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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.