First Pitch: Monday, September 19


First Pitch: Monday, September 19

By ArtMartone

Welcome to First Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. For a complete wrapupof Sunday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(

KEEPSMILING: Well, at least DustinPedroia's happy. (

No one else is,though, at least not around here. Not after yesterday's utterlypredictable result ( -- what, you actually thought TimWakefield had a chance to beat David Price? -- sliced the Red Sox'wild-card lead to two games and made the odds of what was once (but itno longer) an unthinkable collapse allthe more real. (ESPN) Historic, even? Youbet. (

Sean McAdamsays the Sox arebeing let down by the players who carried them for much of theseason (, and that's true. What's also trueis that there's plenty of blame to go around, and Lou Merloni throwssome at Terry Francona and Theo Epstein. ( Most disturbing,says Steve Buckley, is that these Sox areflubbing the fundamentals at a time when fundamentals are mostimportant. (BostonHerald)

It's a parallel universe withthe Rays, of course; they saw this weekend as 'abeautiful thing'. (St. Petersburg Times) Now they head to NewYork for the beginning of 7 games in 10 days against the Yankees.What's the best part about that, Johnny Damon?

"RedSox fans are going to have to root for the Yankees," he said, lateradding: "They couldn't root for me when I played for New York. Nowthey have to root for the whole team." (New York DailyNews)

And the hits just keep oncoming.

CANHE WALK THE WALK? The Red Sox close with seven against theOrioles, which gives Buck Showalter achance to back up his preseason trash talk. (ESPN Boston)

OLDFRIENDS: Tough day yesterday for BruceChen and CarlPavano. (both stories On second thought, Pavano'sperformance wasn't that bad; he just lost . . . The Reds aren'ttaking Bronson Arroyo out of the rotation just because he'sin range of the record for allowing the most home runs in aseason (CincinnatiEnquirer) . . . There's been a ChrisCarter sighting! (SanFrancisco Chronicle)

AND FINALLY . . . Sorryabout the year Carl Crawford's had? So'she. (ESPNBoston)

Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'


Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.

"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."

No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .

. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.

Not so.