Bruins can't get it together for matinee games

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Bruins can't get it together for matinee games

PITTSBURGH Its a good thing the NHL doesnt carry too many playoff matinee games.

The Bruins have continued a long string of subpar performances in matinee games this season, and dropped to 4-8-2 in matinees this season when they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 5-2 score at the CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Bruins didnt look ready to play on Sunday and its difficult to argue with a 3-0 deficit after the first 20 minutes even if there were a couple of good scoring chances from the David KrejciMilan LucicTyler Seguin line to open the proceedings.

The simple truth is this: the Bruins have been outscored 10-4 in the first period of their last nine matinee games this season and that speaks a problem getting things moving in these early starts.

Claude Julien saw it as a coincidence and didnt think his team showed any evidence of sluggishness in the first period.

When you look at today I dont think we were skating in quicksand. Theres nothing to that, said Julien. I think yesterday was about two early goals again when we had the better scoring chances earlier in the game.

I dont attribute the losses to the time of the game. I attribute the loss to what we do during the game.

Pittsburghs first goal was clearly a simple bounce of the puck when a blocked shot landed on Arron Ashams stick and the Penguins were off and running in the first period. But the Penguins carried that momentum through the entire first period, and their first line players Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and James Neal had their way with a Bruins team that appeared a little dazed after similarly falling behind early against Washington on Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins all scratched their heads when presented with the matinee stats after their loss to the Penguins. But they also know that they have to be better with the Senators breathing down their necks only two points behind in the Northeast Division.

Ive got no clue. Weve got to be ready. Were professionals, said Johnny Boychuk. You give up three goals in the first . . . thats unacceptable. Whether its a matinee or not its simply unacceptable.

Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph -- heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two). But he wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

Price's five-inning, three-run performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. The lefty exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, though he lost the chance at his first 2017 victory when Chicago scored in the seventh.

All three runs off Price scored on a Melky Cabrera homer in the third inning, which put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day, but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started a inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand. After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and Co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.