Red Sox

Tony La Russa: Bill Belichick's still 'got that fire'

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Tony La Russa: Bill Belichick's still 'got that fire'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Tony La Russa won 2,728 regular-season games and three World Series before retiring as a field manager in 2011. The Red Sox special assistant was 67 years old when he walked away from the St. Louis Cardinals’ dugout, wrapping up a Hall of Fame career -- and he’s still working in baseball now.

Bill Belichick turns 66 in April. The two legends happen to be old friends who have visited each other on the job, and La Russa believes Belichick can keep going.

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"I think he could do it as long as he wants to do,” La Russa said. “I think as long as his fire’s burning, and evidently, when you see the results he’s getting, he’s got that fire everyday, from the first day of the offseason, right now, 'til the next one. So, I never ask him. I don’t think he -- one thing you learn about him, he’s really in the present, right? It’s what happens today he’s all about. I wouldn’t try to distract him.

“I got a whole bunch of coaches that are friends that have gotten to know Bill, and we’re all amazed year in and year out, and I think we’re more amazed in this year than ever. The expectations coming back after winning the Super Bowl, slow start, the way they kept everything together and improved, and played a lot of tough games, come from behind -- I mean the guts of that team, and everything that he and his staff preach . . . It’s really, it’s a model for the rest of us.”

La Russa said he usually sends Belichick a text during the week, and a few days later he’ll respond.

“He just, he knows that he’s got 100 percent support,” La Russa said. “At the end of the year that was a tough loss but, still, you know, if you can feel good losing, that would be one of ‘em. Because they came back again and almost pulled it off. Sometimes you just give the other side credit and then they got outplayed in the end.”

The Red Sox are no strangers to controversies and media storms, but the Patriots have been the center of everyone’s attention, locally and nationally. Can La Russa empathize?

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"I think what you learn is you know the media’s a big part of the environment that you choose to be involved with as a coach, player, staff member, whatever, the manager,” La Russa said. “If that bothers you, you got to do something else for a living. No free lunch. All the attention means a lot of people are paying attention and your revenue for the sport and it gets into players’ pockets and coaches do pretty well. 

“I think the environment now is, you win, you’re going to get some credit. You lose, somebody’s going to say you should’ve done that differently. Bill’s really strong and he keeps a strong team and I didn’t see any excuses. I think he just gave credit to the Eagles and that’s the way it should be.”

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But . . . should Malcolm Butler have been in there?

“Well, I think the coach has proven that whatever his decisions are, he’s doing for the best for the team," La Russa said. "And I’ll go with the coach.”

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Sale pitches scoreless first inning in All-Star Game

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Sale pitches scoreless first inning in All-Star Game

Chris Sale's All-Star Game start was short and sweet as the Red Sox ace tossed one scoreless inning before being replaced by Luis Severino in the second.

Sale was greeted at the top of the frame with a leadoff single by Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, but then he settled down and got Nolan Arenado to fly out to left field, followed by a strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt and an inning-ending fly out to center from Freddie Freeman.

The left-hander didn't hold anything back, hitting the 100-mph mark on the radar gun consistently. And even better for Sox fans keeping an eye on his workload this season... Sale only needed nine pitches to complete the inning. 

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Jon Lester: David Price 'will figure out Yankees at some point'

Jon Lester: David Price 'will figure out Yankees at some point'

David Price's seemingly never-ending struggles vs the Yankees are bound to end at some point, at least according to one former Red Sox ace.

Following his most recent loss on July 1 to the Bronx Bombers, whom he has an 8.43 ERA against (44 earned runs, 47 innings) in nine starts as a member of the Red Sox, Price told reporters he needed to reinvent himself against the Yanks. "It's time for me to go back to that drawing board and reinvent myself against these guys," he said.

Former Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester, now with the Cubs, doesn't believe that's the case. He explained why at the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

"The reinventing thing I think gets a little overused," Lester told MassLive.com's Christopher Smith. "Because it's not like you're going out there and saying, 'OK, I'm throwing a split today and I've never thrown one.' So you're still working with the same pitches. It may be just sequence a little bit differently."

Lester also pointed out that Price is far from the only pitcher to have significant issues against a particular team.

"We all have trouble against teams," he said. "We all have that one team that kicks our ass and for whatever reason you can't figure it out. Sometimes it's better to go out there and go, 'You know what? Screw it. I'm not grinding this one. I'm just trying to execute one pitch at a time.' And a lot of times when that happens, you look up and you're like, 'Oh, man. I threw the ball pretty well tonight.'"

The Cubs lefty went on to discuss what goes through a pitcher's mind when they take the mound versus a team they historically struggle against.

"When you struggle against a team, it's kind of like, 'OK, when's it going to happen? I got through the first. Is it going to happen in the second? Now I got through the second. OK, now is it going to happen in the third?' Now all of a sudden, base hit to right. 'Damn, OK. Is this the inning?' A walk. 'Oh, man. Yankee Stadium. Got a righty up.' Boom. Three-run homer. And now you're like, 'OK, here it is.' Now you look up and you've given up six."

As much as it could be a real mental issue, Lester is confident Price is about to turn it around, and that "reinventing himself" isn't necessary.

"No, I don't think David Price needs to reinvent himself. I think he's a pretty darn good pitcher and he's been one for a while. I'm sure from what I've heard about him as far as his work ethic and how he goes about his craft, I'm sure he'll figure out the Yankees at some point."

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