Revolution Making A Statement In The MLS East

The New England Revolution is making a statement with a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls. In a stunning victory, the team has a comfortable lead over the Philadelphia Union and Orlando City. With two shutouts to their record, excitement is starting to heat up. In this post, we will review three reasons why the Revolution is a serious MLS Cup contender in 2021.

Searching For Consistency

The main objective in 2021 is to find consistency. Consistency in both the defensive department and the offensive department. Goalkeeping wise the tandem of Matt Turner and Brad Knighton remains the best in MLS.

Only eight games in the Revolution are 5-2-1 with 17 points. With two stellar shutouts over Columbus and Cincinnati, the club’s defense has been superior. Scoring still is an area of concern. Forwards Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa lead the team in scoring. Buska in particular has been putting additional pressure on himself to score more.

Depth On defense

What I like about this year’s squad is the depth. Particularly on defense, the squad is just as deep as anyone in the MLS. Newcomer Christian Mafla signed from Colombia brings speed and excellent coverage skills.

As for the goalkeeping department, the Revolution signed Earl Edwards Jr. as a depth move. Edwards spent the past six seasons with Orlando City. In that period he appeared in six games.

Mafla will be a welcomed addition with a deep defensive group. He should give the goalkeepers added confidence with his experience.

Leagues Best Goalkeeper

Every MLS fan knows that goalkeeper Matt Turner is the game’s best. Coming off his best season in 2020 Turner is over to another amazing year. Last season Turner recorded a league_best six shutouts. After eight games this season, he has already two shutouts. Rumors are swirling that he and Tajon Buchanon may leave to play overseas for the United States National Team.

Conclusion

With a remarkable start, the club needs to stay focused on the long season ahead. With 34 games remaining it will take a total team effort to remain at the top in the MLS East.

Red Sox Bullpen Paying Dividends

With the baseball season a quarter of the way over, the Red Sox are game and a half behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. One reason for their early season success is the performance of the bullpen. In this post, we will examine three reasons why the Red Sox bullpen is paying dividends.

Offseason Signings Stepping Up

In the off_ season, the organization shored up the bullpen significantly. Adam Ottavino, Matt Andriese, and Garrett Whitlock have stepped up. Rule 5 pickup Garrett Whitlock has been one of the best relievers in baseball. Ex Yankee Adam Ottavino has been lights out in his last dozen appearances. Right_ hander Matt Andriese has been up and down. If the team wants to retake first place, the bullpen will have to continue to pitch on a high level.

Matt Barnes Having All_ Star Season

The veteran reliever is experiencing an All_Star season In 23 games he is 1-1 with a nifty 2.63 ERA. His 11 saves rank him at the top in MLB. If he stays on his current pace he will be the difference between the club having a winning season. Statistically, the team has a 2.84 ERA the seventh _best in baseball.

Bullpen Has Depth

The unit has been receiving valuable contributions from Darwinzon Hernandez, Hirokazu Sawamura, Phillips Valdez, and Darwinzon Hernandez. Hernandez has been Alex Cora’s most electrifying reliever. At some point, I feel Hernandez will be a starter with his proficiency.

Conclusion

If the team hopes to make the playoffs, it will fall on the pitching. The Red Sox has been enjoying quality starts from Nick Pivetta, Nathan Eovaldi, and Garrett Richards. Richards has turned his season around after a disappointing start. A consistent bullpen is a priority for a rewarding post_season.

Patriots Fail To Draft A Number One Receiver

For quite some time, the Patriots have neglected to draft a number one receiver. Instead, they added Damiere Byrd, Marqise Lee, Josh Gordon, and others. Still, no legitimate number one receiver. In 2021 they signed Nelson Agholar Kendrick Bourne, Jacobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski, and N’Keal Harry Certainly not a group for opposing defensive coordinators to worry about. In this post, we will review three reasons why this will concern Patriots fans.

No Game_ Changing Receiver

Every contending team has a game_changing receiver. The only deep threat on the roster is Nelson Agholor and Jacobi Meyers. N’keal Harry is a deep threat but has trouble getting open.

Newly acquired Kendrick Bourne is OK but no Julian Edelman. Now that Edelman is retired, finding a suitable replacement will be difficult. With Cam Newton calling the signals fans can expect a lot of passes to the slot receiver.

Tight End Depth

The organization added Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry in the off_season. Paired with Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene Bill Belichick has some flexibility at tight end. Covid 19 opt_out Matt LaCosse will also be returning.

Since Rob Gronkowski retired the tight end position has been vacant. Signing two new tight ends will finally solidify the position. In 2020, the Patriot’s tight ends were targeted a grand total of 32 times.

Julio Jones Rumors

Recently there have been rumors of a possible trade for Julio Jones. A deal like this makes sense for both Atlanta and New England. The cash_ strapped Falcons would clear cap space by moving him. As for New England, trading for Julio Jones would put them over the top.

