All Tied Up, Game 7 Tonight

Josh Beckett gutted his way through five innings, giving up a pair of solo home runs, and the bullpen shut down the Rays the rest of the way last night, as the Red Sox beat Tampa 4-2 in game six of the ALCS, forcing a deciding game seven tonight.

Get all the stories and coverage this morning at RedSoxLinks.com.

The post below this one has the details and statement from TBS on the technical snafu which resulted in viewers getting the “Steve Harvey Show” instead of the first inning of last night’s game. On my system (Dish Network) I never saw a crawl or explanation of why the game was not being shown. If they did do a crawl on the screen, it was after I was already online looking for an explanation.

The Bruins beat the Senators last night, 4-2 in Ottawa. Catch up on the game over at BruinsLinks.com.

The Patriots continue their preparations for tomorrow night’s matchup with the Broncos on Monday Night Football. Head over to Patriots Daily this morning for the Sunday Links, looking at all the coverage of the Pats from today.

After suffering a mild sprain against the Knicks on Friday night, Rajon Rondo’s ankle is feeling ok this morning, and the Celtics are getting ready to take on the Nets this afternoon in a preseason game. Get green over at CelticsLinks.com.

Nice to see former Sox and Pats beat writer (for the Hartford Courant)  Dave Heuschkel getting a front page link on SI.com.

Gotta love Joe Posnanski questioning the “Big Game James” label placed on Tampa starter James Shields…in a piece written even before last night’s game.

Gordon Edes for Yahoo! Sports has a piece on Jason Varitek after the Red Sox catcher broke a series long slump with a big home run last night.

TBS Outage Means No TV For Start of Game 6

If you tuned into TBS tonight expecting to see the start of ALCS game six between the Red Sox and Rays, you instead got an episode of the Steve Harvey show.

Apparently there is a power issue that is affecting the router between Tampa and the TBS broadcast center in Atlanta.

Unbelievably, they have decided to start the game anyway, without the national TV audience. This is going to get ugly, folks.

You can try to view the game online with MLB.com here.

Update: at 8:28 pm, the game was restored…

Here is their official statement on the outage:

STATEMENT FROM TBS REGARDING ALCS GAME 6

Two circuit breakers in our Atlanta transmission operations tripped causing the master router and its backup – which are necessary to transmit any incoming feed outbound – to shut down. This impacted our live feed from being distributed to any of the other networks in the Turner portfolio and caused the delay in our coverage. Both our primary and backup routers were impacted by this problem. We apologize to baseball fans for this mishap that caused a delay in our coverage.

The Friday Megalinks, Part II

Now that we have the first part of the Friday megalinks out of the way, let’s give you the rest.

First, I have some leftovers from the National links, then the East and Mid-Atlantic region and then I’ll do the Midwest, West and Canada from there.

National (cont.)

John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable writes that the NFL Network wants to avoid going to an administrative law judge to settle its dispute with Comcast.

Larry Barrett from Multichannel News says former NBA star Mike Glenn will be the studio analyst for Atlanta Hawks games on Fox Sports South and SportSouth.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell has an excerpt of his interview with Oklahoma State University athletic booster T. Boone Pickens that airs tonight.

Maury Brown in the Biz of Baseball says last night’s ALCS Game 5 has livened up an otherwise drab MLB Postseason.

East and Mid-Atlantic (cont.)

The lovely Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald writes that Entercom employees are wondering why WEEI.com got spared while several employees on the radio side got laid off.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has compiled a preliminary TV schedule of college football games for next weekend.

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette explains why fans of Union hockey will hear the opposing team’s announcers call the game against Omaha this weekend. Ken writes that a local station has hired a new weekend sports anchor. Ken links to a podcast in which he speaks with the Director of officiating for the ECAC, Paul Stewart.

Will Leitch and Joe DeLessio of New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog discuss the sports media going political.

Jim Williams from the DC Examiner says there will be plenty of college basketball programming on TV as the season officially starts tonight.

Midwest

Marc Katz of the Dayton Daily News says TV stations in town are trying to find a proper balance between the University of Dayton and Wright State men’s basketball teams.

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says Versus’ new sports comedy show mirrors sister network’s E!’s “The Soup”.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob Wolfley talks with CBS’ Phil Simms about the Indy-Green Bay game this Sunday.

Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald talks about the sports radio format being healthy in the Windy City.

Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune talks with Fang’s Bites fav Charissa Thompson of the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports.

Over to Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin who discusses John Madden’s long streak of doing games coming to an end.

The Kansas City Star’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes that an Entercom employee at the local sports radio station has been let go.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks about a local resident who will have plenty of face time on ESPN’s World Series of Poker.

West

The Deseret (UT) News’ Scott D. Pierce tries to answer questions about the mtn.

Jim Gintonio from the Arizona Republic talks with Cardinals radio voice Dave Pasch.

Over to the San Diego Union-Tribune where Jay Posner writes that Fox would prefer Red Sox-Phillies in the World Series. Jay has the ratings from last weekend in San Diego.

John Maffei in today’s North County Times writes about John Madden taking this week off.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star talks about Cris Collinsworth giving Madden a blow this weekend.

Steve Springer from the Los Angeles Times says Fox Trax and Pitchtrax are showing viewers the strike zone and whether umpires are right on ball/strike calls.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks with Bob Costas about his role in promoting “The Express”. In his Friday column, Tom discusses MLB and John Madden. In the first part of his extensive media notes, Tom talks about Midnight Madness and a bunch of other stuff. And here’s the second part of Tom’s media notes.

To the Seattle Post-Intelligencer where Gary Washburn talks with the Voice of the Washington Huskies, Bob Rondeau who tries to find a silver lining in an 0-5 season.

Canada

The Toronto Globe and Mail’s William Houston writes that a movie on Don Cherry’s life could begin production in the summer.

John Terauds from the Toronto Star talks about the reorchestration of the Hockey Theme for TSN.

Jonathan Huntington of the Edmonton Sun praises CFL clubs for allowing TSN more access to postgame celebrations.

Crash Cameron of the Winnepeg Sun says when Rogers Sportsnet hit the scene 10 years ago, Canadian hockey was able to get a new life on TV.

That concludes the Megalinks. Have a great weekend.

The Friday Megalinks, Part I

Ken from Fang’s Bites with your links today.

I’m going to do this in two parts as I have several things to do at work. At least you can go through some links at first while I do some paperwork.

As usual, it’s the Weekend Viewing Picks.

Well, thanks to the miracle comeback by the Red Sox last night, Game 6 of the American League Championship Series takes place at Tropicana Field Saturday at 8:07 p.m. on TBS. NESN will have a pregame show at 5:30 p.m., then turn over its coverage to the Bruins at 6:30 (more on the B’s later). And NESN will of course, have postgame coverage once TBS is finished with its game broadcast.

If the Red Sox can win with Josh Beckett over the Rays on Saturday, then Game 7 would be on TBS Sunday in St. Petersburg also at 8:07 p.m.

For college football, the locals include Boston College hosting Virginia Tech on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. At noon, UConn goes to Rutgers on ESPNU, Comcast SportsNet carries UNH at Northeastern, and NESN has Lehigh-Harvard in Cambridge. Then at 3:30 p.m., CN8 has Richmond at UMass. Nationally, ABC has Texas-Missouri in primetime and sister network ESPN will have its College Gameday show live from Austin, TX in the morning. The College Football Viewing Picks have the national TV schedule.

Over to the NFL, the Patriots play on Monday night so we’ll have a full schedule of games on Sunday. CBS has the doubleheader with Indianapolis at Green Bay being the featured game, but we’ll see the Jets at Oakland here in New England (I don’t know whether to laugh or cry). The Sunday Night game on NBC has Seattle at Tampa Bay, but the significance of that game is that John Madden won’t be in the booth as he gets an extremely rare week off. Cris Collinsworth travels to Tampa to call the game with Al Michaels. The NFL Viewing Picks have all of your games on Sunday.

Other events this weekend include a boxing pay per view event from Atlantic City as Kelly Pavlik fights the venerable Bernard Hopkins in a light heavyweight bout. HBO PPV has it at 9 p.m.

NASCAR is in Tennessee for the TUMS QuikPak 500 and ABC will carry that on Sunday afternoon at 1:30.

The PGA Tour is in the midst of Silly Season as something called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas takes place over the weekend. Golf Channel has that at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The LPGA Tour is in Hawaii for the Kapalua Classic and Golf Channel has coverage of that tournament at 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

The NHL is in full swing. The Bruins will be in Ottawa to take on the Senators and NESN carries the game live at 7 on Saturday night. You can check out the schedules for this weekend over at NHL.com.

