This Week in Boston Sports: Walker Signs with Celtics, Sox Swept in London & More

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Sports, Boston Pros

It was a very ugly weekend for the Red Sox across the pond, but the Celtics were able to acquire one of the best point guards on the market in free agency. So it wasn’t all bad news for Boston sports fans this week despite the extremely poor play from the Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox

While they only played five games and actually won two of them, this had to be the worst week of the season for the Red Sox to this point. The bullpen is a complete disaster, and that was evident in the three consecutive losses to the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. Something needs to be done soon to improve that part of the team, or the Red Sox have no chance to make a postseason run. Frankly, even making the playoffs is going to be tough if things don’t change.

This week got off to a great start, as the Sox bounced back from two straight losses to the Blue Jays with a couple of wins in a row. They won 6-5 in walk-off fashion on Monday after battling from behind all game. Marco Hernandez delivered the walk-off infield single to complete the comeback and give Boston the win. On Tuesday, it was a solid pitching performance from David Price and a go-ahead home run by Xander Bogaerts that provided the 6-3 Red Sox win in the rain.

On Wednesday afternoon, everything started to go south. It looked like another scrappy, come-from-behind effort was taking place for the Red Sox when they took a 7-6 lead with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning after trailing all game. However, that notion was crushed when Matt Barnes gave up a two-run homer to Jose Abreu in the ninth and blew his sixth save of the season. As a team, the Red Sox lead the MLB with 16 blown saves. If that does not cry out a need for bullpen help, then I don’t know what does. They lost the game 8-7 and ended the homestand with a downer instead of a sweep.

Then, they got two consecutive off days to prepare for their historic series in London, England against the Yankees. It was the first MLB games ever played in Europe, and it was a really cool experience for both the players and the fans. Great experience aside, the Red Sox had some serious business to take care of against the first-place Yankees, and they failed miserably. They lost a slugfest on Saturday by a score of 17-13 in a game that featured 12 combined runs in the first inning and 37 combined hits overall. The Sox had no problem scoring runs, but they had a really bad problem giving them up, as the Yankees put up a few crooked numbers in the loss. Sunday’s game wasn’t much better, although the Red Sox actually had a lead early due to three first-inning home runs by Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Christian Vazquez. They held a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning, when the bullpen blew it yet again. The Yankees exploded for nine runs in that inning and won 12-8. The London series was a great success for baseball but a miserable failure for the Red Sox, as they now sit 11 games behind the Yankees in the AL East standings. While it is not an insurmountable deficit with nearly half the season left, it certainly feels insurmountable with how well the Yankees are playing and how poorly the Red Sox are.

In a bit of good news this weekend, the All Star rosters were announced and the Red Sox will be represented in Cleveland by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. These are not the two most deserving Sox players in my opinion (those would be Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, who both got snubbed), but it is good nonetheless to have the team well-represented next Tuesday.

Before then though, the Red Sox have to make some strides so they are not still double-digit games behind by the All Star break. They will travel to Toronto to start a series with the Blue Jays on Tuesday before finishing the first half of the season in Detroit against the Tigers.

Boston Celtics

NBA free agency officially started at 6 p.m. on Sunday, and the Celtics found themselves right in the thick of the first few hours of the madness. The highlight of the night was signing Kemba Walker to a four-year, $141 million max deal. He will fill the hole at point guard left by Kyrie Irving, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets to team up with Kevin Durant. Walker was a standout in college at UConn and has been the franchise player for the Charlotte Hornets since he got drafted. He is a three-time All-Star and made his first All-NBA team last season. He should be a perfect fit for this new Celtics team.

In addition, the Celtics also addressed their need at center after the departure of Al Horford to the Philadelphia 76ers by signing Enes Kanter to a two-year deal. The eight-year vet will be a huge addition to the inexperienced Boston frontcourt.

Besides Horford and Irving, who everyone knew were leaving a week ago, the other Celtic to leave in the first couple of hours of free agency was Terry Rozier, who will join the Hornets on a three-year deal. The Walker and Rozier deals will technically be a sign-and trade to benefit both teams’ salary caps.

The 2019-2020 Boston Celtics are starting to take shape, and I have to say, I like what I’m seeing.

Boston Bruins

As today is the first day of NHL free agency and we expect so much more to happen over the course of this week, I will go more in depth on all the Bruins moves in next week’s article. For now, we know that Noel Acciari left the Bruins to sign with the Florida Panthers. We also know that the Bruins signed forward Brett Ritchie and goalie Max Legace, and they have given Connor Clifton a three-year extension. 

This week is sure to be very exciting for the Bruins, who have a lot of impending free agents like Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

New England Patriots

As you may expect, there is not much Patriots news on this first day of July. The big thing that came out this weekend is that the Patriots are not expected to visit the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl LIII victory this year. The Patriots have attended after each of their previous five Super Bowls, but after the Philadelphia Eagles were uninvited last year, it appears that no such visit was even scheduled this year. Now I’m no political expert, but President Trump certainly seems to have some bad blood with the NFL, and this lack of a ceremony is the latest example.

The next big date on the Patriots schedule is July 21, when the team’s rookies and injured players will report to training camp, so don’t expect too much breaking news before then.

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