Thank goodness for Tim Wakefield.
The Sox knuckleballer has been the ace of the Red Sox staff thus far this season, and did it again last night, shutting down the first-place Toronto Blue Jays to the tune of 2-1 at Fenway Park. Wakefield went eighth innings, giving up only five hits and one run in that span. Jonathan Papelbon came on for the ninth to record his 11th save of the season.
Adam Kilgore has Wakefield making the many issues and concerns around the Sox irrelevant last night. Michael Silverman has Wakefield giving the Sox a lift on a night in which David Ortiz continued to struggle. Paul Kenyon outlines the unlikely keys to victory for the Sox last night. Jeff Goldberg has another account of the masterful night from Wakefield. Bill Ballou notes that the Blue Jays could’ve used a pop-up blocker last night. Mike Fine has Wakefield picking up Ortiz and the Red Sox once again. Ron Chimelis notes the difference in cheers between those for Wakefield and those for Ortiz.
Dan Shaughnessy delicately attempts to suggest that Big Papi is…well, done, and that his continued presence in the number three spot is just dragging the Red Sox down. At least he doesn’t call him a giant sack of you-know-what. Steve Buckley says that it is time for Terry Francona to move Ortiz down in the batting order. Brian MacPherson looks at some of the theories for Big Papi’s struggles. Lenny Megliola assesses Ortiz as “just plain awful” – hard to disagree. Bill Burt says Ortiz looked dreadful, but has Mike Lowell saying he doesn’t think Ortiz’s career is over just yet. Glen Farley says that at this time there is no indication that Ortiz will be all right. Chaz Scoggins says that Ortiz might be back, but his swing isn’t. Rob Bradford has the Red Sox hoping that Francona’s patience with Ortiz will pay off.
I got in my car yesterday afternoon and turned on WGAM 1250 up in Manchester, NH, as I often do, only to hear Mike Mutnansky, who I’ve been a fan of for a while, slam Ortiz and call him a bad teammate for not talking to the media about his slump. He said Ortiz has selfishly avoided the media, not stood up and faced them, and forced his teammates to talk to the media about his slump instead. C’mon guys, I turn to 1250 to get away from the WEEI bombast in the afternoons. Mutnansky, who is a WEEI weekend host and fill-in, might be picking up some bad habits from his treks into the city. This was straight out of the Glenn Ordway/Michael Felger playbook.
You can knock Ortiz for his lack of production, you can say that he is done, but I’m not sure you can bash him for being a bad teammate.
Stan Grossfeld checks in with 2004 postseason and World Series hero Keith Foulke, who is toiling for the Newark Bears, hoping for one last shot at the majors. It seems like Grossfeld went out of his way to try and press Foulke’s buttons in this one, which doesn’t come off well. Foulke says the right things.
Nick Cafardo has Kevin Millar and the Blue Jays shut down by Wakefield. Ron Borges has Wakefield looking to force a lot of pop-ups from the Jays, which is exactly what he did. Maureen Mullen says that Wakefield has been the elixir the team has needed throughout the early part of this season.
Alex Speier says that the Red Sox real impact player returns to the lineup tonight. Buckley has Jed Lowrie working diligently on his wrist rehab. Jim Donaldson says that Clay Buchholz has added maturity to his already impressive repertoire. Peter Gobis says that Buchholz didn’t have his best stuff for the PawSox yesterday, but kept his composure.
Kilgore’s notebook has Kevin Youkilis set to jump back into the lineup tonight. Silverman’s notebook has more on the impending return of Youkilis and Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Projo notebook has more on the Sox getting some troops back. Goldberg’s notebook has Mike Lowell using his smarts on the basepaths. Ballou’s notebook has another tough night for Papi. Farley’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Chimelis’ notebook has more injury and return updates.
Frank Dell’Apa reports that Kevin Garnett will have knee surgery next week. Steve Bulpett has Celtics managing partner Steve Pagliuca upbeat about the future of the franchise. Jeff Howe says that these playoffs were a classic “what if” for the Celtics. Bill Doyle has the Celtics facing questions for next season.
On the BSMW Full Court Press, Jeremy Gottlieb looks at the anticlimax to a lost season for the Celtics.
Steve Conroy has Byron Bitz proving he belongs in the NHL. Stephen Harris has Blake Wheeler remaining positive despite a poor ending to the season. Carmine Frongillo examines some of the questions facing the Bruins this summer.
Karen Guregian says that we won’t see Brady on the field for today’s OTA’s, but we might see him next week. Christopher L. Gasper has Kevin O’Connell hoping to learn as much as he can from Brady. Guregian reports that the Patriots aren’t in a rush to make a deal for Derrick Burgess.
Mike Reiss says that the recent actions of commissioner Roger Goodell are a promising sign for the future of the game. Reiss’ notebook says that the owners are not likely to vote on a longer regular season right now.