Red Sox lose second straight to Orioles

The Orioles scored five times in the fifth inning, the only inning in which they scored runs all night, which was good enough for a 5-3 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night. The Red Sox are now four games under .500 for the first time since May 13. Starter Aaron Cook oddly enough had a no-hitter with one out in that fifth inning until the wheels fell apart. The big blow came on a double-play ball to end the inning, in which Cook threw the ball into center field allowing the flood gates to open.

Adrian Gonzalez and manager Bobby Valentine were both ejected in the eighth inning. It all started when Gonzalez was upset with a quick-pitch when he was at the plate and then grounded out. Valentine was ejected right after when he went out to defend Gonzalez. It seems nothing can go right for the Red Sox, both on and off the field.

On Wednesday John Henry sent another email to media outlets, this time regarding the meeting that occurred in New York late last month. He insisted the players did not want to get Valentine fired, and these meetings have taken place for a number of years now, just this was the first to get leaked. Here is an except:

First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win — what can we all do to improve our ability to win?

I think Henry needs to do something more than just sending an email at this point, don’t you think?

David Ortiz feeling better, but still idle- Michael Vega has David Ortiz not knowing when he will be able to return to the lineup.

It’s time to call it quits, Sox aren’t worth our attention- John Tomase says fans should start focusing their attention on 2013 as this season appears to be all but over.

Bobby V’s Sox on wobbly legs- Gordon Edes looks at how this season might have an affect on next season. He mentions free agents and if they would want to even come to Boston.

Who’s to blame in this latest Red Sox fiasco- Tim Britton says that the blame can go to almost everyone in the entire organization.

Adrian Gonzalez refutes claim in report- Rob Bradford exclusively gets Adrian Gonzalez’s take on the Yahoo! Sports report.

Matsuzaka: ‘I’m ready to make the next step’- Maureen Mullen has Daisuke Matsuzaka’s comments following his latest outing in Pawtucket. He feels he is ready to return.

The Patriots continued their week-long grind at Gillette Stadium with their fourth straight day of practice. They will host the Eagles at Gillette Monday night.

Get all your Patriots coverage at Patriotslinks.com.

Q&A with Michael Felger

Michael Felger has been a member of the Boston sports media since 1992.

Michael Felger has been a member of the Boston sports media since 1992 when he graduated from Boston University. He has spent time with a number of media outlets with various roles for each from beat reporter to now radio and television host. He has become one of the most prominent members of the Boston sports media. Like him or not, for every major Boston sports story or game everyone wants to know what Felger has to say. Felger celebrated two milestones this week, one being the three year anniversary of 98.5 The Sports Hub and also the 5,000th Sports Tonight Show on Comcast Sportsnet. Boston Sports Media Watch had the chance to catch up with Felger for a Q&A on a wide variety of subjects.

BSMW: What do you miss most about being a beat writer and covering a team on a day-to-day basis? Do you miss the writing side of journalism?

MF: There was nothing better than breaking a story in the newspaper (i.e., the actual thing you held in your hands over morning coffee), which was still possible during most of my time as a beat reporter. Now, of course, that rarely happens. So the thing I miss the most doesn’t really exist any more.

Otherwise, I liked this time of a year a lot on the Pats beat. I thought that if you went to those training camp practices every day, paid attention and knew what to look for, you could learn about the team. Once they got out of camp and closed practices, forget it. Everyone was back in the dark. But right now was one of the few times you could provide true insight. Covering hockey was great because of the people– the players were mostly humble and fun and there were characters like Pat Burns and Harry Sinden who I enjoyed even as they crushed me. The hockey culture is unique. And the games were great.

But to say I  “miss” any of that would be an overstatement. I’d rather be doing what I’m doing now. I don’t miss writing.

BSMW: Do you enjoy working full-time in radio and TV more than when you worked in print? Has not being on a beat/covering games allowed you to voice your opinion on players more than you would if you were still covering games?

