Kyle Hightower

About Me

Sports writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Currently juggling words at The Associated Press and covering the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. 

Recent work

Astros scramble after pitchers pounded for 25 runs by Boston

Houston’s pitching staff will need to adjust quickly after allowing 25 runs and 32 hits to Boston in the first three games of the AL Championship Series, a barrage that made the loss of injured Lance McCullers Jr. seem acute. Kyle Schwarber hit Boston’s third grand slam in an 11-inning span, a drive off starter José Urquidy as part of a six-run second inning in Monday night’s 12-3 rout that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 series lead. Boston hit four home runs, raising its total to nine off Astros pitching, which has a 7.96 ERA. “It’s kind of like Groundhog Day, a reoccurring nightmare where you hope to get some innings out of these guys,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

Prescott TD pass lifts Cowboys to 35-29 OT win over Pats

Dak Prescott wasn’t going to let anything prevent him from enjoying the moment. While his team celebrated around him after he threw 35-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime to beat the New Patriots 35-29 Sunday, the Cowboys quarterback felt pain in his right calf. It wasn’t the perfect ending, but he was willing to accept it after he helped Dallas survive a wild finish and earn its first victory over Bill Belichick’s Patriots. “Just came down funny. Didn’t like what I felt,” said Prescott, who wore a walking boot to his postgame news conference. “Life keeps throwing punches and I’m gonna keep throwing them back. ... But I’ll be fine. I’ll promise you that.”

Walk it off: Red Sox eliminate Rays 6-5 with late sac fly

Back in raucous Fenway Park for postseason baseball a year after a last-place finish, the Boston Red Sox are getting the bounces, knocking big hits in bunches and even benefiting from a little small ball. Hardly a perfect team, even by their own estimation, Alex Cora and the wild-card Red Sox are four wins from a return to the World Series anyway. Kiké Hernández delivered Boston’s second straight walk-off win, scoring pinch-runner Danny Santana with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to send the Red Sox to the AL Championship Series with a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Patriots cut Cam Newton, clearing way for Mac Jones to start

The Mac Jones era in New England has begun. The Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday, clearing the way for the rookie to open the season as New England’s quarterback. Newton’s release came hours before NFL teams had to reduce their rosters to 53 players and brings an abrupt end to his time in New England. Newton went 7-8 as the starter in the Patriots’ first season since Tom Brady departed and signed with Tampa Bay. New England finished 7-9 for the year.

From 6 a.m. texts to criticism, Pats' Jones taking it all in

One thing rookie quarterback Mac Jones has learned during his infant New England Patriots career is that no matter the situation, his coaches want to see confidence in everything he does on the field. “One of the first things we talk about is being loud and confident,” Jones said. “If you know what to do, just be loud. And, if you don’t know what to do, be loud.” It’s been a balancing act as he walks the delicate line of trying to learn at a rapid pace and improve while also avoiding mistakes.

Patriots' Newton knows he has much to prove this season

Call it a mantra. Call it a simple reminder. But Cam Newton has a note he has been reminding himself of every day since last season. “Pre-snap comfort will help post-snap results for me,” Newton said of what he repeats to himself daily. That’s because for Newton, back with the Patriots on a one-year deal, the coming season is all about him wholeheartedly embracing a second chance to make the impression he feels he was never fully equipped to make in 2020.

Analysis: Injuries wreaking more havoc than virus protocols

As teams gear up for the stretch run of the NBA regular season, it’s injuries to key players — not just their unavailability due to COVID-19 — that is having the biggest effect on the playoff race in both conferences. Still, preparing to play outside of the controlled atmosphere of last season’s Florida bubble has helped teams brace for the unexpected. When the NBA season tipped off in December, keeping players healthy as they traveled during the pandemic was the chief priority around the league. In the four months since then, virtually every team has made adjustments to their rotation because of league-wide health and safety protocols. Lately, it’s been injuries and not the virus that has dictated how the season has gone.

Analytics shifting views on 40-yard dash, other matrixes

Every year the 40-yard dash is one of the most-watched segments of the NFL combine as well as at college pro days. NFL hopefuls prepare for the moment for months and have even employed speed coaches to help ensure they post a favorable result, knowing their performance could mean the difference in draft position and millions of dollars. But after years of scrutiny and viral YouTube moments highlighting prospects’ successes and failures, the value of the 40 and other matrixes don’t hold the same cache they once did among today’s league talent evaluators. While measurable testing will always be a component of assessing players’ value, using analytics to gauge the intangible qualities of the next generation of NFL hopefuls is the new frontier.

With playoffs unlikely, fading Patriots have questions at QB

For the first time in more than a decade, the New England Patriots will head into their final three games of the season with an unsettled playoff fate. The Patriots entered the week in 10th place in the AFC and trudging through one of their worst years of Bill Belichick’s tenure. Now 6-7 following a 24-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, New England’s long-shot hopes of extending an NFL-record run of 11 consecutive playoff appearances have faded even more.
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