First Pitch: Tuesday, September 20


First Pitch: Tuesday, September 20

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(

THE TRUE SOX-OCTOBER Looks like SpookyWorld got here a little early. (

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. ( 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:

--'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? (

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? ( . . . Three walks for Wily Mo Pena? The end really is near. (

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.