The current group is by far mediocre at best. A trade like this would make the Patriots a threat in the AFC East again.

Conclusion

With the 2021 schedule being released the Patriots are mostly at home during the first two months. Only two away games Houston and Los Angeles Chargers are scheduled. In order to regain supremacy in the AFC East, they need a hot start. Anything less will be unacceptable for Patriots fans.

3 Issues Concerning Red Sox Pitching

After 37 games, there are 3 issues concerning Red Sox pitching. With a 22-15 record they are 2 games ahead of the Yankees. Most fans would be ecstatic. Compared to last season the team is far ahead of expectations. In this post, we will evaluate the Red Sox, pitching staff.

3 Issues Concerning Red Sox Pitching

Logjam Of Pitchers

Considering the team is the best hitting team in the league, they are carrying 13 pitchers. With managers carrying 27 players, the starters are getting pulled too early. With 5 starting pitchers 8 are sitting in the bullpen.

In, the last 10 games the starters have gone 5 innings putting pressure on the offense. Burning out the bullpen early is not a healthy scenario. With a 162 game schedule getting pulled after 5 innings won’t cut it in July and August. Eduardo Rodriguez and Nick Pivetta are both undefeated but have struggled after the 5th inning.

Garrett Whitlock/Shining Star

Rule 5 acquisition Garrett Whitlock has been the team’s shining star. With an impressive 0.63 ERA and 19 strikeouts, Whitlock has been one of the best relievers in baseball. Averaging 2 innings per appearance he has paved the way for Matt Barnes.

If Whitlock can stay on his current pace he will be a lock for the AL All_Star team. He has been a shining star. Matt Barnes has been stellar has a closer.

Help In The Pipeline

It’s still far to early to predict where the Red Sox will finish. One fact for sure is the starters need to go deeper into games. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez seems to be healthy after a stint with Coved 19. Will his strong outings continue?

Preview in new tab

Chris Sale who missed all of 2020 has started throwing off the mound. I do not expect Sale to be activated until September at the earliest. So where does that leave Alex Cora? Pitchers Tanner Houck and Eduardo Bazardo were up earlier but got sent back down. Either one is ready. The team claimed Brandon Workman off waivers from the Cubs.

My gut feeling is it will be Brandon Workman or Connor Seabold. Seabold was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies last July for Workman.

Conclusion

If the club expects to make the playoffs, it starts with the pitching. Manager Alex Cora has been pulling his starters too early. Garrett Richard’s last two outings have been superb. Relying on the bullpen too early and often may result in disappointment.

3 Week One Starters From The 2021 Patriots Draft Class

With Patriots mini_camp approaching, it’s time to predict 3 potential weeks one starter from the 2021 Patriot’s draft class. The off_ season was active, to say the least. With several new faces, 2021 will be exciting. A young new quarterback gives fans hope again In this post, we will evaluate three draft selections who could potentially be starters this season.

Christian Barmore/Productive DT/ Alabama

Head coach Bill Belichick traded two fourth_round draft picks for Barmore. The four_year starter at Alabama started 22 games as a two_year starter at Alabama. His physical structure is what defensive coordinators love.

As a starter,Barmore was credited with 34 solo tackles,10 sacks, and recovered 5 fumbles. The Patriot’s style of play is the perfect fit for Barmore. The only drawback is his maturity level. Playing under the rigid Belichick style only time will tell.

Tre Nixon/Vertical Receiver/ Central Florida

This pick can go either way. The Patriots selected Nixon with the 242nd pick in this year’s draft Central Florida. The speedy receiver is a burner who can stretch the field. I project Nixon as the surprise of training camp. Like N’keal Harry, he has trouble separating himself from cover players.

Nixon transferred after two_years at Ole Miss. His pass _catching skills are inconsistent. A seventh_round draft choice, Belichick may decide to red_shirt him. It will be interesting to see how he competes against the Patriot’s receiving department.

Rhamondre Stevenson/FB/ Oklahoma

This is the most interesting pick out of this year’s draft class. Stevenson is a 6′ 1″ 231lb_ pound fullback. Known for his superior blocking skills, he is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Being an excellent blocker will be a welcomed addition for quarterback Cam Newton.

With the Patriots stressing the run I feel Stevenson will be a significant contributor this season. In two_years at Oklahoma, he started 19 games for 298 total yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 7 yards per carry. He will be a weapon in the red zone.

Conclusion

The year 2020 was disappointing for Patriots fans. With a seventeen_game schedule, I look for the club to go 11-6. Quarterback Cam Newton has a year in the Patriot’s system under his belt. Number One Draft Pick Mac Jones is waiting in the wings. Look for the club to be better in 2021.

