Sox Get A Laugher…Finally

After a succession of tight games, the Red Sox finally broke out early and had an easier time of it last night, pounding the Devil Rays 9-1 behind another strong performance from Curt Schilling, who moved to 4-0 on the season.

Sean McAdam notes that last night “marked the first Red Sox win since the home opener that the potential tying run didn’t come to the plate in the ninth inning.” Jeff Horrigan says it was a night for plenty of bad baseball from Devil Rays, who will fail to win a series at Fenway for the 18th time in a row, dating back to 1999. Nick Cafardo says yes, it’s still early, but there continue to be plenty of positive things around this team. Tom Yantz focuses on Schilling getting himself and the Red Sox off to a fast start. David Borges says that the teams may not like each other, but the Red Sox have to love it when they see Tampa on their schedule. Phil O’Neill says that the Red Sox were due for a laugher, but this game dragged on and on.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Schilling, who has answered the many questions people have had about him, at least here in the early going. He takes the doubts as challenges and they serve as motivation. Karen Guregian says that at 4-0 and with all he went through last year, Schilling should be the story of baseball right now. Lenny Megliola says that as good as Schilling has been, he feels that he can get even better. Alex Speier has more on Schilling, who feels as good as he ever has, and thinks there is more ahead for him.

Steven Krasner leads off his Inside the Game section with a look at Kevin Youkilis’ hustle again paying dividends and wraps up with Tampa outfielder Ty Wigginton getting an appreciative laugh from the crowd. Amalie Benjamin looks at Adam Stern, who will be heading down to Pawtucket, but who opened some eyes and made a few catches in the outfield that will keep him fresh in people’s minds. Ron Chimelis has more on Stern as he prepares to depart for Pawtucket. Mike Fine says that Stern is an example of the great depth that the Red Sox have built up for themselves. Guregian also has a bit on Coco Crisp, who is eager to get out and perform in front of the Fenway faithful.

Paul Kenyon notes that the Red Sox infielders were once again crisp and “efficient night both at the plate and in the field.” Rob Bradford has more on the Ortiz shift. Bill Ballou has a piece on Kevin Youkilis, who has led the Red Sox offense in the early going. Benjamin also has a piece on Mike Timlin, who notched the 900th appearance of his career on Tuesday night and is 15th all time in that category. The Projo grabs some material from the May issue of SI for Kids, which has Manny Ramirez listing 10 things he can’t live without.

Cafardo’s notebook has Scott Kazmir objecting to some comments by Curt Schilling on WEEI this week. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Stern getting demoted to the minors so he get develop further. Borges’ notebook has more on Stern. The Projo notebook has more on Schilling getting off to the best start of his career. Yantz’s notebook has the Devil Rays once again employing their unique shift against David Ortiz. O’Neill’s notebook has more on Stern getting sent down to Pawtucket.

The Celtics finished off their season last night with an 84-78 win over the Miami Heat at TD Banknorth Garden. It was a merciful end to a season that saw plenty of hope for the future, but didn’t see much of that hope translate to the wins column. Shalise Manza Young says that an optimist looks at last night’s game as sees the kids pulling out a win all on their own. Bill Doyle looks at the season coming to a close with the win over the Heat, who will begin the playoffs this weekend…likely with Paul Pierce in attendance as a guest of Antoine Walker.

Bob Ryan and Steve Bulpett agree…the kids need to produce next year. We can’t be sitting here at the same time next year reflecting on the promise of the young players and lamenting that they’re still making mistakes and learning to win, they need to put things together in a bigger way for next season. Both agree that there is talent here, but it needs to step up a level over the summer. Bill Reynolds says that the club could be headed in either of two different directions. He seems to be leaning towards the more negative of the two scenarios. Tim Weisberg says that the Celtics are on the path in the right direction, but have a lot of work ahead of them this summer.

Bulpett has Wyc Grousbeck unhappy with the Celtics record, but happy with the team, and says everyone is focused on getting the ring. Bulpett also has Gary Payton quoted as saying he thinks his former club is headed in the right direction. Buddy Thomas says that the Celtics should trade Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Raef LaFrentz and a No. 1 pick for Allen Iverson.

Springer’s notebook has the Celtics looking to host an All Star Game in the future, now that their lease with the Garden has been extended through the 2020-2021 season. Murphy’s notebook has Doc River dispelling the rumors out there and insisting that he will be back with the team next season. Young’s notebook has more on the Celtics signing on with the Garden for another 10 years. Doyle’s notebook has more on Doc Rivers promising to be back for next season.

