The Red Sox clinched their third straight postseason appearance yesterday, technically by virtue of Cleveland’s loss to the White Sox, though the Red Sox did take care of business on their own end, routing the Yankees, 10-1 at Fenway Park. Game Stories: Chris Snow, Boston Globe, Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald. Steven Krasner, Providence Journal. David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant. David Borges, Pawtucket Times. Jon Couture, New Bedford Standard Times, and Joe Haggerty, Boston Press Box and Metro staff. Dan Shaughnessy reports on the Red Sox making their third straight post-season appearance, this time heading to Chicago to take on the White Sox. (How soon before we get the “Sox & Sox on Fox” promo spots?) Michael Silverman takes a look at the post game celebration in the Red Sox clubhouse. A strange weekend to be sure, with both the Yankees and Red Sox celebrating at Fenway on consecutive days. Joe McDonald looks at the rookies and first-timers in the Red Sox clubhouse, experiencing their first champagne celebration. Jeff Goldberg looks at one of those rookies, Jonathan Papelbon, who has earned his taste of the bubbly for his work with the big club the last two months.
Tony Massarotti notes that unlike Red Sox editions of the past, which possessed talent and little heart, the biggest strength of this Red Sox club remains their character. Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox clinched this playoff berth in an unorthodox fashion with an Indians losing while the Red Sox were stilling playing, they kept plowing on to the end. Rob Duca looks at a weird finish to a wild weekend at Fenway. Lenny Megliola examines the reactions of several Red Sox players as they enjoyed their first celebration of a postseason berth. Howard Bryant (subscription only) notes that yesterday’s game lacked a certain amount of drama because the Wild Card took the steam out of the Division race. Gordon Edes looks at how the Wild Card took a division playoff away from the Red Sox.
Bob Ryan has an article all Manny Ramirez detractors (and supporters) need to read. He acknowledges his flaws and occasional lack of hustle. He also gives credit to his prodigious talent and just how important he is to the Red Sox lineup. I just don’t see how the Red Sox can deal this guy in the offseason. No way you can replace his bat. Jim Donaldson agrees, noting that “if he drives you crazy occasionally, it’s worth it in the long run”. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that when Manny gets on one of the tears that he is currently in the middle off, the results can be terrifying for the opposition. He had nine home runs in his last 12 games. Art Davidson looks at Manny’s bat as a key component of the Red Sox success coming down the stretch. Tom Yantz looks at Manny being the Man once again. Alex Speier reports on two of the Red Sox biggest stars from last years postseason, Schilling and Ramirez coming through once again yesterday. John Powers and Steve Buckley look at the outing from Schilling, who was strong through six innings, before being lifted with the playoff berth secure. Jon Couture has more on Schilling delivering the Wild Card for the Red Sox yesterday. Gene Wojciechowski for ESPN.com looks at Schilling putting his game where his mouth is.
Silverman reports on the Red Sox preparations for tomorrow’s playoff opener in Chicago against the White Sox. Buckley reports that Alex Cora’s mom will be rooting for the Red Sox, despite the fact that her other son Joey is a coach with the White Sox. Massarotti and McAdam each report that the Red Sox will likely be using 10 pitchers on the first round playoff roster, but those 10 will not include youngsters Craig Hansen or Manny Delcarmen. Amalie Benjamin looks at Chicago game one starter, Jose Contreras, whom the Red Sox are very familiar with. Nick Cafardo reports on the Yankees having to fly out to California for the opener of their first round series, with some speculation out there, including from members of the NY Media that Texas manager Buck Showalter laid down against the Angels yesterday to stick it to his old employer. Peter May reports on the White Sox beating the Indians yesterday and thus helping out to determine their first round opponent.
Borges’ notebook looks at Schilling ending the regular season on a strong note, a good sign for the postseason. Krasner’s notebook looks at Mike Timlin setting a record for most appearances in a season with his 81st game yesterday. Couture’s notebook reports on the clincher coming early, thanks to the White Sox. Snow’s notebook looks at Matt Clement getting the game one start against the White Sox on Tuesday. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Clement getting the start. Horrigan’s notebook report that David Ortiz will be named Player of the Month for September, which could be a positive sign for his MVP hopes.