Now let’s do your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Michael McCarthy debate whether it’s time for NBC’s John Madden to retire.

The Sports Media Watch says the National League Championship Series will finish as the lowest rated LCS in broadcast television history.

A few links from CNBC’s Darren Rovell. First, he talks about why the NFL doesn’t have the locker room champagne celebrations while MLB does. Darren says as expected, the Dallas Cowboys dominate jersey sales. And Darren looks for signs that ticket buying is slowing down in the financial crunch.

Joe Favorito discusses how one rotisserie play website is actually putting its money where its mouth is.

The Eye on Sports Media blog says the ACC’s announcement of its men’s basketball TV schedule is a bit deceptive.

Maury Brown’s Biz of Baseball blog tells us that the Tribune Company may retain a larger ownership stake in the Cubs than originally thought due to the current financial crunch.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with Comcast SportsNet’s Donny Marshall about his expanded role on Celtics road games.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talks with a local native who works for ESPN and had to follow the Barry Bonds circus last year.

The Sox & Dawgs blog has the funny video of TBS imposing Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith into the Fenway Park crowd last night. And Sox & Dawgs also has TBS’ Harold Reynolds finally admitting he was out some 19 years later.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir reports that CBS College Sports is laying off 30 employees as it refocuses its programming.

To the New York Post where WFAN-hater Phil Mushnick goes after Mike Francesa for cutting off his co-host wannabes.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with Fox Sports’ Troy Aikman about the tumultuous week for the Dallas Cowboys and what it means for the New York Football Giants. And Justin has five questions for XM’s Rob Dibble.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News criticizes everything baseball today.

Newsday’s Neil Best says while Fox and TBS could have used a New York team in the MLB postseason, the #1 market in the US still likes to watch its baseball. Neil has a story from Fox Sports’ Ed Goren about Tim McCarver from the 1991 World Series. And Neil has more on New York watching baseball just to see the Red Sox lose.

A couple of things from Laura Nachman’s Philadelphia TV and radio blog. First, she mentions that the National League Championship Series cleaned up in the ratings on Wednesday. And she introduces Philly to a new sports anchor on the local Fox affiliate.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun has a bunch of news and notes in his Friday column.

The DC Examiner’s Jim Williams talks with ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd about his show being pre-empted two days a week in DC.

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says don’t really believe that Fox is really disappointed about the Dodgers losing the NLCS.

South

Doug Nye of The State remembers listening to LSU football on the radio as a kid.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel wonders how the NFL TV scheduling gets done.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram talks with new ESPN NBA analyst Magic Johnson about the Dallas Mavericks.

In the Houston Chronicle, David Barron writes about a new film on Texas A&M’s 12th Man tradition that premieres on Fox Sports Houston this weekend.

Now to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News. Barry has the list of nominees for the Lone Star Emmy Awards. Barry also has the NFL TV schedule for Dallas-Fort Worth.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks about the new NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder’s radio voice working solo this season. Mel writes that the Thunder will drop a delay in the radio broadcast so fans inside the arena can follow the action. And Mel has his media news and notes today.

Ok, that’s Part I. I’ll have Part II of the links coming up later today.

Not So Fast, Tampa

With the score 7-0, Tampa in the 7th inning last night, and an early morning trip to Logan on tap for this morning, I sat down and wrote what I thought would be a post-mortem on the 2008 Red Sox.

By about 12:15am the Red Sox had completed one of the most remarkable single-game comebacks ever seen around these parts,  my post-mortem was in the trash can, and I couldn’t be happier.

Simply amazing.

David Ortiz had a three run blast, J.D. Drew hit a two run homer and then had the game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth to complete the comeback and give the Red Sox a 8-7 win and send the series back to Tampa.

Catch the full coverage of last night’s game over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Over in the Metro, even with the win,  I’m a firm believer that the Red Sox need to do whatever it takes to sign Mark Teixeira and then find a place in the lineup for him.

The Celtics defeated the New Jersey Nets in preseason action last night, 111-108. Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, Kevin Henkin takes the Henry Paulson/Ben Bernanke approach to forecasting the upcoming Celtics season.  It’s definitely worth a read. Get the rest of the Celtics coverage from CelticsLinks.com.

