How quickly things change.
After game one of the ALCS, many of the national (and local) experts declared that the Red Sox were the team to beat in the postseason. Now, after last night’s 4-2 loss in Cleveland, the Red Sox find themselves trailing in the series 2-1, and send Tim Wakefield to the mound tonight, separately trying to even the series. With the Colorado Rockies now having swept the first two rounds of the playoffs while winning 21 of 22 overall, the World Series seems to be up for grabs at this point.
Dan Shaughnessy has the Globe cover story on the game, as Jake Westbrook shut down the Red Sox lineup last night. Michael Silverman says that if the Red Sox win this series, they’ll have to get it back to Boston first. Gordon Edes has the Globe sports section game story, which focuses on the struggles of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who once again couldn’t provide the quality start the team needed. Joe McDonald has Dice-K once again unable to come up with a big performance for the Sox. Jeff Goldberg has Matsuzaka disconsolate after another disappointing outing. Ron Chimelis has the Red Sox unable to get out of their own way last night. Paul Jarvey has more on the offense being unable to break through last night. Joe Haggerty has the thumbnail version of the game in the Metro.
Jackie MacMullan says that Boston’s $100 million baseball investment needs to prove that he deserves the role of a leading man. Steve Buckley says that while the Red Sox have asked a lot of Matsuzaka, he has given them nothing. McDonald has Terry Francona and Jason Varitek trying to stay positive despite Dice-K’s latest struggle last night. Bill Ballou says that we shouldn’t “send Theo Epstein out to buy citrus fruit any time soon. It looks like he got a $100 million lemon last winter.” Matsuzaka’s most vocal critic here in New England adds that Dice-K’s postgame statement “demonstrated all the insight of a Bart Simpson monologue.” David Brown has more on another less than stellar outing from Matsuzaka.
Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox have made their bed with the decision to go with Wakefield tonight and Beckett in game, but they may come to regret that decision. Jeff Jacobs says that Francona needs to alter his rotation and go with Beckett tonight. Alex Speier says that the Sox will stand firm with Wakefield tonight, and not be tempted to go to Beckett. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox need to show some guts now that they’ve fallen behind in the series. Nick Cafardo says that while the ALCS is certainly not over, the Red Sox sure look shaky. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox need to go back to controlling the strike zone. Jeff Howe says that the Indians have stolen momentum in the series.
Amalie Benjamin has Tim Wakefield getting the call to save the Red Sox in tonight’s crucial game four. Massarotti has more on Wakefield starting tonight on 16 days of rest. Massarotti also says that Francona will continue to maintain order with his bullpen and not shuffle things around based on game two. McDonald looks at the continued postseason struggles of Dustin Pedroia, who was 0-4 again last night. McAdam has the entire Red Sox offense going back in time to their midseason struggles. Goldberg notes that the Sox struggled to score all night, without success. Haggerty has Jacoby Ellsbury hoping for the chance to make an impact on the series.
Cafardo has a piece on Javier Lopez. who is hoping to put game two behind him. Buckley has David Ortiz‘s knee hurting again last night. Benjamin has Ortiz disputing an ESPN Deportes report that said he might have to sit out a game during this series. McAdam has a short note on the fact that the Red Sox weren’t thrilled with the work of home plate umpire Brian Gorman last night. Couture says that tonight’s game will be a battle of slow against slower.
Edes’s notebook says that the last regular season series of 2008 for the Red Sox will be in Fenway Park against the Yankees. Silverman’s notebook has Terry Francona insisting that Wakefield, not Josh Beckett, will get the start tonight. Couture’s notebook says that Bobby Kielty could get another start tonight, as he is 10-30 off Byrd with four home runs. Goldberg’s notebook reflects that tonight could be the last start in a Red Sox uniform for Wakefield. Chimelis’ notebook has Wakefield ready to contribute tonight. Jarvey’s notebook has Paul Byrd’s double-pump delivery a key to his success.
Jim McCabe looks at Cleveland fan favorite Kenny Lofton, who had the big blow last night, a two run homer off Matsuzaka to start the scoring for the Indians. Alex Speier has Jake Westbrook able to do what staff aces C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona were unable to do – dominate the Red Sox lineup. Michael Vega has a look at tonight’s Indians starter, the rejuvenated Paul Byrd. Rob Bradford has a piece on how Terry Francona gave Byrd his first real shot. Vega also has a piece on former Boston farmhand Rafael Betancourt, who shut down the Red Sox once again last night. David Brown has more on the performance of Jake Westbrook last night.
McCabe’s notebook has Westbrook’s sinker working well last night.
On Patriots Daily, Christopher Price looks at some of the top six game stretches of Tom Brady’s career, and how they stack up to his current blistering start to the season. He also has five things to watch for this week.
Michael Felger has his Patriots Report Card, and while he notes a few things that could be of concern, he isn’t really worried about them. Ian M. Clark also puts together his version of the report card. Rich Garven says that the Patriots didn’t come out of Dallas completely unscathed. Hector Longo says that the Patriots proved that it is a long step down to number 3.
Gerry Callahan says that the Red Sox could take a lesson from the Patriots, who set a great example in never taking a play off. Christopher L. Gasper looks at the Patriots putting pressure on the opposing team’s offense with their own ability to put points up on the board. David Heuschkel also focuses on the Patriots ability to keep the offense moving. Robert Lee has a look at Wes Welker’s best day as a pro on Sunday. Karen Guregian examines the quick evolution of Randy Moss into a Belichick-style Patriot. Jeff Horrigan says that the Patriots shouldn’t be hard press for motivation against the 0-6 Dolphins this week.
Gasper’s notebook says that Wes Welker could continue in the role of kick returner. Horrigan has Belichick beaming over the success of Vinny Testaverde this past weekend. Glen Farley dares to look ahead to Patriots/Colts in three weeks. Lee’s notebook has Donte’ Stallworth proving his value to the team on Sunday as well. Bob Halloran demands that we find a nickname for Tom Brady.
John Molori says that ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson is no expert when it comes to team leadership.