Welcome to Second Place

The Red Sox stay in first place is over. Leading the Devil Rays 4-2 in the bottom of the eight, with Tim Wakefield having allowed only two runs to that point, Wake put a couple guys on base in that inning, and Terry Francona summoned Mike Timlin from the bullpen. Before the smoke cleared, Tampa had put five runs on the board to go ahead 7-4. Jeff Horrigan says that the team may not enjoy the day off today as much as they had planned and looked forward to it. Sean McAdam recaps a devastating loss for the local nine, noting that once again Timlin allowed the inherited runners to score, a trait that has been there all season. Chris Snow examines the late collapse and how the Red Sox find themselves looking up at the Yankees in the standings today. David Heuschkel chronicles “arguably the worst loss of the season by the Red Sox.” David Borges notes that there were no ‘Cowboy up” like proclamations after this one, even from Kevin Millar, however, there was no panic, either.

Tony Massarotti says that if the Red Sox fail in the end, it is because they lack the pitching, even if they have the heart. Gordon Edes looks at Mike Timlin, who is undoubtedly tired right now, but the Red Sox keep turning to him because they really don’t have any other options at this point. I’ll admit, there’s a small, talk-show-caller part of me that’s screaming “Play the Kids!” (specifically Hansen or Papelbon) in that situation last night. I said a small part. The rest of me realizes it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Bill Reynolds looks at how the Red Sox and Yankees have both been relying on newcomers and no-names down the stretch drive this season. Horrigan looks at Johnny Damon sitting out last night after receiving another cortisone shot in his shoulder. Edes also writes that the Red Sox are very lucky to have Alex Cora as an infield reserve. Massarotti looks at Lou Piniella, who is finished in Tampa after the season. The Tampa manager also believes a DH such as Ortiz can win MVP. Massarotti also has David Wells lending support for Ortiz’s case.

Snow’s notebook reports on Damon’s shoulder and taking the shot yesterday so he would have two days off to rest it. McAdam’s notebook says that last night was the right night to give Damon some time off. Horrigan’s notebook has Francona supporting Ortiz for MVP. Borges’ notebook has David Wells saying that Ortiz for MVP is a “no brainer”. Heuschkel’s notebook has Francona going with the numbers in deciding to bring in Mike Timlin last night. The numbers for inherited runners don’t count?

It’s all Corey Dillon this morning in the papers. Jackie MacMullan has Dillon talking about his slow start to the season. Karen Guregian talked to Dillon privately after everyone else, and he addressed the rumors by some that he is slowing down and nearing the end. Tom E Curran has Dillon preaching patience when it comes to the running game. Michael Parente says that Dillon is not at all concerned about his slow start. Christopher Price says Dillon is offering no excuses for his lack of productivity thus far this season. Jeff Goldberg says that the days of frustration are over for Dillon, who is just focusing on finding his stride again. Chris Kennedy writes that there is no panic from Dillon over the start of the season.

Articles on the Patriots other then Dillon? Jerome Solomon addresses the “no offensive coordinator” question and whether that had anything to do with Tom Brady’s struggles last night in Carolina. Albert Breer looks at the Patriots struggles on special team, which has them kicking themselves.

Eric McHugh looks ahead to the rubber match of the Patriots and Steelers in Pittsburgh this Sunday. Guregian reports on Ben Roethlisberger, who despite not carrying the team, still gets the headlines. She also has a very brief sidebar on Chad Brown returning to Pittsburgh. Glen Farley says that the Steelers have been hitting on all cylinders thus far this season. Get your view from the opposition in the sports pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Parente’s notebook says there has been nothing special about special teams so far this season. Guregian’s notebook has Bill Belichick turning up the noise at practice. Curran’s notebook looks at the Steelers running game, led thus far by Willie Parker. Solomon’s notebook looks at the mutual admiration society going on between the Patriots and Steelers coaching staffs.

Dan Hickling looks at Patrice Bergeron outshining Sidney Crosby in the Bruins 5-4 win over the Penguins last night. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at some Bruins training camp injuries which might be due to the long lockout layoff. Stephen Harris has Harry Sinden talking about what he feels slows the game down the most…incessant penalties. Burrell’s notebook and the Herald notebook recap the win in Pittsburgh last night.

Michael Vega looks at the BC Eagles confidence in their backup QB, Matt Ryan, should Quinton Porter be unable to go this weekend. Steve Conroy has more on Ryan, who if he gets the call, hopes his second career start is better than his first. Conroy has a sidebar on the Eagles making their first trip to “Death Valley” since 1982. Vega’s notebook says that Porter needs to get through a practice before he can be cleared to play. Conroy’s notebook says that there is no drop off in the ACC from week to week. Clemson is right up there with Florida State in terms of an opponent.

Someone from the Globe emailed me yesterday after I posted the WEEI stuff and told me that if I find myself agreeing with WEEI on something, perhaps it’s time I take stock of what’s happening in my life. That might be some good advice I’ll have to think about…

Jeff Sullivan recounts his early days in the Boston Globe sports department, describing his interaction with Will McDonough, Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan.

The Red Sox are off today. ESPN has Utah/Air Force college football at 7:30.