Andrew Benintendi Injury: End Of Season Update On Red Sox Outfielder

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The 2020 season was one to forget from Andrew Benintendi.

The Boston Red Sox left fielder was a mess in the 14 games he played before getting shut down due to a rib injury.

Obviously, that’s concerning for someone who figures to be part of the Red Sox outfield for years, and is a player that Boston leans on for production at the top of the lineup.

But with 2020 now in the rear-view mirror for Benintendi and the Red Sox, the focus now shifts to his health in 2021. And while he’s not totally healthy just yet, he’s heading in the right direction.

“Obviously he’s not full-go at this moment if we were still playing, that shouldn’t be a surprise,” Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Tuesday. “Substantively his offseason should be pretty normal.”

Benintendi finished the season hitting .103 (4-for-39), with no home runs, one run scored, one RBI and 17 strikeouts.

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Andrew Benintendi Injury: End Of Season Update On Red Sox Outfielder

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Why Max Kellerman Believes Patriots Are Chiefs’ Biggest Threat In AFC

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Many viewed Monday night’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens as an AFC Championship Game preview.

Not so fast, says Max Kellerman.

Fresh off the Chiefs’ convincing win over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, the “First Take” panel debated who presents the biggest challenge to Kansas City in the AFC. Kellerman, of all people, opted for the Patriots, who are exceeding expectations thus far on the campaign.

To be clear, Kellerman isn’t confident in any AFC team’s chances of knocking off Patrick Mahomes and Co. But he believes New England, given its developing offensive talent, new quarterback and stellar coaching, is the best bet.

“If you think of the development of those type of players with (Julian) Edelman, a different kind of dynamism in the offense with a dynamic quarterback who’s been to a Super Bowl, who’s been an MVP, who was voted by his peers the best player in the game in the middle of Aaron Rodgers’ and Tom Brady’s and Drew Brees’ prime — Cam was voted best in the game by his peers when he won the MVP — you take all of that and then you have (Bill) Belichick as coach,” Kellerman said Tuesday on ESPN. “You have one loss on the season and it was a great goal-line stand by the Seahawks, who everybody said is a top-three team in the NFL right now. They beat the Patriots by the skin of their teeth.

“So I think, in the end, a Belichick-coached team with developing offensive players and a dynamic quarterback is probably the best shot that anyone’s going to have against the Chiefs in the AFC.”

We’ll receive some idea of how the Patriots stack up with the reigning Super Bowl champions this Sunday. New England will travel to Kansas City for a Week 4 tilt.

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Cam Newton Shares ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ Look At Patriots-Raiders Gameday

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Sunday was another solid day in Cam Newton’s young New England Patriots career.

The veteran quarterback was bad — very bad, in fact — against the Las Vegas Raiders, but his team nevertheless picked up a win to move to 2-1 on the season. Unsurprisingly, Newton arrived at and left Gillette Stadium looking like a million bucks.

Newton on Tuesday offered a “behind-the-scenes” look at this third Patriots gameday, featuring images from before, during and after the victory over Las Vegas.

Take a look:

View this post on Instagram GÄMĒDÄ¥ »ßĒH1ÑD•thë•ŠČĒÑĒŠ« #šhïñëTHRŪthëŠHÄDĒ #ñøtFØRłïkëšJŪŠTførŁÏFĒ -1ØVĒ A post shared by Cam Newton (@cameron1newton) on Sep 29, 2020 at 10:14am PDT

Hey, you’d almost think he didn’t put on one of the worst performances by a Patriots quarterback in the last 20 years.

Newton and the Patriots will return to the field next Sunday when they visit the Kansas City Chiefs.

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NBA Writer: Celtics-Pacers Trade Might Clarify Gordon Hayward’s Future

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Would Gordon Hayward be willing to re-settle back home?

The Athletic’s Jared Weiss suggested Sunday the Boston Celtics might be able to trade the forward to the Indiana Pacers this offseason. Sources told Weiss star guard Victor Oladipo wants to leave the Pacers this offseason, and center Myles Turner “might be in the same boat.” Weiss believes the Celtics might consider swapping Hayward and other assets for Oladipo and Turner.

