What’s Going on in Boston?

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Boston’s 4 Major Sports Teams

Bruins by Talia Goodman: 

The Bruins spent the week in Washington for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and this series has since lived up to expectations. 

We’re now through game two, and the series is tied 1-1, with both wins coming in overtime. 

Game one began on Saturday, and it didn’t end in favor of Boston. In net for Boston was regular-season starter Tuukka Rask, while the Capitals started Vitek Vanecek, who was later replaced by veteran Craig Anderson after an injury that took him out of the game during the first period.

The Bruin’s biggest enemy, Tom Wilson, scored the first goal of the night six minutes into the game. Luckily, Bruins Jake DeBrusk scored one of his own five minutes later and evened the score. Debrusk has been practically invisible this regular-season, so his early playoff production was a nice surprise. 

The second period held more of the same, with a goal from Capitals Brenden Dillon and a follow-up from Boston’s own Nick Ritchie on the man advantage. 

A scoring drought in the third period led to the eventual overtime winner from Nic Dowd, earning the Capitals their first win of the series. 

The DeBrusk line was a major bright spot in an otherwise lackluster performance, with the likes of Curtis Lazar, Jake DeBrusk and Chris Wagner parading a necessary physical presence and getting on the board early. 

Monday’s game held more excitement for Bruins fans after DeBrusk (yes, again) struck first to score the opening goal of the game. The first period was full of action, with an excess of physicality (including a hard hit by Tom Wilson on Bruins Curtis Lazar) and three more goals. TJ Oshie, Patrice Bergeron and Garnet Hathaway all got on the scoresheet during the first. 

Going into the second period, the game was tied 2-2. Hathaway scored again just seven minutes into the period. Time was ticking for the Bruins and with just three minutes remaining in regulation, newcomer Taylor Hall took Boston to yet another overtime.

Brad Marchand was the hero of the game, however, after beating out Anderson and scoring the OT winner after just 39 seconds.

Brad Marchard celebrating his overtime goal on Monday with teammate Taylor Hall. Credit: USA Today

Game three takes place on Wednesday, and I’ll be paying special attention to who starts in net for Boston, with rookie Jeremy Swayman and veteran Jaroslav Halak both being viable options to fill the job. 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Sox by Matt Fonzi

As the Red Sox headed into the second week of May, they would face two tough opponents: the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Angels.

Boston’s first series was against the Oakland A’s, who have recently been in the news due to relocation rumors. In addition to their relocation talks, the A’s have been off to a stellar start, recording twenty-five wins and sitting atop the AL West. 

The series started on Tuesday, May 11th at Fenway Park. For the Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi would be on the bump. 

He did not disappoint, allowing only two hits and one run through six innings. Boston had a 2-1 lead when Alex Cora relieved Eovaldi. Unfortunately, his strong performance early in the game would not be enough for the win, as the Red Sox bullpen let up two runs in the seventh inning. The Sox rattled off a run in the bottom half of the inning, but would not be able to make a comeback, losing 3-2. 

Following the tough loss the day before, Boston had the chance to even up the series with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound. 

E-Rod had a 5-0 record heading into the game, but would not get the run support needed to keep his undefeated season intact. The Red Sox offense started strong, with a one-run first inning to take an early lead. The lead did not last long as Rodriguez allowed one run in the third and three runs in the fifth and sixth innings. He would be taken out of the game after six innings of play. No scoring action took place after Rodriguez was removed, and the final score sat at 4-1 in favor of Oakland.

The following day, Boston had a chance to salvage a win out of the series. Boston started off strong, with two back to back three run innings. Xander Bogarts and Bobby Dalbec hit two home runs to put numbers on the board. Pitching for Boston was a major strength this game, with Garrett Richards allowing no runs through six innings. Richards had a rocky 0-2 start to the year, but has since won his last three outings. The Red Sox would score twice more, and the A’s would only put up a single run. It was a  strong end to a rocky series, as the Red Sox won 8-2.

The more intriguing of the two series proved to be against the Angels.

Bobby Dalbec. Credit: BoSox Injection

Game one took place on Friday, May 14, where Bobby Dalbec would be the hero in the bottom of the seventh. Boston was down by a run, and Dalbec hit a bomb to center field to bring them back up a run. Dalbec referenced the run as a “dream moment… something you think about when you’re a kid.” 

Game two was a pleasing sight for Sox fans, as Boston tallied nine runs on twelve hits. While dominating on offense, Martin Perez pitched six innings with only three hits let up. Boston would keep the shutout going while only giving up one more hit. A strong way to keep momentum in the series, winning 9-0. That momentum would be killed in the top of the ninth inning by none other than Shohei Ohtani, the dual threat. Ohtani stepped up to the plate in the ninth down by a run with Mike Trout on first. Ohtani would hit his twelfth home run of the season, giving the Angels a two run lead. The Sox got two men on base in the bottom half, but couldn’t put together a run. They would lose 6-5.

Another week in the books, and the Red Sox continue to stay at the top of the AL East. A team to watch out for is the Yankees. After a rough start to the season, the Yankees are just a few games back of the Red Sox with a record of 22-18. 

The Red Sox have to focus on the balance of bullpen and offense in order to keep their spot at the top of the league.

Celtics by Carter Segal

After 72 long and (sometimes) hard-fought games, the Celtics will begin their postseason in the play-in tournament against the Washington Wizards. 

As the seventh seed, the Celtics will have two opportunities to stay in the playoff picture: if they win against Washington on Tuesday, Boston will retain their seeding. If the Celtics lose on Tuesday, they will play the winner of the Pacers-Hornets matchup for the final spot in the playoffs.

