Bruce is on pre-NFL R&R for a few days and has named me as backup QB. Hopefully, I’ll fare a little better than Kevin O’Connell if, for no other reason, I don’t want to be banished to Detroit.

Red Sox

On to the diamond, where a Josh Beckett outing can be like a box of chocolates. Going into last night, he’d made 17 quality starts along with nine stinkers – most notably, his last three. Well, make it four says Sean McAdam, who reminds us this reclamation project is no overnight task.

Last night, Beckett threw the full Whitman’s Sampler at us, allowing five runs – including two homers – in the first three innings, then retiring his last eight batters and racking up nine Ks on the night. John Tomasse shrugs it off as a middling start for Beckett. Joe McDonald has pitching coach John Farrell with all the right words after his ace’s sub-par performance. Nick Cafardo has Beckett not hearing anything about any positives from last night. Rob Bradford has both Beckett and Jon Lester, who was pulled in Tuesday’s win, insisting they are healthy.

McDonald has Ramon Ramirex taking only four pitches to make this a bleak ending to a bleak beginning. Amalie Benjamin has Terry Francona missing his chance to blow this open in the top of the eighth after the Sox fought back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game. Bradford provides Francona’s explanation on his thinking in the eighth. Adam Kilgore isn’t ready to count out the Rays, who look for yet another series win against the Sox tonight.

Bill Reynolds has tonight’s starter, Clay Buchholtz, in full recovery after his 2007 no-hitter. McAdam notes the Sox are leading the Majors in HR since July 31, although there’s no mention they’re also among the league leaders in Days In First Place as well. Joe Haggerty says the Sox have reclaimed their hitting groove since August 1. It’s all about baseball again for David Ortiz says Lenny Megliola, as Big Papi gets his derailed season back on track.

It’s fish or cut bait for Tim Wakefield, as John Beattie has today’s side session determining the 2009 fate of the All-Star knuckler. Amalie Benjamin has Billy Wagner adjusting to his setup role admirably. Tomasse’s Red Sox Notebook has Billy Wagner looking up to boyhood hero Doug Flutie. Brad Penny’s performance in Philly last night makes Jessica Isner scratch her head.

And could Mr. Schilling go to Washington? Maybe, say Andrew Ryan and Milton J. Valencia, who have 38 in discussions, presumably with the GOP, to run for former Senator Teddy’s seat.

Patriots / NFL

It’s the end of the preseason at Gillette Stadium tonight, where the Patriots will host the NY Giants. Ian R. Rapoport has backup QB as his top matter to be decided, even as Christopher L. Gasper is getting positive vibes that Tom Brady will be under center in Week One. Andy Vogt calls tonight’s finale a matinee for the understudies. Rapoport also offers four more things to watch in this final tuneup.

Rich Garvin will be watching a dozen fringe players tonight with the final cutdown to a 53-man roster looming. Shalise Manza Young says tonight’s game is last call for the bubble players. Rapoport’s Patriots Notebook looks at one player that may be on the other side looking in by Saturday.

Kathryn Tappen bids Tedi adieu. Brian MacPherson says Bruschi’s retirement doesn’t leave the LB cupboards bare.

Andre Tippett shares some thoughts with Mike Reiss on ex-teammate John Stephens, who was killed in a car accident on Tuesday evening. Michael J. Bailey pays homage to the former Offensive Rookie of the Year. R.I.P., John.

And has anyone in the history of job promotions gotten off to a worse start than Belichick disciple Josh McDaniels? At least he won’t be stocking the rosters of his mentor’s hated rivals any time soon.

Odds & Sods

The Deutsche Bank Championship begins tomorrow at TPC Boston and Jennifer Toland places slowpoke Padraig Harrington among the favorites. Ron Borges has Heath Slocum still needing to be pinched after holding off Tiger Woods at The Barclays last weekend. Toland points out that Slocum has yet to miss the Deutsche Bank Championship since its inception in 2003.

The results are in at Chestnut Hill, where Eric Avidon says the Eagles have landed their starting QB. Mike Petraglia talks to BC linebacker Mark Herzlich about playing again in 2010.

And finally, Barbara Polichetti tells you who is responsible for all those great haircuts you see along the sidelines at Gillette.

No blog links this afternoon. In its place, Bruce reviewed a book penned by one of our often-linked bloggers, Jerry Beach of Fighting Words. Look for that, and a return to the usual blog links next Thursday afternoon. See you tomorrow morning.

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6 thoughts on “Wild Card Tightens

  1. And has anyone in the history of job promotions gotten off to a worse start than Belichick disciple Josh McDaniels?

    I’d argue against this conventional wisdom and say that McDaniels has gotten off to exactly the kind of start he needed. He cleared out a million-dollar-arm-ten-cent-head quarterback who only would have ended up costing him his job. Where have we seen that before? And much like Belichick did with Terry Glenn, McDaniels is also making very clear to an emotionally disturbed wide receiver that he can either fly right or take his litany of problems elsewhere. How do you think Brandon Marshall will choose to play that? More than likely, exactly like Glenn. I argue that history will show this to be the best thing he could have done for himself and the Denver Broncos.

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    1. Wrong. McDaniels will forever regret the day he traded Cutler, unless they pull a Brady out of the draft..

      You think he’s comparable Bledsoe? Wow. And you couldn’t be any more wrong.

      Cutler in seasons two and three as a starter, completed 63.6% and 62.3% of passes thrown for an average of 6.9 yards per attempt.

      It took Blesdoe five full seasons to get up to 6.9 yards per attempt.

      It took Bledsoe four full seasons to produce a good TD – INT ratio where as Cutler did it in his first full one.

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      1. I’m sure Jay would be interested in your services as an agent or representative of some sort. Let’s revisit the topic if that meathead ever does anything in the league. So far, zip. I’d suggest that a guy with that sense of entitlement and lack of professional demeanor will only end up disappointing those who think its all about numbers and “franchise” quarterbacks.

        McDaniels won’t have a single regret I’m certain. Cutler is Lovie’s problem now.

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        1. I gotta agree with Scott. The inmates were beginning to run the asylum there in Denver. McDaniels is trying to the fix the team in the way his mentor, Belichick has taught him. That means getting rid of me-first players and headcases like Cutler and Marshall. Please watch the Outside the Lines feature on Marshall; you’ll never support him again.

          By the way, Boston Dan, for all of Cutler’s stats, he’s 17-20 as a starter.

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  2. “And has anyone in the history of job promotions gotten off to a worse start than Belichick disciple Josh McDaniels?”

    Uh, Jeff Jagodinski?

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