Wakeup Call: No gain, plenty of pain for 'Skins and RGIII

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Wakeup Call: No gain, plenty of pain for 'Skins and RGIII

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, January 8:

BASEBALL
The Rocket's rehabilitation continues. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

It's finally official (or will be once he passes his physical): Lance Berkman's a Ranger. (AP)

The D Train is pulling -- or is that limping? -- into Chicago. (AP)

Jose Lopez' long, steady decline from 2006 All-Star to 2012 minor-leaguer is now taking him to Japan. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
At least Notre Dame won something last night. (AP) See below for sadder details.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
No controversy over the national champion this time, is there? (AP)

Eddie Lacy may leave Alabama for the NFL; he'll decide in the next few weeks. If he goes, we'll all remember his last game as a member of the Crimson Tide as a doozy. (AP)

There's a new Bear in Alabama, and his name is Nick. (nbcsports.com)

Barrett Jones played the game despite torn ligaments in his left foot (AP), though he was healthy to shove his own quarterback when they had an argument after being unable to get a play off on time.

There were lessons to be learned from last night's blowout; here are five of them. (NBC's Inside The Irish)

Another lesson -- as Manti Te'o goes, so goes Notre Dame -- was painfully evident, as well. (CSN Chicago)

And adding injury to insult . . . (CSN Chicago)

If you answered "everything" to this question, you were probably in the ballpark. (NBC's College Football Talk)

But the Irish say they're here to stay, and they certainly seem to be building the foundation of a program that can consistently compete for the national championship. (CSN Chicago)

Bill O'Brien "can't think of a better place to be" than Penn State. (AP)

Stanford's losing two of its tight ends. (AP)

GOLF
Underway at last! (AP)

HOCKEY
And now the fence-mending begins. Good luck, boys. You'll need it. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

When all is said and done, it looks like it'll be a 48-game schedule. (AP)

The Blackhawks don't agree with Kevin Paul Dupont. (CSN Chicago) In case you're wondering what the Dupes reference is all about, click here. (CSN New England)

Once they finally get back on the ice, Vegas says the Penguins are the team to beat. (CSN Washington)

But the Devils hope that what happened once, will happen again. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
I know we all hate the Lakers up here, but after a while you have to start feeling sorry for them, don't you? No? (AP)

On any give Sunday (or Monday) . . . (AP)

Attention, Mark Cuban: Dirk Nowitzki's not crazy about your team-building strategies. (NBC's Pro Basketball)

And the Bucks aren't crazy about Scott Skiles' coaching. (AP)

Sixers, meet Andrew Bynum. Andrew Bynum, meet . . . (CSN Philly)

PRO FOOTBALL
To quote Archie Bunker on RGIII's knee: It don't look, eh, whaddya call, good. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And to quote Ricky Ricardo, Mike Shanahan's got some 'splainin' to do. (CSN Washington)

Guess there were no postgame tea and crumpets for the Redskins and Seahawks. (Pro Football Talk)

Nor for Bernard Pollard and a member of the Colts' coaching staff. (CSN Baltimore)

Speaking of the Seahawks, their worst fears were confirmed when Chris Clemons was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. (AP)

Maybe it's me, but counting on Billy Cundiff to save the day doesn't seem like an optimal strategy. (CSN Bay Area)

Don't expect to see Willis McGahee on the field Saturday when the Broncos play the Ravens. The AFC Championship Game, now that's another story. (AP)

The latest name on the Eagles' checklist: Jay Gruden. (CSN Philly)

The Bears apparently hope that what the 49ers felt about Mike Singletary -- can't win with 'im; can't do it -- isn't true. (CSN Bay Area)

Bruce Arians is out of a Baltimore hospital and back in Indianapolis, though no one's saying what's wrong with him. (AP)

Old friend Matt Cavanaugh -- remember his days as the Patriots' backup QB, way back when? -- is out of a job, another victim of the SanchezTebow madness. (AP)

TENNIS
Australian Open officials, apparently feeling that past actions are the best indicator of future performance, make Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka the top seeds. (AP)

Somewhere in the world, it's "too hot to play tennis". (AP)

Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

Three Things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

1) It only seems like David Ortiz can come through every time.

When Ortiz comes to the plate as he did Friday night -- bases loaded, no out, bottom of the ninth, Red Sox trailing by a run -- it seems like a win is a fait accompli.