“… Indiana is still home for the Haywards, and with Victor Oladipo looking to move on this offseason, according to sources, and Myles Turner possibly in the same boat, there could be an opportunity for (Celtics president of operations Danny Ainge) Ainge to move Hayward and the abundance of draft picks in his war chest in a mutually agreeable way,” Weiss wrote. “Boston won’t have cap space again with three stars locked up long-term, so moving Hayward or Marcus Smart presents one of the few opportunities to get back a player making starter-caliber money.”

Any potential trade for Hayward, 30, would depend on his willingness to sign a long-term contract extension with the team interested in acquiring him. He has a $34 million option for next season, the last year of the four-year contract he signed in 2017 with the Celtics. Most NBA observers expect him to opt-into the deal, but the chance for Hayward to spend a few years of his NBA career in his native Indiana could prompt him to opt out and ink a long-term deal with the Pacers.

The Celtics currently own the Nos. 14, 26 and 30 overall picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, which the league reportedly hopes to stage Nov. 18.

That leaves the Celtics and Pacers little time to negotiate a potential trade for Hayward that would rank among the NBA’s blockbuster deals.

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Jerry Jones Issues Bizarre Criticism Of Dak Prescott After Loss To Seahawks

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Jerry Jones never has shied away from publicly criticizing his team.

As such, we should have been prepared for blunt remarks from the Cowboys owner amid Dallas’ slow start to the 2020 NFL season.

America’s Team dropped to 1-2 with a Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The matchup of NFC powers, as many expected, turned into a shootout, and Russell Wilson and Co. outlasted the Cowboys in a contest that featured 69 combined points.

Dallas had a chance to push the game into overtime. Dak Prescott and Co. marched down to Seattle’s 26-yard line with less than 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys quarterback took the end zone on a 3rd-and-14, but his pass was intercepted, sealing a Seahawks win.

Two days removed from Dallas’ narrow loss, Jones issued criticism toward Prescott that probably can be labeled unfair.

Jerry Jones said Dak Prescott not being to pull off the last play of the game against the Seattle Seahawks is the difference between he and Patrick Mahomes or even Tony Romo. They could have pulled it off.Wow. Did I hear that [email protected]— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) September 29, 2020

For starters, the Cowboys’ line didn’t provide Prescott with any protection on Dallas’ final offensive play of the game. The star signal-caller somehow managed to emerge from heavy pressure, and even getting a pass off was impressive in itself. Not to mention, Prescott was a major reason the Cowboys hung around, throwing for 472 yards with three touchdowns.

If Jones is going to take aim at anyone, it should be his defense. Dallas surrendered 39 and 38 points in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, and one could argue the unit is the main reason why the Cowboys currently have a losing record.

Quarterbacks tend to garner a good chunk of the blame when the going gets tough for an NFL team, but Jones probably should have taken a different approach with his critiques.

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What Does Bill Belichick Think Of Patrick Mahomes? His Response Was Simple

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Patrick Mahomes is very good at football. We know this.

And after just a few years as a starting NFL quarterback, we’re running out of ways to describe the Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller.

But Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked to do that Tuesday ahead of New England’s Week 4 game against the Chiefs. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Belichick’s response was simple.

“Yeah, I mean, all the superlatives that have been said about him, I’d just be repeating them all,” Belichick said.

He’s right.

Belichick generally isn’t one for many words in the first place, and it doesn’t sound like Mahomes is going to be the one to get him to dig deep to find some new vocabulary.

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These Stats Suggest Chase Winovich Has Been One Of NFL’s Best Edge Rushers

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Few NFL edge rushers have been more effective than Chase Winovich this season.

Want proof? Here are some stats for you:

Through three games, the New England Patriots’ second-year outside linebacker ranks second among all edge defenders in run stop win rate and sixth in pass rush win rate, according to ESPN Analytics.

Winovich is one of just four players to rank in the top 10 in both categories. The others are established stars Khalil Mack (first in run stop, fifth in pass rush), Brandon Graham (sixth, T-third) and Joey Bosa (fifth, 10th).

According to ESPN Analytics, Chase Winovich ranks second among edge rushers in run stop win rate this season (behind Khalil Mack). He's also sixth in pass rush win rate.Winovich, Mack, Brandon Graham and Joey Bosa are the only players in the top 10 in both categories. pic.twitter.com/jlF4neS4aq— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 29, 2020

There’s also this: As noted by Matt Dolloff of 98.5 The Sports Hub, only three NFL players have recorded 10-plus tackles, five-plus quarterback hits and at least one forced fumble this season: Aaron Donald, Chris Jones and Winovich.

