Red Sox getting Patriots-style wake-up call

Rob Bradford
April 10, 2019 - 9:26 am

Before Tuesday's home opener Alex Cora revealed Chris Sale had been battling an illness in between his first start and his second, potentially explaining some of the velocity issues the lefty experienced in Oakland. Considering the lack of transparency for what seemed like something that should have hardly been classified as a trade secret, the whole thing felt very Belichickian. 

But Alex Cora isn't Bill Belichick, and he shouldn't be. Just like the Red Sox shouldn't strive to emulate much of the uniqueness when it comes to the Patriots. Two different sports. Two different rhythms.

That doesn't mean there aren't a few lessons for the 3-9 Red Sox to learn from their New England football-playing counterparts.

One player who can see that is Steve Pearce.

The Red Sox first baseman and rabid Patriots fan got a chance to catch the first pitch of Rob Gronkowski prior to the Red Sox' home opener. Undeniably a thrill for even a professional athlete such as Pearce.

"It’s my favorite team," he told "The only thing I wish was there would have been time to hang out. Everything was so hectic. I wish we could have gotten in a room and just talked. You like to pick brains of other athletes to always take notes."

Pearce has been taking notes when it comes to the Patriots, albeit from afar. Even without having experienced living life as a world champion until this time around, the 36-year-old has paid close attention to how the Pats do things when defending their titles.

"It’s not how you start it’s how you finish. That’s how the Patriots are, Pearce said. "They start off slow, people start saying they’re out of it and that’s when Patriots usually come. It’s not how you start.

"They’re coming at us hard. We just have to do a better job all the way around."

Though it might be hard to quantify, it certainly does seem the likes of Seattle, Oakland, Arizona and Toronto are approaching their games with the Red Sox in an aggressive fashion. Perhaps it's paying closer to details. Or maybe it's just coming at Cora's club with the type of aggressive approach the Red Sox implemented last season.

The Sox, for instance, have allowed the second-most stolen bases in the majors this season (9), throwing out just one.

The Blue Jays hadn't stolen a base in 2019 until they swiped three -- including a steal of home -- Tuesday.

"They’re constantly putting pressure on us," Pearce noted. "It’s going to be a dogfight. We have to find ways. We did last year although we didn’t have to go through it this bad. We’ll come out of it. We’ll come out of it stronger. We’ll better for this. We just have to take it day by day."

The first baseman isn't alone in his observations.

"I feel like everybody, they’re going to come at you with their best," said Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "We didn’t expect anything less. We have a target on our backs for good reason. It doesn’t matter. We have to go out there, execute and play the game.

"What will be special is to see us on the other side of this little so-called skid. I think we’re going to grow from it."

Related: Hannable: The Patriots stole the show at Fenway, but why were they even there?