How about this New England sports fans? It is Cleveland week … TIMES TWO!!!
And as we look ahead, Sunday supper tonight has to include a double helping of humble pie.
Hey, look at it this way … at least we didn’t get shutout today … Hanley Ramirez took care of that. But in spite of that there is much wringing of hands this Sunday night in New England. The Patriots were SHUTOUT at home for the first time since 1993 in a sloppy 16-0 loss to the Bills while the Red Sox were bowing 2-1 to the Blue Jays on Big Papi Day, the final game of the regular season at Fenway Park.
Now you could say there were extenuating circumstances in both games … The Patriots were without Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo while the Sox have long since clinched a playoff spot and were just playing out the string getting ready for the second season. But if you said that you would be wrong in both cases.
Sure the Pats were with TB12 and Jimmy G, but that didn’t seem to bother them much against Houston 10 days ago. Today though, Jacoby Brisset was terrorized by the Bills defense, and given the pressure they created and number of hits they put on the rookie quarterback who’s to say they wouldn’t have done the same thing to Tom Terrific? Buffalo was tough and nasty and mean all day and the Pats handled it poorly. You can spread the blame around. New England was not good in any area of the game.
At Fenway dropping a 2-1 decision to Toronto is not in and of itself a bad thing, but the game mattered … not just to the Jays who were battling to secure their wildcard spot, but also to the Sox. A win would have kept them alive for home field in the first round of the playoffs. It would have forced their first round opponent (now locked in … it’s the Indians) to play an extra game on Monday to decide home field. But Boston managed just four hits and settled for the AL 3rd seed. After their eleven game winning streak ended Tuesday in New York the Sox went 1-5 down the stretch. In those six games they averaged less than three runs per game . This is not a good time of year to go into a hitting slump.
I know … the Pats went a surprisingly good 3-1 without Brady, who will return next week in Cleveland against the Browns. And the Sox have the talent to erupt when they hit the field in Cleveland on Thursday and will still be the favorite over Tito Francona’s tribe even if the extra game is in Ohio. But as I write this at 7:30 on this Sunday night their is concern in New England. Justified? I hope not … but …
Anyway … on to Cleveland.