Not the start the Sox wanted for the second half of the season, and it’s Pedro and Manny’s fault. Jeff Horrigan says that while Derek Lowe certainly didn’t have his good stuff out there, Roy “Cy Young” Halladay certainly did. (Is it possible that Halladay was just too good last night, and that it wasn’t really Manny and Pedro’s fault? More on that later.) Kevin McManara notes that Halladay’s complete game drew praise from the Red Sox. Joe Burris covers the game for the Globe today, (Hey, is Bob Hohler late coming back from the All Star break? Star treatment…) David Heuschkel mixes game coverage with the Manny and Pedro story. Mike Shalin says Halladay is a nine inning, throwback pitcher. Lenny Megliola also looks a “Doc” Halladay and what he means to the Blue Jays. Alex Speier and Aaron Harlan conclude the Halladay articles. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell writes about Lowe’s rough outing. Shalin also writes about Todd Jones, having passed his audition on the road trip, now gets to play at Fenway. Now we get into the Manny-Pedro articles, which of course are almost more numerous than the game stories themselves. Shira Springer has Pedro attempting to defuse the media bomb. He feels his leaving was made a firestorm because he’s refused to talk to the media as much this year. Jim Donaldson indicates that Pedro is nothing compared to the perfect, all universe Roy Halladay. Bob Halloran is becoming jaded by being a member of the Boston media. He declares that Pedro is “almost singlehandedly ruining one of the most enjoyable and exciting Red Sox seasons in recent memory.” He goes on to say Pedro hasn’t pitched well enough to win more games, he’s won exactly as many as he should have. Maybe that’s true, but how about this next bit:

What scares me is that Pedro has become so obsessed with his own health that he won't put himself at risk; EVER. Here's the nightmare: Game 7 of the World Series. Pedro's pitching a beauty. But with all his strike-outs and a couple of early inning jams, he's thrown 121 pitches through seven innings.

There's still no score in the game. Pedro doesn't come out for the eighth inning. I'd be surprised if there's anyone who doesn't think that's a distinct possibility. Pedro's all about pitch counts these days. But don't you want a performance like Jack Morris when he threw 10 shutout innings to win Game 7 for the Twins in 1991?

A paragraph or two later, Halloran dismisses Pedro’s game five performance of the 1999 Divisional Series, saying that that Pedro no longer exists. I don’t think anyone has any doubts that Pedro would let it all hang out in a game seven situation. Dan Shaughnessy begins laying the groundwork for his new book…”The curse of the star system”. He questions Pedro’s manhood, (“A true stopper would have pitched on regular (four days’) rest”) and dismisses Manny’s excuse for leaving. Of course, it was the manager who made the decision not to pitch Pedro in the first or even second game back from the break, but it’s much easier to just take a shot at the player. As for Manny, why not have the stones to just come out and say you don’t believe him, Dan? Instead of just lumping Manny in with Pedro on the “Star System”, which by doing he indicates he doesn’t believe Manny, but it saves him the trouble of coming out and saying so. Gordon Edes tells us absolutely nothing new or informative. Just read his stories from the last three days on this topic and you’ll have the same thing. Steve Buckley’s pay column says he didn’t have any problem with Pedro leaving early, but that he should’ve been back on time. (Airline delay or no Airline delay.) But the controversy’s do come down to winning, he notes:

Again, it's so very simple: The Red Sox can win, in which case nobody will complain about who's sneaking off to the airport, or they can lose, in which case headline-hungry editors and live-at-5 producers will assign people to keep track of the time clock in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Howard Bryant’s pay column is about Manny, it’s an up and down piece, sort of like Manny’s tenure with the Sox. He talks about Manny being “irresponsible”, but also has Kevin Millar, who says:

Let me tell you something about Manny,'' Millar said. ``He's the greatest teammate I've ever had. He's the greatest hitter I've ever seen. There are a lot of people out there who say they care about other guys, but they really only care about themselves. This guy cares, trust me. He's the real thing.

Bryant notes that Manny was the only player who jumped out of the dugout when Millar was drilled in the head by Roger Clemens a couple weekends ago. McManara’s notebook also has updates on Pedro and Manny, Heuschkel’s notebook looks at the return of Fossum and Giambi, Edes’ notebook also looks at the return of Fossum. Horrigan’s notebook says Red Sox management will not interrogate Manny for his absence.

Will Waltah remain a Celtic after all? The team is stepping up it’s offer to the free agent forward, though I’m inclined to just let him go. Steve Bulpett reports on the three year offer made to McCarty. Peter May reports on the McCarty offer and also on other possible Celtics moves including a trade that could bring forward Mike Batiste here from the Grizzlies. For some reason I thought that the trade exception that the Celtics possessed was more than the 615K that May mentions. I had the figure of two million in my head. Guess I was wrong. Christopher Price looks at the flood of ex-Celtics in the coaching ranks. Bulpett’s notebook says the Celtics will not be in the luxury tax bracket this year, and that “All of this shoots holes in the oft-stated theory that Gaston ordered the Baker deal to make the team more sellable.” He also reports on the games yesterday, noting another strong outing by Brandon Hunter who outplayed the Knicks first round pick, Michael Sweetney

Michael Felger looks at the Patriots receivers in the third part of his training camp preview. Michael Parente looks at the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers in his continued camp previews. Aaron Harlan looks at Antwoine Womack, who feels ready to make a push for a spot on the team.

Bill Griffith reports on TNT’s coverage of the British Open. John Howell looks at some thinking outside the box at ESPN. I haven’t had a chance to watch the Pete Rose trial yet, but I do have it on tape and will look it over soon.

The Morning Press box signed off of WWZN this morning with class and dignity. They will be missed, as they did fill a void for sports talk in the morning for Boston. They were silly at times during their tenure, but did talk sports, and did a good job at it. Here’s hoping they land on their feet.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Dodgers at 10:00. The Rebook Summer league is on Direct-TV as well.