There are plenty of Patriots articles out there as well, and I simply ran out of time this morning. Check out the Patriots Daily Links page for a look at the stories and coverage of Bill Belichick’s pre-draft press conference.

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Stern, Sox Hold On

Much of last night’s game between the Red Sox and Devil Rays was a pitchers duel, as starters Matt Clement and Casey Fossum went six inning with only giving up a single run between them. Then, starting in the seventh inning, the runs started coming, and the 7-4 win for the Red Sox wasn’t sealed until Adam Stern made a diving, tumbling, risky catch with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning.

Nick Cafardo says that it is clear that these two clubs are simply incapable of playing a normal baseball game. Bill Ballou reports on a completely non-violent game between these two teams. Jeff Horrigan reports on Kevin Youkilis coming up with the big hit last night to put the Red Sox ahead to stay. Carolyn Thornton looks at the Red Sox bats coming alive in the late innings against the Tampa Bay bullpen to pull this one out. Tom Yantz has more on the late inning rallies led by Youkilis, Manny Ramirez and Mark Loretta. Lenny Megliola has a look at another odd game between these two teams. Joe Haggerty looks at the Devil Rays giving the Sox all they could handle last night. David Borges says it was a pair of unlikely heroes who saved the day for the Red Sox.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Jonathan Papelbon, who recorded his first really tough save of the season, having to work hard to record the three outs in the ninth after the pesky Tampa hitters kept fouling off pitches. Much has changed for Papelbon since last season, he can’t even go to his favorite spot (“Game On”) and get a cup of chowder without being recognized anymore. Matt Kalman looks at Papelbon and his wife going over closing “theme” songs. The Herald had 1100 people email in song suggestions for Papelbon to use as his theme when coming in to close out a ball game. Steve Buckley (subscription only) talks with Joey Gathright of the Devil Rays about his spring training altercation with Julian Tav

Mark of a Winner

The crowd at Fenway Park yesterday were frustrated much of the afternoon as they saw the Red Sox continually playing catch-up.The Mariners would score, the Red Sox would score to tie the game. However, they entered the ninth inning, trailing 6-5 and the first two batters went down meekly. However, Kevin Youkilis hustled out an infield hit (Though how many times did Bill Burt have to tell us on ‘EEI after the game that if Manny hit that ball the game was over? I’m pretty sure that if Ortiz hit that ball the game is over too.) and then Mark Loretta hit a game winning two run homer which gave the Red Sox the 7-6 win, and the lead for the first time the whole afternoon.

Chris Snow has a look at a marathon of a game for the Red Sox, which featured a sprint as well. David Borges looks at a bit of a role reversal in the ninth inning at Fenway Park yesterday. Jeff Horrigan looks at Loretta leaving Red Sox fans euphoric on Patriots Day. Sean McAdam says that Loretta “preempted the Sox’ regularly scheduled programming” by not giving David Ortiz a chance to get to the plate and win the game. David Heuschkel looks at Loretta writing his own script to finish out the game for the Red Sox. Ron Chimelis says a new folk hero and Patriots Day legend was born yesterday. Bill Ballou wonders with the win yesterday if this Red Sox season is already taking on a life of it’s own.

Gordon Edes has a talk with Mark Loretta’s dad, who witnessed his son’s first ever walk-off home run. He also talks about the Boston experience and how his son is adjusting to Boston. It’s an article that once you start reading it, you have to finish it. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) also focuses on Loretta, noting that the homer means that Loretta is now officially “a part of of all this” – meaning Red Sox Nation. Jon Couture notes that with all these one-run victories, this is a different Red Sox team this season.

Michael Silverman looks at the contributions of Lenny DiNardo, who started the game and went five innings, giving up only two runs. Steve Buckley reports on a strong first game back from injury for Trot Nixon. Silverman also analyzes a pretty good day for David Ortiz, who had a pair of home runs to keep the Red Sox within striking distance yesterday. Steven Krasner looks at Gil Meche and the Mariners struggling to find ways to get Ortiz out.

Snow’s notebook reports on Varitek’s pain in the butt. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Youkilis keeping things alive in the ninth for Loretta’s heroics. McAdam’s notebook has more on the good start from DiNardo. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on DiNardo and some comments from Mike Port in his role as vice president of umpiring for Major League Baseball regarding David Ortiz complaining about umpires. Couture’s notebook and Ballou’s notebook have more on a strong return to the lineup for Nixon. Borges’ notebook has more on Loretta’s first ever walkoff home run.

