at the plate, as they've been most of this month.

But it wasn't enough. The Tigers came back.

"If we're going to be good enough,'' said Detroit manager Jim Leyland, "we have to be able to take a punch and we took a big punch. We took a right cross in the ninth inning, but we survived it.''

The Tigers surely have their issues, too. Their infield defense is atrocious and their bullpen beyond suspect.

Their closer, Jose Valverde, who surrendered the Ibanez homer, has now given up seven earned runs in 2 13 innings this post-season.

Leyland strongly hinted that the Tigers will try someone else in the closer's role, unwilling to trust Valverde after two ninth-inning blown saves in the last three games.

But that seems minor by comparison to what the Yankees face.

The Tigers are otherwise healthy and they have grabbed themselves a lead in this series, and done so on the road.

It may only be one game, one loss, but the Yankees are in trouble. And this time, not even Raul Ibanez can save them.

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

 

Haggerty: Bruins say hunger is back, but we must see it on the ice

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Haggerty: Bruins say hunger is back, but we must see it on the ice

BRIGHTON – It only amounts to lip service coming in the first few days the Bruins players are simply getting together for informal captain’s practices, but it’s pretty clear the fire is burning brightly after missing the playoffs two years in a row.

For a group that still includes some players that made the playoffs seven seasons in a row, made it to the Cup Finals twice and hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011, it feels like that sting of pride is very close to the surface.

Torey Krug wouldn’t even entertain discussion of last season when asked about it following Monday’s skating session at the new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility. David Krejci said he’s officially done talking about winning the Cup five long years ago. Now, it’s about righting the ship for the Bruins, and getting things back moving in a positive, forward progression after moving backwards and sideways over the last two years.

As always, the playmaking Krejci gives a straight, honest take about where the team is on the down side of their Cup years.

“I feel like we’re back to where we started 10 years ago, you know? The teams didn’t make the playoffs, and now we kind of have some new guys. It’s still a good mix with some experienced guys,” said Krejci. “But the hunger, it’s there again. Obviously we haven’t been in the playoffs for a couple of years. It’s exciting times.

“If you go back to 2011 and then to 2013, we were in the Final. But we knew that we had already won two years before. We did try, but you always knew in the back of your mind that you’d already won the Cup. Now, it’s like the Cup is out of the window and that was a long time ago. I’m going to talk about the Cup when I retire, so now we’re all hungry again. We missed the playoffs two years in a row, and it’s a new excitement again. I just can’t wait to get back into it.”

Krejci’s first full season in the NHL was actually the year that the B’s made it back into the postseason in 2007-08, but he was close enough to the organization to see what it was like at the 2006 training camp when a great deal was in flux for the Black and Gold.

It’s not unlike the big changes that the Bruins have seen in the past two years with the hopes that there will start being a payoff in the near future.

It’s exciting for Krejci, in particular, as he should be 100 percent healthy for the first time in three years after surgery on his left hip last spring. A healthy Krejci and Patrice Bergeron will give the Black and Gold their potent 1-2 punch down the middle and there’s also a healthy chip on the shoulder of the B’s defensemen crew after a difficult campaign last year.

Krug admitted as much while brushing off big picture questions about what happened last season, and why this season should be any different for a group of seven defensemen returning from last season’s crew ranked 19th in the league.

“I’m not going to talk about [last year]. We’re moving on. This group will use it as motivation moving forward. With this new practice facility, everybody is excited to get back together and start moving forward,” said Krug. “We have [D-men] pieces in here that maybe people aren’t getting too excited about, but we know what we have in this room. We’ve grown and developed together.

“We know that we’re highly capable of taking whatever is thrown our way. But I know the D-men especially are motivated to prove a lot of people wrong that we’re not ready to compete, and not ready to be a playoff team.”

That’s essentially what it comes down to for the Black and Gold. They can talk about regaining the hunger to compete and utilizing last season’s failures as motivation for this season, but it all amounts to nothing unless they show it on the ice on a consistent basis.

It will be months before everybody truly knows if it’s more than talk from the Bruins and before we learn whether the B’s even have the talent on the roster to truly compete in a difficult, improving Atlantic Division. 

For now, the optimism is running high for the returning Black and Gold players and that registers as something as they slowly ramp up to the start of training camp next month and the season opener on Oct. 13 in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.