May 25, 2018
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Boston’s pro sports teams are on shaky ground

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

It’s an uneasy time to be a Boston sports fan. Let’s take a look at the three teams in question.

RED SOX: The team picked to win the World Series is playing like the Old Towne Team of the early 1960s when they were eliminated from playoff contention by July 4.

Have you ever seen so many regulars hitting under .200 after 10 games? And so many starting pitchers with earned run averages above 5.00?

Aren’t you befuddled by their start? How can a team with this much talent be 2-9?

Daisuke Matsuzaka’s ERA since the outset of the 2009 season is 5.24. He lasted just two innings against one of the worst hitting teams in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays, on Monday night. Tampa Bay pounded out 20 hits against the Red Sox staff.

John Lackey, in his second season with the Sox, has a 4.83 ERA in a Red Sox uniform.

The bullpen is already worn out and there are still 151 games left!

The team needs pitching to contend.

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are a solid one-two, but which Josh Beckett will take the mound? The one who pitched a two-hit gem against the Yankees on Sunday night or the one who had a 5.78 ERA in an injury-marred 2010?

BRUINS: Why did they have to be paired up against the hated Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Everyone knows rivalries are impossible to predict.

Bruins goalie and former University of Vermont Catamount Tim Thomas had a record-setting year as he posted the best save percentage (.938) since they began compiling it in the 1982-83 season. He also had the league’s lowest goals-against average (2.00).

But why does he make us so uneasy?

Is it his unorthodox style in which he flails around like a fish but seems to come up with some phenomenal saves while also allowing some softies?

The Bruins have 13 players who have scored 10 or more goals and 10 with at least 41 points.

But will someone emerge as a difference-maker up front? And will their defense corps be able to handle the speed of  the Canadien forwards?

If they get by the Canadiens, they could make a deep run in the playoffs.

CELTICS: We were a little skeptical about the trade of Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but we figured he was injury-prone and he wasn’t going to sign with the Celtics after this season so it made sense to get somebody for him.

Now it appears as though the trade will result in a very short playoff run for the Celtics, who lost a quality defender and rebounder.

They thought Shaquille O’Neal could eat up some of Perkins’ minutes, but Shaq has missed virtually the entire second half with an injury, so his minutes will be limited in the playoffs.

It’s hard to for a team to win in the playoffs if it can’t rebound and doesn’t have a shot-blocking presence in the paint.

The only way to compensate is by shooting the lights out every single night. If you aren’t getting many second-chance points, you have to shoot more than 50 percent consistently.

The one positive is the Celtics do have a high-compete level in the playoffs.

Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are fierce competitors, and Rajon Rondo is one of the league’s premier point guards. Rondo must play well to ensure a deep run.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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