Robert Cheruiyot was the men’s winner yesterday’s 110th Boston Marathon. You can check out the coverage from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Worcester Telegram & Gazette for complete coverage.

The Celtics lost their fifth in a row last night as they continue to play out the string and look for a better lottery pick. Last night’s 93-88 loss to the Cavaliers didn’t lack for star power. Sure, no Paul Pierce. No LeBron James. But as Shira Springer notes, Tom Brady was there. As was David Ortiz. I hope someone got Brady, Ortiz and Pierce together for a photo…Steve Bulpett says that without Pierce and James, last night’s game was a yawner for pretty much all involved. Shalise Manza Young though points to the Celtics youngsters, who once again put forth a spirited effort before falling to the more talented Cavs. Bill Doyle says that last night had the feeling of a lowly undercard.

The youngsters did pretty well. Tony Allen had 23 points, Gerald Green had 17 and Ryan Gomes 13. Dwayne Jones picked up 13 rebounds for the Celtics. Bulpett looks at one of the other Celtics youngster, Delonte West, who didn’t play last night due to injury, but who answered a lot of questions about his ability to play the point this season. While the Celtics might bring in a veteran point guard to spell West and split the point guard load with him, the second year guard certainly cemented his place with the Celtics with his play this year. Peter May looks at the Cavaliers as they prepare for their first trip to the playoffs since the Mike Fratello days. Mike Anthony looks at UConn’s Rudy Gay declaring for the NBA Draft.

Bulpett’s notebook looks at the Cavs playing it safe with LeBron’s ankle and also has Doc Rivers reflecting on Paul Pierce’s season. Doyle’s notebook has the Celtics shutting down Paul Pierce for the year, and also reports on Delonte West winning the Celtics Sixth Star Award from FSN.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins packing up their things for the offseason. Steve Conroy and Mick Colageo each look at Andrew Raycroft, who it seems will not be back with the Bruins next year. Mike Loftus says there will be no easy answers or fixes for the Bruins this offseason. Conroy’s notebook has Hall Gill clearing out his locker for perhaps the final time as a Bruin, and notes there is no word yet on Mike Sullivan’s future with the club

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. NBA TV has Nets/Sixers at 7:00 and Sonics/Kings at 10:00. OLN has Sabres/Hurricanes at 7:00.

Another Marathon Monday

After yesterday’s game, a clear pattern seems to be developing with this Boston Red Sox club. When Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett pitches, they’ve got a tremendous chance of winning, now moving to 6-0 on the season with either of their aces on the mound. In games started by anyone else, they’re 2-4. Yesterday’s 3-2 win by the Red Sox was finished off by Jonathan Papelbon’s sixth save of the season.

Chris Snow looks at Beckett dazzling the Fenway faithful once again, including a 98 mph pitch to get out of a jam in the sixth inning. Michael Silverman reports on Beckett rescuing the Red Sox offense, which continues to struggle a bit. Sean McAdam focuses on the slumping offense, which provided just enough for Beckett to work with. David Heuschkel says this one was about the J-Crew, as in Josh and Jonathan. Lenny Megliola says we’re seeing some patterns with this Red Sox team. David Borges and Bill Ballou round out the recaps of yesterday’s action.

Tony Massarotti says that this Red Sox team thus far is totally unrecognizable compared to previous editions. He says it is an understatement to say they’re re-invented themselves. Dan Shaughnessy has a look at closer Jonathan Papelbon, and one of the sterling bits of information Dan provides to an audience hungry to learn more about the phenom is that he says “man” alot. Alex Speier has a look at the Red Sox perfect 1-2 punch.

John Tomase has Carl Everett, Mike Timlin and Dustan Mohr complimenting Manny Ramirez on his defense, after he made a pair of nice plays yesterday despite the wind gusts. Amalie Benjamin looks at the Red Sox getting a break on a blown call from umpire Rick Reed. Massarotti also looks at Wily Mo Pena having trouble with a ball in the field yesterday. Tomase also has more on Josh Beckett’s performance.

Heuschkel’s notebook has David Wells saying that he is 100% sure he will retire after this season. Snow’s notebook looks at more adventures in the outfield for Wily Mo. Silverman’s notebook has another look at the blown call at first base. Steve Krasner’s Inside the game examines Kevin Youkilis not be taken out for defensive purposes last in the game, the struggles of the Red Sox offense and the blown call, among other items. Ballou’s notebook has more on Wily Mo, as well as a presidential lineup of Red Sox, past and present. Borges’ notebook has hitting coach Papa jack confident that Manny Ramirez will start hitting soon.

