Relief

The bullpen did the job for the Sox last night, enabling them to hold on and beat the Blue Jays 5-4 at SkyDome. Jeff Horrigan looks at the efforts of the relievers and catcher Doug Mirabelli in the victory. Steven Krasner says that even though Tim Wakefield got the “W” and Keith Foulke the “S”, it was Mike Timlin that made both possible. David Heuschkel also looks at efforts of Timlin, Mirabelli and Ramiro Mendoza. David Borges and Kevin Paul Dupont round out the game stories. Gordon Edes looks at the Sox picking up another one-run victory, something that has been a rare occurrence this season, and it was helped in part by Ramiro Mendoza bridging the gap between Timlin and Foulke. Michael Silverman also has a look at the job done by Timlin.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) asserts this morning that the Red Sox should begin negotiations with Pedro Martinez now, even during a playoff chase. He says that if Pedro hits the open market, he’s going to get an offer from someone else (Yankees, Mets, Orioles, Angels) that he can’t refuse. But Bryant also warns against spending foolishly as the Yankees have done with Jason Giambi. He ends the section by saying the Sox can’t afford to let Pedro hit the market. Later in the column he wants to set something straight for all who can’t figure out “games over .500″:

It is inconvenient, yes, but could we once and for all cease with calling teams x-amount of games over .500? A team that is 24-16 is not eight games over .500, but actually has eight more wins than losses. After 40 games, the .500 mark would be 20-20, which means to be eight games over, a club would have to be 28-12. End of sermon.

I hope the on-air media brethren take notice of that. Christopher Young remembers the good ol’ days when the Yankees were laughingstocks. Michael Silverman has a look at Curtis Leskanic, ready to take a larger load down the stretch. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Pedro passing a Sandy Koufax mark on Monday night. Edes’ notebook has Doug Mientkiewicz recalling his Olympic experience. Krasner’s notebook has more on Leskanic. Heuschkel’s notebook has some good news on the knee of Ellis Burks. Borges’ notebook has more on Mike Timlin’s outing.

Michael Parente says that just because Saturday night was a preseason game doesn’t mean that the things that happened on the field were meaningless. Dan Shaughnessy lists out how the beating in Cincinnati was a good thing for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. He also says:

These world champion Patriots have taught us a new way of thinking about a local pro sports team. The competence and success of the Patriots has produced a fan base that expects good things to happen -- no small accomplishment in a region famous for another team with a nation of fans who've been trained to see a dark cloud on every horizon.

Ironic words from a guy who, as reader Kevin says, wrote the training manual on viewing the dark cloud. Michael Felger has the Patriots putting on pads and hitting each other in an effort to improve the run defense. Chris Kennedy also looks at the Patriots addressing their defensive issues. Shalise Manza Young has more on the Patriots getting back to business this week.

Adam Kilgore has an encouraging look at Rosevelt Colvin, who is back on the field and continuing to progress from his devastating injury of last year. Alan Greenberg looks at the release of fullback Fred McCrary, with comments from his former teammate on the Chargers, Rodney Harrison. Yesterday, Glen Farley said that the results thus far in the preseason have not all been encouraging for the Patriots. Sam Farmer of the LA Times had a look at Tom Brady. Felger’s notebook looks at the injury to rookie safety Guss Scott, which will cost him the season. Kilgore’s notebook also looks at the injury to Scott. Young’s notebook looks at the release of McCrary, who could be back at some point if he doesn’t hook on elsewhere. Kennedy’s notebook has more on McCrary.

Jonathan Comey looks at the new video game debate…Madden vs ESPN.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN2 has Yankees/Indians at 7:00 and Orioles/A’s at 10:00. CN8’s Sports Pulse will have Shira Springer on at 10:00. Dan Shaughnessy and Nick Cafardo, along with John Valentin, will be on NESN’s SportsPlus and will discuss this week’s Jimmy Fund Radiothon at 11:00.