The “cream puff” section of the schedule is over for the Red Sox, as they now have a stretch against the iron of the American League. The Detroit Tigers came to town last night and showed why they have had the best record in baseball all season, handing Josh Beckett and the Red Sox a 7- 4 loss at Fenway Park.

Jeff Horrigan says that the Red Sox left Fenway Park last night with a thorough understanding of how Detroit has suddenly turned things around this season. Gordon Edes focuses a good portion of his game story on third base coach DeMarlo Hale getting Manny Ramirez thrown out at home to kill an eighth inning Red Sox rally. Paul Kenyon looks at the Red Sox finding out pretty quickly that the Tigers are good. David Heuschkel looks at DeMarlo Hale having to answer questions for the first time all season. David Borges looks at Josh Beckett putting the Red Sox into a deep, early hole. Bill Ballou has more on the pitching woes once again doing in the Sox.

Sean McAdam says that with the tough part of the schedule coming up, the Red Sox need bullpen reinforcements desperately. He looks a few possible candidates. Dan Shaughnessy has a mostly good article about the revival of the Tigers, and the rivalry they’ve had with the Red Sox over the years. I also think it is great for baseball that the Tigers are doing well. Be warned though, Shaughnessy somehow manages to work in a mention of Grady leaving Pedro in during game 7 of 2003…Steve Buckley says that Red Sox fans went after the wrong guy when they booed Rudy Seanez last night, he maintains that they should go after Josh Beckett harder. Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox pitchers staggering through the dog days of August.

Jackie MacMullan has an interesting column about the various way in which pitcher tip off their pitches and how batters and managers can pick up on the tips and take advantage of them. Steven Krasner looks at the Red Sox struggling with their pitcher-catcher communication since Jason Varitek went down. Lenny Megliola looks at the continuing struggles of the Red Sox starting pitchers. Mike Shalin has more on Hale sending the runner and killing the late rally by the Red Sox. Mike Fine looks ahead to the Red Sox facing the iron of the schedule. Bob Halloran says that the Red Sox fate lies with their offense.

Kelsie Smith looks at Josh Beckett, who struggled right out of the gate last night. Buckley has a short bit on the Sox giving Jonathan Papelbon the night off to rest after throwing 31 pitches on Sunday. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox two top pitchers really need to step things up. Smith also looks at how Tigers manager Jim Leyland wasn’t that worried about his club’s recent five game losing streak. Shalin also looks at Leyland seeing the big picture. Horrigan reports that Tim Wakefield isn’t ready to begin regular throwing just yet as he is still feeling discomfort from his injured rib. Jeff Howe looks at Sox minor league pitcher Dustin Richardson, who participated in the ESPN series “Knight School” with Bobby Knight.

Edes’ notebook reports on how Doug Mirabelli managed to pick up his hitting since talking to the Red Sox “performance enhancement counselor” over the All Star break. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the Sox calling up Craig Breslow to try and and bolster the bullpen a little bit. The Projo notebook also reports that Wakefield is still a ways away from coming back. Heuschkel’s notebook reports that Keith Foulke is planning on making the trip to the West coast with the Red Sox next week. Couture’s notebook reports on Breslow’s callup. Borges’ notebook has more on Breslow getting the call. Ballou’s notebook has more on the Sox adding a 13th arm to the taxed bullpen.


Head over to the Patriots Game Day page, where new contributor Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders examines whether Deion Branch is deserving of the big contract he and his agent are seeking.

Mike Reiss looks at Tully Banta-Cain and Jarvis Green getting a chance to shine a bit more in different formations. Tom E Curran has a look at Ty Warren, who thanks to his work ethic, just keeps getting better and better, a pattern that will likely continue. Michael Felger intimates that it’s time to panic over Matt Cassel. Albert Breer looks at how Ryan O’Callaghan could be the latest low round draft pick to contribute big on the Patriots offensive line. Rich Garven also has a look at the massive lineman. Michael Parente has a good look at rookie Willie Andrews trying to make a mark for himself on special teams. Christopher Price says that Kevin Faulk is a key part to the Patriots offense.

Alan Greenberg checks in with Connecticut native Tebucky Jones on his return to the Patriots this season and how a little thing like a dislocated thumb isn’t going to keep him out of practice. Eric McHugh says that with the addition of Laurence Maroney, the Patriots running game could return to its 2004 level. Breer looks at Jarvis Green getting some work in the 4-3 defense yesterday at practice. Chris Kennedy looks at Andrews making a mark on special teams for the Patriots. Dan Pires looks at Cassel’s shaky start and a number of other items.

Felger’s notebook looks at Tebucky Jones hitting the practice field yesterday despite an injured thumb suffered in the preseason opener. Reiss’ notebook also looks at Jones, as well as a number of other items. Curran’s notebook says that Bill Belichick and Cassel aren’t sweating the QB’s rough start to the preseason on Friday night. Garven’s notebook reports that the Patriots appear to have come away from Atlanta relatively healthy. Parente’s notebook has more on Cassel. McHugh’s notebook says we need to see some more of Reche Caldwell being passing judgment.

Mark Murphy has a quick note in the Herald about Tony Allen’s trial getting delayed due to the illness of the judge.

NESN has Red Sox/Tigers at 7:00.