Red Sox fall to six games under .500

The Red Sox fell to the Angels 7-3 and now have 14 losses in the month of August. The last time the Red Sox lost 14 games in August was all the way back in 2003 with Grady Little as manager. Clay Buchholz allowed a season-high and tied a career-high by allowing 12 hits in just 5 1/3 innings. The seven runs also matched a season-high for Buchholz, who allowed seven runs in his first start of the year against Detroit. Buchholz had allowed three runs or less in his last six starts going into last night.

Even Clay Buchholz at a loss– Joe McDonald looks at Buchholz’s night, who going into the game was the teams’ most consistent pitcher, but just didn’t have it Wednesday night.

Buchholz: ‘I’m not really disappointed’– Maureen Mullen also looks at Buchholz’s start Wednesday night.

It was bound to happen eventually, even to Red Sox– Peter Abraham looks at some of the most respected and successful franchises in the league who have had losing records since the last time the Red Sox did.

Revolving coaches might be real Sox issue– Scott Lauber says having three pitching coaches in the past four seasons could be playing a role in the pitching staff’s struggles.

Daisuke Matsuzaka era may not end yet– Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox have not “closed the door” on the idea of bringing Matsuzaka back for another season.

It’s all over for the Red Sox– Christopher Gasper (subscription required) says with 38 games remaining the season is all but over, with players just looking to get it over with.

Will anyone frame the 2012 Sox photo?– With the team photo being taken today, Gordon Edes looks at the disappointing season and even ahead to next season.

According to the Inside Track, only four players attended Johnny Pesky’s funeral on Monday. This after the front office had ordered busses for the front office and the team. The report says the front office was “extremely disappointed.” As they should be, Pesky was a Red Sox icon, who no one could ever say anything negative about. Making matters worse was the entire team made it to Josh Beckett’s charity bowling event later that night.

The two-day NESN/WEEI Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon wrapped up at midnight last night and over the two days $3.2 million was raised to help strike out cancer. All of the local sports teams chipped in to help this great cause. The Red Sox players took time to all go out to center field prior to the game Wednesday and pose for a photo with the tote board showing how much money was raised at that time. This is an absolutely great event and continues to grow year after year. This was the 11th year of the event.

The Patriots are in Tampa for their second practice with the Buccaneers before their preseason game Friday night. Get all your Patriots links at Patriotslinks.com.

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Patriots fall to Eagles as many starters sit, Red Sox still in news on off day

Playing the first of three games in an 11-day span Bill Belichick decided to rest many of the Patriots starters, including Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and many more. The end result was a 27-17 loss to the Eagles on Monday Night Football in an ugly, sloppy game. The Eagles played their starters into the third quarter where at that point they were going against the second and third string Patriots defense.

The big story coming out of the game was Michael Vick being injured on his sixth play of the game. The quarterback injured his ribs after taking a hit from Jermaine Cunningham. X-rays were negative, but he did not return. Patriots safety Patrick Chung was also injured, reportedly injuring his shoulder, but it isn’t very serious.

Patriots defense answers few questions against Eagles– Chris Gasper (subscription required) says with a lot of the starters being held out it is difficult to see how well the defense really is after they have stood out in practice.

Given a second chance, Vereen carries himself well– Greg A. Bedard says with last night’s performance Shane Vereen is now challenging Stevan Ridley for the lead running back position.

Mallett makes impact– Karen Guregian looks at quarterback Ryan Mallett’s night.

Bill Belichick has it all under control– Mike Reiss says not to worry about not seeing many Patriot starters, Belichick has a plan with the demanding schedule the next week to ten days.

Cannon, Solder struggle again– Tom E. Curran looks at two players, Marcus Cannon and Nate Solder who struggled once again on Monday. The offensive line still remains a cause for concern.

Patriots’ Hightower learns through play-calling– Mary Paoletti has rookie Dont’a Hightower calling the defense plays Monday night, which allowed him to learn even more about the Patriots defense.

Ten things we learned from Monday: Protection remains a problem for Patriots– Christopher Price has ten things that we learned coming out of Monday night’s game.

Although the Red Sox were off on Monday they were still in the news as it became official that Carl Crawford will have Tommy John Surgery on Thursday and the team fired pitching coach Bob McClure, naming Randy Niemann the pitching coach for the remainder of the season. Niemann has been with the time the entire season, he just has not been in the dugout per MLB rules.

The firing of McClure this late in the season is a bit odd to me. In a way it is almost like the Red Sox are backing Valentine, going with “his guy” in Niemann. Could the team still be considering bringing Valentine back for next season? This would be the first move that would suggest that.

Red Sox GM knows bigger fixes needed– Scott Lauber says Ben Cherington knows more decisions like the firing of McClure will need to be made for the Red Sox to get back to where they need to be.

