After getting swept by the Minnesota Twins last week, the Red Sox turned around and executed a sweep of their own, capping off the three game series against the struggling Atlanta Braves with a 10-7 win in front of a national audience on ESPN last night.
What a difference a weekend makes, eh? On Friday the Red Sox had lost four in a row, and had dropped to a second place tie with the Toronto Blue Jays, and Glenn Ordway was rejoicing, reminding everyone that Toronto was his team, that A.J. Burnett could put them over the top and that the Red Sox had no interest in winning this year, insisting again that they’re only concerned about the future and if they happen to do well this season, then that would’ve been a bonus. This morning the Red Sox are back in first place, a game ahead of the Yankees and three games ahead of Ordway’s binkies. Now the Braves have been terrible, but it’s just silly for anyone to proclaim the Red Sox done at this point. However, that is the WWE-like nature of the Big Show.
Chris Snow looks at a great eighth inning propelling the Red Sox to victory last night in Atlanta. Jeff Horrigan says it wasn’t pretty, but the Red Sox will take their first ever sweep of the Braves in Atlanta. Sean McAdam examines an emotional roller coaster act for the Red Sox which had a happy ending. David Heuschkel notes that it took a bullpen worse than their own to get the Red Sox the win last night. David Borges looks at a battle of Hall of Fame candidates with similar career paths turning into a was of ugly bullpens. Phil O’Neill notes that the game really only got started once Curt Schilling and John Smoltz exited.
David Borges talks with Bronson Arroyo, who is enjoying his stay and success with the Reds and reveling a little bit in the fact that the Red Sox “messed up” by trading him. Karen Guregian talks with Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria, who is enjoying a fine season with the Braves. He admits that he wasn’t comfortable in Boston last year and that the boos stung him. Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox first round draft pick Jason Place, who is signed and should be beginning his pro career in rookie ball in a matter of days. Edes has a look a the struggling Boston bullpen, which again had problems last night. Rudy Seanez got the win despite giving up a three run homer which cost Curt Schilling the victory. Seanez picked up the victory himself as the Red Sox scored six runs the following inning. Guregian reports on Curt Schilling running out of gas after six inning last night in the Georgia heat.
Snow’s notebook has a profile of tonight’s starter, Kyle Snyder whose stay with the Red Sox could be very brief. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Snyder. McAdam’s notebook gives us some more information on Synder and mentions J.T. Snow as someone who could possible be but to make room on the roster. (Though he says it will likely be Jermaine Van Buren) Heuschkel’s notebook has still more on Synder. Borges’ notebook gives us a little more on the 6-8 right-hander claimed from the Royals. O’Neill’s notebook wraps up the coverage of the journeyman starter.
Jim McCabe and Bruce Berlet report on Geoff Ogilvy winning the US Open. Tony Massarotti and Bob Ryan look at the train wreck finish to the Open, which saw players such as Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie folding like the tents their shots were bouncing off down the stretch. McCabe has more on Colin Montgomerie at 43, perhaps missing out on perhaps his best chance at winning a major. Massarotti’s notebook looks at the challenging course resulting in the highest winning scores of any US Open since 1974. McCabe’s notebook looks at an early Sunday run from Jim Furyk falling short.
Shira Springer reports on the Heat taking a 3-2 series lead with a 101-100 OT win in game five of the NBA finals last night. Jackie MacMullan looks at Dwyane Wade adding another touch to his playoff masterpiece. MacMullan also looks at Alonzo Mourning, one win away from an NBA title and long way away from his Kidney transplant surgery. Springer’s notebook looks at how the Mavericks tried to replace the suspended Jerry Stackhouse’s offense in game five.
Mick Colageo says that the Hurricanes will win the Stanley Cup tonight and Peter Laviolette will again show the Bruins how they messed up by not promoting him to head coach when they had the chance. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Sergei Samsonov enjoying his first extended postseason experience. Burrell’s notebook has the Hurricanes’ Doug Weight not optimistic about playing again in the series.
It was a very good weekend for the local sports pages. There were several top-notch articles which are certainly worth a re-visit here on Monday morning.
I approached Dan Shaughnessy’s much-hyped “Fandemonium” article determined to read it through with an open mind and without any prejudice against the author. (I honestly attempt to do that with all stories I read, but I openly admit that it has become increasingly difficult to do that recently with regards to Shaughnessy’s work.) This was a sequel to an article written 16 years ago by Shaughnessy and it was really interesting to see the shift in the local fandom. I think Shaughnessy did a good job with this latest piece in breaking down the fandom and state of each of the local franchises. He did his research in citing studies done of each of the fan bases and there were none of the trademark Shaughnessy cynicism or cheap shots in evidence. There were also no references to the curse in regards to the Red Sox. This might’ve been Dan’s best work in years and shows what he can do when he plays it straight and doesn’t rely on recycled themes and anecdotes. I might take issue with the “Red Sox are king…always have been and always will be” theme, as I think if the Red Sox had stunk since 2000 and the Patriots had done what they’ve done, the Patriots would be the darlings of the area. Overall however, the piece wasn’t bad.
Mike Reiss had a very nice examination of the team building philosophy adopted by Scott Pioli and the Patriots when they first took over the club in 2000 and how that process has continued. Eric McHugh had a good preview of training camp positional battles to look forward to next month when the Patriots start practice on July 28th. Albert Breer had a look at the Patriots rookie pass catchers getting a glimpse of the difference between the college and pro game at the recently completed minicamp. Michael Felger had a good piece on Troy Brown as the old man of the Patriots showed he still had the skills and fire at minicamp last week.
Tony Massarotti’s Covering All Bases looked at the Red Sox catching a break with the NL East on tap as their main Interleague competition this season. Phil O’Neill’s baseball notes looked at the likely All Stars for the Red Sox and had a look at Leigh Montville’s new book on Babe Ruth. Gordon Edes’ baseball notes examined how the Braves 14 year division title streak is likely to end this season and looked at the middle relief issues with the Red Sox.
Peter May looked at the 20th anniversary of the drafting and death of Len Bias, an event which still haunts the Celtics. Mark Murphy reported that Larry Bird might look to deal Jermaine O’Neal for the number one pick and the chance to draft Adam Morrison.
Kevin Paul Dupont in his hockey notes said that the Bruins would be open to offers for their number 5 overall pick in this month’s draft.
Over the weekend David Scott broke the news that Ed Berliner is out as host of CN8′s nightly “Sports Pulse” show. John Molori’s Media Blitz also has a report on the parting of ways for Berliner and CN8.
NESN has Red Sox/Nationals at 7:00. ESPN has Phillies/Yankees at 7:00. NBC has Hurricanes/Oilers at 8:00.