Angels Get One, Salvage Dignity

Josh Beckett held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning last night with two outs and runners on second and third. With two strikes on Chone Figgins, Beckett unleashed his offering towards home plate. Figgins swung and missed for strike three, inning over.

Except the inning wasn’t over. The ball went between the legs of Jason Varitek and to the backstop. Figgins scampered safely to the first, and the tying run came in from third. The Angels took the lead in the top of the ninth with a run off Billy Wagner, giving the Angels a 4-3 win and letting them feel good that they were able to win a game in Boston.

Amalie Benjamin has the Angels proving that they can occasionally beat the Red Sox. John Tomase has the Sox running into some Tek-nical difficulty last night. Jeff Goldberg has Varitek and the Sox letting one get away. Paul Kenyon has the Angels getting a Fenway win using their style. Ron Chimelis says that you can’t win them all, especially against a quality team like the Angels. Bill Ballou has the tables being turned on the Red Sox. Jim Fenton says that since these team know each other so well, there was little to be learned in this series.

Bob Ryan grumbles that it makes no sense to expand the rosters for the most important games of the season. Michael Silverman says you’re nuts if you think the Angels have no chance against the Red Sox in the postseason. Joe McDonald has Josh Beckett continuing his resurgence. Brian MacPherson says that Victor Martinez has made everything about the Sox better.

Chimelis says that death, taxes and the Red Sox meeting the Angels in the postseason are life’s certainties these days. Sarah Green says that the Red Sox never needed Roy Halladay. Amy K. Nelson says that the Red Sox are now hitting the road with something to prove. Mike Fine says that the Red Sox are still learning about themselves every day.

Silverman has umpire Rick Reed’s thoughts on the verbal abuse they received from Mike Scioscia and the Angels coaches in this series. He also reports that the crew has filed a complaint against the Angels. McDonald says that Wednesday wasn’t a perfect night for either the teams or the umpires.

Benjamin’s notebook looks at the debate other whether the Red Sox get more favorable calls at home. Tomase’s notebook has Wagner critical of his own performance last night. The ProJo Red Sox journal has Kevin Youkilis saying that he’ll be back in the lineup tonight. Chimelis’ notebook has Martinez returning to the lineup last night. Ballou’s notebook has the Angels getting some revenge last night. Fenton’s notebook has Beckett putting his rough patch behind him.

Chad Finn checks in on a few sports media notes beyond the sports radio wars. Bill Doyle has ESPN’s Ron Jaworski praising Tom Brady, but not the Patriots defense.

More Links Coming.

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Peter Abraham Joining The Boston Globe

pabrahamPeter Abraham, who covers the Yankees and writes a very good blog for The Journal News of the Lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam) in New York, announced today on his blog that he is leaving to come join The Boston Globe:

So here it is: I’m leaving The Journal News after nearly 10 years and going to work for The Boston Globe.

I’ll be covering baseball — yes, the Red Sox — and blogging for Boston.com. The Globe approached me in August, right around the time my newspaper was going through some painful restructuring that you all heard about.

Abraham is a native of New Bedford, MA, and went to UMass-Amherst. He’s covered the Yankees for The Journal News since 2005, and spent four years prior to that covering the Mets. Before coming to New York in 1999, He covered the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team for the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin.

In an old blog entry, he tells a story of his first experience covering a Major League baseball game:

My first job in journalism was as a part-time writer for the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times. As a reward for taking phone calls and covering high school swim meets, I got to cover a Red Sox game. They lost, as they often did in those days, and I asked manager John McNamara why he didn’t use Dwight Evans as a pinch hitter.

McNamara asked where I was from then told me to get the (bad word) out of his office. Being a kid, I walked out.

I went on to cover mostly college sports and didn’t get back into baseball until I started at The Journal News in 1999 and got the Mets beat a few years later.

Other publications Abraham has written for include Baseball America, Slam, Basketball Digest, Sports Illustrated, Sports Nippon, Metropolitan Golfer, Basketball Times and Backstreets.

Week Log: One Good Turn Deserves Another

It’s been a week of comebacks, as the Patriots turned an 11-point deficit into a one-point victory in the final 2:06 on Monday and the Red Sox followed with three hits, two walks, and two runs – all with two outs in the ninth – to win last night. Let’s go to the gridiron first.

Patriots

Pats Fans watched the Gillette crowd around him throw back to Schaeffer Stadium days and empty out before the final five minutes of Monday night’s comeback. Kathryn Tappen says better luck next time to fans who missed the drama.