Get all the coverage from the New York papers, which includes tons of Red Sox/Yankees, as well as some Patriots coverage on the New York Sports News page. Keep up with what they’re saying in Chicago by looking at the sports pages of the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.
The Patriots suffered their worst and ugliest defeat since the 2003 season opener in Buffalo, as the San Diego Chargers came into Gillette Stadium and absolutely manhandled the two time defending champions. The first half 17 all tie was a bit misleading, and the Chargers proved it by scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half.
Jerome Solomon reports on the crushing loss, which left the fans and players alike with sickened feeling. Karen Guregian says that Bill Belichick may have no answers for the loss of Rodney Harrison, if yesterday’s game is any indication. (I think it’s a bit early for that.) Tom E Curran looks at the Chargers feeling good about themselves following the game, and why shouldn’t they…they dominated. Alan Greenberg notes that the Patriots go nowhere near Drew Brees all day, and in the end were nowhere near San Diego on the scoreboard. Albert Breer says that the Patriots problems were clearly exposed in this one. Dan Pires examines a giant step back for the Patriots yesterday.
Michael Felger examines the talk, both from the Chargers and from around the league that the Patriots are finished as a champion and contender with the loss of Rodney Harrison. Ron Borges looks at how the Chargers exploited the holes in the Patriots that have been left by injury and not filled adequately as of yet. Jackie MacMullan says that this role-reversal stung, and the Patriots are need of someone stepping up to set the tone for them. Bill Reynolds chronicles a day of so much going wrong for New England. Rich Thompson and Tony Chamberlain look at the rough day for Tom Brady, who couldn’t get it going in the second half, and felt that the failure to mount a scoring drive just before the half set the tone for the rest of the game. Greenberg also examines the struggles of the passing game, which felt the pressure of the San Diego pass rush. Mike Reiss and Felger look at the lackluster play of the secondary, which uncharacteristically gave up several big plays and lacked the enforcer presence of Harrison. Shalize Manza Young looks at the second half woes for the Pats.
Christopher Price submits his weekly feature of 10 things we learned from yesterday’s Patriots game. Ian M Clark looks at how the Patriots defense just could not match up with the high powered San Diego offense. Breer talks to Mike Vrabel, who saw no positives in the blowout loss. Fluto Shinzawa looks at LaDainian Tomlinson totally dominating the Patriots, a subject also explored by Paul Kenyon and in a sidebar from Felger. Curran and Greenberg offer analysis of the turning point and what went right and wrong in the game. Guregian has Richard Seymour accepting blame on behalf of the defensive line for their inability to stop the run and get pressure on Brees. Dan Ventura and Kenyon report on Drew Brees making the Patriots pay for their failure to press him.
Guregian’s notebook looks at Tedy Bruschi, who was once again on the sidelines, cheering on his teammates, while rumors of his comeback continue to swirl. The Standard-Times notebook says that 21 is not a lucky number for the New England Patriots. Solomon’s notebook looks at the rookies on the left side of the offensive line learning on a baptism by fire basis.
Celtics media day is today, kicking off the beginning of training camp for the defending Atlantic Division Champions. Mark Murphy checks in with five questions facing the Celtics as they start a new year. Steve Bulpett also has a piece on the Green, with a look at coach Doc Rivers, who now has a year under his belt with the club, and needs to focus more on developing his team and keeping Paul Pierce in line with the master plan. Be sure to check out the BSMW Full Court Press for continuing position-by-position training camp previews. Celtics Blog has owner Wyc Grousbeck answering questions from fans and including the nugget that the C’s made a strong push to acquire Baron Davis at the trading deadline last season.
Kevin Paul Dupont has the daily Nick Boynton update. This past weekend saw the launch of a new blog devoted to the Boston Bruins…go over and check out the BSMW Power Play when you get a chance. Yesterday’s Globe saw a feature by Keith O’Brien, who looked at Charlie Jacobs, who has been dispatched by his father Jeremy, in an effort to make Boston a hockey town once again.
Yesterday, John Craig had a piece on Sean McDonough, who is still upset over not being brought back to do Red Sox telecasts after 17 years with the club.
ABC has Packers/Panthers at 9:00.