Red Sox fire pitching coach Bob McClure– Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox’ decision to fire their pitching coach.

Bob McClure just couldn’t last– Gordon Edes says there have been hints all season long of the disconnect between Valentine and McClure so it was only a matter of time before he was let go.

Bruce Is Gone, Let’s Move On

Wait, what?

I mean Springsteen, of course. While I honestly don’t mind, and actually enjoy his music, I am SO glad he’s finally finished up his local concerts at Fenway and Gillette.

What is it with sports media and Bruce Springsteen? What exactly about him turns middle-aged white men into quivering teenage girls? I’m reminded of the packs of screaming young women lined up to catch a glimpse of the Beatles on their first visit to America.

I’m just glad it’s over for now.

The Red Sox continue to flounder, losing two of three to the Yankees over the weekend, but as is par for the course for this team, there was more drama off then field than on it.

First is Carl Crawford and his elbow, which he apparently will have Tommy John Surgery on tomorrow. Why he hasn’t had the surgery already is a mystery, given that this team is going absolutely nowhere, and that has been obvious for some time now.

Pete Sheppard had a great rant on this and on the Red Sox and their ownership in general while on WEEI this weekend.

Then there was this story from the New York Daily News:

Adrian Gonzalez off the hook as NY Mets’ Kelly Shoppach takes fall for Boston’s text mutiny

Essentially, the story claims that Gonzalez grew weary of his teammates constant complaints and bickering and allowed them to use his phone to text management, knowing that the face that it came from his phone it would hold more weight with the owners, but that the first basement had nothing to do with the content of the message.

OK then.

Roger Rubin one of the co-authors of the story, appeared on Toucher and Rich this morning to discuss it.

End of the road for Red Sox – Sean McAdam says that the show is over.

Josh Beckett not worth it – John Tomase says the Red Sox need to jettison Beckett however they can before next season.

The Patriots take the field tonight for the second preseason game, this time against the Philadelphia Eagles on ESPN. It doesn’t appear that Tom Brady and several other veterans will play much, if at all tonight, (The Eagles have said their starters might play into the third quarter.) with another game on Friday and another next Wednesday, the team needs to evaluate the lower end of the roster.

Get all the coverage over at PatriotsLinks.com.

Last week Boston.com add Alice Cook’s She’s Game Sports blog to it’s offerings. So far Cook, Kathryn Tappen and Stephanie Silva have posted entries. Cook’s entry, The evolution of the female fan looks at how far things have come since she started in the business in 1985.

It’s worth a read.

Blaming Media The Wrong Move For Sox Ownership, 1510 To Rise From The Ashes?

There are plenty of things to criticize the Boston media for. The failure of the 2012 Red Sox is not one of them.

That’s all on the team, from top to bottom.My SB Nation Boston media column deals with that topic more in depth, except it’s not posted yet. I’ll link it when it is.

Red Sox wrong to place blame on media – Peter Abraham, fresh off back-to-back nights at Springsteen, makes some valid points on the tactics of ownership, and ridicules a Boston Herald article.

While I respect Abraham’s right to take a couple nights off and to even tweet and blog the concert setlists, he comes off a little defensive in the comment section. His comment “Sorry I took my first road series in two years off.” is a little Beckett-esque, shades of “I only get 18 off-days during the season, I’m going to do what I want.

Red Sox owners making presence felt – Meanwhile, Nick Cafardo is being ripped to shreds in the comment section of this piece today.

Here’s how Sox would tell their story – Gordon Edes goes off-beat and attempts to write about the Red Sox in 1910 fashion.

Red Sox Game 117 (Sox 6, @Balt 3) Reloaded – Oh yeah, the red Sox actually won last night. Jon Couture runs down the coverage and notables.

The Legend of Larry Bird: 20 Years Later – Rich Levine with an epic tribute to Larry Bird, who retired 20 years ago this month. Man, I’m old.

This image was tweeted out by @BostonRadio last night.

Its seems that Boston will soon have four sports radio stations in town. (Assuming Entercom does put ESPN Radio full-time on the dial somewhere.) NBC Sports Radio is due to launch on September 4th. An official announcement about Boston has not yet been made, but there have been plenty of rumblings. A connection to CSNNE seems natural, given the Comcast/NBC dynamic.

Right now, programming has only been announced for nights and mornings, so it’s unclear what the lineup is going to look like.

Ultimately, the station will face the same issues that doomed 1510 the Zone, mainly the lack of signal strength. (Well, the signal comes in great if you’re in the Atlantic ocean. )

The NBC Sports Radio Network is the latest move by Comcast/NBC in the sports arena as they attempt to mount a challenge to ESPN in the sports programming market.

The Renaissance Golfer: Kevin Walsh – John Molori profiles the CSNNE anchor, whom he says might mount  a challenge to the Most Interesting Man in the World.