Blaug is handing out game balls to Brandon Meriweather and Ben Watson for this one. Pats Chowder says Watson is finally the tight end the Pats were waiting for. The Patriot Act holds LB Gary Guyton accountable for the bad D-Line play Monday. It Is What It Is looks at how the Brady Rule almost spoiled Tom Brady’s big return.

One thing Mass Hysteria learned on Monday is that Brady can say no to a chick. Boston Sports Blog calls Brady lame for dissing Suzy Kolber, but Kissing Suzy Kolber is more concerned about Leodis McKelvin’s lawn ornaments after vandals paid him a visit. Chicks In The Huddle gives McKelvin a ‘Quit It.’

Wicked Good Sports looks at how Jerod Mayo’s injury may affect the team. PatriotsBlog has the Pats with a steady diet of 4-3 until Mayo returns. Charles Robinson thinks Mayo’s injury, along with the trade of Richard Seymour, has put the Pats’ D in an awkward state.

Got a big one against the Jets in New York this Sunday. Pats Pulpit hates everything about New York, while John Carchedi would love to spend Thanksgiving with Uncle Rex Ryan. The Rap Sheet has Tom Brady on the threshhold of another record at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

Red Sox

At Fenway, Surviving Grady has Juan Rivera finishing with a clean uniform after a nonplussed effort in chasing Alex Gonzalez’s blooper last night. Fenway West has the Sox inside the Angels heads and it’s not even October yet. The Bottom Line says Gonzo’s game-winner was made possible by the Fenway-cursed Angels.

Full Count has pinch-hitter Nick Green, recipient of a key ninth inning base on balls, almost collapsing on the walk to first. Big League Stew has Angels closer Brian Fuentes calling out the umps at Fenway after Green got some favorable calls on that walk. Life is good for Green off the field these days too, and SoxSpace News is rooting for him.

SawxBlog has always rooted for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and his blind faith was finally rewarded on Tuesday night. Touching All The Bases says it looked like Dice-K in physical appearance, but everything else of that guy on the mound was totally unfamiliar. On The Soxaholix, fictional Al wonders if Daisuke’s outing was a hahbingah of a fruitful Indian summah.

Utility Lou puts Beckett-Lester-Buchholz as the best top-three of any rotation in the A.L. Having a pitching staff loaded with “stuff guys” makes Mazz giddy about the Boston autumn. Throw in the Dice-K that debuted this week and Toeing The Rubber is hurting with happiness. But Evans Clinchy wants more as he speculates about throwing Felix Hernandez into the rotation next year.

Red Sox Diaries serves up a parody with Curt Schilling and Jay Leno. The real 38 Pitches tips his cap to Derek Jeter, a Yankee we dyed-in-the-woolers can’t bring ourselves to hate. An Outlander In The Scenic City went from shout-out to screw-you in her sentiments over the Yankee captain’s milestone hit this week.

Bruins

On the eve of a new season, Here Come The Bruins! remembers his first taste of a real NHL game. Stanley Cup of Chowder offers their season preview. The Old Bruins Fan says the bar will be raised for the B’s in 2009-2010.

The B’s preseason opened on Tuesday, and so may have the Tuukka Rask era as he held back the NY Rangers, 2-1. The Bear Cave notes that Rask has not yet been appointed Tim Thomas’ backup. The Hockey Blog Adventure says Patrice Bergeron looked really, really pretty in last night’s 3-2 win over Toronto. Big Bad Blog calls defenseman Mark Stuart “caveman strong” while the Hockey Journal calls out defenseman Andrew Ference and gets humbled for doing so.

Puck Daddy conjures memories of adjusting the rabbit ears on our sad little TVs to catch Fred Cusick, who passed away this week. Rink Rap says none of the many B’s voices that have come since can live up to the man who brought hockey into the living rooms of our youth. And Another Thing . . . recalls the joy of integrating Cusick into his package.

Have a great last official weekend of summer and we’ll see you back here come autumn next week.

Patriots Prepping Without Mayo

The Patriots are making their preparations for their game against the New York Jets on Sunday, and doing so without middle linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Greg Doyle gives us his first impressions of the Jets, and looks at a few Jets who could figure big in this game.

Christopher L. Gasper has Jets coach Rex Ryan doing all he can to ratchet up the rivalry between the Patriots and Jets. Karen Guregian says that Ryan speaks from his heart, and isn’t going to stop. Glen Farley has one Jets player describing Ryan’s style as “blunt force trauma.” Shalise Manza Young has Ryan and the Jets not backing down at all.

Kerry Byrne has a look at why Tom Brady is able to do what he does. Julian Benbow says that Brady is going to have his hands full with the aggressive Jets defense this week. Ian R. Rapoport notes that the Jets are almost a mirror of the Baltimore defense at this point. Rapoport has Brady saying that talk is cheap, and that the Patriots are preparing and not talking.