MF: There were many days when I categorically did not enjoy being a beat reporter. There are very few days when I don’t enjoy commentating on radio or TV. The radio, in particular, is a blast. There’s nothing else like it.

As for the voicing of my opinion — yes, of course, there’s more freedom now. And that’s essential, because I pretty much can’t  put a sock in it, so to speak. It ultimately made me a pretty average beat guy. If I was doing a report card in the Herald and Joe Andruzzi (one of the best guys to ever come through there) had a bad game, I couldn’t downplay it just because I was friendly with him. Or if I felt the Pats should have paid to keep Deion Branch or Adam Vinatieri, I wouldn’t hesitate to criticize the team even though Bill Belichick wrote the epilogue for my book or the Krafts had been good to me (both true). So relationships were frayed, and I grew to hate the politics of the job.

This is hardly unique to me, by the way. If you want sources, you pretty much have to play favorites. That’s not a criticism of reporters who do it. It’s just the nature of the job. It’s a hard, hard thing to pull off. I’m a heck of a lot more comfortable coming at it from the outside and just saying what I think.

BSMW: What is your take on being labeled a “DB”? Does it bother you at all? Is it what you’re trying to be? Have you always been this way?

MF: You mean, was I born a douche bag? No. I’d say it’s a skill I’ve developed over time.

Seriously, it doesn’t bother me, but it’s also not what I’m trying to be. I’m not trying to be anything other than myself and, hopefully, entertaining. How it actually comes across to listeners  is up to them.

BSMW: Having worked at WEEI for some time, what do you see are the biggest differences between WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub? Has there been a time where what Felger & Mazz and 98.5 in general has done has surprised you, in terms of growing so quickly? Is there something you’d like to see your show to do in the near future to help it grow?

MF: I’ll pass on most of the first part of your question, except this: When Tony and I came on the air (exactly three years ago, Aug. 13, 2009), I said we would be different because we wouldn’t be held hostage by the relationships we had. Too often when I listen to sports commentary (the radio, ESPN, etc), I feel punches are being pulled because of a friendship, or a business relationship, or a broadcast rights agreement, or a weekly interview segment, or whatever. Just too much protecting of the brands and the people. I like to think Tony and I avoid that better than most. We try to go after everyone the same way. And I think the Hub and Comcast deserve a lot of credit for allowing it. Comcast doesn’t stop me from speaking my mind on the Celtics and the NBA, and the Hub doesn’t prevent me from going after the Bruins or NFL owners. That’s rare. We’re lucky.

As for the how quickly the competition heated up on the radio, I was surprised by it. I thought if we were lucky, that by Year 5 we’d have made it a ball game. Instead, we starting winning in 2010 and were No. 1 in the demo for a year starting in the spring of 2011 (the only sports show to do that since we came on). By this spring, it was actually treated like a failure when we finished third. We also got the simulcast deal in place. All that happened within three years.  So, yes, I was not expecting all that so soon.

BSMW: Why aren’t you on Twitter? Will you ever be on Twitter? Do you think it is good or bad for sports journalism?

MF: Excellent question. Laziness. No other reason. I have nothing against it. It seems like a great tool for news events (like a trade deadline), and as a marketing vehicle, it’s not just the future, it’s the present. So you can add “dumb” to “lazy.”  I should be on there.

BSMW: Where do you see yourself in the coming years? Have you ever considered moving to a national platform?

MF: No one has ever asked me to move to a national platform, so I’ve never really considered it. Basically, if I can do what I’m doing now for the rest of my professional life (on the radio every day in Boston; some TV at night), I would consider myself extremely lucky. In fact, I’m sure they will have to tell me to leave, not the other way around.

