Red Sox

Tales of a one-trick pony


Tales of a one-trick pony

Back in college, I spent more time playing video games than I should probably admit . . . but Ill still admit it proudly. From Madden and NBA 2K to Mario Kart and 007, my roommates and I competed more with the sticks than we did in any other form of life.

Madden was the odds on favorite, as we held tournaments almost every day after class, and let the intensity reach all kinds of unhealthy and pathetic levels. Eventually, our tournaments were a lot like the NFL, with different players adopting different styles and unique Madden identities.

If youre familiar with the game, you know what I mean. You know there was the guy who ran the ball too much. The guy who threw too many long balls. The guy who always went for it on fourth down. The guy who relied far too much on computer assistance.

And of course, the guy who only knew how to run one play.

Every Madden player hadhas a friend like this.

In some cases, it was a screen pass. In others, a tight end out or a simple slant pattern. But it was always one play the same play every time that you knew this particular opponent would go to whenever he was in trouble. Naturally, knowing it was coming was one thing; stopping it was another. After all, the only reason he ran it so much was because he was so damn good at doing so.

For the most part, this one play allowed your buddy to stay competitive, even win a few games along the way, but at the end of the day, it wasnt sustainable. It was only a matter of time before a lack of depth and creativity in his play calling came back to bite him in the ass.

By now youre probably wondering: OK, what the hells your point?

So here it is: The Red Sox are that guy who only has one play and last night, the Angels figured it out.

Honestly, where would the Sox be right now without Clay Buchholz? For the better part of the summer (save for a quick stop on the DL), Buchholz is all they've had. The only pitcher they could count on to step when it mattered most. Before last night, the Sox were 9-2 in Clays last 11 starts a chunk of games that made the difference between this team being competitively mediocre and undeniably disastrous. Granted, neither option is ideal, but youd certainly prefer the former, and Buchholz was the only one keeping that reality within reach.

But last night, not even Clay could save the day, as the Angels lit up Boston's only weapon to the tune of a season-high seven runs over a season-high 12 hits. They took Boston's best play and repeatedly blew it up in the backfield. As the undeniable disaster of this 2012 season continues to slowly set in.

But hey, on the brightside, only got six more days until the release of Madden '13!

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.


ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7


ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.