Mike Reiss examines how the Patriots will adjust without Mayo. Brian MacPherson says that the Patriots defense is like a big doughnut without Mayo. Soft with a giant hole in the middle? Andy Vogt says that there are no easy answers in trying to replace Mayo. The Metro also looks at life minus Mayo for the Patriots. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots are once again forced to find plan B in a hurry. Rich Garven says that the Patriots are going to miss Mayo on every single defensive play. Christopher Price has the Patriots linebackers moving on.

Jeremy Gottlieb has a look around the NFL this week.

Guregian has Mark Sanchez aware that he faces a challenge in a Belichick defense.

Gasper’s notebook says that the defensive signal-calling responsibility will go to second-year linebacker Gary Guyton this Sunday. Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots trying to move on without Mayo for now. Farley’s notebook has the Patriots holding Mayo out of practice yesterday. Young’s Patriots journal says that Randy Moss vs Darelle Revis will be a key matchup on Sunday. Vogt’s notebook says that Ryan is the king of talk. Farinella’s notebook has Tom Brady praising Joey Galloway even though the stat sheet would seem not to merit it. Garven’s notebook has more on the nonstop talk from Ryan and the Jets.

Bruins/Misc

Mike Loftus and Stephen Harris have Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask believing this is his year to stick in the NHL. Fluto Shinzawa says that Dany Sabourin is going to have a tough task unseating Rask as the #2 goalie behind Tim Thomas. Harris’ notebook says that a trade of Phil Kessel seems very likely at this point.

Frank Dell’Apa has Kevin Garnett progressing in his recovery, and Rajon Rondo trying to get better. Dan Duggan has more on Rondo, who says he isn’t optimistic about getting a contract extension from the Celtics.

Michael Felger has his first CSNNE.com mailbag.

Ron Chimelis says that Michael Jordan’s trash talking during his Hall of Fame speech shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Steve Conroy has a look at Boston College wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr.

Michael Whitmer has Kasey Kahne ready to start the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup this Sunday in Loudon.

Another Comeback For the Sox

The Sox made a few comebacks last night, culminating in an unlikely ninth inning rally in which shortstops Nick Green and Alex Gonzalez both played key roles. The Red Sox beat the Angels 9-8 at Fenway, and coupled with another Rangers loss, now sit 6 ½ games ahead in the wild card.

John Tomase says that the Angels might want to just consider surrendering the first round of the playoffs to the Red Sox right now. Amalie Benjamin has a gimpy Nick Green able to work the (controversial) walk with the bases loaded to tie the game in the ninth. Jeff Goldberg has the Angels once again unable to put the Red Sox away. Amy K. Nelson has another October preview on display last night.  Paul Kenyon has the Sox enjoying another wild ending in their favor. Eric Avidon has a slow start making way for a fantastic finish for the Red Sox. Bill Ballou says last night’s Red Sox win was unearned. Jim Fenton has the cool weather making people think about fall baseball after another Red Sox win.

Steve Buckley has a look at Tim Wakefield’s situation, both for now and the postseason. Dan Shaughnessy says that things are falling into place for the Red Sox right now. Joe Haggerty says that the Sox still own the Angels.

Joe McDonald has the Red Sox shortstops playing a big role in the win last night. Mike Fine says it isn’t being (Nick) Green (on one leg). Rob Bradford says Green barely had a leg to stand on last night.  Buckley also looks at how Alex Gonzalez has come in and been the answer at shortstop for the Sox, both at the plate and in the field. Silverman looks at how Gonzalez’s value to the Sox has been huge since they brought him in.

Michael Silverman has Torii Hunter calling out his Angel teammates. Adam Kilgore has the Angels pointing plenty of fingers after another loss to the Red Sox.  McDonald has this series as another prequel for AL Division Series next month. Bill Burt has Hunter speaking to the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club. Pedro Gomez has the Angels feeling shortchanged last night.

Tomase’s notebook has a look at Jonathan Papelbon’s night off because of his tweaked back. Benjamin’s notebook says that it looks like Wakefield will pitch on Monday. Goldberg’s notebook has a hobbled Wakefield determined to get back out on the mound. The Projo Red Sox journal reports that the Sox and Wakefield had a closed-door meeting yesterday. Ballou’s notebook has the Red Sox hoping to wrap up another perfect homestand tonight.

More Links Coming.

Dice is Snake Eyes in Return

Daisuke Matsuzaka made his return to the Red Sox rotation last night, and had easily his best start of the season. He pitched into the seventh inning, allowing only three hits and no runs. The Red Sox beat the Angels 4-1 at Fenway Park last night. David Ortiz set the career home run mark for a DH, with the 270th of his career at that spot.

