Excruciating. I think that’s the only word to describe the experience Red Sox fans have had watching the first two games of the series. Watching the Yankee hitters constantly on base, constantly working the count on the Red Sox pitchers, while the Yankee starters seem to effortlessly breeze through the vaunted Red Sox lineup, inducing weak popups and grounders. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. But it is how it is, and the Red Sox now face a must-win tomorrow night at Fenway. From last night, game stories are as follows: Bob Hohler looks at a game Pedro Martinez who was still outdueled by Jon Lieber, who might’ve pitched the game of his life on the biggest stage. Jeff Horrigan says the bats once again let Pedro down in the Bronx. Steven Krasner looks at another rough night for Pedro against the Yankees. Don Amore looks at the contrast in efforts last night for the starting pitchers. Jon Couture says Pedro was once again a victim of no run support. David Borges looks at the Yankees beating both Red Sox aces. Dan Shaughnessy has his game story from the front page of the Globe.
Jackie MacMullan says that this loss can’t be blamed on Pedro, who delivered a big performance, but didn’t get any support. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox wasted a quality outing from Martinez. Bill Reynolds wonders why the Yankees have the postseason mastery over not only Pedro, but all the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti looks at Pedro’s teammates once again being silenced at the plate, leaving him almost alone out there on the field. Ron Chimelis looks at the night for Pedro as well. Lenny Megliola and Howard Bryant look at the Yankees beating down the 1-2 punch of Schilling and Martinez for the Red Sox. Bob Ryan writes that the Yankees are showing that they are the ones that have the aces.
Curt Schilling’s ankle is of course, a huge story for this series. Bob Hohler says that a dislocated tendon has him questionable for the rest of the postseason. Steven Krasner, David Borges and David Heuschkel also have injury reports on the Sox ace. Alex Speier looks at the injury and has the Red Sox bravely asserting that they can win the series without Schilling if they have to. Steve Britt says that the injury to Schilling changes everything for the Sox. Tony Massarotti looks at just how devastating this event is for the Red Sox. Sean McAdam looks at the options the Sox have to contemplate as they make a new plan. Steve Buckley writes that Theo Epstein and the Red Sox brain-trust have a difficult decision to make here, as they don’t want Schilling to turn into another Dizzy Dean. Lenny Megliola looks at the Sox options without their “difference maker”. Raja Mishra in the Globe reports that the only hope for a complete recovery from this injury is surgery. Bob Ryan says that it always seems like there is something that comes up to derail the Red Sox postseason run.
Derek Lowe is ready to go for game five if needed for the Red Sox. Or is he? Steven Krasner says Lowe would be the obvious choice to step in and pitch in Schilling’s place for game 5, but the headline of Stephen Harris’ article would have you believe that Lowe isn’t counting on getting the nod to start a game in this series. Kevin Paul Dupont’s headline says that Lowe is ready to contribute in any role, though you’d be hard pressed to find him saying that in the article. The only thing Lowe says is that it kills him not to contribute. David Heuschkel says Lowe would need to know today if he was going to start on Sunday so that he could begin to prepare for it.
Now, onto the Red Sox offensive woes. Sean McAdam says the problems start right at the top of the order, where Johnny Damon and Mark Bellhorn are a combined 1-16 thus far. Paul Doyle looks at Damon’s struggles at the top of the order. Stephen Harris and Kevin Paul Dupont also look at the slumping Damon. Steve Buckley says that this “lack of hitting thing” is the reason the Red Sox are in an 0-2 hole for the series. Alex Speier says that the dynamic duo of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz hopes to revive the Red Sox offense. David Heuschkel notes that there is no panic in the Red Sox clubhouse just yet, as they prepare to go back to Fenway. Buddy Thomas says this is a huge series, but looks ahead the free agent market over the winter. Tom Yantz keeps vigil in Boston, noting that the Boston police will tolerate no tomfoolery around Fenway. The Globe has an excerpt from the book “The Rivals“.
Hohler’s notebook has Pedro volunteering to come back on short rest if needed. The Projo notebook also has Pedro being willing to pitch in. Britt’s notebook looks at the pitching matchup for tomorrow night. Chimelis’ notebook looks at the silenced bats for the Red Sox. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the possibility of rain tomorrow night.
Karen Guregian looks at Jon Lieber’s sterling performance last night. Joe McDonald says with all the stars on the Yankees, a couple of castoffs in Lieber and John Olerud ended up being the difference. Jack O’Connell also looks at Olerud getting a chance to finish on top. John Powers also writes about Olerud. Peter May has a piece on Mariano Rivera, who had a slightly less complicated day yesterday then on Tuesday. Steve Conroy looks at which version of Kevin Brown is going to show up at Fenway tomorrow night. McDonald also has a piece on Hideki Matsui. Steven Krasner looks at the Yankees getting aggressive right out of the chute last night. Power’s notebook says El Duque may get the start for game four. Guregian’s notebook has the Yankees shedding no tears over Schilling’s injury as they’ve had their own rotation issues. McDonald’s notebook looks at Brown’s start tomorrow night.
It was a relatively tame night for the Fox broadcast crew. Other than Tim McCarver saying “Mariano Rivera was brought in because of his lifetime success against Rivera” and their obsession with why Jason Varitek and Pedro were changing signs and huddling up so much in the first inning. Perhaps they were trying to get out of a jam? They also didn’t seem to grasp the concept that when Varitek went out, they probably were calling the next few pitches, so that Varitek didn’t have to lay down more signs – Pedro could just throw it up there and Varitek would know what was coming. Oh yeah, and if I have to hear one more time how hard Gary Sheffield swings, I’m losin’ it. They say it even when he fouls one back. Big deal. I could get in the box and take a terrific hack. I’d be way off, but I could swing hard.
If you wish to retain your sanity, (What you have left of it.) I would highly recommend staying away from sports radio or any of the “sports radio TV” programs out there for today and tomorrow. Trust me. You’ll thank me for it. Listen to some music. Go to a movie. I hear “Friday Night Lights” is pretty good…
The Seahawks come into Foxboro on Sunday, and promise to be a little more formidable than the competition the last three weeks. Michael Felger looks at the Bill Belichick/Mike Holmgren matchup, and indicates that this may not be a friendly rivalry between the two coaches. Holmgren openly admits that his participation on the competition committee and their effort to emphasize the illegal contact rule was aimed directly at the Patriots. Tom E Curran says that Belichick’s praise of his opponent just may have merit this week, as the Seahawks are a deep, talented team. Michael Parente terms the Seattle defense “scary” and says that they will pose a big challenge to the Patriot offense. Mike Reiss looks at Seattle quarterback (and former Patriots ballboy) Matt Hasselbeck. Cafardo’s notebook leads with more on Hasselbeck. Reiss’ notebook has Richard Seymour looking forward to the challenge of the Seahawks.
Bethel Johnson seems to have a lot to learn still, as the second year receiver spoke out yesterday about his benching last week against the Dolphins. Nick Cafardo has Johnson saying that benchings will not serve to motivate him. Mike Reiss says that comments like that might only serve to keep Johnson on the bench even longer. Alan Greenberg has a pretty extensive article on Johnson, and how his development has perhaps been slower than expected at times. Chris Kennedy and Christopher Price have more on Johnson. Funny how the headlines differ on those last two articles. Kennedy’s piece says Johnson is “unrepentant”, while Price’s says he “appears contrite”. Curran’s notebook also leads with Johnson, as does Felger’s notebook.
Shira Springer reports on the Celtics preseason loss to the Pistons in Detroit last night. The Celtics appeared to have the game in hand, but the youngsters on the floor at the end couldn’t hit their free throws and allowed the Pistons to pull out the win. Steve Bulpett talks with Mark Blount, who has bought in to the new regime, likes what he sees so far, and hopes the running game continues through the entire season. Bulpett’s notebook has more on the game last night.
Fox has Astros/Cardinals at 8:00. ESPN has Louisville/Miami college football at 7:30. NESN will have SportsPlus at 7:00 with Ron Borges and Tim Fox joining Tom Caron to preview the Patriots-Seahawks game. Then at 7:30, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy look back at Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS and look ahead to the weekend games at Fenway. Then there will be a two edition of Sox Talk Live starting at 8:00. ESPN Classic is running Red Sox and Yankees programming pretty much throughout the day. Shira Springer will be on CN8 SportsPulse at 10:00 to talk about the first two preseason games for the Celtics.