The Red Sox are set to open the post-All Star break half of their season tonight at Fenway with the first of a four game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Michael Silverman has the Red Sox looking at a pretty favorable second half, with the biggest concern about the team being their health. Gordon Edes notes that the Red Sox left-handed hitters have struggled mightily in Fenway Park this season, something that needed to improve. Steven Krasner says that health is the single biggest key to the second half for the Red Sox. Alex Speier agrees that health is the key to second half success for Boston. Jeff Goldberg asserts that pop in the lineup is a large concern for the Red Sox. Jon Couture notes that despite the 10 game lead, there are areas of concern with this team right now.
Tony Massarotti examines the Bermuda Triangle that has been the shortstop position for the Red Sox ever since they traded away Nomar Garciaparra. Sarah Greenwonders if we’re dealing with the Curse of Nomah. Edes also has a mini-feature on Daisuke Matsuzaka and how the Japanese star has adjusted to life in America in his first season with the Red Sox. Steve Buckley says he is not suggesting that David Ortiz is done at the age of 32, but then appears to go and try to make that very case, including reminding us that that Bobby Orr was done at 30. Speier notes that the Red Sox bullpen has been a rags to riches story this season. Bill Ballou notes that the Red Sox ended the first half with a little too much going wrong, and that despite the big lead, some things need to be addressed with this club.
Dan Shaughnessy offers a few leftover thoughts from the All Star festivities. Buddy Thomas says that the All Star game has lost its luster. Lenny Megliola looks at what we’ll be watching over the second half of the season with the Red Sox. Ron Chimelis wonders if the Red Sox can afford to stand pat at the trade deadline this month. That Bruce Allen guy is back, with a look at why we don’t hate Barry Bonds as much as we’re told that we should. Jeff Jacobs says that Tony LaRussa messed up by not playing Albert Pujols Tuesday night.
Jeff Horrigan notes that Clay Buchholz is closely following the Jonathan Papelbon schedule of ascension through the minors, which might put him in position for a callup sometime this summer. Jeff Howe has Jacoby Ellsbury heading back to Pawtucket despite his success with the Red Sox. With the Blue Jays in town, Joe Haggerty has a look at Toronto outfielder Alex Rios, who impressed many in the Home Run Derby this week.
Silvermans notebook has Joel Pineiro making a rehab appearance with Lowell last night. Edes’s notebook focuses on the attention that Coco Crisp has payed to his defense and how it has paid off for him.
John Tomase says that if the Patriots are going to be interested in anyone today’s supplemental draft, it would be Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver. Jim Donaldson remembers Bucko Kilroy, who was known for his quick laugh. Scott Benson also has a quick bit on Kilroy over on the BSMW Game Day page.
Peter May has a look at the Celtics quickly grabbing undrafted free agent Brandon Wallace after seeing what he might be able to do as a small forward in the NBA. Wallace had played center at South Carolina. Steve Bulpett has Rajon Rondo working hard on his jump shot every possible chance in Las Vegas. Scott Souza has Leon Powe showing that he gets the team concept in the summer league action. Paul Jarvey has Ryan Gomes saying that he thinks the Celtics are heading in the right direction.
Fluto Shinzawa looks at the high hopes that the Bruins have for 20-year-old goaltender Tuukka Rask. Douglas Flynn has the Bruins getting a good look at Center David Krejci in this week’s camp, noting that he could be someone who can help the big club this season. Mike Loftus has top pick Zach Hamill hoping to be able to compare himself to some of the top stars in the NHL in the near future. Flynn’s notebook has the Bruins starting next season with a West coast road trip.
Bill Doyle has a pair of hockey voices in Dale Arnold and Jamie Smock getting silenced this week.