Follow me on Twitter at @hannable84. Shoot me an email at [email protected]

Red Sox, Beckett fall to Rangers, Patriots open preseason tonight

It was a another rough outing for Josh Beckett yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park. The right-hander gave up eight runs on eight hits in 5 plus innings of work. The Red Sox battled back from multi-run deficits all game long, eventually tying the game at nine, but Adrian Beltre’s sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Rangers the lead and the Sox couldn’t do any more in the bottom half of the inning, losing by a count of 10-9.

Following joint practices the past two days at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots and Saints will meet Thursday night for the Patriots’ first preseason game. It will be the second game for the Saints. Although the starters are not expected to play much, football being back is just what many fans in the area need right now with the Red Sox struggling. Also, it will give reporters and analysts game action to discuss, rather than what happened in practice. Hopefully it will put an end to some of the bogus story lines coming out of camp thus far such as: Is this offense going to be better than the one in 2007? or Is Tom Brady still a clutch quarterback, having not performed  well in the postseason of late?

Another rough day for Beckett- Alex Prewitt looks at Beckett’s start on Wednesday, one in which he was boo’d off the mound when he was taken out in the fifth inning.

Root of all Red Sox woes- Michael Silverman says the majority of the problems with the Red Sox this season all come back to pitchers Jon Lester and Josh Beckett and their poor records.

Broken record: Beckett buries Sox- Joe McDonald looks at Beckett’s outing and season, one the right-hander feels like he is letting down his teammates.

Everything is wrong with Josh Beckett- Kirk Minhane looks at Beckett’s rough season.

Thanks to starters, Red Sox will be forced to call uncomfortable audible- Rob Bradford looks at the Red Sox starting rotation going into next season and possibly who the team might need to try and deal away, likely Beckett or John Lackey.

Playoffs?! You kidding me?- Gordon Edes says if the Red Sox don’t get hot on the upcoming 10-game road trip their playoff hopes will be all but over.

Brady, Brees pass the compliments- Shalise Manza Young and Julian Benbow in the Patriots notebook have the respect Drew Brees and Tom Brady have for one another.

Five things to watch for with Patriots vs. Saints- Greg A. Bedard has five things to watch for in tonight’s game.

Patriots: Five things to watch- Jeff Howe has his five things to watch tonight.

Ten spot: Who you should watch for Thursday against the Saints- Christopher Price has 10 players to keep your eye on tonight.

Things to watch: Patriots-Saints- Field Yates has 13 things to watch for in the Patriots first preseason game.

 

Should the Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine?

Should the Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine?

This was the big question being debated within the media and across the radio airwaves on Monday. The majority say that Valentine should be gone, but there are still some that want to stick with the manager. The attention that the subject has gotten over the past few days prompted general manager Ben Cherington to address the subject with the media before Monday’s game and also John Henry sending an email out to the local media outlets. Both essentially backed the manager, virtually saying he will not be fired.

Some local writers also gave their opinions on the subject:

Bobby Valentine never fit here, should go now- John Tomase says Valentine should be fired, and fired immediately.

Firing Bobby Valentine won’t fix the Red Sox- Peter Abraham says Valentine isn’t the real problem within the Red Sox, and firing him now wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, he mentions some of the things Valentine has done well.

Desperate times, desperate measures- Gordon Edes looks at past teams who have fired their manager mid-season. It has worked for some teams in the past.

To me, firing Bobby Valentine right now, in the middle of the season is not the answer. Quite frankly, although he’s made some questionable on-field decisions regarding lineups and pitching changes, as a whole he’s done a pretty decent job as a manager on the field. Off the field is a different story, but on the field he has been above average.

Look at what he was given to work with. He’s yet to have a full complement of players for his lineup. His bullpen was a mess as the season began, but he got the most out of the guys he put on the field. Most importantly injuries have been a daily occurrence with the team, a record-number of games missed due to injuries. He was without Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford for virtually half the season, and then adding insult to injury were DL-stints for Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Managing a baseball team without those players for a significant period of time is no easy task, but Valentine has done the best he can and put together a lineup that has put up the third-most runs in all of baseball. As an on-field manager, he’s been pretty good.

