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Wicked Early Sports Report Posts

Celtics choke again edition

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Celtics lost to the Wizards, 121 to 102
Red Sox beat the Twins, 17 to 6.

The morning quote:
“I can’t be allowed to be held and grabbed every pin-down, every screen and I din’t even shoot one free throw. I play the same way each and every night. So I think the thas to change.”
Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, who scored 19 points and took no free throws, on the referees last night.

What you need to know about last night’s Celtics game.
After looking like a D-league team for all of game 3, Boston only collapsed for the second half of game 4 against the Wizards. That’s an improvement, right? Washington scored a shocking 26 straight points in the third quarter to put this one away disappointingly early. Video lowlights.

The ugly stats:
During Washington’s 26-0 run, the Celtics turned the ball over 8 times, were outrebounded 6 to 2, and only shot five field goals. Maybe they’ll look better at home?

So true:
The Washington Post headline this morning: “Wizards-Celtics may be the most lopsided 2-2 playoff series ever.”

Our favorite headline of the morning…
Comes from USA Today: “Julian Edelman posts video from Kentucky Derby, Wes Welker makes awkward cameo.”

What you need to know about yesterday’s Red Sox game:
Not exactly what you’d expect from a Chris Sale-Ervin Santana matchup, right? The Red Sox scored 10 runs in the ninth to blow open a one-run game against Minnesota, in Boston’s best offensive display in the young season. Video highlights here.

Our favorite stats from yesterday’s Sox game:
Sandy Leon (2), Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Andrew Benintendi all homered for Boston. Betts collected three total hits, and Benintendi (who’s hitting .325) drove in his 20th RBI of the season. Sale went six innings, giving up four runs, and striking out 10 for the victory.

Our least-favorite number from yesterday’s Red Sox game:
Boston’s third baseman Devin Marrero went 0-for-5. The position continues to be a nightmare. Meanwhile old friend Travis Shaw has 7 HR, and 24 RBI for the Brewers. Not that we’re obsessively keeping track (but we are).

Meanwhile, down in AA:
Portland Sea Dogs third baseman Rafael Devers is hitting .322 with 6 HR and 17 RBI.

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Tom Brady, #3? edition

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Red Sox beat the Orioles, 4 to 2.

The morning quote:
“It’s hard to keep turning the other cheek, but you’re trying to.”
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter last night on the victimization of the saintly Orioles by the Red Sox. For those keeping score at home: Baltimore has recently injured one Boston player with a dirty slide, and has plunked two others. The Red Sox have hit or injured no one.

The morning quote, II:
“I”m here to send a message, loud and clear, that the behavior, the language, the treatment of others that you’ve heard about and read about is not acceptable.”
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, after the team permanently barred from Fenway Park a man who reported used a racial slur toward another fan (at the game with his interracial family) when referring to the Kenyan national anthem singer. The Sox should have better policed this situation a long time ago.

Tom Brady, # 3?
The NFL Players association released the numbers for player sales of NFL merchandise for the 2016-17 season. Tom Brady came in third, after Cowboys rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Das Prescott. Gronk 9th and Julian Edelman number 22. We demand a recount!

In case you didn’t hear:
Malcolm Butler attended voluntary team workouts in Foxboro yesterday. We’re looking forward to the Pats having the best cornerback tandem (heck, the best secondary) in the NFL next year.

What you need to know about last night’s Red Sox game:
Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was ejected in the second inning after hitting Xander Bogaerts with a looping 76-mph curveball and Boston took advantage of Baltimore relievers from there. Josh Rutledge drove in three runs and pitcher Drew Pomeranz (2 ER, 5.1 IP) got the win.

In Gausman’s defense…
If you watch the game highlight video, you can see that Gausman shows frustration with himself when he hits Bogaerts with the curveball—as if it wasn’t intentional.

Our least favorite Red Sox stat of the morning:
Boston third basemen have committed 11 errors so far this season, the worst in the majors. And in case you’re interested, Sox 3B castoff Travis Shaw has played 24 games for Milwaukee, hit 6 HR, driven in 21, scored 12 runs, and committed only four errors.

Isaiah Thomas, getting help from the enemy?
The Celtics’ all-world point guard told the press yesterday he receives regular advice from Kobe Bryant on preparing for this year’s playoff games. We don’t know how to feel about this.