The Bruins are off until tomorrow night when they’ll go on the road to take on the Ottawa Senators. Get your Bruins news at Bruinslinks.com.

The Patriots are getting ready for Monday night’s matchup with nemesis Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos. The Patriots can never seem to beat the Broncos, and even during the Super Bowl years, it was a struggle. (The all time series is something like 24-15 in favor of Denver.) The Broncos come in with a high powered passing attack, which seems like the exact wrong thing that the Patriots need to see right now. Check in at Patriots Daily and PatriotsLinks.com for all the previews and coverage.

———
Samsung, The Official HDTV of the NFL, is looking for fans to come out and share their stories of “That’s How I See It” with a chance to have their story turned into a commercial that will air on NBC during the pregame show of Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009.

Fans are invited to stop by the NFL Super Ad mobile studio at Gillette Stadium to tell their story of pregame rituals, family traditions surrounding the NFL or defining moments while watching football.
Selected stories will be posted on nfl.com/superad where fans can vote on their favorites Nov. 20, 2008 – Jan. 4, 2009.

WHEN:           Oct. 20, 2008

WHERE:
Gillette Stadium (Back area of Lots 12/13)
One Patriot Place
Foxborough, MA 02035
4 – 7 p.m.

WHY:    Samsung and the NFL are giving fans the opportunity to share their passion and stories surrounding America’s favorite sport as part of this year’s “Super Ad: That’s How I See It” campaign. The NFL Super Ad mobile studio will be making up to 20 stops in various NFL markets at stadiums and at Samsung’s retail partner Best Buy now through Oct. 26. For a full schedule, please visit www.nfl.com/superad.

Gearing Up For Game Five

A few random, scattered links for the afternoon…

Jerry Remy and Lou Merloni offer their thoughts on tonight’s game five over at NESN.com.

Bob Lobel says that he would put Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in the Hall of Fame, and keep Manny Ramirez out.

Right.

Rich Levine tears Lobel apart for it.

Gary Tanguay wants to know what you think of his glasses. Slow news day, I guess.

They’re not big fans of the TBS announcing crew at Over the Monster.

Tony Massarotti hates Bill Belichick. But we knew that already.

Sports Media News has the release from ESPN on the Monday Night Football Chalk Talk at Patriot Place (A.K.A. Jonathan City) on Monday afternoon.

Features on Monday Night Countdown prior to Patriots/Broncos on Oct 20:

ESPN the Magazine’s “For Love or The Game:” Richard Seymour

New England Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour will be the subject of Monday’s “For Love or The Game,” a Countdown segment that pairs a player or coach with a member of his family and a teammate to find out which person knows more about him. Seymour’s wife, Tanya, and his teammate Ty Warren battle to see who really knows Seymour better.

“Soundtracks:” Bill Belichick

Patriots Bill Belichick, a three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach and one of the best in the league, is wired for sound in this week’s “Soundtracks,” giving viewers a rare peek inside the mind of the coach during practices and games.

Do or Die Time For Sox

Morning links are going to be sparse the next few days due to some scheduling conflicts, but I’ll get you what I can in the time I have…

For the Red Sox it’s do or die, now or never, trot out whatever clichés you want, they need to win tonight to keep their season going. Otherwise the Rays join the Phillies in a FOX nightmare World Series. Of all the possible matchups, that one is probably only ahead of Brewers/Rays in terms of national appeal. Instead of Red Sox/Cubs, Red Sox/Dodgers or even Angels/Dodgers, FOX looks to have Tampa and Philadelphia as the primary markets in the Series. Even a Boston/Philadelphia series would be attractive.

Dice-K is on the mound for the Sox tonight, hoping to extend the season at least one more game. Get all the coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.

Over on Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp looks at Quicksand Cassel. He notes however, that this team’s problems run much deeper than quarterback.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Mailbag at WEEI.com. It’s a contrast in style with the Mike Reiss version. Get the rest of your Patriots news at PatriotsLinks.com.

The Bruins lost 4-3 to the Canadiens last night. Check the stories over at the all-new BruinsLinks.com.