Patriots Have Many Holes To Fill In This Year’s Draft.

Now that Mac Jones is officially a Patriot let’s look at the big picture. The Patriots have many holes to fill. Defensively, they ranked 26th in 2020. They were one of the worst teams in the league in stopping the run. So where do they go from here? My guess is Bill Belichick will focus on the defensive line adding to the rotation. In this post, we will discuss three departments the team needs to restructure.

Middle Linebacker/Defensive Front

The good news is Donta Hightower is returning for the 2021 campaign. Other than that there is not much to get excited about. Edge rusher Josh Uche showed flashes of promise. Chase Winovich is gradually getting better. Number one pick Kyle Duggar has shown he can play. I personally feel they need to get more physical. Teams ran all over them last season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. That statistic needs to improve.

New additions Henry Anderson, Davon Godchaulx, and Matthew Judon, and Kyle Van Noy will bolster the front seven. Stopping the run is priority number one in 2021.

Patrick Chung Retiring/McCourty Aging

In the off_ season safety, Patrick Chung retired. Chung was noted for his ability in stopping the run. Long time safety Devin McCourty a year older. Second_year safety Kyle Duggar is not ready to take over yet.

Replacing Julian Edelman

The biggest off season news was Julian Edelman announcing his retirement. Edelman is one of the greatest slot receivers in Patriots history. Known for his toughness,Edelman made one of the most clutch catches in Super Bowl history in the comeback win.

Two names to keep an eye on are Elijah Moore of Ole Miss and terrace Marshall Jr of LSu. Both receivers are excellent route runners with burning speed.

Conclusion

Poor execution was frustrating for Patriots fans. A 7-9 record is frustrating for Patriots fans But with the free _agent spending spree and new blood coming in,2021 will be an exciting year.

Pitching Will Determine Red Sox Success In 2021

The Red Sox are off to a torrid start in 2021. Starting pitching will determine Red Sox’s success in 2021. Compared to last season the team has three dependable starters. The key element in the pitching will come from the fourth and fifth starters. Newly acquired Garrett Richards and Martin Perez round out the staff. In this post, we will review the organization’s starting pitching.

Five Quality Starters

In 2020, the starting pitching was non _existent. They shut down Chris Sale with Tommy John issues. Eduardo Rodriguez was out with Coved 19. This season Eduardo Rodriguez is 2-0 and healthy. Nathan Eovaldi is pitching well.

The latter part of the staff, Garrett Richards and Martin Perez have been inconsistent. Garrett Richards is struggling. Lefty Martin Perez has been OK. Prospect Tanner Houck is starting Sunday against Chicago.

Well Balanced Offense

In, 2021 the team’s 356 ERA is the fifth_ best in the league. Offensively, the club ranks first in the league in slugging percentage, OBP, and team average 273. They have 16 home runs, which are fifth in the league.

The offense will be a significant factor for the Red Sox this season. Third baseman Rafael Devers is one of the best hitters in the game. Designated hitter JD Martinez has gotten off to an excellent start. Manager Alex Cora has gotten huge contributions from Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Verdugo, and Christian Vazquez. Depth is essential for any hopes of making the playoffs.

Bullpen Depth

The Red Sox are carrying 14 pitchers. In, 14 games the bullpen has been sensational. Veteran Matt Barnes has appeared in six _games and has a 0.00 ERA with 1 win and 2 saves. Rule 5 draftee Garrett Whitlock is turning heads. Whitlock was selected by the Red Sox from the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft. Veteran Matt Andriese has contributed significantly.

Conclusion

Any hopes of a deep playoff run hinges on the starting pitching. Offensively, they are the best in the league. With, Alex Cora at the helm, the future is bright.

Revolution Gearing Up For Another Championship Run

The New England Revolution is gearing up for another championship run. After a heartbreaking loss 1-0 to Columbus in the 2020 finals, the club looks forward to 2021. Last season, the Revolution finished 8th in the East. After a thrilling 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union, fans left heartbroken in the finals. With some new faces, the team looks to pick up where it left off last year.

Depth On Defense

The organization added defender John Bell in the offseason. Bell was selected by the San Jose Earthquake, in the 2020 MLS Super Draft. He is extremely fast and has superior passing skills. He will provide solid depth to the defensive unit.

In other moves, the team added midfielder Lucas Felix, also known as Maciel. Maciel is from Brazil. He was a ten_ year veteran of the famous Botafogo soccer academy. He has a World Championship on his resume.

Also joining the team were midfielder Wilfred Khartoum. Kaptoum is a Cameroonian football player. He is experienced in the world soccer community with over 100 professional appearances. With all the off _season activity, the Revolution improved from last season.

