By Art Martone
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 Monday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).
THE TRUE SOX-OCTOBER Looks like SpookyWorld got here a little early. (redsox.com)
The lead is down to one (in the loss column) after yesterday's doubleheader split with the Orioles; check here for all the details of the two games. (csnne.com) But the real game being played in Boston is the blame game, and it looks like the winner (loser?) is Theo Epstein. He's been taken to task by:
-- Foxsports.com's Jon Paul Morosi
-- The Providence Journal's Jim Donaldson
-- Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan
(He does have at least one defender -- NBC Sports colleague Craig Calcaterra -- though Craig is also positively cackling at the Sox' collapse.)
Any wonder Joe Castiglione is sounding absolutely morose these days? (baseballmusings.com)
DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY: Meanwhile, in non-SpookyWorld, the Tampa Bay Rays are relaxed and smiling. (Tampa Tribune) You might even call it a lighthearted approach to the pennant race; at least The St. Petersburg Times does. And why? Because they're just as dumbfounded that the Rays are back in it as we are. (St. Petersburg Times)
OLD FRIENDS: Can we now stop with the "They shoulda kept Kevin Millwood!" talk, please? (rotoworld.com) . . . Three walks for Wily Mo Pena? The end really is near. (rotoworld.com)
AND FINALLY . . . The Wall Street Journal is welcoming New England's 10-year-olds, who've known nothing but joy in their short lives as sports fan, to the real world.