Friday Morning Randomness

In honor of the Red Sox striking out 20 Rangers last night, here’s the last time the Red Sox struck out 20 batters in a game.

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John Farrell Bolsters Manager of the Year Campaign in Wednesday’s Win

farrell 3d

WEEI – With the Chris Sale surprisingly allowing the Rangers to grab the lead with a two-run fifth inning… [Texas starting pitcher Martin] Perez was finally driven from the game thanks to one-out singles from Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis.

Texas manager Jeff Banister replaced Perez with righty Sam Dyson, paving the way to two straight pinch-hitting moves by Farrell. The first came in the form of Mitch Moreland, who replaced Sandy Leon, the switch-hitter who was hitting just .209 from the left side. That led to an RBI single. The next was Josh Rutledge for Marrero, both right-handed hitters. That led to another base-hit, tying the game at 3-3.

After the two pinch-hit singles, the Red Sox officially jumped to the top of the heap in the majors when it came to pinch-hitting efficiency, having gone 8-for-19 (.421).

Just when you least expect it, John Farrell’s three-dimensional chess moves start to pay dividends. I’m not Farrell’s biggest fan, so I will admit that I was shocked to see that the Red Sox lead the majors in pinch hitting.

After a couple of weeks of treading water – going 5-7 between May 9 and May 21 – the Red Sox have scored a total of 20 runs in back-to-back wins against the Rangers. They’ve also made up some ground on the Baltimore Orioles, who are currently the top wild card team. The Orioles go on the road tomorrow after a 2-4 homestand that included a sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins.

And for all the talk about the quiet Red Sox bats, the Red Sox have scored more runs than the Orioles this season and have also given up fewer runs than the Orioles. Almost a third of the way through the season, the Red Sox run differential is fourth best in the American League. It’s not a perfect indicator, but it does seem to indicate that they are on the right side of the playoff bubble, and that things are starting to trend in the right direction.

So John Farrell should relax. It looks like he’s going to be in a job at least through mid-June.

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Celtics Nearly Steal Game 4 to Even Series with Cavs. Enter Kyrie Irving.

Not really a big silver lining guy, but the Celtics took the Cavaliers to the absolute brink last night. It took a freaking career game from Kyrie Irving, who literally scored a career playoff high 42 points.  On a bum ankle nonetheless. It took all that for the Cavs to hold off the C’s from tying the series, who in the first half played the best basketball they’ve played all year long.

Cleveland wanted NO part of an even series heading back to Boston, Kyrie straight up admitted it in his post-game presser.

“In the back of my mind, I thought, ‘They can’t tie up the series,’” he said. “We can’t go back to Boston tied 2-2. We needed everything tonight.”

If the Celtics hold onto their first half lead and finish the job last night the series is a toss up. LeBron had 4 fouls in the first half for the first time in his career and he looked absolutely RATTLED.

The entire Cavs team looked shook and then Kyrie started taking over. There’s no shame in it, Kyrie is one of the best players in the world and it took everything he had to hold off the outgunned Celtics.

The one thing that will always bug me though is how LeBron had to sit for the last 6 minutes of the first half due to foul trouble and then had to play the entire second half with 4 fouls and we still couldn’t steal a win.

I’m not going to complain too much about the refs because they ate shit on both ends of the court, but LeBron would have had to hit somebody with a fucking metal chair in the second half to have drawn a 5th foul. Or god forbid a 6th and foul out of an NBA playoff game. The league was having none of that. But hey its hard to beat a team that shoots 60% for the game and nearly 80% in the second half.

Also, how can you not LOVE the balls on Jonas Jerebko. The guy is getting in there and is just going bananas, talking shit, picking fights with everyone on the Cavs. Jerebko has seemingly become the Celtics’ energy guy, a spark plug, an instigator, whatever you wanna call it. There’s always a place for a guy like that on my squad.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that the Celtics covered the 16 point spread. They covered a yuuuge spread for the second game in a row. Sure they still lost by 13, but winning (the spread) is winning. I would have been ready to smash my TV though with the Cavs piling on garbage time points at the end as I bit my fingernails off. But, man money won is always sweeter than money earned.

PS – How many water boys you think LeBron fired last night after the shitshow that was the Cleveland parquet. Jae Crowder legit nearly blew his knee out slipping on the court, LeBron slipped under the hoop, Kevin Love slipped getting up too. It was like the pipes were leaking or something.

Clean that shit up before Game 7, Cleveland.

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It’s refreshing to win games and not have it screw up your draft lottery position

summer danny

I said the Celtics would win at least a game in the Eastern Conference Finals, and I was right. I just never would have picked it to be game three. I could see them winning game one against a rusty Cleveland, or game two after a tough loss in game one. The only game the Celtics could win in this series that would surprise me more would be a potential game seven.

Game three is usually the statement game for the team coming home. We saw that last series against Washington. With Isaiah Thomas out after two straight blowout losses, the Celtics had to change things up, and had absolutely nothing to lose. That changed the typical game three equation, but maybe it just pushed Cleveland’s statement game back to game four, and we go on our way.

If nothing else, the Celtics and Jeremy Jacobs get at least one more home game to sell some more hot dogs and beer. The bars and parking lots around the Garden will do pretty well for at least one more night too. And the fans get a little more to chew on before The Summer of Danny.

I still don’t expect the Celtics to win this series, and I don’t expect them to win tonight. It’s still fun, though, and I’d love to see them make LeBron sweat it out.

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Friday Morning Randomness

The final edition of the NBA on NBC, along with the legendary John Tesh theme music.

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Believeland: 2014-2017

2015-nba-draft-lottery-ping-pong-balls

Last night’s ping pong balls won’t have any impact on the Eastern Conference Finals. I fully expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to defeat the Boston Celtics in six games. They won’t sail through the Eastern Conference Playoffs undefeated, but they’ll get back to the NBA Finals in 2017. What last night’s ping pong balls mean is that this trip to the NBA Finals could be the last for LeBron and Co. At least for a little while.

LeBron has brought a team to the NBA Finals six years in a row, and seven times in the last 10 years. Defeating the Celtics in 2017 would make it seven trips in a row to the NBA Finals, and eight trips in the last 11 years. You can say whatever you want about LeBron, that he’s *only* won three titles, but those numbers are Jordanesque. More aptly, those numbers are Russellesque.

The Boston Celtics went to ten straight NBA Finals from 1957-1966. No team since has been to more than four NBA Finals in a row. LeBron’s streak has been dominant. And as a rule, I don’t hold championship losses against athletes. Why should it be held against LeBron that he took teams to the NBA Finals that had no business being there? Would his *legacy* look better with a second round loss in 2007 than a loss in the Finals?

Tom Brady has lost two more Super Bowls than Troy Aikman. I don’t see anyone putting Aikman ahead of Brady because of that.

All that said, the clock is about strike midnight on LeBron and Co. I’m not saying he’ll never go to another NBA Finals, but he might need to work on his entourage after this season. He will soon have legitimate competition in the East for the first time in almost a decade. The Boston Celtics are going to be a wagon.

The Celtics are a pretty good team as is. They are going to add The Number One Overall Pick and Gordon Hayward. They have one of the best, young coaches in the game. The East will be under new management this fall, and I can’t wait.

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I Might Have to Buy All of These Olynyk Shirts Just For Myself

Fire. Flames.

What better way to celebrate a dominating Game 7 performance from Kelly Olynyk than to buy this slick t shirt? Email the300sred@gmail.com to get yours before I put this back in the Disney Vault.

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