The Red Sox recent struggles at the Tropicana Dome are well documented. With the Rays right at the outside edge of the wild card race, the Red Sox needed to strike early last night and put the heat on. Jonathan Papelbon was called upon to get six outs last night as Hideki Okajima struggled to start the eighth and left the bases loaded with no one out for Papelbon. Jacoby Ellsbury made a pair of sensational catches in the field, and J.D. Drew, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay all homered for the Sox in their 8-4 win.
Amalie Benjamin has Ellsbury and Papelbon slamming the door on the Rays last night. John Tomase proclaims that the Rays mastery of the Red Sox ended at 10:24 last night. Joe McDonald has the AL Champs’ playoff hopes dwindling some more last night.
Sean McAdam looks at how David Ortiz has found his lost power stroke. Brian MacPherson examines how Rocco Baldelli is still a great fit for the Red Sox off the bench. Rob Bradford observes that this Wagner to Papelbon thing just might work. Adam Kilgore has Papelbon pushing it to the limit in his outing last night. McDonald has the Sox playing it safe with Jon Lester last night, taking him out after 97 pitches. He also looks at Ellsbury proving you can win games with your defense with his spectacular catches last night.
Nick Cafardo looks at the Rays trade of Red Sox killer Scott Kazmir, which was really all about saving money. Mike Fine has Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford waging a personal war on the bases. McAdam looks at Papelbon’s extra effort in the win last night. McDonald has more on how Papelbon saved the day with his six out performance. He also looks at former Sox combatant Joey Gathright happy to be with the team.
An Op-Ed column in the Globe by Tom Scocca tears into the Red Sox and “Marshal Tito Francona.”
Benjamin’s notebook leads off with a look at Ellsbury’s catch with the bases loaded in the eighth. Tomase’s notebook has Jon Lester breaking Bruce Hurst’s team record for strikeouts by a lefthanded pitcher in a season. McDonald’s Red Sox journal has Victor Martinez catching Lester last night.
Chris Warner is our Patriots Daily Worry Wart and he has a few items about tomorrow night’s game with the Giants.
With Kevin O’Connell waived and now a member of the Detroit Lions, Andrew Walter seems, for the moment anyway, to be the clear #2 quarterback behind Tom Brady. Mike Reiss has a look at how Walter still has a long ways to go to get up to speed with the Patriots system. Jeff Howe looks at the depth chart at QB now. Christopher Price has Brady testing his shoulder at practice.
Rich Garven looks at the decision on O’Connell, and on Jake Ingram winning the long snapper role. Andy Vogt also has a look at the rookie long snapper from Hawaii, who realizes his work is just starting. Glen Farley says that the long snapper role has gone from snow angels to surfing. Mark Farinella also has a piece on Ingram.
Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots linebackers trying to move forward without Tedy Bruschi. Kevin McNamara has Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton looking to make a bigger impact in Bruschi’s absence. Karen Guregian ponders who will fill the leadership roles vacated by the losses of Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Larry Izzo, and now Bruschi. Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots have a lot of questions in need of answers right now.
Fluto Shinzawa has a look at rookie defensive lineman Myron Pryor and his adjustment from college to the NFL. Steve Buckley wonders what is wrong with Wes Welker and when we’ll see him back on the field. Rapoport has Jake Ingram ready to do his job, now that the long snapper position is his. Price has Cutdown Day looming for those on the bubble.
Matt Langone looks at the return of Pat Patriot for the team’s 50th season, and talks to the creator of the logo.
Robert Lee has Ellis Hobbs taking some shots at the Patriots.
Reiss’ notebook has Tom Brady throwing at practice yesterday. Rapoport’s notebook has more on Brady’s throwing session at the start of practice. McNamara’s Patriots journal has Welker working to get back on the field. Garven’s notebook looks at what we can expect tomorrow night in terms of playing time. Vogt’s notebook has O’Connell hooking on with the Lions. Farinella’s notebook has more on Welker’s undisclosed injury.
Frank Dell’Apa has Marquis Daniels excited about coming to Boston to play for a championship with the Celtics. Jessica Camerato gives us the reasons that Daniels will be a good fit with the Celtics. Jim Fenton says that the added depth that Daniels provides will give the Celtics title chances a boost.
Michael Grossi says that Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas won’t be splitting any time in the Bruins net this season.
I’m going to be heading out for a few days to recharge before the NFL season starts up in full swing. We’ve got content lined up with a guest column from Michael Gee today at noon on how the media should view criticism, links from Bob Ekstrom the next few days, and a book review and interview with Jerry Beach, author of Fighting Words tomorrow. See you next week!