The Red Sox will be playing in the playoffs once again this year. Down in Tampa, Scott Kazmir was once again mowing down the Red Sox lineup until he inexplicably got embroiled in a beanball war, and was tossed from the game. Bob Hohler looks at the game and celebration afterwards. Jeff Horrigan looks at the celebration and the players noting that they have a lot more to accomplish still. Sean McAdam says last night’s celebration was a bit more subdued than last year’s wild card clincher at Fenway. David Heuschkel has more reaction from the Red Sox clubhouse regarding the playoffs. David Borges says the Sox are hoping to go further in the playoffs this time around.
Gordon Edes says clinching the playoff spot was just the beginning of the journey that the Sox hope will lead further than last year. He also leaves a note for Butch Stearns, telling him that “that was Curt Schilling slapping Pedro Martinez on the back, then wrapping his arms around him.” Phew. I was worried about that. The overall theme of Tony Massarotti’s column is almost biblical. What they have done is what they ought to have done. He notes the high expectations in the Red Sox clubhouse. Bill Reynolds says the Red Sox will only go as far as a self-doubting and petulant Pedro Martinez will carry them. Jon Couture looks at Terry Francona’s shortcomings, real or perceived, but says they’re not really the reason the Sox will win or lose. His biggest contribution might’ve been swinging the scales so Curt Schilling would come here. Jeff Horrigan looks at Bronson Arroyo getting win number 10 on the season. Massarotti has a look at tonight’s starter, Derek Lowe, who is putting his struggles behind him, at least in his mind. Howard Bryant has the first in a series of articles looking at the language barrier in baseball.
Hohler’s notebook looks another episode of ugliness in a late season series in the Tampa. McAdam’s notebook also looks at the ejections of Kazmir and Lou Piniella. Borges’ notebook looks at postseason preparations already underway. Horrigan’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook both look at Scott Williamson, who is on the postseason bubble.
Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots still really haven’t proven that they can stop the run, and that if they don’t, this season could turn out like 2002. Preparation for the Bills is well underway, and Rich Thompson and Michael Parente have a look at what the Patriots are going to be looking at from the Bills under a new coaching staff. Christopher Price says that even though the personnel is much the same, there isn’t the same grudge-match feeling between the two clubs. Kevin McNamara says that the Patriots are just anxious to start working normal work weeks, something they have yet to do this season. Nick Cafardo and Chris Kennedy each have a nice look at linebacker Roman Phifer, a productive marvel at the age of 36. Mike Reiss compares the tight ends drafted the same year as Daniel Graham, and notes that Graham is moving to the head of that class. McNamara’s notebook looks at the Pats going against old friend Drew Bledsoe. Thompson’s notebook says having Corey Dillon is an advantage for the Patriots.
Dan Shaughnessy has the story of former Jamaica Plain High School football player Darryl Williams, who was shot in the neck at halftime of a game 25 years ago today. Lenny Megliola is all over the place in his “thoughts” style column.
Bill Griffith looks at the Red Sox record breaking ratings numbers.
NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00.