Nucleus Is Still Together

With the off_ season additions, the club’s nucleus is still together. The group of Teal Bunbury, Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa, Carlos Gil, Andrew Farrell, Matt Polster, Matt Turner, Taejon Buchanon, and Brad Knighton provide the skill and experience to be a serious contender.

Superior Goalkeeping

The strength of this club is goalkeeping. The Revolution is blessed to have the league’s best goalkeeper in Matt Turner. Turner made 22 appearances in 2020. Overall, he posted an 8-7-7 record. He was also voted MLS player of the week three times. Reserves Brad Knighton and Earl EdwardsJr provide capable backup.

Conclusion

The difference between this year’s roster and last is its depth. The defense is vastly improved. With, two new mid _fielders the Revolution is in position to make a deep playoff run.

Patriots Enter Free Agency With A Bang

Tuesday the Patriots, entered the NFL Free Agency with a bang. They added 8 pieces the most team history. Coming to terms were tight end Jonu Smith, defensive end Matthew Judon from Baltimore, wide receiver Nelson Agholor from the Raiders, Defensive end Henry Anderson of the Jets. Other signings were Davon Godchaux defensive tackle from the Jets, Jalen Mills Defensive back from Philadelphia. As of Wednesday, they locked up tight end Hunter Henry from the LA Chargers. In this post, we will review three reasons why these signings will improve the Patriots in 2021.

Tight End Position Addressed

For the first time in three seasons, the Patriots strengthened the tight end department. Si With the addition of Hunter Henry and Jonu Smith, quarterback Cam Newton has two huge targets to work with.

The 2020 draft class of Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi did not pan out. Outside of Asiasi and Keene, the club has Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse. In 16 games last tight end department accounted for only 7 catches. Both Henry and Smith are elite blockers, which is a significant upgrade.

How Much Are They Improved From 2020?

The next question is how much are they improved from 2020. Head coach Bill Belichick has completely reshaped the roster. Jonu Smith and Hunter Henry are a significant upgrade. Edge rusher Matthew Judon is an All_Pro pass _ rusher.

In, Hunter Henry, the team is getting a quality tight end. In five seasons as a Charger, he has caught 196 receptions for 21 touchdowns. He is also an excellent blocker. Jonu Smith on the other hand provides many skills. He is one of the best route runners in the league and possesses excellent blocking skills. In, four years at Tennessee, he totaled 114 receptions and 16 touchdowns.

By signing Hunter and Smith, it marks the first time since the successful duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Risky Moves Versus Quality Moves

Receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are considered risky. In four years as an Eagle, Agholor had two decent seasons. In Kendrick Bourne, the team is getting another slot receiver. Overall, they should give the offense a huge boost.

As for the quality signings Hunter Henry, Jonu Smith, and Matthew Judon are all skilled players. Defensive back Jalen Mills brings stability and depth to the defensive backfield.

Conclusion

In all the signings fans have renowned hope in the Patriots again. Losing Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski was a culture shock. It was nice to see the Patriots being aggressive.

Lack Of Defense Costing 2021 Celtics

The Celtic’s play as of late has been disappointing. Lack of defense is costing the 2021 Celtics. Any chance of a top seed in the NBA East is quietly dwindling before our eyes. If there is a bright spot, it’s the healthy return of Kemba Walker. Walker recently came off his best effort in a win over Indiana. In this post, we will evaluate three why the Celtics are struggling.

Brad Stevens Coaching Style Has Been Questionable

Head coach Brad Stevens is being criticized for his lack of toughness with the players. Fans and the media question Steven’s toughness with his veteran players such as Jayson Tatum.

Tatum has been up and down with his play this season. One night he’s on, the next night he’s off. Trade rumors are surfacing. If the Celtics do not put together a winning streak, the road may get a little bumpier for Brad Stevens.

In any event,the the club needs to tighten up and close out games. Overall,the team has blown leads to the Pelicans and have fallen off the top of the NBA East.

Playing Soft Defensively

As a whole, the organization ranks 16th in the league defensively. Last season they were one of the best defensive units in the NBA. Losing large leads against weaker teams has hurt them. The confidence has slipped. The Celtics need to get back to fundamentals and start to regain some ground they lost in the East.

The tough defense is what kept the Celtics deep in last year’s playoff run. Closing out games has been an issue. Forward, Jayson Tatum needs to get his confidence back. The only consistent player has been star forward Jaylen Brown.

Team Needs To Improve In The Shooting Department

This season the Celtics rank 12th in shooting with 358% from the 3 point area. With Kemba Walker getting healthier, time will tell. But overall, the club has been inconsistent. Guard Marcus Smart will be out for quite some time. Rookie Payton Pritchard has been piling up considerable minutes as a two_ guard.

Conclusion

With 35 games left, time is on the Celtics side. Kemba Walker is getting better with each game. If the team can stay healthy and Marcus Smart returns soon a deep playoff run is possible.