Sox Can’t Sweep

After beating the Indians 1-0 last week, Daisuke Matsuzaka took a shutout into the seventh inning yesterday afternoon in Tampa before giving up a solo home run. However, once again the Red Sox were unable to provide any run support and ended up falling 5-2 to the Devil Rays, missing out on a sweep of the three game series.

Jeff Horrigan notes that this was a good road trip for the Red Sox, as they come back home still holding an eight game lead over the Yankees. Amalie Benjamin has the Rays spoiling the finale of a very successful road trip for the Red Sox. Joe McDonald has the Red Sox bullpen melting down for the second straight day in Tampa. Jeff Goldberg has Manny Delcarmen stumbling in relief of Matsuzaka. Paul Jarvey has the Rays using the long ball to finally silence the Red Sox fans who invaded their dome this weekend.

Rob Bradford notes that there are no Manny Ramirez trade rumors at this deadline period, and that seems to sit fine with just about everyone around the Red Sox, including Manny. The other Manny, Delcarmen, got lit up yesterday, prompting talk from Nick Cafardo that the Sox might need bullpen help just as much as another bat. Bradford notes that Japanese pitchers usually need some time to adjust to the baseball used here in America, because it is different from the Japanese ball, in size and consistency. Horrigan has Matsuzaka working with Doug Mirabelli for the first time yesterday, and things ended up going pretty smoothly for the pair.

Horrigan’s notebook has Mike Timlin needing a rest for his aching shoulder, but hoping to avoid the DL. Benjamin’s notebook has more on Dice-K and Mirabelli working together for the first time. McDonald’s notebook leads off with more on the combination. Jarvey’s notebook says that the pair appeared solid in their debut together.

Bob Hohler has Barry Bonds hitting the road in pursuit of the home run record after failing to reach the accomplishment on the recent homestand.

Patriots
Mike Reiss has Tom Brady pacing himself in camp, monitoring his throws as he and team aim to protect his arm from extended wear and tear. John Tomase has Brady liking what he sees from his offense early on. (or did Albert Breer write this one?) Mark Farinella has Brady pleased with the potential that this team has, but realizing that coming together as a unit takes time. Michael Parente has the Patriots providing Brady with plenty of new weapons this season. Jennifer Toland has Brady spreading passes and praise for his new options. David Heuschkel also looks at Brady getting to know his new receivers. David Brown also has Brady working on building his new offense.

Steve Buckley says Brady will be making his own decision on where to be when his baby finally arrives.

Remember all the talk after the AFC Championship Game loss that Tedy Bruschi was seriously thinking of retirement? In Daniel Malloy‘s article today, Bruschi says he did not consider retirement. Tomase has more on Bruschi who is ready to play on despite his advancing years. Albert Breer has another linebacker, Mike Vrabel, glad for the versatile reinforcements at his position, and ready to take on another season.

Robert Lee has first round pick Brandon Meriweather learning on the job, with such veterans as Rodney Harrison there to guide him along. Breer has more on Brandon Meriweather getting on the field and learning fast after getting his contract signed. Christopher Price also has a look at Meriweather settling in.

We’ve also got a Monday update at PatriotsDaily.com

The Globe notebook has Jabar Gaffney standing out from the crowd at wide receiver during the first few days of camp. Tomase’s notebook has more on Gaffney, who appears to be picking up right where he left off in the postseason, where he was the team’s most productive receiver. One note – the article says Gaffney came to the Patriots after the Texans didn’t offer him a contract…he actually was signed by the Eagles last year and cut in training camp. Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has more on Bruschi, who likes the mix of skills that the Patriots have at the linebacker position. Toland’s notebook also looks at Bruschi, as he prepares to enter his 12th season. Dan Pires’s notebook has still more on Bruschi, who is pumped for the new season.

Celtics
The Kevin Garnett trade rumors are back. Jeff Goodman on FOXSports.com and Marc Stein on ESPN.com say that a deal could be close for the Timberwolves star. Maybe the Celtics will make a bigger trade than the Red Sox at the July 31st deadline? Keep up with the news at CelticsLinks.com

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