Offense Lets Daisuke Down

The Red Sox took a step back last night, unable to plate more than a single run against the Devil Rays, despite stranding 14 runners last night in a 2-1 loss which dropped their AL East lead back to five games.

Jeff Horrigan has Daisuke Matsuzaka the victim of no support last night, as he only gave up 2 hits in six innings while striking out eight. Gordon Edes has more on a frustrating night for Matsuzaka and the Red Sox. Steven Krasner says that the Red Sox have no one to blame but themselves for last night’s loss. Jeff Goldberg notes that Matsuzaka has taken the loss all three times the Devil Rays have beaten the Red Sox this season. Bill Ballou says that this isn’t what the Red Sox expected when they shelled out $100 million for Matsuzaka.

Nick Cafardo has Eric Gagné confident that he is going to be able to contribute to the Red Sox before the season is over. Rob Bradford examines which spots in the batting order have done the most damage against Matsuzaka and receives some interesting results. Jon Couture looks at four teams that figure to be tough in the postseason. Joe Haggerty makes Dustin Pedroia’s case for rookie of the year. Bradford also talks to Don Zimmer about how the specter of ’78 still hangs over him. Goldberg looks at a 1918 World Series ticket and program being sold at auction to benefit charity. Last Friday marked the end of an era in Boston – Say It Ain’t So, Wily Mo. Bradford has a look at Mike Lowell’s specially padded batting glove, which may have saved him from injury the other night.

Paul White in USA Today examines how Red Sox Nation has become the new kings of the road. Cafardo looks at the Rangers scoring 30 runs last night in the first game of a doubleheader, with former Sox David Murphy, Kason Gabbard and Ramon (not Javier) Vazquez all playing large role.

Horrigan’s notebook says that we may see more of Jonathan Papelbon down the stretch this season. Edes’ notebook has more on how the Red Sox closer will be used for the last six weeks of the season. Krasner’s notebook has Dustin Pedroia and Eric Hinske each having to leave the game last night with injuries. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the injuries to the duo. Ballou’s notebook has Pedroia going for X-rays after being hit by a pitch on the elbow.

Patriots
Mike Reiss notes how Rodney Harrison showed Friday night that he still has the range needed to play safety in addition to the pop. Mark Murphy has Harrison working hard and feeling better than he has in a while. Mark Farinella has Harrison back in midseason form for the Patriots. Albert Breer has a look at Mike Vrabel, who seems to shine at any role he is placed in. David Brown looks at the role Sammy Morris is being trained for with the Patriots.

Robert Lee has the Patriots defense always striving to get better. Ian M. Clark has Heath Evans being appreciative to the Patriots for giving him another chance in his career. Murphy has Randall Gay staying right in the mix for the starting cornerback role. David Heuschkel has Randy Moss strolling through the Patriots locker room. Jennifer Toland looks at the competition at the wide receiver spot.

Christopher Price says that the starters will see plenty of time against the Panthers this Friday night. Breer has Tom Brady welcoming a baby boy yesterday. Breer also looks at why there was a New York Giants helmet at practice yesterday. Jackie MacMullan has Robert Kraft sympathetic to the plight of Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Chris Kennedy says that the offensive line needs to come together for the Patriots.

Farinella’s notebook has Bill Belichick talking about the preparation for the season that begins as soon as the schedule comes out in April. Reiss’ notebook has a look at Danny Baugher being the last man standing in the punting competition. Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has more on Danny Baugher winning the punting job. Toland’s notebook has more on Brady becoming a father. Breer’s notebook looks at the battle at right tackle for the Patriots.

Bill Doyle talks to Evan Brunell, founder of the sports blog network Most Valuable Network.