Down to a Half Game

Many links this morning, most having to do with another disappointing Red Sox loss, but also quite a few on the New England 300 at Loudon yesterday. There is also British Open coverage, and David Scott has a followup on his Scott’s Shots column from Friday.

The Red Sox submitted another dismal outing this weekend as they dropped 3 of 4 to the Yankees, including a 5-3 loss last night. This, coupled with losing 3 of 4 last weekend to the Orioles has all but eliminated their lead in the American League East. They know hold a mere half game advantage over the Yankees and one game over the Orioles. Chris Snow looks at a late Red Sox rally falling short, as Mariano Rivera slammed the door in the ninth. Jeff Horrigan looks at the pitching of Al Leiter and Tim Wakefield last night, Wakefield only allowed 5 hits, but three of them were homers. Steven Krasner also has a look at the late rally falling short for the Red Sox. David Heuschkel and Dom Amore have game stories from each side in the Hartford Courant. David Borges and Lenny Megliola round out the game stories from a disappointing weekend finale at Fenway.

Jackie MacMullan has a column today about the Yankees really putting the heat on the Red Sox this weekend which will result in scoreboard watching for the rest of the season. Tony Massarotti writes that no one can predict what is going to happen with this AL East race. Gordon Edes looks at last minute pickup Al Leiter riding to the rescue for the Yankees, having been picked up off the scrap heap just the day before. Jim Donaldson looks at Leiter coming full circle in less than a day. Mark Bellhorn had to leave the game last night with a thumb injury and if he is out for a while, or continues to struggle as he has, the Red Sox need to consider other options. The popular answer is Dustin Pedroia, however Sean McAdam writes today that a wrist injury and the fact that he is not on the 40 man roster could be factors to would leave the Red Sox looking elsewhere. McAdam points out the interesting news that Hanley Ramirez has been playing at second base the last couple nights. Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald also reports on Ramirez playing second base the last couple nights.

Alex Speier looks at the challenges facing the Red Sox as they attempt to end their most recent slide, which appears to have begun in earnest on July 6th, a most chaotic day. Jon Couture says that this weekend has definitely given cause for concern regarding the Red Sox, but not panic. Amalie Benjamin looks at Alex Cora, who was thrown in to the fire last night with the injury to Mark Bellhorn. Kelsie Smith reports on Johnny Damon extending his hitting streak to 29 games with an eighth inning double last night. Borges also files a report on Damon extending the streak. Edes also reports on the return of Gabe Kapler, who is thrilled to be back in America and with the Red Sox organization. Massarotti also has a brief report on the return of the outfielder.

Kelsie Smith writes about Jason Giambi, who is slowly attempting to return to the form that made him one of the game’s most feared sluggers. Joe Haggerty looks at Al Leiter’s first game in his second stint in a Yankee uniform, one that was most memorable. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that Leiter is getting a chance to complete the circle of his career, as he was drafted by the Yankees and made his major league debut with them back in 1988. Michael Silverman looks at the Yankees winning the battle of the 3-4 sluggers this weekend. Andy Smith in the Eagle Tribune has the first of what will be a two part series. He went to a game this weekend in Yankee garb, and reports on his reception. He will do the opposite later this season, wearing Red Sox gear to Yankee stadium. Get all the perspective from New York on this series and the other news from the world of sports including another dominant outing from Pedro Martinez and Tiger Woods capturing another British Open on the New York Sports Headlines page.

The Devil Rays come to town starting tonight, and this a rivalry that has grown on its own the last several years, with a number of beanball and brushback incidents. Horrigan looks at the two sides set to renew hostilities. There are a couple of pieces in the papers this morning about tonight’s starter for the Red Sox Steve Buckley and Amalie Benjamin each have a look at Wade Miller and his first inning struggles thus far this season.

The notebooks are full of interesting assorted items. Snow’s notebook has Trot Nixon still riled up over earlier incidents with the Devil Rays, and also looks at trade rumors, and reports that Craig Hansen was undergoing medical tests at Mass General yesterday…a physical in preparation for a signing? Horrigan’s notebook looks at the possibility of Dustin Pedroia getting a shot if Mark Bellhorn is to be out for any length of time. The Projo notebook dismisses some trade rumors that were making the rounds yesterday. Heuschkel’s notebook has Kevin Millar denying that he asked for a trade. Borges’ notebook has Bronson Arroyo hoping that the antics with the Devil Rays will be at a minimum this week. Couture’s notebook looks at Bellhorn’s injury, Kapler’s road back to Fenway and a couple other items.

Yesterday was the big day on the New England calendar for NASCAR as the New England 300 took place at New Hampshire International Speedway. Tony Stewart won the race and is his personal tradition, climbed the fences afterward. Michael Vega in the Globe, David Exum in the Herald, Shawn Courchesne in the Hartford Courant and Allen Lessels in the Manchester Union Leader have the race stories from Loudon. Kevin Provencher from the same paper has a notebook of the race. Adam Kilgore looks at the Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle, battling it out behind Stewart on the NHIS track. Exum also has an NHIS notebook. The Globe also has Vega’s notebook from the event. Kilgore also looks at Gibbs Racing having a much needed showing with two of the top three cars. Russ Conway has an extensive feature on how NASCAR lacks a union, but how what they have seems to work out just fine for them.

Rich Thompson and Frank Dell’Apa look at the New England Revolution pulling off a thrilling win last night at Gillette. Trailing 2-1 with a minute to play, Taylor Twellman scored a pair of goals to give the Revs the victory.

Jim McCabe reports on Tiger Woods winning another British Open, capturing the 10th Major Title of his career. Bob Ryan looks at the New Tiger, who made adjustments in his swing and game to capture this title, and will continue to make adjustments throughout his career. McCabe’s notebook looks at Brad Faxon falling apart in the final round.

Bonnie DeSimone reports on the Tour De France, where another American, George Hincapie won stage 15. Lance Armstrong’s overall lead remains secure, however.

David Scott posts a followup to his Friday story on Michael Gee. He explains how the story came together and answers reaction and criticism to the article which has emerged the last few days.

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ESPN has Rangers/Yankees at 8:00. TBS has Braves/Giants at 10:00.

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