Boston Red Sox

Curran's Quick Hits: Remember Darius Butler?

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Curran's Quick Hits: Remember Darius Butler?

Last week, Darius Butler had two interceptions one returned for a touchdown and a fumble recovery in the Colts win over Jacksonville. If the former Patriots second-rounder has anything resembling a competent game Sunday at Gillette expect this from Patriots fans. And he will be starting with Colts corner Jerraud Powers landing on IR this week.

I dont understand how Dan Fouts can pronounce virtually every word correctly except Wilfork. Wilfert? How do you get there? Is it a linguistic blind spot? "Honey, can you get me a fert, I just dropped mine on the floor." "Make sure you keep right at the fert."

So Ryan Fitzpatrick says Brandon Spikes is a punk. Can anyone step back, objectively look at the way the guy plays on the field and think otherwise? He took a cheap shot on Bills tight end Scott Chandler in the first meeting between the teams, a low-rent head shot from Chandlers blind side. He eye-gouged his way to infamy at Florida.

Hes not simply out there trying to leave an impression or send a message. He tries to injure. But the hit on Fitzpatrick while illegal was unavoidable. And the Patriots defense is better with him than without him.

But hes also in his own world. Witness the Fred Jackson fumble at the 1-yard line on Sunday. As the discussion between officials ensued, Spikes tilted his helmet back on his head. When he saw a replay of the fumble, he took his helmet off and started gesticulating. Chief. Put the helmet back on. Thats a 15-yard penalty if the officials were paying attention.

Finally, Jay Cutlers concussion is on him. The rules protecting quarterbacks were installed to make sure they were covered when they were doing something else i.e. throwing. A quarterback who slides late or pushes the notion hes about to become a runner and still tries to throw is an abuse of those protections.

Speaking of fumbles, how can the NFL continue to leave unaddressed the post-fumble chaos that ensues two to three times per game? The guy who falls on the fumble is the guy who emerges from the pile with it about 60 percent of the time. Meanwhile, instead of trying to determine who was on the ball first, officials are peeling players off the pile who show up 10 seconds late looking to bellyflop on the pile and twist fingers. I know this isnt a foolproof solution, but officials need to put up a hand signaling that the loose ball portion of the play is over and any player joining the fray or pile will incur a 15-yard penalty for his team.

I am rooting so hard for Jon Gruden to fill one of the head coaching vacancies this offseason. He was fun in the booth for about three weeks.

The poor Chiefs. Anyone see them get called for a group celebration penalty exulting over a defensive touchdown that got called back. Pretty much encapsulates their season.

With Ben Roethlisbergers right shoulder in disrepair, the hierarchy of the AFC changes again. Its going to be between the Texans, Patriots and Ravens the rest of the way.

Jets linebacker Calvin Pace before the game in Seattle: Were looking for that truly defining moment to our season, and this has got to be a defining moment for us, because we cant be 3-6, that just cannot happen. I believe in the guys. I think adversity really does show what your character is, show what your team is all about.

And defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson: Yes, we will be playing postseason football this year . . . Were going to get (Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson) rattled. We know theyre 4-0 at home, but were not worried about whats going on over there in Seattle . . . Were going to go in there and pretty much set the tone.

Drellich: Forget Red Sox resiliency or luck, banked wins are what matter

Drellich: Forget Red Sox resiliency or luck, banked wins are what matter

BOSTON — The minutiae starts to fade now. Steal a few wins, rattle off a gorgeous run when people didn’t expect you to — what should or shouldn’t happen doesn’t matter.

Are the Sox really this good? At a certain point, it’s irrelevant how many wins were lucky (Friday’s, arguably), or against bad teams (the White Sox), or anything else. Those victories are cinderblocks in the standings that the Yankees are will find increasingly difficult to budge.

There’s simply no challenging the value of banked wins, no eliminating them.

Look, you didn’t need Friday night’s 9-6 Red Sox win over the Yankees to realize the Sox are resilient. All of August has been a coming out party: for a pitching staff that’s making due without David Price, for an offense liberated by a 20-year-old third baseman who homered again Saturday, Rafael Devers, as the team adapts smoothly to the absence of Dustin Pedroia.

“We miss them,” Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday night. “There’s no question we miss those two guys, and [are] really looking forward to their return. But it speaks volume to the team we have, the depth and talent that’s here. 

“What Raffy has done by coming up, and Eduardo [Nunez’s] arrival here at the time when Pedey goes down, they’ve been instrumental in the way we’ve played. I don’t know if you want to call it the next-man-up mentality, but we have not skipped a beat and guys are beginning to flourish and shouldering a greater burden.”

But what, beyond this sense of resiliency, have you learned since the trade deadline? What can you tell about the Sox’ future from watching them reach a season-high 19 games over .500? 

That discussion is more complicated. The Sox are of the best anywhere, just as they were projected to be entering the year — albeit with some different personnel fulfilling those predictions. They’re just the second AL team to reach 70 wins.

Yet, it’s fair to wonder how many times a reliever like Tommy Kahnle — one of the Yankees’ significant trade additions — will let Mitch Moreland come through with a go-ahead hit on an 0-2 count in the seventh inning. 

It’s fair to wonder how many times Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly can fall into trouble without swing-and-miss stuff and be bailed out. Or how many times Farrell can keep holding back guys like Addison Reed, as the skipper did on Friday, until he really has no other choice — and be let off the hook for those choices.

The Red Sox are homer-happy right now, with multiple long balls for the 9th time in 14 games. Those home runs could be long overdue, or it could be a cluster and an aberration.

Again, those questions start to diminish in importance. Because in the same way we talk about time running out for Price’s return from injury, time also starts to run out for other teams.

There’s a cushion of five games in the AL East going into Saturday’s middle game of three with the Yankees, one of just four remaining head-to-head match-ups between the Sox and Yanks this season. The last time the Sox and Yankees were playing each other as the top two teams in the division this late in the year was 2011, a reminder of how quickly leads can dissipate. 

This isn’t a suggestion the Sox should be foolhardy, or have anything wrapped up. It’s a reminder that whether you believe Eduardo Nunez will keep up his .361 average down the stretch, or whether you find anything dubious about some of these Sox wins — they’re still in the bank, appreciating in value from now until October.

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Jaguars pursue Jimmy Garoppolo?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Jaguars pursue Jimmy Garoppolo?

0:43 - Drew Pomeranz left Friday’s Yankees game with back spasms. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still waiting for David Price to come back. Evan Drellich checks in from Fenway Park to talk about this bullpen situation. 

08:03 - Rookie defensive end Derek Rivers is out for the season with a torn ACL. Tom Giles, Tom Curran, Michael Holley and Phil Perry decide if it’s time for the Patriots to look elsewhere for backup.

13:38 - Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is not happy with the performance of his quarterbacks. Giles and Curran discuss whether Jimmy Garoppolo could end up in Jacksonville. 

18:15 - Holley and Curran take a look at the top free agents in the NBA right now and if the Celtics should be exploring any of them.