Guest blogger Bob Ekstrom is here to get your week off to a good start, but if he doesn’t, let him know about it. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After splitting and sweeping in Japan and California, respectively, the Red Sox went 0-for-Canada over the weekend, culminating with a 7-4 loss to Toronto at the Rogers Centre yesterday. An uncharacteristically wild Josh Beckett walked four, three of whom scored, as the Sox gave every indication it could be another long year against the Blue Jays, who have gone 35-22 against Boston since April of 2005.
Nick Cafardo was disappointed to see the Beckett/Halladay matchup meet an early demise as Manny Delcarmen came in to relieve Beckett in the fifth and turned a tie game into a four-run deficit with his first pitch to Frank Thomas. Michael Silverman has more on The Big Hurt putting a painful ending to this road trip. Rob Bradford says Delcarmen has to start delivering in the setup role in which the Red Sox have invested so heavily.
Bradford looks at yesterday’s silver lining with Beckett happy about his health if not his performance. Beyond this, the perspective is decidedly negative. Steven Krasner takes a deeper look at the bullpen’s implosion during the Toronto series. The identically named Red Sox Notebooks each focus on the Julio Lugo experiment. In hers, Benjamin says it’s the no-arm Lugo as advertised, only without a stick. Silverman’s points out that it has been more than four years since a Sox player turned in a three-error game.
Amalie Benjamin tells us the Sox are relieved to be finally homebound, where their rings and some clean underwear await. Krasner has the team looking forward to a fresh start at home, along with receiving their championship rings. Kevin Thomas says everyone is tired of the ‘tired’ talk. Bill Ballou says the Sox were beaten yesterday before they ever took the field, with J.D. Drew calling it a tough series. However, Bradford has one Red Sox player thinking the 19-day, 16,000 mile road trip was “a good ride.” Any guesses as to who?
The Green are in wait mode, as they’ve accomplished everything there is to do, wrapping up the NBA’s best record as well as its biggest turnaround ever with a 101-78 win in Charlotte on Saturday. Marc J. Spears spends a little more time down in Carolina, taking a look at KG’s home town. Mark Murphy says to forget about MVP because KG has a higher accolade in store for him. Jeff Howe draws parallels between this C’s squad and those of the Bird years. In his weekly Free Throws, Tim Weisberg reminds you to stay tuned to the remainder of the regular season because Doc Rivers and his players are sufficiently rested and eager to crank it up again before the playoffs.
UConn Lady Huskies
A quest for their sixth NCAA Women’s title fell short for the Lady Huskies yesterday, when they lost to Candice Wiggins and her Stanford Cardinal, 82-73, in their NCAA Women’s semifinal contest. Peter May has all the action from the loss, which extended the Huskies’ title drought to four years. John Altavilla recaps the end of the line for the Lady Huskies, who had previously been only 3 points removed from a perfect season. This one sounds painfully similar to another Sunday shocker nine weeks ago (yes, I’m still counting!). Jim Fuller has Wiggins hitting a pair of key treys 41 seconds apart after the Lady Huskies had climbed to within a point.
Jeff Jacobs analyzes what conspired to deprive the nation of a Huskies / Volunteers showdown. Chris Elsberry says this one sent shockwaves through the women’s basketball world. Lori Reilly has reaction from the senior Huskies as their collegiate careers end with disappointment and no championships. As Altavilla also reports, it was a bittersweet weekend for coach Gino Auriemma, who was named the AP Coach of the Year on Saturday.
NCAA Men’s Championship
It’s the NCAA Men’s Championship game tonight, pitting the Kansas Jayhawks against the Memphis Tigers at the Alamodome. At the risk of jinxing the Tigers, they come in only four points removed from a perfect season themselves. Bob Ryan takes a look at the yeoman efforts of Lynn’s own Antonio Anderson, the Tigers’ ‘Glue Guy.’ Mark Blaudschun compares and contrasts head coaches Bill Self and John Calipari. From Kansas, where both coaches have roots, the Star also notes the coaching and play style similarities. And while the on-court action is compelling enough for most of us, Chris Price’s real pinnacle comes after the game when CBS will play his favorite tune.
Odds & Sods
In his weekly Rink Rap, Mick Colageo preps us for the Bruins’ playoff run, with GM Peter Chiarelli looking to slay the dragon in Montreal. Maybe this
time he’ll bring a sword.
Alex Speier continued his comprehensive look at the Red Sox player development effort with another segment yesterday. This is a must-read, and the Union Leader makes it easy with links to each of Speier’s previous segments.
This one also came out yesterday, but you college football fans outside Greater New Bedford will want to read Dan Brown’s profile of the hottest recruiting prospect to come from the South Coast in a long while.
Bill Higgins will get the nod to officially open up Master’s Week, as he has Tiger Woods being fitted for his fifth Green Jacket.
What’s this? Our founder blaspheming the hallowed ground of New England sports talk radio! Must be that broad Californian perspective getting the better of him. Me thinks Bruce has had the bomb dropped on him by an occasional ‘EEI host or two.
On Bruce’s note, I’d be remiss if I didn’t fill you in on the NASCAR action from Texas Motor Speedway yesterday. Here on BSMW, we’ll talk any kind of sports you want.
No afternoon links from me today, but check back after lunch. You never know who may be dropping in.