They said they wouldn’t look past the Devil Rays yesterday, but might’ve anyway. In football, yesterday would’ve been called a “trap” game. Let the record show that even Glenn Ordway said it was “understandable” that the Sox dropped that game yesterday. David Heuschkel has Jason Varitek saying that looking ahead is something the media does, not the players. Jeff Horrigan says this was a huge downer going into the Yankees series. Kevin McNamara says that the good news is that Mendoza will not pitch in the Yankees series. I think I’d feel better if Mendoza was pitching against the Yankees instead of Burkett. Bob Hohler pretends that he is Britney Spears. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Red Sox/Yankees, a pretty easy read, though really nothing you haven’t read before from Dan. He could’ve also skipped the paragraph that mentions 1918. I think we’re all aware of that number. Tony Massarotti says that Sox/Yankees just keeps getting better, the recent sniping between the clubs just adds spice to the games. Sean McAdam says that while we know these Sox aren’t afraid of the Yankees, they still have to prove that they can win a series from them. Gordon Edes looks at Yankees/Red Sox, and includes comments from Clemens yesterday, doing what he does best, playing dumb. Lenny Megliola looks ahead to what should be a rockin’ weekend at Fenway. Mike Shalin notes that Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano are not sore at Pedro from the last series. Don Amore concurs. Michael Vega looks at yesterday’s Tampa hero, Damian Rolls. Rich Thompson has Varitek making the case that Mendoza didn’t pitch all that bad yesterday. Kevin Gray looks at a disappointing NH day at Fenway. Michael Cousineau reports on the NH festivities at the ballpark. Steve Britt says that NH day was full of bad omens for the Sox. Thompson also looks at Rolls and Antonio Perez who led the charge yesterday. Andy Nesbitt notes that Chad Fox always faces the music. Michael Gee’s pay column says that the Sox lead the league in a statistic called “squanders”. Jackie MacMullan writes the story that has been circulating online and in smaller papers for weeks, namely that of Dan Duquette starring in a rendition of the musical “Damn Yankees”. Hohler’s notebook looks at Pirate concerns over Brandon Lyon’s elbow. The Herald notebook also looks at the situation. The ProJo notebook says Fossum might be headed to Pawtucket to get “stretched out” for a start in August. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Sox/Yankees.

Yesterday during the WEEI broadcast from Gillette, Ron Hobson was with Dale Arnold, and while the Bill Belichick press conference was still in progress, said that the stories in the papers today would include articles on the safeties, and the nose tackle position. It’s any easy call, given that whatever is the subject of the press conferences usually become your stories for the next day. Still, form held in this situation as Michael Smith writes about the safety tandem of Lawyer Milloy and Rodney Harrison, and Tom Curran writes about the nose tackle spot and who will man that spot when the games start. Alan Greenberg looks at Antowain Smith and his yearly battle with the conditioning run. Smith seems unwilling to talk about it this year, in contrast to last year. Michael Parente also writes about Smith. Shane Donaldson looks at the apparent depth at linebacker. Hector Longo focuses on Mike Cloud’s failure of the conditioning run. Michael Felger’s notebook looks at the lack of information coming from Pats brass, and if that could be construed as leaving players out to dry. Curran’s notebook also looks at the silence on certain issues from Belichick. Smith’s notebook has more on that same topic. Donaldson’s notebook looks at possible help on the way for the offensive line. Parente’s notebook looks at proud papa Joe Klecko.

Shira Springer reports that the Celtics have agreed to a two year deal with second round pick Brandon Hunter. This is good news. Hunter adds something the Celtics have lacked the last few years. Toughness under the hoop. He’s undersized, but battles. Could be similar to Malik Rose. Mark Murphy reports that Danny Ainge isn’t waiting on Travis Best and instead has made an offer to Best’s backup in Miami, Mike James. Murphy also makes an interesting point concerning the Celtic finances:

The new Celtics owners will find it more difficult today to defend their insistence that they're under tight financial constraints.

The club has said it is limited in its free agent options by luxury tax consideration (illustrated by the Best/James decision), but league sources say the team will be getting a total of $14.45 million in rebates.

Murphy goes on to says that the club will also receive an additional 10 million from the increased ticket prices, as well as additional money from the league for the price of the Charlotte expansion team. Interesting.

Bill Griffith looks at WEEI’s continued dominance in the ratings numbers.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Expos at 7:00