The Red Sox continued to move backwards last night as they dropped another game to the Kansas City Royals, this time by the score of 6-5 at Fenway Park. Julian Tavarez gave up all six runs between the 4th and 5th innings to suffer the loss.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox getting a number of key contributions, yet still falling to the Royals, as the Yankees charge closer. Jeff Horrigan suggests that this might’ve been Tavarez’s last turn in the rotation. Joe McDonald also speculates that the time might’ve come for Tavarez to go back to the bullpen. Jeff Goldberg says things are getting interesting as the AL East race continues to tighten up. Ron Chimelis has Tavarez flunking his latest test and may not be long for the rotation. Bill Ballou suggests that the Red Sox pick up some lifeboats at the trading deadline, as the ship is sinking.

Sean McAdam says that it’s not unusual for good teams to struggle for a month or so, this Red Sox team just needs to decide if they’re going to have a repeat of 2002 or 2004. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox can hear the footsteps now, and are being tested for really the first time this season. Alex Speier says that a lack of clutch hitting is doing in the Red Sox during their most recent struggles.

Michael Silverman notes that the Red Sox bullpen certainly did their job in taking over for Tavarez last night. Daniel Malloy has Tavarez starting strong, but ultimately failing in perhaps his most critical start of the season. Douglas Flynn says that the Red Sox may need to develop a sense of urgency. Massarotti looks at some potential trade partners for the Red Sox as the deadline creeps closer. Sarah Green wonders if the Red Sox are lucky or good as they approach the final two months of the season.

Steven Krasner has a look at how badly David Ortiz is struggling against lefties, especially in the power department. Silverman has the Sox ordering Daisuke Matsuzaka to get a little more rest in between starts and not throw quite so much. Malloy has a look at how Manny Ramirez plays Fenway Park’s legendary left field and how he changed things up a little last night. Speier notes that it appears that Manny is still Manny, showing signs of his power coming back.

Dan Lamothe takes a look at the numbers from the Red Sox regulars since June 1st. Eric Benevides has PawSox catcher George Kottaras finally awakening at the plate, and notes that Clay Buchholz will pitch Sunday rather than Saturday. Speier notes that the Farm system is paying off for the Red Sox these days. Buddy Thomas has Gary Sheffield continuing to cook up nonsense.

Horrigan’s notebookhas Sox skipper Terry Francona keeping an even keel over the struggles of his key players. Edes’ notebook has Francona not ready to restore Julio Lugo to the leadoff spot, despite his hot hitting as of late. The Projo notebook says that we should not expect Jermaine Dye to be coming to the Red Sox, as the White Sox outfielder only wants to go somewhere where he will play everyday. Goldberg’s notebook looks at the club’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Chimelis’ notebook also examines the lack of clutch hitting for the Red Sox. Ballou’s notebook has still more on the struggles with runners in scoring position.

Misc
Bob Ryan is sickened at the things Michael Vick is accused of being involved in.

Kevin Paul Dupont has new Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez adjusting to his new surrounding and preparing for a heavy workload this season.

Jon Couture has a look at some of the more surreal moments in sports over the last 20 years. In the Metro that Bruce Allen guy notes that July isn’t the sports deadzone that is used to be.

Jim McCabe has Tiger Woods finding his groove in links golf. George Kimball has Woods the favorite for the British Open once again. Jim Donaldson recalls the collapse of Jean Van de Velde in the ’99 open at Carnoustie.

Eric McHugh has Asante Samuel saying that he is only standing up for what he feels is right.

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