Bad night for the BoSox edition

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Red Sox lost to the Orioles, 5 to 2.

The morning quote, I:
“We’ve turned the page.”
—Orioles closer Zach Britton before last night’s game, referring to the hostilities between the two teams that began two weeks ago with Dustin Pedroia being injured by an intentionally dirty slide by Baltimore’s Manny Machado. (Spoiler alert: the page wasn’t turned.)

The morning quote, II:
“You’d have to ask him.”
Mookie Betts on whether the 94 mph fastball thrown by Oriole starter Dylan Bundy that hit him on the hip last night was intentional. (It clearly was, though the umpire didn’t even bother to issue any warnings.)

The morning quote, III:
“Can I go home? This is ridiculous, man…I don’t have time for this.”
—Dustin Pedroia, on the controversy, after last night’s game. The Sox (and Pedroia, bless his heart) sorely miss Big Papi’s leadership right now (not to mention his bat).

Just to recap:
Pedroia missed three games due to Machado’s cheap slide, and Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was also ejected from a game and suspended four more for throwing at (and missing) Machado in retaliation.

As for the Orioles…
Who intentionally injured a Boston player, and actually did hit a member of the Red Sox with a pitch: they’ve suffered no penalties or punishment. To add insult to injury, Machado hit a homer over the Green Monster last night.

So Chris Sale (being Chris Sale) will probably plunk an Oriole tonight… 
Then he’ll be ejected, and suspended for a situation Baltimore once again instigated. Afterward, smug Orioles manager Buck Showalter will laugh maniacally, as his team skates and he gets the upper hand over John Farrell for the zillionth time.

What else you need to know about last night’s Red Sox game:
Boston starter Rick Porcello pitched well enough to win (6 innings, 2 earned runs 7K’s), but Boston’s bats were once again silent, and their gloves were even worse—as three eighth inning errors led to three excruciating unearned runs.

Just to add to the awesomeness…
A fan was ejected for reportedly throwing a bag of peanuts at Orioles outfielder Adam Jones during the game. Jones says he also heard morons hurling racial slurs at him, sadly.

We don’t know exactly what the Met Gala is…
But we’re pretty sure it’s not a party for Keith Hernandez, Daryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Anyway, it was “hosted” last night by Tom and Gisele. The Daily Mirror has photos of the scene (and TB12’s snazzy velvet jacket) here.

SOS, Big Papi edition

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Red Sox lost to Yankees, 3 to 0.

The morning quote:
–Nearly 80,000 football fans attending the NFL Draft in Philadelphia last night, when evil archvillain Roger Goodell was introduced at the start of the event. He tried to play it off as if the scene was all in good fun. It wasn’t. Glorious video here.

The morning quote, II:
“If those 70,000+ great fans in Philly like the Draft being there, they should cheer Roger Goodell. He’s the reason the Draft is on the road.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, on Twitter last night. Worst kiss-up to a boss ever.

The morning quote, III:
“I think the way the team responded to his message, we had an aggressive bent to our game, we scored more goals, we didn’t lose defensive structure in our foundation.”
Bruins GM Don Sweeney, talking to the press yesterday about the team’s decision to remove the “interim” tag from coach Bruce Cassidy. We don’t know exactly was “defensive structure to a foundation” is, but it does sound really important.

What you need to know about last night’s Red Sox game:
Big Papi, where are you? Boston collected only three hits, as another Chris Sale gem (8-plus innings, 2 earned runs, 10 Ks) was wasted in the loss to New York. Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka looked like Cy frigging Young, throwing only 97 pitches in a complete game.

If you haven’t noticed…
The “rebuilding” Yankees are a better team than the Red Sox right now. Good thing Dave Dombrowski mortgaged so much of the future to win this year. Video lowlights of last night’s game here.

The Saints took a cornerback last night…
With the 11th pick in the NFL Draft. Looks like Malcolm Butler will be staying with the Patriots this season after all. Not that we mind. By the way, here’s the video of the Greatest Super Bowl Interception of All Time. We never get sick of watching it.

Speaking of the Draft:
The Browns had three picks in the first round, and didn’t take a quarterback. Word from Cleveland last night was that they’re still interested in Jimmy Garoppolo and may be willing to deal a treasure trove of 2018 picks for him. We can’t see that happening.

