Wakeup Call: Is Dempster falling into the Red Sox' lap?

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Wakeup Call: Is Dempster falling into the Red Sox' lap?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, December 6.

BASEBALL
Ryan Dempster to the Red Sox might be becoming more plausible, as, one by one, other suitors -- the Royals, the Cubs -- are dropping by the wayside. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The door appears to be closing for Cody Ross in Boston, and it doesn't look like it will open for him in San Francisco, either. (CSN Bay Area)

And it doesn't look like Brian Wilson wants to walk through a door that the Giants say they've left open for him. (CSN Bay Area)

Will the Winter Meetings end with a bang? If the four-team blockbuster involving the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Indians gets completed, they will. (Hardball Talk)

Michael Bourn would seem to be a natural fit for the Phillies, but apparently they're not interested. (CSN Philly)

Michael Young, however . . . now that's a different story. (Hardball Talk)

Nick Swisher doesn't appear to be in the Orioles' future, but they say that's their choice, not his. (CSN Baltimore)

Will there be a Lance BerkmanAstros reunion? (CSN Houston)

In moves that were made, it's Eric Chavez to the Diamondbacks, Jeff Keppinger to the White Sox and Joe Blanton to the Angels. (AP)

And old friend Jason Bay to the Mariners. (AP)

Derek Jeter, recovering from his broken ankle, insists he'll be ready for Opening Day. But not Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner, who cut a tendon in his right thumb during a hunting accident and won't be able to throw for about three months. (AP)

More and more writers -- i.e., Hall of Fame voters -- are softening when it comes keeping PED users out of the Hall. But not the Hall of Famers themselves: They want the cheaters barred. (AP)

It's not bad enough Scott Boras dictates where players go; now he wants to do the same thing with teams. (CSN Bay Area)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Rutgers isn't leaving the Big East quietly. (AP)

So after last night, the question is: Just how good is Florida? (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

A Utah State player who collapsed at practice is improving. (AP)

The Notre Dame women still didn't beat Baylor, but coach Muffet McGraw is happy that her team is getting closer. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Louisville's Charlie Strong says thanks, but no thanks, to Tennessee. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Not only won't Bret Bielema coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, but he's already referring to the Badgers as "they". (AP)

Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes is replacing Jeff Tedford at Cal. (AP)

When he gets there, Keenan Allen will be gone. (AP)

Not so fast with that Butch Jones-to-Colorado talk . . . though it sure sounds like it's going to happen. (AP)

Manti Te'o of Notre Dame may have beaten out Alabama's Barrett Jones, Georgia's Jarvis Jones and South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney for the Lombardi Award as college football's best lineman or linebacker, but he says he's still "a big fan of their highlights". (AP)

HOCKEY
You've got to figure negotiations are moving along when discussions are described as "very candid". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

And they'll continue today. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Shades of Red Barber and Ned Martin: When Houston's upset of L.A. was complete Tuesday night, the Rockets' radio play-by-play guy announced it to the world by screaming: "The Lakers have just pooped their big-boy pants!!!" (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Their big-boy pants back on, the Lakers rebounded Wednesday by beating the soon-to-be Pelicans on a night when Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in history to reach the 30,000-point plateau. (AP)

No word yet on when Kevin McHale will return to the Rockets, though he's following the team from afar. (CSN Houston)

No 'Melo? No problem: J.R. Smith drains the game-winner at the buzzer as the Knicks win again. (AP)

If this is how Al Jefferson plays with back spasms -- 31 points, 15 rebounds -- where do we go to get back spasms? (AP)

Allen Iverson ought to practice handling money. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Latest from the flopping front: Gerald Wallace is fined and Chauncey Billups is warned. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
Yeah, yeah. The Falcons are 11-1, the Panthers are 3-9. Even so, Carolina's Greg Hardy says he just knows his team is better than Atlanta. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Don't invite Joe Thomas and Peyton Hillis to the same dinner party. (AP)

Mark Sanchez' banishment didn't last long. (AP)

Take it from TB12, RGIII; you don't want this guy hitting you. (CSN Baltimore)

But will he have Terrell Suggs hitting him? Looks like that'll be a game-time decision. (AP)

A source insists that the Cardinals' Darnell Dockett spit in the face of teammate Kerry Rhodes during an on-field argument Sunday. Well, none of the principles will admit the spitting occured, but Dockett has publicly apologized to Rhodes . . . for something. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Arizona's eight-game losing streak has prompted coach Ken Whisenhunt to give the starting quarterback job back to John Skelton. (AP)

Plenty of mystery surrounding Percy Harvin's placement on I.R. (AP)

Ryan Grant returned to a standing ovation from the Packers. (AP)

Brandon Browner's giving up his appeal and will serve his four-game suspension for PED use. (AP)

The NFL is ordering mandatory counseling for Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and Gary Gibbs, who witnessed Jovan Belcher's suicide last Saturday morning. (Pro Football Talk)

First impressions from Red Sox 10-9 loss to Blue Jays: Big trouble for bullpen

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First impressions from Red Sox 10-9 loss to Blue Jays: Big trouble for bullpen

BOSTON -- First impressions of the Red Sox' 10-9 loss to Toronto:
 
Rick Porcello was back in top form.

Despite the matchup at the Rogers Center being less than favorable for Porcello, and the righty not at his best of late, he held a streaking, dangerous offense at bay for 6 2/3 innings (four runs, seven hits) before the bullpen coughed up two leads. 

While Porcello hasn’t performed poorly of late, there’s no question he hasn’t been at his best -- so it’s good to see him have a consistent feel for his pitches.

The bullpen might be in trouble Sunday.

With Junichi Tazawa struggling, Craig Kimbrel throwing a season high 39 pitches and Matt Barnes pitching in both games this series, the bullpen won’t be at it’s best for the final game in Toronto. So, if there were ever a time for David Price to throw like a true ace, Sunday would be it.

Tommy Layne proves again that he’s not trustworthy.

With a four-run lead, and only needing to get two batters out, Layne couldn't get an out in the eighth, allowing two runs on two hits and starting something not even Kimbrel (who gave up leads in the eighth and ninth after being called on for a five-out save) could stop. The lefty specialist may have entered the game with an ERA below 3.00, but his results are inconsistent.
 
Umpire Mike DiMuro’s injury changed the tone of the game.

The home plate umpire took a hard foul ball off the center of the mask, delaying the game for several minutes and forcing Brian Gorman to call the game behind the plate.

And with that came an inconsistent strike zone. Both sides were frustrated by his inconsistency with his zone. Porcello had two pitches stopped due to late timeout calls. Marcus Stroman was almost allowed to quick pitch Hanley Ramirez twice in the same at-bat.

The crew got it right removing DiMuro from the game, but Gorman was bad in relief.
 
David Ortiz getting doubled up in the fourth inning can’t happen.

Darwin Barney showed some range, getting to Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s soft line drive up the middle, flipping the ball to second quickly after to get Ortiz. This comes a night after Hanley Ramirez got double up off a screaming line drive.

There’s a difference between the two though. Ramirez had no time to react. Ortiz had all the time in the world. Even though Papi’s speed hasn’t become enhanced in his old age -- unlike his power -- that was a rally-killing play he could’ve prevented.
 
Don’t sleep on Dustin Pedroia.

Between Ortiz’s farewell tour and the youth rising, Dustin Pedroia continues to perform well under the radar.

He went 2-for-4, lacing two doubles off Toronto’s ace, Marcus Stroman. Pedroia is hitting .309. He’s not the only player being overlooked, but he’s definitely received the least amount of attention in Boston’s power-packed lineup.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

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Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.