Red Sox Gear up for Playoff Opener

Bob Hohler notes that this postseason begins a clean slate for the Red Sox. For the first time, they can go into the playoffs without the mention of a curse, or 1918, or any of that nonsense. Jeff Horrigan cites last years postseason experience as a strong advantage for the Red Sox. Sean McAdam notes that this time instead of “Is this the year” we’re asking “Can they do it again?” David Heuschkel says that the Red Sox will be able to put their gain experiences from last year to the test this month, starting this afternoon. Garry Brown looks at whether home field for the White Sox or the experience of the Red Sox will make a difference. Mike Fine says that this series will be a battle of sheer power.

This matchup is being billed in some circles as the White Sox pitching and defense against the Red Sox slugging lineup. Gordon Edes examines whether an offense-oriented team can slug its way to a World Series title. (One note Gordon…the Braves weren’t defending World Series champs in 1992.) Steven Krasner says game one should be a toss up. Edes also outlines the battle of the Soxes, comparing the pitching, lineups, managers, etc. Tony Massarotti also has a position by position matchup preview, as does Jeff Goldberg. Tony Mazz also trots out a season ending report card for the Red Sox, leading off with his own quote from September 20, where he said he thought the Red Sox were cooked. Michael Silverman has five ways the Red Sox can beat the White Sox and also five ways the White Sox can beat the Red Sox.

Chris Snow talks to David Ortiz about what allows him to be so great. One huge factor is concentration and recall of a pitcher and his stuff. Ortiz is able to recall some of his greatest hits in a Red Sox uniform and many of the details about them. Steve Buckley has a piece on Matt Clement, who feels at home back in Chicago. Amalie Benjamin talks to rookie Jonathan Papelbon, who is poised to have a huge role in the postseason for the Red Sox. Alex Speier says that John Henry learned after last year that you really can’t put odds or numbers on the chances of a team winning in the postseason. Jon Couture looks at the offensive duo of Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, which is the best in the game right now. Steve Buckley (subscription only) notes that the Red Sox are using their third different double play combo in three postseasons. A sign he says, of the ever-changing face of baseball.

Dan Shaughnessy pours over the history of Red Sox/White Sox trying to find some sort of rivalry or shared battles, and really can’t come up with any…this is a new matchup. Massarotti muses over which is more important, the pitching, or the slugging and battle scars. He says we may have a whole new set of heroes and fall guys when the month is over. Bill Reynolds says that because of their payroll, the Red Sox do not deserve a free pass for whatever happens this postseason. John Tomase (more on him later) says that the Red Sox are a Wild Card in every sense of the word.

Snow notes that unlike years past, this Red Sox team does not have a theme or rallying cry. Instead, they just want to be called repeat champs. Sounds good to me. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the Idiot Era is almost over. Many of these characters are in their last days with the Red Sox. Horrigan looks at the Red Sox reserves, and Adam Hyzdu getting the call as the reserve outfielder. David Borges notes that Theo Epstein and Jose Contreras will always be linked in Red Sox lore. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that in this case, he thinks that the Red Sox hitting will overcome the White Sox pitching.

Snow’s notebook has a looking at starting pitcher Matt Clement, who is starting the playoffs back in Chicago, where he spent the last three years with the Cubs. The notebook also looks at the playoff roster, umpiring crew and broadcasters. Horrigan’s notebook looks at a new style for Jose Contreras, who might be a different pitcher than the one the Red Sox have clubbed around in the past. Heuschkel’s notebook has Ozzie Guillen saying he won’t let David Ortiz beat them, he’ll take his chances with Manny. The Union Leader notebook looks at Clement returning to Chicago. Borges’ notebook looks at the playoff roster. Couture’s notebook has more on the roster.

Peter May has a look at White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Sean McAdam provides an inside look at the White Sox, with a roster breakdown. White Sox fan Buddy Thomas checks in on whether his team can beat the Red Sox. (Wait a minute, he’s a Colts fan and a White Sox fan? What else, a Milwaukee Bucks fan?) May also looks at whether the White Sox are ready for the prime time of the playoffs. Nick Tavares looks at the futile history of the “other” Sox. Get your news from the Windy city from the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune. Nick Cafardo’s notebook looks at tonight’s starter for the White Sox, Jose Contreras. Tavares’ notebook looks at the White Sox lineup.