The Celtics will end their series in six games against the Bulls tonight.
As Rajon Rondo has been officially ruled out of the game, due to his broken thumb and torn wrist ligament.

Rajón Rondo, profile in courage edition

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Red Sox/Yankees postponed due to rain.

The morning quote:
“I don’t know how long I’ll be out.”
Red Sox disappointment Pablo Sandoval, commenting on his hurt knee yesterday. He’s batting .213 so far this season, and has committed four errors. What, exactly, are Dave Dombrowski’s backup plans for third base?

The morning quote, II:
“Definitely a relief, man.”
—Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, on the league opting not to suspend him for accidentally shooting himself in the leg in Dallas (either in a nightclub or a park, the police aren’t sure) in June.

The morning quote, III:
“Some guys travel every time. Dwayne Wade shuffles his feet on almost every post-up. Dwight Howard offensive fouls all the time. After a while, the refs get tired of calling it. I think that was much ado about nothing, honestly.”
Kevin McHale to the Chicago Tribune, on Bulls coach Fred Holberg’s whining about Isaiah Thomas’ dribbling.

Our favorite article of the morning comes from the Buffalo News:
“Gillislee the latest example of Bills’ loss becoming Pats’ gain.” Our favorite quote: “Bills fans must be shuddering at the notion of Gillislee playing against them twice a year, knowing the Pats rarely make mistakes in evaluation and don’t compound them when they do.”

Look out Celtics fans:
Rajon Rondo held a “secret” practice last night in Boston, then leaked word about it to the world. He’s going to try to play in tonight’s game, despite the broken thumb. A “source” claimed his “guts and determination” are driving him. We think it’s his flair for drama.

Update from the farm:
After 14 games, Rusney Castillo—the million-dollar Cuban mystery man—leads all Pawtucket Red Sox regulars in average (.321), hits (17), home runs (2), stolen bases (3), total bases (24), and runs (9).

It turns out that Bruins star Patrice Bergeron played 79 regular season games, and six playoff games, with the dreaded sports hernia. We feel his pain. We had to sit at the keyboard and type the WESR every morning despite a nagging hangnail through much of this month.

Today’s goes to B.L., for mentioning us in her tweet of her Fenway Park tour yesterday. Thanks!

Freeze frame edition

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Red Sox beat the Orioles, 8 to 1.

The morning quote:
“That’s the best I’ve felt in a long time.”
—Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz. The lefty with the cranky elbow silenced critics in his first start of the season by going 6 innings and striking out 6, while giving up only 3 hits, 1 walk and 0 runs. We never doubted the guy.

Greatest. Shirt-seller. Ever. 
Hold onto your Tag Heuer watches for this piece of news: Tom Brady had the best-selling NFL jersey from April 1, 2016 to the end of Feburary. Second place was Cowboy Ezekiel Elliott. Gronk came in fifth, and Julian Edelman 15th.

The big Marshawn Lynch headline yesterday…
Was that the Patriots might be a fit for him. His big headline today (via TMZ): “Marshawn Lynch smacks phone from fan, then spits.” Sounds like an awesome dude for New England to have in the locker room.

Our favorite Patriots article of the morning…
Comes from Yahoo Sports: “Three New England Patriots players who need to step up in 2017.” Spoiler alert: they name cornerback (and butter-fingered kick returner) Cyrus Jones, defensive end Geneo Grissom, and running back Dion Lewis.

What you need to know about last night’s Red sox game.
Backup catcher Christian Vazquez went 4-for-4 with a  triple, double, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base to lead Boston to victory over the Orioles. Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-4 with four RBI, and Andrew Benintendi collected three hits and an RBI for the Sox. Video highlights.

Early-season Red Sox numbers you should know:
Christian Vazquez has reached base in all seven at bats this season. First baseman Mitch Moreland leads the team with six doubles. Pablo Sandoval only has three total hits, and his average has dropped to .120. Boston has hit only three home runs in seven games.

The Bruins will have a new player in uniform tonight. 
Top BU prospect Charlie McAvoy, signed an entry level contract on Monday and is expected to play (and hopefully make an impact) in Boston’s playoff opener against Ottawa. There’s no truth to the rumor that Craig Janney and Bobby Joyce will also be on the ice for the B’s.

