Amalie Benjamin has a feature on Daisuke Matsuzaka, who put up impressive numbers in his second season with the Red Sox, despite struggling with his control for stretches. Bob Stern says that these Red Sox have had a special bond all season. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox can win without Josh Beckett, but it won’t be easy. Mike Anthony says that the Sox are confident with or without Beckett. Paul Jarvey has the Red Sox positive and confident heading into the series. Joe McDonald talks to a Major League scout about what to expect from the Angels.
Benjamin has the Sox feeling good about putting Jon Lester out there in game one. Alex Speier looks at Lester in terms of The Making of an Ace this season. Rich Thompson has Beckett still on track to pitch game three back in Boston. Joe Haggerty though, says that Beckett’s status is still up in the air. Dan Ventura has Jason Varitek confident about his pitchers heading into the postseason. Alan Siegel says that the Red Sox rookies must be able to adjust to playoff baseball. Rob Bradford has David Ortiz not expecting to see much to hit in the postseason. Robert Lee has J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell hoping to be on the roster for this series.
Michael Silverman has a final regular season report card for the Red Sox. (It lets you grade as well.) If you want to click through 63 pages (no joke) you can also view Tony Massarotti‘s report card on Boston.com. Alex Speier looks at the non-trade for Johan Santana which shaped this year’s Sox.
Bill Reynolds says that expectations are tempered and the pressure is off for these Red Sox. Nick Cafardo revisits the story of Angels first baseman Mark Teixeira, who was drafted by the Red Sox, but didn’t sign because of the way he was treated by Dan Duquette and the old regime. Mike Fine says that the roles are reversed somewhat in this series. Carolyn Thornton has the team still hopeful that Beckett will be ready for game three on Sunday.
Chad Finn recaps a Los Angeles Times column in which Manny Ramirez talks about his unhappiness in Boston.
Thompson’s notebook has J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell able to take batting practice yesterday, and perhaps could be ready to play in this series. The Globe notebook has Justin Masterson relying on tips given to him by the veterans. The Projo notebook has Jonathan Van Every just glad to be around during the playoffs.
The Celtics had their annual media day yesterday to kick off training camp and begin defense of the NBA title.
Marc J. Spears has Paul Pierce finally joining the ranks of the NBA’s marquee players with his NBA Finals MVP performance. Jim Fenton has the Big 3 ready to go back to work. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics eager for a second helping. Tim Weisberg has a focused Celtics squad ready to start their title defense. Scott Souza has Doc Rivers having to change up his message this season. Jeff Goodman says that the Celtics could be even better this season.
Frank Dell’Apa has the Celtics all focused on this season, on repeating, not on the journey of last season. Mark Murphy has the health of Kendrick Perkins shoulder a concern for the Celtics. Bulpett has a healthy Tony Allen looking to be more aggressive and assertive this season. Bill Doyle has Doc Rivers preaching focus to this team. Jeff Howe has more on the C’s getting back to business.
Spears has Commissioner David Stern with some kind words and reflection on the Celtics and their latest championship.
Christopher L. Gasper has Richard Seymour and the Patriots defense hoping to be able to put some pressure on 49ers QB J.T. O’Sullivan on Sunday. Karen Guregian says that the defense also needs to be able to stop the run. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots need to generate pressure on the opposing QB’s. Shalise Manza Young says that getting pressure on O’Sullivan will be the Patriots first order of business.
Rich Garven notes that kickoff returns are a strength of this year’s Patriots, thanks to Ellis Hobbs. Douglas Flynn has the Patriots defense prepping for another battle with Mike Martz. Christopher Price has some of the Patriots familiar with what to expect on Sunday.
The Globe notebook has Tom Brady choosing a surgeon in LA to repair his knee. Guregian’s notebook has the West coast stay agreeing with the Patriot veterans. Garven’s notebook has more on O’Sullivan. Young’s notebook has the Patriots enjoying the bye week. Flynn’s notebook has the Patriots not really able to remember much about O’Sullivan from his time on the Pats practice squad.