Today is of course, the 110th Boston Marathon. You can check out the special sections from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Worcester Telegram & Gazette for complete coverage.

The Celtics enter the final week of their season with just games against Cleveland tonight and Miami Wednesday remaining on the schedule. The Celtics dropped a pair of close ones to the Nets over the weekend, falling 79-74 at home on Friday and yesterday in New Jersey, 95-93. Paul Pierce did not play in yesterday’s game, putting Gerald Green in the starting lineup, where he led the team with 19 points. Green has been the reason to watch the Celtics this past month when as they’ve fallen out of the playoff hunt. His play has given Celtics fans something to enjoy and look forward to more of in the future. Peter May contrasts the disappointing year from Al Jefferson with the resurgence of the Nets Richard Jefferson and says it is a “cautionary tale”. Steve Bulpett has a look at Brian Scalabrine, who got 28 minutes and a season high 14 points yesterday again his old club, and realizes that he has a huge offseason ahead of him.

Tim Weisberg looks at Red Auerbach getting after the Celtics players on Friday night after he felt they weren’t showing enough hustle on the floor. Mark Murphy looks at Tony Allen’s role at a combo guard, as it becomes clear that he is not really a playmaker. Bulpett’s notebook has more on Paul Pierce, whose injured elbow caused Doc Rivers to hold him out of yesterday’s game with the Nets. May’s notebook also looks at the injury to Pierce. Shira Springer had a piece yesterday looking at Kendrick Perkins and Ryan Gomes, who may be different in style and background, but who share many of the same qualities and should provide the Celtics with a solid frontcourt duo. Scott Souza has Doc Rivers optimistic about the future of his team, and looking forward to being a part of that future.

Steve Conroy has a season-ending report card for the Bruins. Only Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes and Brad Stuart come away with “A’s”. Joe McDonald had a nice feature yesterday looking at Hannu Toivonen’s interest in a 5-year-old leukemia patient. Karen Guregian says that the Bruins problems run a lot deeper than the team they put out on the ice. Mick Colageo says this offseason is the time for the Bruins to pick up the pieces as he looks at all areas of the organization. He also provides a report card for the players.

Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots are under a lot of pressure to hit it big in this month’s NFL draft. Albert Breer says that Minnesota tailback Laurence Maroney might be someone the Patriots could be very interested in. Nick Cafardo made a top-10 draft list for the Patriots yesterday and had a number of other notes on current and former Patriots, as well as an update from the never-was-a-Patriot-but-still-got-screwed-by-Bill-Belichick-anyhow Cafardo favorite, Rob Konrad. And oh yeah, Carl Poston’s suspension was “head-scratching”. Tom E Curran today looks at NC State Linebacker/Defensive End Manny Lawson.

NESN has Red Sox/Mariners at 11:00 AM. FSN has Celtics/Cavs at 7:30. CBS4 and WCVB will have Marathon coverage today, with CBS4 going out all with 9 1/2 straight hours of coverage, starting at 9:00 AM and broadcasting live through 6:30 PM.

Friday Media Links

When you’re a computer guy and the power goes out three times in your building in one day, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

I did manage to re-work the Red Sox Daily Links and Patriots Daily Links pages this week. They’re still not “pretty” pages, (any web designers out there feel free to contact me) but I added a lot more feeds to the page to ensure that you’re almost always going to find new stories about the teams. Both pages now include feeds from blogs, both media blogs and select independent blogs. For instance, the Boston Globe and Reiss’ Pieces feeds have been combined into one feed in one box. I did that for the Herald and Projo and their blogs as well.

Those pages should help out for those looking for unique links all on one page while I’m away next month.

Here’s a few links for the afternoon:

Murk Jurkowitz has a look at an interesting study that claims that the New York Times actually devoted more coverage to the Red Sox (of which it is a part owner) than it did to the Yankees and Mets in the 2005-2006 offseason.

Jim Baker, Nashua Telegraph – Newbies may press Kenyans for Boston Marathon title on Monday.

Andrew Neff, Bangor Daily News – Low water alters coverage of race.

Boston Radio Watch – Marathon Monday is a One Station Race.

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Yankee Programming Goes Over the Wall.

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Hey George, quit shovin’!