Amalie Benjamin has Matsuzaka getting a big weight off his shoulders with his outing last night. Amy K. Nelson has Dice-K coming out with something to prove. Michael Silverman has Matsuzaka earning a full tank of goodwill with his performance. Ron Chimelis has Dice-K back and in top form for the Red Sox. Daniel Barbarisi has Matsuzaka leaving to a standing ovation – a stark contrast to the boos he left Fenway to the last time he was there. Jeff Goldberg says that Dice-K was worth the wait. Bill Ballou has the performance beyond the Red Sox wildest dreams.

Bob Ryan looks at the performance by Dice-K and credits it to the Red Sox knowing what they’re doing. Sean McAdam recaps the road back to Fenway for Matsuzaka, which was paved with a lot of hard work. Brian MacPherson has  more  on Dice-K’s hard work the last two months paying off. Joe McDonald has Dice-K providing a boost to the rotation with his return. Jon Couture notes the “culture war” that has gone on between the club and pitcher. Lenny Megliola has Matsuzaka putting together a big performance on a night in which he needed to paste together his shrinking reputation. Bill Burt has Matsuzaka exceeding expectations last night. Mike Fine has Dice-K magic after a shaky first couple batters.

Adam Kilgore points out that the Red Sox winning rally had an unusual look – small ball. McDonald has the Red Sox trying to do the right thing with Tim Wakefield and his sore back, but Joe Haggerty says that a playoff roster spot is likely slipping away from Wakefield. Haggerty also has Ramon Ramirez regaining the magic touch he had earlier in the season. Burt says that everything is in order for the Red Sox.

Ryan looks ahead to a playoff matchup between the new-look Angels and the Sox. McAdam says that the difference for the Angels is a high-powered offense and a deep starting rotation this season.

Benjamin peruses the 2010 schedule, which was released yesterday and has the Red Sox starting and finishing their season at Fenway Park against the Yankees. In the Herald though, Silverman and McAdam report that the Red Sox might flip that opening series for one later in the season.

Benjamin’s notebook has the Sox winning without their two biggest bats, Kevin Youkilis (back) and Victor Martinez (personal issue). Silverman’s notebook has more on the sluggers sitting out last night. Chimelis’ notebook also reports on this situation. The ProJo Red Sox Journal has more on the back spasms suffered by Youkilis. Ballou’s notebook has David Ortiz’s average creeping up.

Patriots

Monique Walker and Christopher L. Gasper report that Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has a sprained MCL. They have differing reports on how long he’ll be out, however. One source says 6-8 weeks, while another says less than that. Robert Lee says that Mayo’s season is not over, but we don’t know when he’ll be back, either.

It’s Report Card day for the Patriots. On Patriots Daily, Jeremy Gottlieb grades out the team. Ron Borges has the report card in the Herald. Michael Felger has his first report card for Comcast SportsNet. Replacing Felger on the report card at WEEI.com is Steve DeOssie.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots/Jets rivalry rising up again this offseason with New York’s hiring of Rex Ryan. Christopher Price has the Jets ready to treat this one like the Super Bowl. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots have issues to deal with beyond the border war with the Jets. Rich Garven says that the Patriots are in trouble without Mayo.

Rapoport has the Patriots crying foul at roughing calls against them. Joseph Gravellese has Troy Brown praising the Patriots receiving depth. At Patriots Daily, Scott Benson gives Ben Watson the game ball for Monday night.

Cranky Mark Farinella says that there is nothing nostalgic about the old Patriots teams. Bill Reynolds says that the old Patriots endured plenty of growing pains.

Gasper’s notebook has Bill Belichick choosing not to engage Rex Ryan on his comments about kissing rings. Rapoport’s notebook has more on Mayo’s injury. The ProJo Patriots Journal has the Patriots in no rush to sign a veteran backup QB.

Bryan Marquard and Dick Trust remember Fred Cusick.

Fred Cusick Passes Away at 90

The Bruins Blog on Boston.com is reporting that Fred Cusick, former play-by-play voice of the Bruins has died this afternoon at the age of 90.

Though best known for his Bruins calls, Cusick also was an analyst for the first ever Patriots game, and served as the PA announcer at Fenway Park for two years, and did a famous 1963 interview with Francis Ouimet – winner of the 1913 U.S. Open and subject of The Greatest Game Ever Played.

All of this and more was chronicled in his book, Fred Cusick – Voice of the Bruins, which I reviewed back in 2007.

His death comes just one day before he was to be inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. It also comes on the same day that a recent interview with Cusick by Emily Sweeney was posted on Boston.com.