Dave Dombrowski Explains Why Red Sox Made Trade For Ian Kinsler

Monday night was an eventful one for the Boston Red Sox.
Mere minutes after the Red Sox walked off with a 13-inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Fenway Park, Boston acquired veteran infielder Ian Kinsler in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels.

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Speaking with the media after the deal went down, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained why the trade was made while also breaking down the kind of impact Kinsler can have on the team.
To hear from Dombrowski, check out the video above from “NESN Sports Today,” presented by People’s United Bank.

Red Sox Turn To Drew Pomeranz For Tuesday’s Series Finale Vs. Phillies

Fresh off a thrilling 13-inning win Monday night at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox will look to complete a two-game series sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
Boston will give the ball to Drew Pomeranz, who is set to make his second start since returning from the disabled list July 24. The southpaw will be countered by 2015 National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.

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For a preview of the pitching matchup, check out the video above from “Red Sox Final,” presented by Rodenhiser Heating & Cooling.

MLB Rumors: Nationals Letting Teams Know Bryce Harper Is Available

Strap in for this one.
The Washington Nationals reportedly are letting teams know star outfielder Bryce Harper is available ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

According to a source, the Nationals are making it known to other teams that Bryce Harper is indeed available.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2018

The Nats had high expectations this season, but instead are an unmitigated disaster with a reportedly disgruntled clubhouse, all while the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies play some of their best baseball in years.

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Any team working to acquire Harper, however, would have to acknowledge that he likely would be a straight rental. He’s set to become a free agent this offseason, and many reports have suggested he is looking for a huge haul that potentially could be record-breaking.
That said, the 25-year-old is having one of his worst seasons to date, owning a meager .220 batting average with 25 home runs and a staggering 117 strikeouts. With that in mind, if he gets sent to a contender and is a big contributor, that certainly would bode well at the negotiating table.
While his availability likely will pique any team’s interest, the Cleveland Indians reportedly already have touched base with the Nats about Harper’s services.
The 2015 National League MVP has proven to be a rare breed of talent, and any team acquiring him certainly would be heavily bolstering their World Series chances.

Red Sox Notes: Blake Swihart Taking Advantage Of Increased Playing Time

Blake Swihart was the hero on a night he wasn’t even in the starting lineup.
The Red Sox catcher came in during the 10th inning as a pinch-hitter, but it was the 13th when he made his plate appearance count, knocking a ground-rule double to right-center field to give Boston a 2-1 walk-off win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night at Fenway Park.
It’s been a bumpy season for Swihart, who didn’t see much playing time at the beginning of the campaign.
“Everybody knew what was going on early (with Swihart). It was tough to play him,” Sox manager Alex Cora after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We had three catchers and it’s tough to play three catchers at the big-league level.”
Cora noted he thought the 26-year-old was “trying to do too much” when he got the chance to play, but after Christian Vazquez went down with a broken pinky, Swihart got a second chance.
“There’s no panic anymore. He gets ahead in the counts, he’s putting good at-bats. I think his swing is back to what it was in spring training,” Cora said “… He’s taking advantage of it. I’m very happy for him.”
It was a rare quiet night for many of the Red Sox’s heavy hitters, with Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts all going hitless. But the bottom of the order came through big for Boston, accounting for all seven of the team’s hits.
“We find ways (to win),” Cora said. “There’s a lot of preparation here. We did a good job in a close game.”

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Here are some other notes from Monday’s Red Sox-Phillies game:
— During Cora’s press conference, Boston acquired infielder Ian Kinsler from the Los Angeles Angels.
“We think he makes us a better ball club,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage.
— David Price was stellar, giving up just one run over eight innings while striking out five. He was saddled with the no-decision, however, but it was encouraging for the southpaw to go deep in the game.
His next start will be Sunday night against the New York Yankees.
— Swihart’s walk-off snapped a team 0-for-15 streak with runners in scoring position by players except for Martinez.
— Boston is 24-6 over its last 30 games.

Patriots OL Isaiah Wynn Has Great Reaction To Trying His Hand At Punt Returning

Knowledge is power, and Monday evening Isaiah Wynn learned something he isn’t too adept at.
Punt returning.
The New England Patriots’ 2018 first-round pick concluded practice in exciting fashion, with the 6-2, 310-pound offensive lineman going back to return a punt from Pats punter Ryan Allen. After stumbling around and muffing the punt on the first attempt, he petitioned for and ultimately reeled in a second effort, sending the players and many fans in attendance screaming in sheer jubilation.
Later Monday, Wynn took to Twitter to take a little shot at himself.

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Yeah… I’m fine with just being an OLineman https://t.co/rcgzaLW3fc
— Isaiah Wynn (@iwynn77) July 31, 2018

Hey, head coach Bill Belichick is all about honing players’ strengths and focusing on those, so at least he knows a phase of the game he probably shouldn’t incorporate the Georgia product in.