Hopefully I’ll some more stuff as the day goes on today…

Moss Talks NASCAR

A few quick links this afternoon while we all continue to lick our wounds following another ALCS beating at the hands of the Rays…

Sports Media News has a release from the SPEED network with Patriots receiver Randy Moss talking about his  NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, Randy Moss Motorsports. Moss talks about some of his teammates who he’s gotten interested in his venture, (though the release spells Dan Koppen and receivers coach Matt Patricia’s names incorrectly) as well as his thoughts on this season after the devasting loss of quarterback Tom Brady to the season ending knee injury on opening day.

SMN also has TBS’ notes from the broadcast of the Rays/Red Sox game four from last night.

Tony Massarotti ponders the likelihood of a Red Sox comeback in this ALCS. Michael Vega, has the Rays making the surprise announcement that the struggling Scott Kazmir will start game five tomorrow night.

WEEI came in 7th overall in the latest Boston radio ratings. I’m sure they’re still # 1 in their demographic and will be sure to tell us so.

ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber weighs in on the network’s coverage of the Vince Young situation, and the invasions on his privacy.

Rays Push Sox To the Brink

The Red Sox are once again pushed to the limit in the ALCS, trailing the Rays 3-1 in the series now, and needing to win three games in a row – the last two in Tampa – against a relentless, confident Tampa team.

Amalie Benjamin has the Sox facing elimination tomorrow night, after the Rays 13-4 thumping of the Sox at Fenway last night. Joe Haggerty has Tim Wakefield overwhelmed by the quick-strike Rays last night. Michael Silverman has the Sox getting an appalling performance from their starting pitcher for the third straight game. Joe McDonald has the beatings continuing at Fenway. Jeff Goldberg has the Rays continuing to settle old scores with the Sox. Eric Avidon has more on the latest Fenway flogging of the Sox. Ron Chimelis says that it is hard to believe that this looked like it would be a hard fought series. Bill Ballou has an interesting headline to his article. David Brown has the Sox mixing up their lineup to no avail last night. Steve Krause has the Sox taking it on the chin again. Kevin Thomas has more on the Sox pushed to the brink.

Dan Shaughnessy doesn’t think that the Sox have another comeback in them for this series. Steve Buckley says that the Rays have been a little too comfortable in the box against the Sox…it might be time for a brushback. Sean McAdam has the listless Red Sox facing a long, hard fight to come back against the Rays in this series. Jeff Jacobs says that this year’s Wake up call might’ve come too late. Jon Couture says that the magic shoe is on the other foot in this series. Mike Fine acknowledges that the Sox have been in this position before, but says that this time feels different.

Steve Solloway might be the first in the media to say that if the Red Sox still had Manny, things might be different in this series.  Alex Speier says that health has been the key in this series, good health for the Rays, bad for the Sox.  Bob Ryan says that soon, Red Sox fans are going to have to face the facts, the biggest one being that the Rays are younger and more talented and going to be around for a while in the AL East. John Tomase says that the Sox need to loosen up. Kevin McNamara has the Sox powerless to stop the Rays right now. Art Davidson says that the better team is winning the ALCS. Maureen Mullen says that just nothing is working for the Sox right now.

Shira Springer has David Ortiz giving Sox fans a glimmer of hope that he might be poised to break out with his seventh inning triple. Wild eyed optimist Ron Borges uses the power of positive thinking to make the case that the Red Sox still have a shot in this series. Another cheery, upbeat guy, Jim Donaldson, says that the Sox are now in position to do what they do best. Mark Farinella has doom descending upon New England.

Adam Kilgore has Tim Wakefield unable to save the day for his teammates. Donaldson wonders if it was the last hurrah for Wakefield last night. Chimelis says that Wakefield’s start was sour from the onset last night.

Chris Forsberg looks at the bullpen, which was unable to provide any relief last night. Brian MacPherson has Jacoby Ellsbury taking a seat last night. Bill Doyle has Kevin Cash with bittersweet feelings about his home run last night. Doyle has Trot Nixon throwing out the first pitch last night, and also making a pitch to keep playing. Kilgore has Jason Bay learning to play the Green Monster in a very short time. Ryan has Dustin Pedroia gaining respect from Joe Morgan, and from all of baseball with his style of play and intensity.

McDonald has the Sox trying to take comfort in their history of fighting back in the postseason. McNamara has Ortiz and Youkilis hoping that the off day will help them get back into the swing of things. Donaldson agrees that the off day is a  big-time blessing for the Sox. David Brown says that history might be the Red Sox only remaining ally. McDonald also has Josh Beckett’s former manager Jack McKeon suspecting that the pitcher is ailing.