Bob Ryan has Yankees/Angels duty and notes the uncertainty that followed all the playoff teams this season. We still don’t know how the Yankees and Angels are going to perform in the postseason. John Powers says that the Yankees are in for a rough road out in Anaheim. Get your news on the Yankees and their whining about the Texas Rangers on the New York Sports News page.

Patriots

Michael Felger hands out his Patriots report card, and as you might imagine, some of the grades are not pretty. Patsfans.com has their weekly Grogan’s Grade feature. Jerome Solomon reports on the Patriots regrouping, and Bill Belichick stating that his club is in a bit of a flux right now. Tom E Curran says it might be a bit of a bumpy ride for the Patriots for a little while here. Chris Kennedy reports on the Patriots search for what can be corrected. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots don’t want pity from anyone. Michael Parente extends that, noting that they don’t have any pity for themselves, either. Jonathan Comey looks at what the Patriots loss really means in the long run. Eric McHugh notes that the Patriots looked totally defenseless in this loss on Sunday. Christopher Price gives the Pats performance two thumbs down. Ron Hobson says that Rodney Harrison is not coming through that door, fans. Guregian says that the running game has been a lost cause thus far for the Patriots. Patriots Game Day Rear View has a look back at the Patriots/Chargers game and what the implications are for the future.

Ron Borges got a national audience for his rantings last night, getting to say things to the nation that he usually only gets to say to the limited 1510 Eddie Andelman audience. He was on “Quite Frankly” with Stephen A Smith, and the subject was the Patriots fall. The subject of the Patriots offensive coordinator position came up, and Borges made the claim that after the Patriots two wins, the coordinator was Belichick, after the losses, it was someone else…that’s just they way they do things up there.

Curran’s notebook says that the lack of productivity in the running game is due to the offensive line. Solomons’ notebook has Corey Dillon making the announcement that he’s not talking to the media for the rest of the season. Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots defense starting preparation for Michael Vick.

Celtics

Shira Springer looks at the first day of training camp for the Celtics and the battles for rosters spots and playing time, which began over the summer. Steve Bulpett has a smiling, optimistic Paul Pierce declaring his happiness here and excitement over the start of the season. If you saw a clip of Pierce on FSN last night, you might have be struck as I was by how thin Pierce’s face seemed. He looked to have trimmed down nicely in the offseason. Mark Murphy and Shalize Manza Young look at the expectations that Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have for their young roster. Murphy gets the thoughts of Tony Allen, who is sitting out the start of camp after knee surgery. Bulpett has a short sidebar with Kendrick Perkins, whose family felt the effects of Hurricane Rita. Mike Anthony has a look at rookie forward Ryan Gomes, who hopes to make a big impact with the Celtics this season. The BSMW Full Court Press previews the Small Forward position on the roster. Springer’s notebook has Celtics brass meeting with the agent for Mark Blount, to clear the air prior to camp. Bulpett’s notebook says that Blount is determined to redeem himself this season.

Bruins

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the NHL hoping to start with a clean sheet of ice tomorrow night. Steve Conroy looks at at a new day dawning for the NHL and provides previews and predictions around the league. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that much of the Bruins hopes rest on young stars Andrew Raycroft and Patrice Bergeron. Stephen Harris looks at Hannu Toivonen making the opening night roster as backup to Raycroft. Joe McDonald also reports on the final roster moves. Dupont also previews the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Bill Griffith looks at Hockey coverage set to begin at OLN. Check out the BSMW Power Play for a look at the new Bruins forwards. Burrell’s notebook looks at some minor shuffling for the opening night roster. Harris’ notebook looks at Ben Walter getting sent down to the Baby B’s.

Media

David Scott reports on John Tomase leaving the Lawrence Eagle Tribune and moving onto the Boston Herald, where initially at least, he’ll be working on the Patriots beat. I was critical of Tomase’s Manny article earlier this summer, but have always thought that he was a talented writer and good reporter. The Manny article just seemed too out of character for him. I think he’ll do a really solid job covering the Patriots. John Molori’s Media Blitz examines the departure of Ted Sarandis from WEEI and the guy who might take his place in Mike Adams.

ESPN has Padres/Cardinals at 1:00 and Red Sox/White Sox at 4:00. FOX has Yankees/Angels at 8:00.

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