So long, J. Geils.
The quiet rock star (and pride of Bedford, Mass.) will be missed. While songs by the Dropkick Murphys, Aerosmith, Boston and the Cars play endlessly throughout the WESR’s sprawling world headquarters, our anthems will forever be Freeze Frame and Centerfold.

Patriots say Watt? edition

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The Patriots say Watt? edition

Bruins beat the Stars, 2 to 0.
Red Sox beat the Nationals, 8 to 1 in spring training.

The morning quote:
“I think he would have to start a football game six seasons from now to break my record. And I’ll actually think he’ll do it.”
Steve DeBerg, who holds the record for the oldest quarterback ever to start an NFL game at age 44, on the Greatest Quarterback of All Time.

The morning quote, II:
“We’re in a bad spot right now. Not disappointed with the effort. We’re just in a bad spot.”
LeBron James, after Cleveland’s 99-93 loss to Chicago last night, which vaulted the Celtics back into first place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are 6-10 in March, the first time a James team has suffered double-digit losses in a month since 2003.

Watt to the Patriots?
T.J. Watt, that is—younger brother to all-world Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. The second-team All-American linebacker from Wisconsin just performed a pre-draft workout with New England. Unless the Pats trade up, though, he’ll likely be off the board before their first pick.

What you need to know about yesterday’s Red Sox spring training game:
Starter Kyle Kendrick continued his preseason dominance yesterday in Boston’s victory over the Nationals, going four innings and giving up only one run while striking out five. Andrew Benintendi went yard for the Sox, and  Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-2.

Imagine an MLB team…
Giving up their best pitching prospect in a generation to acquire Drew Pomeranz. Yet that’s exactly what the Red Sox did last season. Just reminding you. Pomeranz was placed on the disabled list yesterday.

What you need to know about last night’s Bruins game:
How about that Tuukka Rask? Our seasoned hockey experts at the WESR never doubted the guy. Rask (27 saves) notched his seventh shutout of the season in Boston’s win over Dallas. Brad Marchand scored the go-ahead goal in the first, and Torey Krug added a goal in the third.

Marchand’s goal last night…
Was his 38th of the season (to go with 45 assists). He’s the first Bruin to score at least 38 goals since Glen Murray notched 44 in 2002-2003.

Shout outs:
Today’s go to readers C.H., Brendan from the Cape, J.K., John R., and J.T., for spreading enlightenment and joy to the world by sharing the WESR. Thanks!

Goodell’s evil presence edition

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Bruins beat Nashville, 4 to 1.

The morning quote:
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens on his team taking possession of first place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

Our favorite article of the morning…
Comes from the Guardian: “Who’s to blame for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent slump?” Let the infighting and finger-pointing begin!

Looks like hell is a little chilly today.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell now claims he’ll bring his evil presence to Foxboro for the season kickoff in September. We’ll believe it when we see it.

It takes a lot for an immensely talented college player to be toxic to NFL teams.
But being caught on videotape hitting a woman will do it, as in the case of Oklahoma’s star running back Joe Mixon. The Patriots have told sources he’s completely off their radar screen.

News that makes us happy this morning. 
The Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase says he wants quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be more free-wheeling and take more chances next season. We’re sure the Patriots would welcome that approach.

See you soon, Kyle.
The Red Sox sent their top starting pitcher of the spring, Kyle Kendrick, to the minor league camp yesterday. But given the fragile state of their rotation (cough, cough, Drew Pomeranz and David Price), he probably won’t be in Pawtucket for long.

Speaking of Red Sox pitchers.
As you probably remember, Boston traded promising young third baseman Travis Shaw to Milwaukee for reliever Tyler Thornburg over the winter. So far this spring, Shaw is hitting .314 with 3 HR and 9 RBI for the Brewers, while Thornburg has been a disaster. Just saying.

What you need to know about last night’s Bruins game:
Maybe the sky isn’t falling. Boston rode a hot start, and a strong performance by goalie Tuukka Rask, to a dominating victory over Nashville at the Garden. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Noel Acciari, and David Backes scored for the B’s. It was Acciari’s first career NHL goal.

According to the number geeks at Sports Club Stats…
The Bruins now have a 74.1 percent chance of making the playoffs. We’ll take that number.