Red Sox Acquire Second Baseman Ian Kinsler From Angels For Two Prospects

The Boston Red Sox made some waves late Monday night.
Less than 18 hours ahead of the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, the Sox acquired veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler and cash considerations from the Angels. In exchange, they sent minor-league pitchers Ty Buttery and Williams Jerez to Los Angeles.
Kinsler is a four-time All-Star who won a Gold Glove just two seasons ago. The 36-year-old is hitting .239 this season with 13 home runs and 20 doubles.
His defense remains top-notch, as well.

Kinsler has been the 2nd best defensive 2B in the majors this year, wRC+ by month: 66, 76, 102, 143

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— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) July 31, 2018

With Dustin Pedroia’s return this season in doubt, acquiring Kinsler takes some of the pressure off Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez, who have been filling in at the position nearly all season. And with Rafael Devers on the 10-day disabled list, the workload was getting even heavier for the pair of utility men.
Buttery was a fourth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2012. The 25-year-old was in his first full campaign with Triple-A Pawtucket, owning a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA over 32 relief appearance this season. He came up as a starter but was changed to a reliever in the 2016 season.
Jerez, also a pitcher, is 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 33 relief outings. He was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Red Sox and also was in the midst of his first full Triple-A season.

Watch Blake Swihart Rip Walk-Off Double In 13th Inning Vs. Phillies

Blake Swihart extended his hitting streak to 10 games Monday night, and he did so in dramatic fashion.
After entering the Boston Red Sox’s series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 10th inning as a pinch hitter, Swihart sent the Fenway Park faithful home happy when he stroked a walk-off, ground-rule double to give his team a thrilling 2-1 win.

Some things are worth waiting for, amirite? pic.twitter.com/qcdYzwzSV4

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— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 31, 2018

The extra-innings heroics marked the first career walk-off hit for Swihart, who is batting .423 over the span of his hitting streak.

Red Sox Wrap: Blake Swihart’s Walk-Off Double Lifts Boston To 13-Inning Win

Blake Swihart entered Monday’s game in the 10th inning as a pinch-hitter and made his first and only hit in the 13th count for the Red Sox.
It was quite the pitcher’s duel at Fenway Park, as both Aaron Nola and David Price were stellar for their respective teams, each giving up just one run over eight innings. But in the end, Swihart was the hero for Boston as he hit a walk-off, ground-rule double to seal the Red Sox’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
In a rare night when the top of the Red Sox’s order struggled, the bottom half came through, providing both runs.
With the win, the Red Sox improved to 75-33, while the Phillies slipped to 58-48.
Here’s how it all went down:
The National League East-leading Phillies certainly didn’t make it easy for the Red Sox, but it all paid off in the end for Boston.
— The Phillies struck first after Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to lead off the second inning, and scored on a single from Maikel Franco to give Philadelphia an early 1-0 lead.
The visitors threatened to do damage the next inning after Price gave up a double and single, but Carlos Santana grounded into a 5-2-6-5 double play with help from some sloppy Phillies base running to keep their advantage at just one.

The good ol’ 5-2-6-5 double play! pic.twitter.com/ajzkJEay36
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 31, 2018

That one run was the only one Price surrendered, as he went on to pitch eight strong innings. He did give up eight hits but had five strikeouts in the process.
— Tyler Thornburg pitched a scoreless ninth with a strikeout, and the inning ended when Sandy Leon threw out Roman Quinn trying to steal second. He originally was called safe, but the call was overturned after review.
— Ryan Brasier got the ball for the 10th and despite putting runners on first and second with two outs, he got out of the inning unscathed.

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— Heath Hembree pitched a 1-2-3 11th with two strikeouts.
— Joe Kelly came in for the 12th and gave up a two-out walk but got out of the inning after Rhys Hoskins grounded out to third.
— Hector Velazquez got out of a jam with runners on first and second with two outs in the 13th to toss a scoreless frame.
— With Boston down 1-0 in the fifth, Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the inning with a single, bringing Eduardo Nunez to the dish. The third baseman smacked a triple into center field to tie the game at one.
— J.D. Martinez’s lead-off ninth-inning walk was squandered when Mitch Moreland grounded into a double play before Xander Bogaerts grounded out to send the game to extra innings.
— Brock Holt hit a two-out triple in the 10th and stole third, but Swihart flied out to left for the third out.
— Nunez got it started 13th when he led off the frame with a single and put himself into scoring position when he stole second. It paid off, as Swihart knocked a ground-rule double to center that would end the game.
— Holt and Nunez led the way for Boston with two hits on the night, while Bradley, Swihart and Leon each had one.
— Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Martinez, Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and pinch-hitter Steve Pearce went hitless.
Not bad, Blake.

