(Guest blogging today is T.J. Donegan, for comments/criticisms shoot him an email at email@example.com)
Good morning, it’s me again, picking up the tab for the day while Bruce handles the real world. Not the busiest of times in the Boston sports world but considering the previous nine months have been the most insane roller coaster for us as sports fans with abject joy, abject horror, and more abject (abjecter?) joy with three consecutive runs to championship finals in that span, I’ll take the breather when it comes.
So kick back, enjoy the warm weather and read some sports news.
The Sox were downed 7-6 last night by the Tampa Bay Rays, swept for the second time this season by the plucky Floridian club that looks more and more legit with each passing week. The Rays extended their division lead to 3.5 games with the win, storming back with six runs in the bottom of the seventh to ultimately win, 7-6.
Gordon Edes says while there’s no trophy for being four games up by July 4th (referencing the 2006 Red Sox for good measure), Tampa Bay is not to be taken lightly. Amalie Benjamin discusses the bullpen woes for Boston last night and the role they played in the loss. Jeff Horrigan talks about the loss last night and the interesting season so far between the Rays and Red Sox.
Sean McAdam says the Sox “weren’t just swept… [but] were outplayed and outclassed” in this series with the Rays. He’s definitely on the money there. Jeff Goldberg says watching the game last night, it’s clear who is the division leader and who was being swept under the rug. Goldberg also files a piece on the struggles of Manny Delcarmen, who played a role in last night’s seventh-inning collapse. Dan Lamothe on his Red Sox Monster Blog invokes Adam Sandler and says this was one of the most frustrating losses of the season to watch. Bill Ballou at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette says that, amazement at the Rays’ success aside, the panic light needs to be on for a Red Sox team that’s lost five straight. Fred Goodall of the AP has their version of event that you can find at just about every paper’s website’s sports section, all linked to on the right side of this page.
Amalie Benjamin also looks ahead to this weekend’s series with the New York Yankees, saying there’s still a lot of tension surrounding it, even without the division (necessarily) on the line. Rob Bradford has a similar story for the Herald, also using Ortiz’ quote that the Sox and Yankees are still the two best teams in baseball. Bradford also stokes the fires for this weekend’s series, using Hank Steinbrenner’s recent comments as a reason to compare ownership groups. McAdam also looks into this weekend’s series, saying this is the first time since 2000 that neither club will have a share of the division lead when the two teams meet. Sarah Green at Metro Boston News wonders if a Cubs/Rays World Series would really be all that bad.
Jeff Horrigan looks into the decision for Red Sox top draft pick Casey Kelley about whether to sign with the team or go to Tennessee, where he has a football scholarship. Pedroia had a statistically phenomenal night against the Rays, Benjamin and Edes file a good roundup of the evening for the Red Sox Notebook. Benjamin also gives a quick update on the Extra Bases blog saying Timlin will be activated for the series with the Yankees, sending Chris Smith back to the minors. Horrigan’s notebook talks about Jason Varitek’s struggles at the plate in his past few games. McAdam talks to the Rays’ Rocco Baldelli about his comeback attempt. Joe McDonald looks into Clay Bucholz and his progress down in Pawtucket.
Kevin Cullen of the Globe files the oddest column I’ve seen yet on the Manny crisis where eight (count them!) paragraphs in I’ve learned nothing except that sweet little Louise Sullivan would shoot him if he pushed her for not getting a $2000 suite on the company dime. Why was this column written? Especially when Bob Ryan filed a great column that I thought said everything that could be said just yesterday.
New England Patriots
There’s not much to report in Patriots land. Christopher Gasper reports that the Patriots will open camp July 24th in Tampa, FL with rookies reporting by the 21st.
Karen Guregian reports on the Patriots releasing allegedly insane Willie Andrews. David Heuschkel of the Hartford Courant also reports on the team’s decision to part ways with the third-year player. Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle has a reminder that the voting for the Patriots Hall of Fame this year ends midnight friday on their website and discusses some of the players up for election.
That’ll just about do it for me this morning. Those of you who are sick of baseball already, aren’t ready for football yet, or just can’t wait for your Celtics or Bruins fix, I’ll send you on over to celticslinks.com and bruinslinks.com for what scraps you can find. Shine on, you crazy diamonds.