MLB: Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics

Red Sox manager Alex Cora reacts to a call during the sixth inning against the Athletics at Oakland Coliseum on Thursday.

TUESDAY NIGHT on NESN, Dave O’Brien said the Red Sox were a team “looking for a little bit of a jolt.”

Later in that same game, the jolt came, in the form of rallying from down three runs, tying it and then winning it with a three-run ninth inning aided by Mookie Betts’ grounder that hit the third base bag and went for a two-run double.

Then, Thursday, in the finale of the four-game series, the jolt came in the form of Brett Anderson issuing two bases-loaded walks in the first inning. The Red Sox had a 3-0 lead and things looked like they had turned around.

Then came another jolt and this one was bad for Boston. Eduardo Rodriguez couldn’t stand the prosperity, the pesky A’s scored seven straight runs, Anderson survived, and Gold Glovers Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Betts looked at each other as a two-run double bounced on the warming track in another loss. Betts capped the day with another brain cramp, trying to go to third down four runs in the ninth inning and getting gunned down.

The Red Sox head to Arizona with a 2-6 record.

Rodriguez has a 12.38 ERA and is 0-2 in two starts, pitching eight innings, allowing 16 hits, 11 earned runs, walking six, fanning seven and yielding two of the 18 homers the Red Sox have allowed in eight games.

Eighteen homers in two pitchers’ parks.

A positive for the Sox? The Patriots will join them for their pre-game celebration at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

Whither Sale

Anyone worried about Chris Sale’s lack of velocity? New contract in tow, he’s pitching more like a crafty left-hander than a power pitcher.

Chances are this is all about the babying of the starters that took place in Florida. But look at Sale’s build. Is it hard to think the velocity could be significantly lower in his 30s?

Alex Cora, speaking on WEEI, said, “I do feel (Sale’s) velocity will come back. It’s just a matter of when.” And says pitching coach Dana LeVangie: “Do you guys want him to pitch the whole year or do you want him to throw 100 right now and not be there for his team? He’s building.”


When the Red Sox visit the White House next month, Mexican right-hander Hector Velezquez won’t be going with them. Wonder why?

“I made the choice not to go because, as we know, the President has said a lot of stuff about Mexico,” Velazquez told through a translator. “And I have a lot of people in Mexico that are fans of me, that follow me. And I’m from there. So I would rather not offend anyone over there.”

The Red Sox don’t play at home until Tuesday, but the Green Monster already has some new signage — the lion from MGM Resorts, part of the team’s new partnership with the casino that includes moving its winter get-together to the new place in Springfield. The unveiling of Leo the Lion takes place Friday.

More mockery

As you should know by now, we love our mock drafts — in any sport. And with the NFL draft coming up at the end of the month, they’re running wild, with heavy but not all speculation pointing to the Patriots taking a tight end with the 32nd pick of the first round.

Sports Illustrated, in its latest mock, had New England taking Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, with the words, “The Patriots go get Tom Brady’s replacement to round out the first. Is Jones a first-round talent? Probably not. But he’s got a window to develop behind Brady without the pressure of great expectations.”

ESPN draft guys Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay went head to head for two rounds. Both had the Pats grabbing Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the first round, Kiper saying, “Bill Belichick addresses the front seven but I like Smith here as a potential Gronk replacement.”

In the second round, the Pats have the No. 56 pick courtesy of the Bears, with Kiper going for DT Khalen Saunders of Western Michigan and McShay with Jones. With the 64th pick, Kiper tabbed Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham and McShay went with DT Gerald Willis III of Miami.

Then, 247Sports did a three-rounder, and had the Patriots selecting Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry, saying, “The Patriots need to find some offensive weapons in the draft. Luckily, Harry drops right into their laps at the end of the first round.”’s Ryan Hannable wrote: “With 12 total picks and six in the first 101, they have the ability to trade up, which is a scenario that very well could play out. Tight end is certainly a position that needs to be addressed, and there’s a stud dual-threat player out of Iowa in T.J. Hockenson who is likely on the Patriots’ radar.” Most drafts have Hockenson going too high for this.

Classy move

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, hitting The Tonight Show the other night, shared a warm story about Brady, who visited him in the locker room after the Pats won the AFC title game.

“It was awesome for him to do that and show that class at such an exciting moment,” said Mahomes, who added, “He got the security to let him in, and he said, ‘Man, you had a heck of a season.’ He knows what it’s like to win a lot of big games. He knows what it’s like to lose some big games — not many, but a few. So, he just said, ‘You have to keep grinding.’ He said he loved the way that I played.”

Offensive tackle Leon Gray, who teamed with John Hannah to give the Patriots a strong running game in the ’70s’ was elected Thursday to the club’s Hall of Fame.

Home ice

The Bruins were at Minnesota Thursday night (Charlie Coyle and Ryan Donato both facing their former teams for the first time since the trade) and then host Tampa Bay to wrap up the regular season in a Saturday matinee.

Then it’s another series against the the Maple Leafs.

Tuesday night, in an impressive win over a Columbus team that really needed the game, Brad Marchand became the first Bruin since Joe Thornton in 2002-03 to reach 100 points.

Marchand became the 13th player in NHL history to reach 100 points for the first time in his 10th season or later.

“It’s (100 points) a pretty good feeling but I think it just shows how good of a team we have,”Marchand said. “The success we’ve had as a group the whole year. It’s a cool personal stat but again, it all goes to the goal of getting into the playoffs and we’re right there.”


Couldn’t hear it

Finally, Dennis Boyd says he didn’t hear Lenny Dykstra’s alleged racial taunts prior to Game 3 of the 1986 World Series — something that came to light in Ron Darling’s new book. Dykstra led the game off with a home run and the Mets paraded back into the Series.

Appearing on New York’s WFAN the other day, Boyd said, “Honestly, I don’t know anything about it. I was even speaking with my spouse … the last 24 hours or so about it, just briefly, and I said to her, ‘Baby, I don’t even know, you know?’

“I’m warming up for a ballgame and I’m preparing to go out and try to get the New York Mets out one at a time and that’s all that’s on my mind. To see any kind of gestures made toward me coming from the opposing dugout, I didn’t see anything like that nor was I looking for anything like that. This is all new to me.”

The Can defended Dykstra but also said he believed Darling.

“As deep as Ron Darling seemed to make it to be, and what he heard, I’m kind of disturbed about it and I’m also kind of hurt about it because I have been around Lenny and I played ball with Lenny in Japan and he didn’t seem to come off as that type of a person,” Boyd said. “He even had made home at one time in Mississippi, and that’s where I grew up. The person I saw, I liked. The person that I talked to, I liked.

“So I’m quite disturbed about it, but I guess what you see on the surface is not really what a person might seems to be. But nothing rattled me, because I didn’t know what was going on. It was just I left a slider out over the plate, he happened to be a strong little man and he hit it out of the ballpark.”

Dykstra and some of his teammates have all denied the Darling claim.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.