Blake Swihart gets his 1st career walk-off hit and it's the @RedSox 4th walk-off win this season.
Swihart's hit snapped an 0-15 with RISP stretch by Red Sox hitters not named J.D. Martinez. They were 0-9 Sunday and 0-6 Monday before that hit.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 31, 2018

The two sides will wrap up their brief two-game set Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Drew Pomeranz is expected to get the ball for Boston and be opposed by Jake Arrieta. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Cordarrelle Patterson Embodies ‘Patriot Way’ With Training Camp Self-Assessment

FOXBORO, Mass — Cordarrelle Patterson has a pretty good opportunity in front of him.
Traded to the New England Patriots from the Oakland Raiders over the offseason, Patterson has the chance to make the roster not just a special teams body, but as an impact receiver.
Beyond Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, the Patriots’ wide receiver situation is fairly open, with Edelman out the first four games of the regular season due to a PED suspension. But after those two, little is certain for New England’s smattering of wideouts in terms of roster spots and roles.
To a typical observer, Patterson has had a fine first handful of practices at Patriots training camp. But to him, he’s far from content with his performance a few days in. And when asked Monday to assess his performance, the 27-year-old’s candor about his play certainly aligned with the “Patriot Way.”
“To be honest, it hasn’t been going as I’ve wanted it to go,” Patterson said of his camp so far. “… There’s a lot of mistakes I’ve been making and I’m just trying to get better each and every day, man. It’s a lot of mistakes. I’ve just got to quit thinking so much. New offense, new scheme, new everything, so I just need to stop thinking so much as a player and just go out and play football like I’ve been doing my whole life.
Patterson twice has been a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection as a return man, also proving over five NFL seasons to be a big-play threat who can reel in passes on offense. He understandably still is working on building a rapport with Tom Brady, hoping to be one of the receivers who works his way into the quarterback’s good graces.
Many receivers have detailed the challenges of comprehending New England’s thorough playbook. For Patterson, his experience playing under a slew of different offenses hardly makes understanding the playbook daunting, rather attention to detail being more of a need.

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“The playbook is the playbook, man,” Patterson said. “I’ve been in like seven offenses in six years. So I just have to tune into it, the fine details. It’s just the little things I’ve been saying to myself I need to keep working on. So I feel like as I keep working on it each and every day with all the quarterbacks I’m going to get better.”
Patterson played the first four seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings prior to his one-year stop with the Raiders. Even though he’s got a good bit of experience behind him, playing for the Patriots is a totally different animal.
As such, the Tennessee product admitted that he is contending with some nerves for a handful of reasons.
“I would say (that),” Patterson said of some of his mistakes being due to nerves. “Anytime you’re with the best quarterback and the best coach in the whole planet, your nerves are going to run each and every day because you know everybody’s watching you.
“The media have millions of people there and fans at practice, so it’s all different,” Patterson added. “I feel like next week I’ve just got to just stop thinking about so much stuff that’s going on and just tune in to my job. Like I’ve said I’ve been doing it my whole life, just go there and do what I know best.”
Of course, it’s only five days into camp, so most players young and old likely are getting the jitters and mistakes out of their system. But Patterson seems more than aware of the opportunity he has and what he needs to do in order to improve. And given the skills he offers head coach Bill Belichick, his lack of complacency certainly bodes well for the Patriots.

Bill Belichick Leaves Open Possibility Of Using Danny Shelton As Pass Rusher

FOXBORO, Mass. — Blocking New England Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton is an unenviable task for offensive linemen during 1-on-1 pass-rush drills.
Not only can the 335-pounder hold his ground, he uses his combination of quick feet, hands and strength to push forward and pressure the pocket on nearly every rep. So, why hasn’t he been more productive in the passing game three years into his NFL career?
Shelton had nine sacks and 17 tackles for a loss as a senior at the University of Washington and went 12th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft because of his perceived versatility. He has just 1.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits through 46 NFL games, all with the Cleveland Browns.
It might be for a lack of opportunities. Shelton, who the Patriots acquired in a trade this March, has played “some” on third down, according to Bill Belichick. NFL teams pass the ball on nearly 58 percent of offensive plays, yet Shelton has played more against the run than the pass in all three of his NFL seasons.
Belichick left open the possibility that Shelton could play more on third down this season.

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“We’ll see how it goes,” Belichick said. “It doesn’t really matter. We’ll see how he does with us in our packages. We haven’t really gotten to that yet this training camp. We did some in the spring, but we haven’t really gotten to a lot of third down work yet. That’ll be coming later this week and we’ll give the players an opportunity, see how it goes and build it from there.”
Shelton certainly would embrace rushing the passer more.
“That’s the ultimate goal, but right now it’s just playing what the coaches want and competing,” Shelton said. “That’s the best part of the game, really.”
Shelton has been a regular in the Patriots’ first-team defense five days into training camp, lining up next to Lawrence Guy at defensive tackle. He has one year left on his contact but could earn a handsome reward in free agency if he can prove to be more versatile in the Patriots’ defense.