For the Birds

Just what IS it with Orioles that has granted them mastery over the Red Sox? Whatever it is, it continued last night with a 9-6 Baltimore win at Fenway. Mostly the “B” team on Red Sox coverage today, as the regulars recover from a weekend in the Bronx. Michael Silverman says that if you’re starting to panic, you’ve got plenty of company. Steven Krasner looks at the O’s continued dominance over the Sox. David Heuschkel notes Tim Wakefield was hearing the boos last night and has no answers for his recent struggles. Garry Brown asserts that the Orioles are the sole reason the Red Sox trail the Yankees in the division. Peter May, trying his hand at baseball for the Globe, says the Red Sox lost a chance to regain a game on the Yankees. Paul Teves looks at suspect starting pitching once again getting the Red Sox into an early deficit. Joe Haggerty also has a look at the struggles of Wakefield.

John Powers looks at the troublesome Orioles and the situation the Red Sox find themselves in the standings. Rich Thompson looks at Melvin Mora giving the Orioles a spark on the way to their victory last night. Steve Buckley (subscription only) tells us that Sox fans should give up the notion of winning the division, and instead start to get worried and be afraid of the Minnesota Twins. Jeff Sullivan has a number of mostly baseball related thoughts, including some bitter parting words from Brian Daubach who thought he would get more of a chance here. John Tomase thinks the Red Sox will get things straightened out. Joe McDonald looks at Wakefield’s start suddenly unraveling on him last night. Howard Bryant (subscription only) also looks at the struggles of Wakefield, and says the Red Sox will have a tough choice to make when it comes to the postseason rotation on Wakefield. Bill Reynolds says the Pedro Martinez needs to step it up in the coming weeks and seal his legacy and be the stopper for the Red Sox. Thompson has a piece on Johnny Damon and the work he puts into his defense. Buckley has a brief note on the son of Carl Yastrzemski passing away at the age of 44.

The notebooks look at Orlando Cabrera taking some leave to be with his wife, who is having surgery. May’s notebook also looks at Melvin Mora’s eventful evening. Silverman’s notebook looks at David Ortiz continuing to pile up the extra base hits. Krasner’s notebook has the Sox holding off on any further rosters moves, at least for yesterday. Heuschkel’s notebook has Ellis Burks itching to get activated and chance to play. Brown’s notebook has information on the drawing for playoff tickets. Teves’ notebook has more on the Orioles’ dominance of the Red Sox.

Kevin Mannix’s Patriots report card this week is pretty positive. The lowest grade goes to QB Tom Brady, who Mannix grades out at a C+. Ron Borges is rounding into midseason form. He does manage to contradict himself in the same paragraph quite nicely:

The fact is, this Patriots team is only marginally better than the majority of its opponents. They win because of their execution, their inventiveness, and their unwavering belief in each other. Talent doesn't hurt, either, although there is not much to pick from between them and some of the other elite teams. Talent unrecognized does not mean it's absent. It only means they are a team that, with one or two exceptions, is seldom given credit for its abilities.

Interesting words there. It’s a fact that this team is only marginally better than the majority of the teams they face. Then a sentence later he’s talking about the talent of the team and that it is seldom given credit. Which is it? The rest of the column is spent telling New England football fans that you don’t know football. The coaches aren’t winning these games, it’s the players. Of course after ripping each draft under Belichick, and calling Brady a “system quarterback” you’d think they didn’t have any talent, either. Good stuff. Ron needs a hug, clearly.

Yet another example of horrific headline writing is in the Herald. Karen Guregian’s piece today is titled: Belichick fillets Tuna: Powerful coach can rip Parcells. Grabs your attention, doesn’t it? Yet the article is regarding quotes from two years ago that were included in the new Michael Holley book, Patriot Reign. There’s nothing new there. Belichick doesn’t exactly “rip” and “fillet” Parcells, either, just confirming the phone records from the week of the New England/Green Bay Superbowl. Tom Curran looks at some of the little things that the Patriots do to get an edge. Alan Greenberg looks at what the Patriots will have to work on during the bye week. We’ve heard a lot about the rotation of the offensive line. Mike Reiss does the work and actually tells what the rotation was, drive by drive. Hector Longo reviews the action from Sunday and after looking at Corey Dillon wonders if Rosevelt Colvin will ever physically make it all the way back. He’s one year removed from a broken hip. Most doubted he’d even be on the field at this time. Give the guy some credit.

George Kimball (subscription only) has a couple leftover thoughts on the Patriots. He rehashes the amount of Patriots fans at the game, making it almost a home game for New England and looks at the struggles of the Cardinals offense, and area Dennis Green was supposed to vamp up. Shalise Manza Young looks at the number of penalties on the Patriots, a number unacceptable to Bill Belichick. Frank Dell’Apa’s notebook also looks at the sloppiness that needs to be addressed. Guregian’s notebook also looks at the penalties. Young’s notebook looks at what’s ahead for the bye week. Reiss’ notebook says there is nothing to update on the injury to Deion Branch.

Bill Griffith looks at the weekend numbers and other sports media news and notes.

NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00.