"I think everybody in the ballpark just assumed this one might have a chance to be ended right there,'' said John Farrell. "He's been so big for us that everybody in the dugout felt the same way -- confident that the stage was set for him to come through with another dramatic moment.''

Instead, Ortiz rolled over a ground ball to second, and with the Twins infield drawn in, it was enough to turn a 4-2-3 double play that took the starch out of the inning for the Sox.

If anything, though, the inning revealed how remarkable Ortiz has been so often. It's not easy to come through even most times, and it's certainly far from automatic.

"The pitcher (closer Brandon Kintzler) made good pitches,'' said Ortiz. "That's the name of the game. I'm always looking forward to something happening. It just doesn't work out all the time.''

2) Eduardo Rodriguez has his slider back.

When Rodriguez endured a rough stretch in late May and June, he seemed to all but abandon his slider, relying almost exclusively on his two-seam fastball and changeup.

But since returning from a stint in Pawtucket, Rodriguez has flashed the slider that made him so effective as a rookie last season.

"Since he's come back,'' said Farrell, "he's added much more depth. He's able to get to the back foot of some righthanders for some swing-and-miss. He was on the plate with three quality pitches for strikes tonight.''

"I feel like I can locate it better, where I want it,'' confirmed Rodriguez. "Outside, inside corner...I'm getting more confident in it. I think I got out of my mind the tipping (pitches) stuff and all that stuff and I'm just working to throw the ball right where I want it.''

It's almost impossible for a starter in the big leagues to survive with just two pitches, as Rodriguez was attempting to do earlier this season. And it seems foolish to even try, given that Rodriguez's slider can be a plus-pitch for him at times.

3) If Mookie Betts has to miss some time, the Red Sox have options in right field.

Farrell said Betts has been dealing with soreness and stiffness in his right knee since after the All-Star break and has been undergoing treatment.

There's no evidence that this is serious, and he's considered day-to-day. But even if Betts needs some time off, or in a worse-case scenario, has to go on the DL, the Sox can do some things with their outfield.

Michael Martinez's best outfield position is right, as he demonstrated Friday night after taking over for Betts in the top of the fifth. Martinez ran a long way to grab a ball in foul territory for the final out in the sixth, then turned in a fine, tumbling catch in the eighth to take extra bases away from Adam Grossman.

Bryce Brentz, who's been in a platoon of sorts in left with Brock Holt, has played a lot of right field in the minors and has the arm strength to play there.

Finally, there's the matter of Andrew Benintendi. The Sox raised some eyebrows with the news that they were having Benintendi move over to left field at Double A Portland, perhaps in anticipation of playing the position for Boston at some point later this year.

Benintendi is a natural center fielder and even though he doesn't much experience in right, if you're athletic enough to play center, you can usually move to either corner spot.

Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

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Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Twins

Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Boston Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

QUOTES:

"I think everybody in the ballpark just assumed this one had a chance to be ended right there.'' - John Farrell on David Ortiz's at-bat with no out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning.

"I feel like I can locate it better - outside, inside corner -- so it's given me more confidence.'' - Eduardo Rodriguez on the improvement with his slider.

"I always look forward to something (good) happening; it just doesn't work out all the time.'' - David Ortiz on his ninth-inning at-bat.

NOTES:

* The Red Sox saw a seven-game winning streak at Fenway -- their longest of the season -- snapped.

* Boston has homered in 13 consecutive games.

* The Red Sox bullpen has posted a 1.17 ERA since July 6.

* Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox hitter to hit 20 homers in a season before he turns 24 since Nomar Garciaparra.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 30 straight games.

* The eight strikeouts posted by Eduardo Rodriguez were a season high and one shy of his career high.

* The loss was only the 15th this season in games in which the Red Sox score first.

* Rodriguez has not allowed an opposing baserunner to steal a base since July 5, 2015.

STARS:

1) Kyle Gibson

Don't let the 5.12 ERA he had coming in fool you. Gibson worked out a little jam in the first, then completely shut the Red Sox down the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and one walk after the first.

2) Brian Dozier

Dozier homered in the second to tie the game, singled in the fourth, walked in the sixth and singled again in the eighth -- reaching base in all four plate appearances.

3) Miguel Sano

Sano invited trouble when he dropped a routine pop-up to allow the Red Sox to put the potential tying run on base in the eighth. But he had three base hits on the night, including a run-scoring double that put the Twins ahead to stay in the sixth.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam