All Star Break

The Red Sox hit the midpoint of the season on a down note, while waiting for Curt Schilling to come riding out of the bullpen later this week. The Celtics continue to generate interest with their summer league team and offseason moves. There are a couple other items of interest as we hit the three slowest days in sports.

The Red Sox limped into the All Star break losing the Baltimore Orioles yesterday afternoon 4-1 after again being dominated by Rodrigo Lopez. The loss meant that the Sox dropped three out of four games in Baltimore over the weekend, and instead of inflicting a deathblow to the division hopes of the Orioles, Baltimore now sits a mere two games behind the Red Sox in the standings. Gordon Edes and Jeff Horrigan go the positive route to open their game stories, pointing out that had you known that Curt Schilling would have only one win thus far this season, would you have though the club would be in first place at the All Star break. Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox offense coming to a grinding halt this weekend against the Orioles, who were struggling coming into this series. David Heuschkel points out that the Red Sox are 6-7 since Kevin Millar’s proclamation of “We’re going to the Series, boys” back in Philadelphia two weeks ago. David Borges looks at Lopez once again inexplicably dominating the Red Sox after struggling against most everyone else in the league.

Curt Schilling made back-to-back performances out of the bullpen for the Pawtucket Red Sox over the weekend, and said that he hopes to be ready to go for the second half of the season. Chris Snow has a report on who only needed 7 pitches to complete an inning Saturday and 16 pitches in his inning of work on Sunday. He also learned more about how long he needs to warm up. Jeff Horrigan says that pitching on consecutive days was the final test for Schilling. Bob Snow says that Schilling will be ready to pitch when that bullpen phone rings next week.

Tony Massarotti files a first half report card, giving manager Terry Francona an “A” for how he has handled all that he has had to deal with in the first half of the season. Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox offense going AWOL over the weekend in Baltimore. Jon Couture revisits his preseason predictions. Bill Reynolds predicts that that Red Sox will win the division, not because they’re so good, but because he doesn’t think Baltimore or New York is capable of doing it. Howard Bryant has a tiny bit on Tim Wakefield’s outing yesterday. Amalie Benjamin looks at the Orioles getting back on track, thanks to the Red Sox this weekend.

Bob Hohler has a mini-feature on Johnny Damon and how he embraces and thrives under the spotlight of Boston. Hohler talks to former GM Dan Duquette, who signed Damon in 2001, as well as to Damon’s brother and wife. Howard Bryant (Subscription only) has a shorter article on Damon, who extended his hitting streak to 25 games yesterday. Bryant says that the plate isn’t the area where Damon is hot.

He's upset at being swallowed whole by the Boston media machine when his commentary about Curt Schilling moving into a relief role created a firestorm. He did not think he said anything controversial. Who wouldn't be surprised that the ace pitcher of a championship team is moving to the bullpen? He is particularly angry at the unchecked nature of talk radio, but is savvy enough to know it is a battle he cannot win.

Bryant finishes off the column by re-visiting Damon’s contract situation and whether he is going to stay in a place that has made him a celebrity, or simply take the most money somewhere else. Amalie Benjamin writes about David Ortiz, who does not hide, on or off the field. He talks about losing his mother in a car crash in 2002 and how that affecting his life from that point on. Joe Haggerty looks at praise for Jason Varitek, and his ability to block the plate.

Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times magazine ran a feature by J.R. Moehringer on former Red Sox team Physician Doctor Bill Morgan and how he was relieved of his duties during last off season, and he claims to still not fully understand the reasons for it. The article is one-sided, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Edes’ notebook looks at Johnny Damon taking note of the extension that Mark Kotsay received from the A’s over the weekend. McAdam’s notebook looks at Damon extending his hitting streak with a bunt single in the ninth inning yesterday. Heuschkel’s notebook has David Wells making more unfortunate comments supporting Kenny Rogers. Borges’ notebook looks at Bronson Arroyo’s busy schedule for the All Star Break. Horrigan’s notebook says that Arroyo will lead off the second half of the season for the Red Sox, taking the hill against the Yankees on Thursday night.

Steve Bulpett looks at Taylor Coppenrath making an impressive showing for the Celtics summer league squad, increasing his chances of landing a job in the NBA rather than Europe. Still, the 6-9 forward from Vermont is realistic about the possibility that he may have to go overseas to get his chance. Tim Weisberg has a column on the Celtics that puts any Sunday notes from Peter May to shame. He looks at the performance of the summer league squad, possible destinations for Antoine Walker, the logic behind the signing of Brian Scalabrine, as well as point guard options for the Celtics. Emma Stickgold has the obituary in the Globe for Edward G. Gillooly Jr, who covered the Celtics for the Herald for nearly 30 years. Bulpett’s notebook looks at a member of the C’s summer league entry leaving for an overseas deal.

It may be Groundhog Day on sports radio this week. As the WEEI regulars filter back in from their vacations last week, be prepared, as is the regular custom on that station, for each host to “revisit” any controversies that happened in their absence, and weigh in on these subjects. This allows them to be able to drop their personal pearls of wisdom upon us, which we might’ve missed in their absence.

Don Aucoin has a feature in the Globe on a 12 year old who runs a popular sports blog and has made a name for himself as a caller to the “Sports Bloggers Live” internet radio program. The kid has his opinions, and obviously quite a lot of sports knowledge. A neat story, though I’m curious as to how this all came to the attention of the Globe. The kid’s “popular” blog has had under 6700 hits since it was started in February, and I’m willing to bet many of these came since this article was published. As for Sports Bloggers Live, I’ll have to check them out a little more, as I had not heard of the site.

Pedro Martinez notched his 10th win of the season for the Mets, and the Yankees won as well to pull to within 2.5 games of the Red Sox. Check those and the other stories from New York at the New York Sports Headlines page.

Bonnie DeSimone looks at Lance Armstrong giving up the Tour De France lead, partly by design.

ESPN has the Century 21 Home Run Derby at 8:00.