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(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).
KEEPSMILING: Well, at least DustinPedroia's happy. (csnne.com)
No one else is,though, at least not around here. Not after yesterday's utterlypredictable result (csnne.com) -- 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. (grantland.com)
Sean McAdamsays the Sox arebeing let down by the players who carried them for much of theseason (csnne.com), 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. (csnne.com) 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 rotoworld.com) 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)