The Wizards are coming in hot, winning six of their last ten. They have been led by Russell Westbrook (who has averaged 26 points, 16 assists, and 14 rebounds a game in the month of May) and Bradley Beal (who scored the second-most total points this season).

The Celtics, on the other, hand, have limped to the finish line of the season. After injuring his wrist, Jaylen Brown is out for the rest of the season. As a result, the already top-heavy Celtics will be even more dependent on their best players.

The key to this game for Boston will be defense. 

This season, the Wizards have given up the most points per game in the entire league. This puts extreme pressure on their offense to perform. So when Washington can’t get their offense going, the results are ugly. In fact, they are 4-18 in games in which they score under 110 points. If the Celtics can put together a cohesive defensive strategy, they could win this game.

If the Celtics want to slow down the Wizards, they will have to slow down Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has historically played worse in playoff games, where the slower pace prevents him from getting out in transition for easy buckets. That being said, this is only the second time in the former MVP’s career that he has had four shooters surrounding him on the court.

Jaylen Brown. Credit: Bleacher Report

While Jaylen Brown would open up more potential defensive strategies, Boston can still produce a formidable defense with the right strategy. In my eyes, the Celtics have three potential ways to guard him and Bradley Beal. 

First, they could have Jayson Tatum guard Westbrook and have Marcus Smart guard Beal. Tatum’s length could bother Westbrook at the rim, where he is most effective, while Smart could really bother Beal. There are, however, valid concerns about whether Tatum has the speed to keep up with Westbrook, and if he has the stamina necessary to guard the opponent’s best player (especially one as physical as Westbrook), while leading an offense at the other end.

Alternatively, Boston could flip those two matchups, and have Smart guard Westbrook and Tatum guard Beal. Smart has the physicality, hands, and IQ to make life difficult for a slasher such as Westbrook, while Tatum’s length could be better utilized contesting Bradley Beal jumpshots. In terms of more orthadox defensive strategies, this would be the most sustainable for an entire game.

In my eyes, the best defensive strategy would be to have either Robert Williams III (if he plays) or Tristan Thompson guard Westbrook. The Wizard’s point guard is a notoriously bad shooter, and having a big man sit in the paint would deter him from getting to the rim, while also potentially baiting him into long-range jumpers. Smart could guard Beal and Tatum could serve as a weak-side help defender, using his long arms to close off passing lanes. A similar strategy was used by the Thunder last season, and the results were devastating. In that playoff matchup, Westbrook averaged a mere 14 points a game.

On offense, the key for Boston will be getting the ball to Tatum, and letting him make plays for his teammates. Washington has no wing defender capable of guarding the two-time All Star in single coverage, so expect to see a lot of double teams. From there, secondary playmakers such as Walker, Smart, and Fournier, will have to take advantage of their easier scoring opportunities.

On paper, the Celtics should win this game. But if we have learned anything from this season, the whole is not always the sum of its parts. Boston has severely underperformed this year, and it is no guarantee that they will win this game just because they have the personnel to do so. Strategy is important, but the true X-factor for the Celtics is whether or not they actually come to play with intensity and heart. 

Patriots by Chris Jimenez:

The 2021 NFL schedule was released on Wednesday and all NFL fans were finally gifted the date of Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough.

Graphic of the Patriots 2021 opponents. Credit: New England Patriots

The game is scheduled for Week 4 of the season, on October 3rd at 8:20PM, a primetime Sunday night game. This game has been circled on many calendars since Brady left the Patriots and the stars seem to have aligned for the game to be here in New England. 

Belichick tends to be successful early in the season and injuries are unlikely to be a factor as early as week four. The Super Bowl hangover is real and there is a chance that the Buccaneers struggle early next season especially when looking at the teams they face in the three weeks prior. 

The Bucs have to travel to Los Angeles and face a very tough Rams team before flying cross country to Logan Airport. The Patriots, however, are at home for two weeks, playing the Saints in Week 3 at home, before their bout against the Bucs. 

A topic of conversation for many years, as stories were released about the culture built in New England, was questioning who the true cause of the “Patriot Way” truly has been. 

Some determined that it was Tom Brady and his true competitiveness, while others thought that Belichick’s stern and unwavering behavior towards his players was the cause. Personally, I believe that it was Belichick’s treatment and culture in that building that built the Patriots dynasty. 

Belichick is known to have treated his stars the same way he treats his undrafted rookies, as shown in a video released by NFL Films. It has also long been reported that Bill will not hesitate to yell at any of his players when they mess up or need to be scolded, including Tom Brady. 

The Patriots are a new and revitalized group and I am sure that this game will be a tough one and that both teams will put up a fight. These two men are true competitors and both will head into Week 4 looking to win. 

This game is obviously getting a lot of media attention and tickets are already selling for insane prices. Pats fans in attendance will most likely be cheering for both their team and for Brady, as he did win us six championships. Brady still has many fans in New England. 

As for the rest of the season– it’s no cakewalk. The Pats face Miami, the Jets, and the Saints in the first three weeks of the season. The only almost guaranteed win is against the Jets in Week 2 due to a rookie quarterback and head coach. But even then, you can never call the outcome of a football game guaranteed. 

Looking at the schedule in a realistic way, the Pats could be anywhere from a .500 team to a Wild Card, double-digit win, team. There are now 17 games in 18 weeks instead of the usual 16 games in 17 weeks. 

The Pats are fortunate to have a bye week in Week 14, meaning they can make a good playoff push at the end of the season. The COVID-19 vaccine should help things in reducing the chances that players miss time due to the virus. 

All Pats fans can do now is hope that Bill Belichick can make this band of players a serious football team and take huge strides from last year in making a dent in the playoffs.