Check Patriots coverage today and over the weekend on PatriotsLinks.com.

Red Sox lose second straight to Orioles

The Orioles scored five times in the fifth inning, the only inning in which they scored runs all night, which was good enough for a 5-3 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night. The Red Sox are now four games under .500 for the first time since May 13. Starter Aaron Cook oddly enough had a no-hitter with one out in that fifth inning until the wheels fell apart. The big blow came on a double-play ball to end the inning, in which Cook threw the ball into center field allowing the flood gates to open.

Adrian Gonzalez and manager Bobby Valentine were both ejected in the eighth inning. It all started when Gonzalez was upset with a quick-pitch when he was at the plate and then grounded out. Valentine was ejected right after when he went out to defend Gonzalez. It seems nothing can go right for the Red Sox, both on and off the field.

On Wednesday John Henry sent another email to media outlets, this time regarding the meeting that occurred in New York late last month. He insisted the players did not want to get Valentine fired, and these meetings have taken place for a number of years now, just this was the first to get leaked. Here is an except:

First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win — what can we all do to improve our ability to win?

I think Henry needs to do something more than just sending an email at this point, don’t you think?

David Ortiz feeling better, but still idle– Michael Vega has David Ortiz not knowing when he will be able to return to the lineup.

It’s time to call it quits, Sox aren’t worth our attention– John Tomase says fans should start focusing their attention on 2013 as this season appears to be all but over.

Bobby V’s Sox on wobbly legs– Gordon Edes looks at how this season might have an affect on next season. He mentions free agents and if they would want to even come to Boston.

Who’s to blame in this latest Red Sox fiasco– Tim Britton says that the blame can go to almost everyone in the entire organization.

Adrian Gonzalez refutes claim in report– Rob Bradford exclusively gets Adrian Gonzalez’s take on the Yahoo! Sports report.

Matsuzaka: ‘I’m ready to make the next step’– Maureen Mullen has Daisuke Matsuzaka’s comments following his latest outing in Pawtucket. He feels he is ready to return.

The Patriots continued their week-long grind at Gillette Stadium with their fourth straight day of practice. They will host the Eagles at Gillette Monday night.

Get all your Patriots coverage at Patriotslinks.com.

Local Media Burned Again on Red Sox Story

By now, you’ve all likely read the story on Yahoo! Sports by Jeff Passan about the July meeting that Red Sox players held with management to express their unhappiness with manager Bobby Valentine.

So again, just like with Buster Olney’s story, and Passan’s earlier stuff, how does a national guy get this story ahead of all the local guys who are in there every day?

And how are stories like these ones, which ran yesterday, still being written – Ownership’s fault? Not buying it and Sox demise not what you think ?

I’m aghast. Everyone on that team, from top to bottom, but especially at the the top, is to blame for this disaster. This team has me openly pining for the glory days of John Harrington, Dan Duquette, Joe Kerrigan, Mike Lansing, Dante Bichette and Carl Everett.

The Nick Cafardo column above on ownership is truly mind-blowing, (at one point, Nick turns the finger at the fans, saying we’re too spoiled around here) as is Gerry Callahan’s continued defense of Larry Lucchino.

Meanwhile, my Twitter feed last night during the game was more about the setlist at the Springsteen concert.

At least there’s some hope today in these pieces:

Red Sox ownership lacking courageMinihane, WEEI.com

Bobby Valentine continues to talk himself into troubleTomase, Herald.

It’s time to fire Bobby ValentineGasper, Globe (making his debut as full-time columnist.)

And then there is Joe Haggerty, making friends and influencing people:

After all this Red Sox combustion, I fully expect Joe Sullivan to commission a full investigative piece into the Patriots rookie hazing practice. Send Hohler to Foxborough!

Sticking with the NFL for a second, does anyone find the Jets secrecy about their “Wildcat” formation to be hilarious? Media is forbidden to report on it, and they’ve booted fans from practice.

The Patriots do similar things and Sullivan is filing complaints to the league office. Meanwhile the Jets continue to be praised as an open team with nothing to hide. Got it.

Get all your Patriots news today at Patriotslinks.com.

Q&A with Michael Felger

Michael Felger has been a member of the Boston sports media since 1992.

Michael Felger has been a member of the Boston sports media since 1992 when he graduated from Boston University. He has spent time with a number of media outlets with various roles for each from beat reporter to now radio and television host. He has become one of the most prominent members of the Boston sports media. Like him or not, for every major Boston sports story or game everyone wants to know what Felger has to say. Felger celebrated two milestones this week, one being the three year anniversary of 98.5 The Sports Hub and also the 5,000th Sports Tonight Show on Comcast Sportsnet. Boston Sports Media Watch had the chance to catch up with Felger for a Q&A on a wide variety of subjects.

