After slugging their way to wins in the first five games against the Los Angels Angels, the Boston Red Sox needed some strong defense to complete the season sweep.
Jackie Bradley Jr. made a leaping catch at the wall in center to keep the Angels from scoring in the first inning and broke open the game with a two-run homer in the seventh as the Red Sox beat the Angels 4-2 on Thursday night.
With scheduled starter Steven Wright on the DL, the Red Sox had to shuffle their rotation. Manager Alex Cora said he was pleased to get four innings out of starter Brian Johnson and two more from Velazquez, setting up the bullpen to finish off the Angels.
We got to where we wanted to get, Cora said. B.J. (Johnson) was outstanding using his fastball, mixing up his breaking ball — very pleased with the way we got six innings out of those guys.
For Gordon to be worth more than $20 million a season, he will have to continue developing after plateauing to some extent in terms of advanced stats. On a per-minute basis, Gordon rated best in his second NBA season at age 20, when he posted a career-best .541 true shooting percentage.
I do think looking at Gordon’s bottom-line numbers obscures the development he has made as a shooter. After three years as a sub-30 percent 3-point shooter, Gordon shot a credible 34 percent last season, putting him within striking distance of league average (36 percent). And Gordon also created far more offense in 2017-18, using a career-high 25 percent of Orlando’s plays.
There’s also a temptation to forget how young Gordon is because he has been in the NBA for four seasons. Gordon won’t turn 23 until September, making him younger than four players drafted in the second round last month (most notably West Virginia point guard Jevon Carter, the No. 32 overall pick). So I still expect plenty of improvement ahead for Gordon, particularly if the Magic can ever find a decent point guard to pair with him.