Daniel Barbarisi has Mike Lowell deciding to have hip surgery on Monday. Haggerty has Lowell finally calling it a season yesterday. Benjamin has Lowell scheduling his hip surgery, knocking him out for the rest of the postseason. Paul Jarvey has more on Lowell giving up hope of playing in this postseason. Couture has Lowell actually relieved that the decision is over.

McAdam has things falling apart on a potential move to Sarasota for Red Sox spring training. Hold on, though, Couture reports that the possibility of the move is not dead yet.

Will Leitch thinks that it is amusing that Boston Dirt Dogs anointed Tim McCarver as their new hero after he ripped on Manny Ramirez.

Benjamin’s notebook has J.D. Drew unable to make any difference at the top of the order. Silverman’s notebook has Lowell hoping to be ready for spring training after scheduling his hip surgery for next week. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Lowell’s upcoming surgery.  Ballou’s notebook has more on Ellsbury sitting last night. Thomas’ notebook has more on Lowell.

Rays

Nick Cafardo has a mini-feature on Carlos Pena and how the hometown kid is living a dream thanks to the power of positive thinking. Dan Ventura has James Shields getting another shot at Dice-K in game five tomorrow night. Kevin McNamara has B.J. Upton finally fulfilling his potential.

Jim McCabe has Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine giving the Rays another strong performance from their starting pitching. Bill Reynolds has Rhode Island guys Rocco Baldelli and Dan Wheeler seeing their postseason dreams come true. Michael Vega has Carl Crawford coming back quickly and strong from his surgery. Barbarisi has Willy Aybar mixing things up against Tim Wakefield

McCabe’s notebook has the Rays’ lineup changes paying dividends against Wakefield. The Projo notebook has more on the RI duo.

Cafardo has Joe Torre under fire for decisions in game 4 of the NLCS. Cafardo’s notebook has Matt Stairs bringing attitude to the Phillies.

The Globe alone had at least 16 full baseball articles this morning. The Projo had 13. I’m not sure what the means, other than that is a lot of baseball stories for one morning.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Tyler Carter says that Sunday night was a case of First and Goal and Gone for the Patriots. He notes that the team could be headed for their worst statistical season since Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

Christopher Price has Bill Belichick giving a vote of confidence to Matt Cassel. Mike Reiss goes further on Belichick’s statement, and his belief that Cassel can lead the Patriots. Douglas Flynn looks at the non-stop pressure Cassel has faced since taking over for Tom Brady. Shalise Manza Young has more on Belichick standing up for Cassel. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots are looking like a very average team right now. Dan Duggan says that there will be no rest for the Patriots defense with the pass-happy Denver Broncos up next.

Reiss’ notebook says that Belichick was not overly concerned with the lack of a pass rush on Sunday night, since the Patriots were focused on stopping the run.

Celtics/Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa notes that Aaron Ward is not living up to his status as the #2 defenseman on the Bruins defense. Steve Conroy has Michael Ryder hoping for a win against his old team. Conroy’s notebook looks at a pair of call ups by the Bruins.

Also check out the all-new BruinsLinks.com for stories, videos and photos about the Bruins from around the internet.

Steve Bulpett has Brian Scalabrine hoping to still be able to contribute to the Celtics. Marc J. Spears has the Celtics saying that they will be picking up Rajon Rondo’s option for next season, and the point guard hopes to make his stay in Boston a long one. Bulpett’s notebook has Kendrick Perkins getting back on the court in last night’s preseason win over Cleveland.

Rays Pound Lester, Sox in Game 3

Last night made it three rough nights in a row for Boston sports fans, with the Patriots losing badly Sunday night to the Chargers and the Sox losing Saturday night in Tampa and getting pounded last night at Fenway 9-1 by the Rays.

Amalie Benjamin has the Rays continuing their home run-happy ways against Lester and the Red Sox. Michael Silverman has the Sox now two loses from starting winter vacation. Joe Haggerty has the unthinkable becoming reality at Fenway yesterday. Joe McDonald looks at a Fenway thrashing by the Rays to the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg has the Rays turning the series in their favor last night. Art Davidson has the Sox in a tough hole after last night. Ron Chimelis says that for the Sox, even their cure-all elixir known as Jon Lester was not able to cure their offensive woes. Bill Ballou has the Sox facing a big dig after falling behind in the series. Kevin Thomas has this series looking like the last one between the clubs at Fenway in the regular season. Steve Krause looks at a day of disappointment for the Sox.