The Gronk tracker edition

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Red Sox beat the Orioles, 11 to 9 in spring training.

The morning quote:
“As recently as two, three days ago, he assured me he’s willing to play six or seven more years.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaking at the NFL annual meetings yesterday about the Greatest Football Player of All Time, (or GFPOAT, as we like to call him).

The morning quote, II: 
“Good luck.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, on the prospect of the GFPOAT going another six or seven years.

The morning quote, III:
“We’re happy we’ll be celebrating our fifth banner. He can decide whether he wants to be there.”
Robert Kraft, on whether evil arch-villain Roger Goodell will be in Foxboro for the Patriots’ regular season opener in September. The words “cold day in hell” pop into our minds.

Want to know what Gronk was doing in Miami last weekend?
The Miami Herald has the details. He spent Saturday afternoon at Anatomy at 1220 gym, then moved to Dolce Italian for dinner. Sunday, he went to SLS South Beach, where he took off his shirt (NY Post picture here) and took over the DJ booth for the Miami Music Week closing party.

Want to know what Tom Brady was doing in Georgia yesterday?
Playing golf at Augusta National with Jordan Spieth (Fox Sports picture here). Both men are sponsored by Under Armour. Our invitation to join them must have been lost in the mail somehow. Maybe next year.

Our favorite headline of the morning comes from
“Cavaliers out of first place in East after 103-74 loss to San Antonio Spurs.” That’s right, your Boston Celtics are now the top seed. Our favorite quote from the article: “The Cavs are neither healthy nor do they look anything like a team that should be thinking about the Finals right now.”

Our second-favorite headline of the morning comes from
“Under Bruce Arena, the US men’s national soccer team has transformed from an embarrassment into an aggressive attacking force.” There you go, WESR reader, Sam M.

What you need to know about yesterday’s Red Sox spring training game:
Boston overcame a shaky outing by starter Eduardo Rodriguez (six runs on nine hits with three strikeouts in six inning) to beat the Orioles. The Red Sox offense was led by catcher Sandy Leon’s two homers, including a grand slam, and a Steve Selsky’s solo round-tripper.

The Red Sox’s bullpen is mighty weak right now:
Their newly acquired setup man, Tyler Thornburg will be starting the season on the DL with a host of ailments, and Carson Smith (Tommy John surgery) won’t be back until June at the earliest. We’re putting our faith in you, Joe Kelly. Gulp.

Bruce Cassidy magic is dead edition

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Bruins lost to the Senators, 3 to 2.
Red Sox beat the Yankees, 4 to 2 in a spring training game.

The morning quote:
“The best version of yourself is all that you need to be.”
—Former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett. The quote now hangs on a giant placard in the foyer of the Forbes company headquarters in New York City, as an inspiration to employees.

So this is slightly different Tom Brady jersey news.
The Greatest Quarterback of All Time had the NFL’s top-selling jersey in the month of February across the country. Gronk was fourth and Julian Edelman, 11th.

Speaking of Forbes:
They’ve published our favorite article of the morning: “The under-appreciated key to New England Patriots’ success—free agency.”

What you need to know about last night’s Bruins game:
Bruce Cassidy magic? More like Shaun Cassidy. David Krejci tied the score at one in the first period, and Torey Krug evened the game at two in the third, but the B’s could never match Ottawa’s intensity, or take the lead. The loss is Boston’s third in a row.

This is not good news. 
Red Sox pitcher David Price took a strength test on Tuesday, and his balky left elbow is weaker than it was in mid-February when he first reported to spring training.

What you need to know about last night’s Red Sox spring training game:
A sign of things to come? Chris Sale dominated the Yankees for six innings yesterday, striking out ten, walking none, and giving up two runs on four hits. Meanwhile, backup infielders Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez continued to hit, both going 2-for-4.

Our second-favorite article of the morning…
Comes from the New York Times: “Mound is a microcosm of the disparity between the Yankees and the Red Sox.” 

While the Celtics were sleeping last night…
They clinched a playoff berth, as Chicago and Detroit both lost their games. It’ll be the third straight postseason appearance for the Men in Green. They sit in the number two spot in the conference, only two games behind Cleveland.

Today’s go to P.I. in Maine and AMJ for spreading the word of the WESR. Thanks for making the world a better place.