Phil Mushnick, New York Post – Lazy Daze

Andrew Marchand, New York Post – Business Boom-ing at MSG.

Michael McCarthy, USA Today – Sprint draft deal just the start for NFL.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – Local sportscasts get mixed reviews.

Dave Darling, Orlando Sentinel – Perfect (or not) for radio.

David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Milo keeps tabs on pupils, Astros on his first day off.

Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times – Barkley Won’t Lay Off the Lakers or Playoffs.

Also Stewart – Dodgers, Angels Keep Changing the Channel.

Interesting thread over at sportsjournalists.com (careful, it can get nasty there) looking at the Globe/Red Sox conflict of interest.

Lilly Does It Again

Ted Lilly continued his mysterious mastery of the Red Sox, going seven innings, striking out 10 and giving up just a single run in the Blue Jays 8-6 win over the Sox.

Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox two biggest strengths in the early going, pitching and defense, letting them down in this one. Chris Snow reports on Matt Clement getting rocked by the Blue Jays, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence for him. Last night’s game wasn’t that hard to figure out in advance if you looked at each starter’s measure of success against the other team. Jeff Horrigan has more on Clement not giving the Red Sox much of a chance against Lilly and the Jays. Tom Yantz boils it down to not enough of Clements’ sinkers sank last night. Garry Brown has more on Lilly shutting down the Sox. David Borges says last night was a little deja vu from the night before for the Red Sox. Bill Ballou looks at the Blue Jays having a grand time against Matt Clement.

Jon Couture looks at a lot of little things adding up to the loss for Boston. Bob Ryan looks at the Blue Jays, who plan on being around and in the thick of the race for the entire season. Michael Vega looks at Ted Lilly making the Red Sox look silly once again. Steve Buckley has a piece on how Wily Mo Pena is getting plenty advice in the Red Sox clubhouse about his swing, and is willing to listen to it all. Alex Speier looks at the hot start to the season for Jonathan Papelbon. Jeff Horrigan reports on the versatile Trent Durrington pitching the final three innings for the PawSox after starting the game in left field the other night.

In light of Bronson Arroyo’s second home run of the season for Cincinnati, Ryan also talks to the Red Sox pitching staff about hitting and their history and stories at the plate. Some amusing tales from that bunch. When I read the headline for the column from Steve Buckley (subscription only) this morning, (Longin

Alls Not Wells For Sox

I knew this would be a crazy time leading up to the wedding, and it’s starting to catch up to me a little bit. The good news is, there will be plenty of updates and material posted during May while I’m away, as I’ve put in a lot of time and late nights getting things ready. Here are some reduced links for an incredibly busy sports morning today:

David Wells returned to the rotation for the Red Sox last night, but it was a short and unproductive outing as the veteran lefty only lasted four innings, giving up seven runs in a 8-4 loss to the Blue Jays, snapping the Red Sox five game winning streak. Coco Crisp also signed a contract extension yesterday that will keep him here for at least the next three years after this one. Check out the links on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Patriots wrapped up Richard Seymour with a new contract extension yesterday, taking care of a major piece of their offseason business. You can get the stories at the Patriots Daily Links page.

Is it ok to get excited about Gerald Green yet? The rookie scored 22 points last night, but the Celtics still fell to the Indiana Pacers 117-112 last night out at Conseco Fieldhouse. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 30 points, but Green was impressive once again, providing a couple more highlight film dunks and some good shooting (10-16 from the field) as he continues to get increased playing time over the last games of the season. Even with the Celtics out of the playoffs, Green continues to give fans a reason to tune in and check the team out. It’s hard not to be excited about the young talent that this team possesses. If they can add a solid point guard in the offseason, someone to handle and distribute the ball a little more smoothly, this team could make great strides next year. Shira Springer and Mark Murphy look at the Celtics getting officially eliminated from the playoffs by the Pacers last night. Murphy’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce closing in on the fifth highest single season scoring average in Celtics history.

With Delonte West out with a strained calf, Tony Allen started at the point guard slot, a position that he has been working at more and more recently, to the point that Doc Rivers stated that Allen was the second string point guard, ahead of Orien Greene. Allen had nine points five assists and five steals last night. In addition to Green and Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Raef LaFrentz and Ryan Gomes all scored in double-digits for the Celtics. You can check out coverage from the Pacers sides of things over at the Indy Star.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. CN8 has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00. TNT has Knicks/Cavs at 8:00 and Mavs/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Phillies/Braves at 7:30.