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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Relax, gang, it's only preseason

August 12. 2017 11:32PM

The headline on jumped right out at you.

"Jimmy Garoppolo shuts critics up with strong performance in preseason opener"

Garoppolo, the greatest backup quarterback in the history of the NFL, the apparent heir-apparent if Tom Brady ever retires, shook off a shaky camp to lead the Patriots' scrubeenies to two touchdowns against the Jaguars' scrubeenies.

Overreaction? Sure, on both counts.

Overeaction to the camp showing. Overreaction to the meaningless preseason game (they actually have gambling odds on these silly games).

That's what it's all about this time of year.

Fact is, we don't know what kind of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be. He is a backup. If he's needed, it means Brady is hurt. If Brady is hurt . well, we just don't know. It happened once before and the Pats won 11 games behind Matt Cassel, and we know he's not going to Canton (Ohio, that is).

"I think that every player, and every coach for that matter, did some good things and had some not so good things, things they'd like to have back," Bill Belichick said on a conference call Friday. "That's the way it is in practice. That's pretty much the way it is every game.

"There are always going to be things you'd like to have back, do a little bit differently in all of those settings, both practice and games. We'll just try to learn from them and either not let them happen again or learn how to make a play. You can always make a better play."

Plane talk

Jonathan Kraft, talking to ESPN, explained the team's purchase of two aircraft, and he made sense when talking about the physical well-being of the players.

"Football is a different animal than the other sports in terms of what needs to start to happen on an airplane as you're leaving a game," he said. "I do think it will allow us better recovery with the players, the way we've set it up and allow the coaches to be more productive, too."

Panic time

In a game that mattered, the Red Sox blew another game to the Yankees Friday night, and the fire John Farrell folks were out again on social media.

The bullpen blew up and a collection of soft hits - even the home run was strange - and another game against the dreaded Yankees got away.

The folks took to Facebook and Twitter screaming about the manager. But our buddy Dan Roche put things in perspective, something that's tough for fans to do after a game like this.

Rochy tweeted: "A friendly reminder: It is one loss. The bullpen isn't the worst in baseball, Farrell shouldn't be fired, Kimbrel shouldn't pitch 2 innings"

Well said. And this was only one game.

Now, you could look at it this way: It may have been a game that kept the Yankees, winners of seven of 10 against the Red Sox this season through Friday, alive, just as the July 15 and 16 New York wins at Fenway kept the Yankees breathing in the race for the division.

Friday marked the first of 10 games between the rivals in a span of 23 days. It's special when these teams play games that matter. You even had to love the tweet from the official Yankees' account that read: "Final: Yankees 5, The Visiting Team 4." Great stuff.

Things change

The baseball races took a different turn in recent days, led by the Cardinals. Given up for dead just a week ago, with people talking about how they don't know how to play the game, and with Steven Piscotty sent to the minor leagues, they have found themselves suddenly a game out of first place in the NL Central, two games ahead of the Pirates and Brewers in the race where only the winner will go to the playoffs.

The Twins, who acquired Jaime Garcia for a push and then dealt Garcia to the Yankees while dealing their closer, were 3½ games out of first in the AL Central, and the AL wild card race had five teams within a game and a half of the second spot, owned by the Twins behind the Yankees.

The Angels, wracked by pitching injuries and without Mike Trout for much of the summer, are also alive, coming from 5-1 down to stun the Mariners Friday night.

Sox tweets

From @redsoxnotes after Friday night's strong start by Eduardo Rodriguez: "Red Sox with 6.0+ IP and 2 or fewer runs allowed in 4 straight starts at Yankee Stadium, last 100 years: Eduardo Rodriguez & Pedro Martinez.

From @theaceofspaeder: Chris Sale has 1,473 K in 1,271 1/3 innings during his career; Nolan Ryan had 1,437 K in 1,271 2/3 innings after turning 40 years old." Amazing.

From @pawsox Friday: Since May 23, Bryce Brentz has hit 22 HR. Entire list of players in pro baseball w/ more in that time.» Giancarlo Stanton » Cody Bellinger"

More Brentz, from MassLive's Chris Smith Saturday: Bryce Brentz batting .280 w/.349 OBP, .555 slugging percentage, .904 OPS, 27 homers, 17 doubles, one triple, 76 RBIs in 99 games for PawSox"

Around the horn

Baseball stuff on this Sunday:

Colorado's Charlie Blackmon may be the best star we don't know a lot about. As of Friday: since the All-Star break 1.208 OPS, while Stanton, who hit his 40th homer Friday night, was at 1.161. Through Friday, he was hitting .333 with 27 homers, 74 RBIs. ... Jeffrey Loria, who ripped off the fans of the Miami area for so many years after Bud Selig rigged the sales of the Red Sox and Marlins, is walking away (selling to the Derek Jeter group) with a major profit: $1.2 billion for a $158 million investment. Good riddance. ... The Astros have to be worried about Dallas Keuchel, who has allowed 23 hits, including three homers, and 14 earned runs in just 12 innings over three starts off the DL while staff No. 2 Lance McCullers is back on the DL. ... Ted Williams, to the surprise of no one, finished first in a recent poll of the top 25 hitters of all-time. Somehow, Joe DiMaggio was 17th. ... Lorenzo Cain is making himself some serious money as his days with the Royals potentially clicking down. Through an 0-for-4 with three Ks Friday night, he was 30-for-73 (.411) in his last 17 games, raising his batting average from .265 to .290. ... Yoan Moncada seems to be figuring out this major league thing. Thursday night he tied the game with Houston with a ninth-inning homer and then won it with an 11th-inning single. Through Friday, he had a seven-game hitting streak, going 10-for-31 in that span. ...

Friday, the Yankees placed CC Sabathia (knee) on the DL. Saturday, it was Masahiro Tanaka (shoulder inflammation). ... The Rangers will hand out mini on-deck circles in the form of mousepads commemorating the Adrian Beltre ejection by Gerry Davis for moving the rubber pad that is an unofficial on deck circle, VP Chuck Morgan said, "Comes complete with an Adrian Beltre signature and without the fear of being ejected." ... Trout, 25th on that greatest hitter list, collected his 1,000th hit on his 26th birthday. . Rafael Devers, with interpreter, made an impressive appearance on the MLB Network Thursday. ... The Mets made $4 million and took less in talent for dealing Jay Bruce to the Indians rather than the Yankees. But think of this: did they really want Bruce hitting against them for four games this week? ...

Rather than worrying about Friday night's loss, Sox fans, perhaps you should be more concerned about Dustin Pedroia winding up back on the DL with that knee problem. Did he come back to soon? Terry Francona always talked about how tough and "annoying" it was to have Pedroia on the bench and not playing. The guy loves to play.

Finally, speaking of the Mets, top prospect Amed Rosario's first major league homer was a ninth-inning winner at Philadelphia on Friday night, in the same game Dominic Smith made his debut and had a hit. Rosario, who had been struggling at the plate, said, "Even though I've had a bad couple of days, this really helps my confidence. I try not to think too much about what's happened in the past. This really helps."