Sox Get A Laugher…Finally

After a succession of tight games, the Red Sox finally broke out early and had an easier time of it last night, pounding the Devil Rays 9-1 behind another strong performance from Curt Schilling, who moved to 4-0 on the season.

Sean McAdam notes that last night “marked the first Red Sox win since the home opener that the potential tying run didn’t come to the plate in the ninth inning.” Jeff Horrigan says it was a night for plenty of bad baseball from Devil Rays, who will fail to win a series at Fenway for the 18th time in a row, dating back to 1999. Nick Cafardo says yes, it’s still early, but there continue to be plenty of positive things around this team. Tom Yantz focuses on Schilling getting himself and the Red Sox off to a fast start. David Borges says that the teams may not like each other, but the Red Sox have to love it when they see Tampa on their schedule. Phil O’Neill says that the Red Sox were due for a laugher, but this game dragged on and on.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Schilling, who has answered the many questions people have had about him, at least here in the early going. He takes the doubts as challenges and they serve as motivation. Karen Guregian says that at 4-0 and with all he went through last year, Schilling should be the story of baseball right now. Lenny Megliola says that as good as Schilling has been, he feels that he can get even better. Alex Speier has more on Schilling, who feels as good as he ever has, and thinks there is more ahead for him.

Steven Krasner leads off his Inside the Game section with a look at Kevin Youkilis’ hustle again paying dividends and wraps up with Tampa outfielder Ty Wigginton getting an appreciative laugh from the crowd. Amalie Benjamin looks at Adam Stern, who will be heading down to Pawtucket, but who opened some eyes and made a few catches in the outfield that will keep him fresh in people’s minds. Ron Chimelis has more on Stern as he prepares to depart for Pawtucket. Mike Fine says that Stern is an example of the great depth that the Red Sox have built up for themselves. Guregian also has a bit on Coco Crisp, who is eager to get out and perform in front of the Fenway faithful.

Paul Kenyon notes that the Red Sox infielders were once again crisp and “efficient night both at the plate and in the field.” Rob Bradford has more on the Ortiz shift. Bill Ballou has a piece on Kevin Youkilis, who has led the Red Sox offense in the early going. Benjamin also has a piece on Mike Timlin, who notched the 900th appearance of his career on Tuesday night and is 15th all time in that category. The Projo grabs some material from the May issue of SI for Kids, which has Manny Ramirez listing 10 things he can’t live without.

Cafardo’s notebook has Scott Kazmir objecting to some comments by Curt Schilling on WEEI this week. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Stern getting demoted to the minors so he get develop further. Borges’ notebook has more on Stern. The Projo notebook has more on Schilling getting off to the best start of his career. Yantz’s notebook has the Devil Rays once again employing their unique shift against David Ortiz. O’Neill’s notebook has more on Stern getting sent down to Pawtucket.

The Celtics finished off their season last night with an 84-78 win over the Miami Heat at TD Banknorth Garden. It was a merciful end to a season that saw plenty of hope for the future, but didn’t see much of that hope translate to the wins column. Shalise Manza Young says that an optimist looks at last night’s game as sees the kids pulling out a win all on their own. Bill Doyle looks at the season coming to a close with the win over the Heat, who will begin the playoffs this weekend…likely with Paul Pierce in attendance as a guest of Antoine Walker.

Bob Ryan and Steve Bulpett agree…the kids need to produce next year. We can’t be sitting here at the same time next year reflecting on the promise of the young players and lamenting that they’re still making mistakes and learning to win, they need to put things together in a bigger way for next season. Both agree that there is talent here, but it needs to step up a level over the summer. Bill Reynolds says that the club could be headed in either of two different directions. He seems to be leaning towards the more negative of the two scenarios. Tim Weisberg says that the Celtics are on the path in the right direction, but have a lot of work ahead of them this summer.

Bulpett has Wyc Grousbeck unhappy with the Celtics record, but happy with the team, and says everyone is focused on getting the ring. Bulpett also has Gary Payton quoted as saying he thinks his former club is headed in the right direction. Buddy Thomas says that the Celtics should trade Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Raef LaFrentz and a No. 1 pick for Allen Iverson.

Springer’s notebook has the Celtics looking to host an All Star Game in the future, now that their lease with the Garden has been extended through the 2020-2021 season. Murphy’s notebook has Doc River dispelling the rumors out there and insisting that he will be back with the team next season. Young’s notebook has more on the Celtics signing on with the Garden for another 10 years. Doyle’s notebook has more on Doc Rivers promising to be back for next season.

There are plenty of Patriots articles out there as well, and I simply ran out of time this morning. Check out the Patriots Daily Links page for a look at the stories and coverage of Bill Belichick’s pre-draft press conference.