Donald is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and Jones just signed an $85 million contract. Not bad company.

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Pro Football Focus’ evaluators are high on Winovich, as well. They have him graded as the NFL’s fourth-best pass rusher entering Week 4, trailing only Myles Garrett, Mack and T.J. Watt. He also ranks fourth in PFF’s pass rush productivity metric among edge defenders with at least 50 pass-rush snaps. Only Watt, Bosa and Uchenna Nwosu rank higher.

As you likely can glean from those numbers, Winovich has been the Patriots’ top pass rusher by a mile thus far — he’s registered 12 total pressures, per PFF; Deatrich Wise ranks second on the team with six — helping offset the losses of Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy. But his performance against the run has been notable, as well.

The 2019 third-round draft pick has settled into a full-time role after rarely playing outside of passing downs as a rookie.

“He’s really taken advantage of his opportunity of playing time and being ready when his number is called,” Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington said Tuesday in a video conference. “Any time he’s called upon, he’s looking to be disruptive, trying to give our defense an edge. So he’s doing a really good job of taking advantage of his opportunities that are given to him, and he’s doing a good job at practice, showing us that he can do it.”

Winovich, who said he changed “everything” about his off-the-field preparation this offseason, registered two QB hits and a strip sack during Sunday’s win over the Las Vegas Raiders. He’s started each of the Patriots’ first three games and ranks third among front-seven defenders in snaps played behind Ja’Whaun Bentley and John Simon.

“We’re counting on Chase to do a lot for us throughout the course of the rest of the season,” outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick said.

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Blue Jays Vs. Rays Live Stream: Watch AL Wild Card Series Game 1 Online

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If someone told you during (the first) spring training that a pair of American League East teams would meet in the first round of the postseason, you probably wouldn’t have been surprised.

However, you probably would not have guessed the two participating teams.

Nevertheless, the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays and eighth-seeded Toronto Blue Jays are set to square off Monday in Game 1 of their best-of-three A.L. Wild Card Series — a truly remarkable sentence. Lefty Blake Snell will toe the rubber for Tampa, while righty Matt Shoemaker will start for the Blue Jays.

The game will take place at Tropicana Field. All Wild Card Series games will take place at the higher seeded teams’ ballparks, whereas all ensuing series will take place inside various bubble locations.

Here’s how to watch Rays vs. Jays Game 1:

When: Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 5:07 p.m. ETTV: TBSLive Stream: WatchTBS

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MLB Playoff Predictions: World Series Picks Before 2020 Postseason Begins

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The 2020 Major League Baseball campaign already has been unlike any other thanks to a 60-game regular-season schedule.

Now, the real madness begins.

The MLB postseason kicks off Tuesday, beginning with a wild-card round comprised of 16 teams playing in eight best-of-three series. All games played in the opening round will be hosted in the higher seed’s ballpark.

The eight winners will advance to the divisional round, which will be its usual best-of-five format. The American League Division Series matchups will be held at Petco Park in San Diego and Angel Stadium in Los Angeles, while the National League Division Series matchups will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The ALCS and NLCS — both best-of-seven series — will take place at Petco Park and Globe Life Field, respectively, and the (best-of-seven) World Series will unfold at the latter.

So, which team will stand tall when the dust settles after an unprecedented year of baseball? Here are our NESN.com staff picks ahead of the playoffs, because who doesn’t like a good prediction?

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Ben Watanabe: Los Angeles Dodgers over Cleveland IndiansTo be honest, I’m not entirely sure where Cleveland’s offense is going to come from, so I suppose I’m rolling the dice that a few hitters — Jose Ramirez, maybe? — will get hot enough to support the stellar pitching staff. On the NL side, I suspect we’ll get the familiar, boring outcome of the Dodgers coming out of the scrum yet again. But this time, Mookie Betts and their pitching depth gets them over the hump.

Mike Cole: Atlanta Braves over Tampa Bay RaysI picked the Braves over the Rays to start the season, so I’m pot-committed to this prediction. Atlanta’s toughest test actually will be the Reds to open the postseason, but if the Braves get by Cincinnati, few teams match the top-end offensive talent of players like Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna and Marcell Ozuna. The Braves get hot and get to relive the glory days by slugging their way to a title, dispelling the notion that good pitching beats good hitting — at least for one very weird year.

