No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green

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No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green

MILWAUKEE After Boston's 96-92 win over Milwaukee, Jeff Green sat in his locker stall, sharing a few laughs with teammate Courtney Lee.

There he was, the seemingly always-jovial Jeff Green.

It was in a sense a Jekyll-and-Hyde moment because the happy-go-lucky Jeff Green in the locker room was an absolute monster on the floor just a few minutes prior to that for Boston.

And nobody seemed to relish this fiesty, bad-boy side of Green more than Kevin Garnett.

"Jeff's a really, really nice guy," Garnett said. "Some nights, you just gotta be an asshole."

And the turning point for Green seemed to be an attempted dunk early in the fourth quarter in which he was fouled on the play.

"After the dunk he was aggressive; he was greedy Jeff," said a visibly excited Garnett.

Not only was the 12 points scored by Green a season-high, but it came on a night in which he played with the greatest amount of aggression we've seen from him this season.

Green said his strong play was fueled in large part by the Celtics defense getting multiple stops which allowed the C's to get out in transition.

"I just have to stay aggressive," Green said. "As long as I'm aggressive, that's all that matters. I'm not going to get every call, I'm not going to make every shot. But as long as I stay aggressive, I'll be good."

Green's strong performance on Saturday served as both a reminder of his immense potential in addition to the fact that he's still working his way back into shape - both physically and mentally - after a long layoff.

"I think we forget Jeff sat out a whole year last year," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "And just because he played well in the preseason, it's going to take him time, it's going to take him time to get comfortable."

But the Green on display Saturday was indeed a welcomed sight for Rivers.

"When he plays like that," Rivers said. "We're a better team. He made defensive plays, he got rebounds, committed some hard fouls ... a lot of good things."

And although Green has maintained his confidence has been unaffected by his struggles leading up to Saturday, teammates and coaches are quick to point out how a performance like Saturday's can do nothing but help him going forward.

"That's just what he needed to get his confidence," said Paul Pierce. "Sometimes when a player is struggling a bit, he just needs to see a couple baskets go in the hole, couple guys high-five him, encourage him; that can get you going sometimes."

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.