BSMW: What do you miss most about being a beat writer and covering a team on a day-to-day basis? Do you miss the writing side of journalism?

MF: There was nothing better than breaking a story in the newspaper (i.e., the actual thing you held in your hands over morning coffee), which was still possible during most of my time as a beat reporter. Now, of course, that rarely happens. So the thing I miss the most doesn’t really exist any more.

Otherwise, I liked this time of a year a lot on the Pats beat. I thought that if you went to those training camp practices every day, paid attention and knew what to look for, you could learn about the team. Once they got out of camp and closed practices, forget it. Everyone was back in the dark. But right now was one of the few times you could provide true insight. Covering hockey was great because of the people– the players were mostly humble and fun and there were characters like Pat Burns and Harry Sinden who I enjoyed even as they crushed me. The hockey culture is unique. And the games were great.

But to say I  “miss” any of that would be an overstatement. I’d rather be doing what I’m doing now. I don’t miss writing.

BSMW: Do you enjoy working full-time in radio and TV more than when you worked in print? Has not being on a beat/covering games allowed you to voice your opinion on players more than you would if you were still covering games?

MF: There were many days when I categorically did not enjoy being a beat reporter. There are very few days when I don’t enjoy commentating on radio or TV. The radio, in particular, is a blast. There’s nothing else like it.

As for the voicing of my opinion — yes, of course, there’s more freedom now. And that’s essential, because I pretty much can’t  put a sock in it, so to speak. It ultimately made me a pretty average beat guy. If I was doing a report card in the Herald and Joe Andruzzi (one of the best guys to ever come through there) had a bad game, I couldn’t downplay it just because I was friendly with him. Or if I felt the Pats should have paid to keep Deion Branch or Adam Vinatieri, I wouldn’t hesitate to criticize the team even though Bill Belichick wrote the epilogue for my book or the Krafts had been good to me (both true). So relationships were frayed, and I grew to hate the politics of the job.

This is hardly unique to me, by the way. If you want sources, you pretty much have to play favorites. That’s not a criticism of reporters who do it. It’s just the nature of the job. It’s a hard, hard thing to pull off. I’m a heck of a lot more comfortable coming at it from the outside and just saying what I think.

BSMW: What is your take on being labeled a “DB”? Does it bother you at all? Is it what you’re trying to be? Have you always been this way?

MF: You mean, was I born a douche bag? No. I’d say it’s a skill I’ve developed over time.

Seriously, it doesn’t bother me, but it’s also not what I’m trying to be. I’m not trying to be anything other than myself and, hopefully, entertaining. How it actually comes across to listeners  is up to them.

BSMW: Having worked at WEEI for some time, what do you see are the biggest differences between WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub? Has there been a time where what Felger & Mazz and 98.5 in general has done has surprised you, in terms of growing so quickly? Is there something you’d like to see your show to do in the near future to help it grow?

MF: I’ll pass on most of the first part of your question, except this: When Tony and I came on the air (exactly three years ago, Aug. 13, 2009), I said we would be different because we wouldn’t be held hostage by the relationships we had. Too often when I listen to sports commentary (the radio, ESPN, etc), I feel punches are being pulled because of a friendship, or a business relationship, or a broadcast rights agreement, or a weekly interview segment, or whatever. Just too much protecting of the brands and the people. I like to think Tony and I avoid that better than most. We try to go after everyone the same way. And I think the Hub and Comcast deserve a lot of credit for allowing it. Comcast doesn’t stop me from speaking my mind on the Celtics and the NBA, and the Hub doesn’t prevent me from going after the Bruins or NFL owners. That’s rare. We’re lucky.

As for the how quickly the competition heated up on the radio, I was surprised by it. I thought if we were lucky, that by Year 5 we’d have made it a ball game. Instead, we starting winning in 2010 and were No. 1 in the demo for a year starting in the spring of 2011 (the only sports show to do that since we came on). By this spring, it was actually treated like a failure when we finished third. We also got the simulcast deal in place. All that happened within three years.  So, yes, I was not expecting all that so soon.

BSMW: Why aren’t you on Twitter? Will you ever be on Twitter? Do you think it is good or bad for sports journalism?

MF: Excellent question. Laziness. No other reason. I have nothing against it. It seems like a great tool for news events (like a trade deadline), and as a marketing vehicle, it’s not just the future, it’s the present. So you can add “dumb” to “lazy.”  I should be on there.

BSMW: Where do you see yourself in the coming years? Have you ever considered moving to a national platform?

MF: No one has ever asked me to move to a national platform, so I’ve never really considered it. Basically, if I can do what I’m doing now for the rest of my professional life (on the radio every day in Boston; some TV at night), I would consider myself extremely lucky. In fact, I’m sure they will have to tell me to leave, not the other way around.

Follow me on Twitter at @hannable84. Shoot me an email at ryanhannable@gmail.com.