(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger: David Vidinha. Dave can be reached at DVidinha@gmail.com)

Nine innings, two hits, one walk, eleven strikeouts, and zero runs. That was the line Josh Beckett posted on October 11th 2003, which just happened to be Game 5 of the NLCS. The Marlins who were facing a 3-1 deficit to the Cubs, handed the ball to Beckett and he delivered. As far as the rest of the series goes, well you can ask Steve Bartman how it turned out. The Red Sox are hoping that their ace can do the same again. With the Sox in the hole 3-1 to these crafty Indians, Beckett will look to send the series back to Boston.

In Beckett’s last start, this past Friday in Game 1 of the series, he allowed only two runs on four hits while striking out seven. Beckett had no problem commanding any of his pitches, which ultimately spelled disaster for Indians hitters. Tonight, he will be facing an Indians lineup in which six of the nine starters are sporting averages above .294. Most importantly for the Sox will be Beckett’s ability to pitch late into tonight’s game. With the past three starters’ inability to pitch beyond the 5th, the vulnerability of the Sox pen has showed. The Sox bullpen has not been overly effective surrendering 11 runs in 15.2 innings of work.

Looking to keep the rally pies flying for the Indians will be their Cy Young hopeful C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia who looked dreadful in his Game 1 start will look to improve on his 4.1 inning, 8 run, 5 walk stinker. According to some of the Red Sox hitters Sabathia was “wild” in his Game 1 start and he’ll look to control his emotions in tonight’s start. Indians manager Eric Wedge says that “all he (C.C.) needs to do is go out there and be himself”. On the positive side for the Indians is the fact that they are not facing a “must win” game, so the pressure will rest solely on the shoulders of the Red Sox. Supporting Sabathia will be an Indians bullpen who since surrendering back-to-back homers in Game 3, have surrendered a measly 3 runs in 16.2 innings pitched, a 1.62 ERA.

Around the Web

Shookman_Guest: Why do you feel that the Boston Media is making what Manny said yesterday a big deal? I feel as though if you listen to the WHOLE interview that what Manny said about waiting until next year isn’t what the Media is making of it.

Dan_Shaughnessy: i agree. i think it looks worse in print than it sounds on audio. and i think this might be a care where a guy working in his second language isn’t represented clearly. his Cadillac moment offends me far more than those words yesterday

That’s just one of the questions Shaughnessy answered in his chat today.

Joe Haggerty asks Manny Being Manny…or misunderstood genius?

Ken Rosenthal says that the old C.C. will need to show up tonight if the Indians are to be successful.

Tonight’s lineup will remain pretty much the same.

Stan McNeal of The Sporting News gives us a few reasons why we shouldn’t worry about tonight’s game. Specifically, Josh Beckett.

The guys over at The Big Lead give the nation a few reasons to root for the Red Sox tonight.

Josh Beckett is pretty familiar with the special guest the Indians will trot out to sing tonight’s National Anthem.

Within Tom Verducci’s “Five Cuts” we learn the origin of Red Sox menace Astrubal Cabrera’s name, and who Tom believes will win the ALCS MVP.

Darren Rovell has a conversation with baseball super agent Scott Boras.

SI’s John Donovan takes a look at the business behind the baseball playoffs’ pesky 8:21PM start times.


Jason Whitlock takes on the hip-hop culture in the NFL.

The Pats even dominated the Red Sox this past weekend.

Jimmy Kimmel had some things to say about him being banned from MNF. He also has a few suggestions of who may be possibilities to replace him.

Laurence Maroney addresses the perception that he’s “injury prone”.

Football Outsiders is back with its Week in Quotes.

The NFL Czar tells us that the Colts deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the “darling” Patriots.

In his weekly Inside the NFL piece for Sports Illustrated, Dr. Z looks at the current running back situation in the NFL, as well as, a major shift in FOX TV’s football game coverage. Well, its not that major, I’ll let you be the judge.

Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders has his Week 7 NFL rundown.

ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli looks at pass coverage and where that fits in with today’s NFL linebackers. A New England Patriot is one of the few who Len says excels at pass coverage.

I would have to agree with Peter King this week with his picks. There really isn’t anything that surprised me, other than the score of the Bengals-Jets game.

Dan Patrick has found himself a new home.

Here’s a look at some of the story lines heading into Week #7.

Tonight on TV

While a majority of the area’s sports lovers will be focused on tonight’s Game 5 of the ALCS, the Bruins will host their home opener tonight at TD BankNorth Garden. Contrary to what I told you yesterday, tonight’s game will be played here in Boston. The game can be seen on NESN beginning at 7PM. BC Eagles fans will have a rooting interest in tonight’s college football matchup, when #2 ranked South Florida travels to New Jersey to take on 4-2 Rutgers. The game will be televised beginning at 7:30PM on ESPN. For the rest of tonight’s listings check here.