Alex Speier looks at how the Rays have shut down David Ortiz. Adam Kilgore has more on the struggles of Ortiz and how the Rays are pitching to him. John Tomase also looks at how Ortiz simply has not been able to get into a groove this postseason. Bill Doyle says that Big Papi has become the Big Popup this postseason. Jeff Jacobs says that the Red Sox really need Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury to turn things on. David Brown has the Sox bats missing in action.

Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox vulnerabilities have become evident in this series. Steve Buckley has the Rays quieting Fenway Park. Dan Shaughnessy says that the last few nights feel like the bad old days in Boston. Bill Reynolds wonders if the sky is falling, and agrees that the Red Sox look very vulnerable this season. Daniel Barbarisi says that the Red Sox have bailed themselves out of holes before. Steve Solloway say that the Sox won’t fold in this series. Tom Caron says that the Red Sox need a rested bullpen.

Rob Bradford looks at Tim Wakefield getting the start tonight, and taking the mound pain-free, unlike his last postseason start. Mike Fine has the Sox turning their hopes to Wakefield tonight. Kilgore has more on the Wakefield and Cash battery lined up for tonight. Duggan has it now Wakefield’s turn to face the Rays. Barbarisi says that Wakefield seems to have found his match in Cash. He also has Cash positive about Wakefield’s start tonight. Dan Lamothe says that tonight is Wakefield’s chance to shine. Doyle has a well-rested or perhaps rusty Wakefield going tonight. Couture examines the postseason struggles of Wakefield over the course of his career. Krause has the Sox putting all their hopes in Wakefield tonight.

Sean McAdam looks at the dominance of Jon Lester taking a hit from the Rays. Shira Springer has two poor pitches leading to disaster for Lester. Brian MacPherson agrees that it was just two bad pitches that did in Lester. Jon Couture has Lester’s wobbles putting the Sox in a bad spot in this series. Bob Stern says that Lester’s performance was just another strange turn in a strange series. Maureen Mullen has more on the lackluster outing from Lester.  Dom Amore has the Red Sox getting the edge in developing young players.

Chimelis has Jason Varitek struggling both at and behind the plate in this series. Chris Forsberg has Varitek catching a few boos last night at Fenway. Tomase has Varitek’s postseason nightmare just getting worse last night.

Jim McCabe looks at the Rays’ Matt Garza dominating the Red Sox last night. Dan Duggan has Garza the starter who turned up aces yesterday. Reynolds says Garza was a man with a plan last night against the Red Sox.

Michael Vega looks at Rhode Island’s Rocco Baldelli hitting a three run homer in the eight inning last night, capping off a tremendous comeback this season. Kevin McNamara has Baldelli’s return to health coming full circle at Fenway last night. Barbarisi has Baldelli’s 10-year-old brother getting a thrill yesterday by being on the field with his brother. Amore has Baldelli realizing his dream of playing in the postseason at Fenway Park.

Brown has B.J. Upton’s power switch remaining “on” last night. McNamara has Upton and Longoria stealing the show from the Red Sox last night.

Benjamin’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury unable to get out of his slump. Silverman’s notebook has more on the hitting woes for Ellsbury. The Projo notebook has Terry Francona expecting his club to break out soon. Goldberg’s notebook has Wakefield back in a familiar role tonight. Chimelis’ notebook has Wakefield ready to take the ball tonight. Ballou’s notebook says that Ellsbury has been dismal in his second postseason. Couture’s notebook has Ortiz and other unable to cash in on key chances. Stern’s notebook has Byrd saving the bullpen for another day. McCabe’s notebook has the Rays not concerned about Scott Kazmir’s struggles.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily Scott Benson says jet lag would have been preferable to how the Patriots performed with a week in San Jose.

Michael Felger has the report card for WEEI.com. Ian Clark’s report card says that the Patriots have more homework to do. Eric McHugh’s report card says that Laurence Maroney isn’t the only Patriots with “issues.” Ron Borges is already laying on the smarm fast with plenty of “Genius” references in recent days. Today is no exception.

Christopher L. Gasper says that the Patriots are lacking in big play ability. Mark Farinella looks back at another long unproductive night for the Patriots offense.

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