Ricky Doyle: Oakland Athletics over San Diego PadresMatt Chapman’s season-ending hip surgery was a huge blow, and the A’s rotation doesn’t exactly evoke fear in opponents. But Oakland’s bullpen and defense remain among MLB’s best. And those two strengths will carry the A’s past San Diego, the most exciting time in baseball, after the Padres upset the stacked Dodgers in the NLDS.

Logan Mullen: Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles DodgersTampa’s pitching is just too good, and the Rays have arguably the “easiest” path to the World Series out of the AL. And what better way for a 2020 season to finish up than with the Rays winning it all, mere weeks after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup?

Adam London: Los Angeles Dodgers over Chicago White SoxI can’t see the Dodgers facing a ton of resistance en route to their third Fall Classic appearance in four seasons. The South Siders aren’t as experienced as the other clubs in the AL field, but their lineup is awfully potent and their pitching shouldn’t be scoffed at. Chicago will outlast the AL Central division rival Indians in the ALCS, but it ultimately will fall on the championship stage to the most talented team in baseball.

Dakota Randall: Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles DodgersI predicted Rays over Dodgers in our preseason predictions, and I’m sticking with that pick. Neither team has done anything to change my mind, plus I’m nothing if not a man of convictions. On paper, the Dodgers are the better team, and they have Mookie Betts, potentially the best player in the playoffs. From top to bottom, Los Angeles has the best roster in the game. However, the Rays — with their strong starting rotation, excellent bullpen, capable offense and ability to manage situational baseball at a high level — are built for the modern postseason. They’ll beat the Dodgers in seven games.

Andre Khatchaturian: Oakland Athletics over Los Angeles DodgersThe Nationals won the World Series last season despite having the worst bullpen ERA in the NL. This season, the A’s and Dodgers, who have the two best bullpens in baseball, will meet in the Fall Classic, but it’ll be a Clayton Kershaw collapse (again) that will hand Oakland its first title since 1990.

Marc DiBenedetto: Los Angeles Dodgers over Minnesota TwinsAs I predicted before the season, the Dodgers, led by Mookie Betts, had a dominant regular season. Los Angeles is the only team to have five players with 12 or more home runs. That’s gotta be worth something, right? Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw went 6-2 in 11 starts, allowing four runs once and three or fewer runs in every other outing. The 32-year-old never went beyond seven innings, but I expect him to let loose in the playoffs and lead the Dodgers to their elusive World Series title. Lock in Kershaw for two wins in two starts in the World Series.

Patrick McAvoy: Los Angeles Dodgers over Minnesota TwinsWell, the Mets somehow won’t be taking home the trophy this season, but that just means it’s the Dodgers’ time to shine. Clayton Kershaw returned to form and Walker Buehler continued his progression into being one of the top hurlers in the game. Mookie Betts played like Mookie Betts and the Dodgers dominated from Day 1. LA is poised to keep rolling.

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Tom Brady Raises Valid Question After Lightning Win Stanley Cup

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Tom Brady witnessed several local teams win championships in their respective leagues over the course of his 20-year run with the New England Patriots.

It didn’t take the star quarterback very long to see a Tampa Bay team win a title as a member of the Buccaneers.

The Lightning on Monday claimed the Stanley Cup, marking the franchise’s first championship since the 2003-04 NHL season. In a normal year, the Bolts likely would have held a championship parade through the streets of Tampa Bay to celebrate their Cup triumph. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic makes the festivities more difficult to plan.

Unsure of the Lightning’s celebration details, Brady took to Twitter on Tuesday to congratulate the team and present a fair question.

Congrats to the @TBLightning for bringing home the Cup. How does one do socially distant parades?? https://t.co/anPZWDWJ2V— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) September 29, 2020

As it turns out, the Lightning will hold not one, but two celebrations, both slated for Wednesday night, per the team. The first will be a boat parade which fans are invited to watch from land while wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing. The Cup champs then will head to Raymond James Stadium, home of the Bucs, for Part II of the festivities. The event is open to fans, though a limited number of seats will be available and attendees are required to wear masks at all times aside from when they’re eating or drinking.

So there’s your answer, TB12.

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