Off the field…not so much. Going along with daily occurring injuries seems to be daily occuring miscommunications between Valentine and the front office/medical staff. Valentine will say one thing to the media, and the media will ask the specific player about it, and get a completely different answer. Valentine also runs his mouth a little too much adding unnecessary drama.

A perfect example was last week when appearing on WEEI’s Big Show for his weekly interview Valentine offered a story of management learning of  a comment Valentine made to Will Middlebrooks following a poor inning in the field. Management did not like the way Valentine was communicating to his rookie third baseman, and voiced their displeasure. Valentine was not responding to any particular question, rather he offered the story up on his own, which probably isn’t the best thing to do in a town like Boston considering Middlebrooks was being faced with questions about it the very next day. Unnecessary questions, that no player wants, nor expects to face when they show up to the ballpark.

There have also been reports of Valentine not getting along, over even speaking with some of his coaches. While there have been some miscommunications, people need to remember a lot of these coaches were with the team last season and worked under Terry Francona. Most are not Valentine guys, most didn’t know Valentine until  he was hired. There was going to be an adjustment period, a time where they got to know each other and the way everyone likes to work. Most reports say things are getting better, which was to be expected as time went on.

Firing Valentine now wouldn’t solve much. In fact the players would get their way once again, just like last year when they complained about the schedule and late Sunday night games. In turn they got headphones and a night on a yacht, courtesy of ownership. Then, they wanted their manager fired. They got that too. The players are the ones to be blamed, they are the ones on the field underperforming. Management spent the money to get the star players (a few mistakes), but the players aren’t playing up to par for who they are. While management is at fault for catering to every gripe the players have, for the most part they cannot be blamed for what has happened on the field. So now, why should these underperforming players once again get what they want?

What the Red Sox should do is ride out the rest of the season, then completely reevaluate their team and what kind of direction they want to go in during the off-season. To me, ownership needs to put the team in complete control of Ben Cherington and first, let him decide on a manager, with no input from management. If he is comfortable with Valentine, let it be Valentine, otherwise find someone else. But, that manager needs to be given complete control and able to manage in whatever style he is most comfortable, with 100 percent backing from management.

Next comes the players. Guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz — those guys are here virtually no matter what because of their contracts, but serious consideration needs to go into the remainder of the roster. They need players who are committed to the team and organization. They need players that are not going to go crying to the front office if things are run differently, and not the way they are accustomed to. They need guys who just go about their business on a day-to-day basis and all that matters in the end is results. With a solid set and stone core group of players set to return, the team should be in a position to compete for a Division, and World Series title with whomever else is on the roster from newly acquired players and whichever players carry over from this year, as long as the core group of guys perform to what they are capable of.

Rather than “blowing” the team up, what they need is a different way of running the organization, a change in culture and a commitment to the new culture, rather than the players running the organization like is the case now. One can only hope they can get things back on track next season because it isn’t much longer before fans really stop showing up at Fenway and supporting their home team. As bad as things have been this year, it still can get worse.

Follow me on Twitter at @hannable84, and feel free to shoot me an email whether you agree or disagree to [email protected]

Red Sox fall to Tigers, Patriots players mix it up at practice

The Red Sox were seeking their fifth straight win Wednesday night at Fenway Park, but it was not meant to be as starter Aaron Cook got knocked around for the third straight outing and the team fell 7-5. Cook went 4 2/3 innings allowing six runs on nine hits. He allowed back-to-back home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the fourth, which gave the Tigers a 6-1 lead at the time.

Before the game the team announced Daniel Nava will be placed on the 15-day DL with sore wrists, and Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket. Reliever Craig Breslow arrived from the West Coast and Clayton Mortensen was sent back down to Pawtucket to make room for the lefty specialist.

The Patriots held their annual season ticket holder practice inside Gillette Stadium Wednesday night. It was a spirited practice which saw the offense and defense going after one another following a scrum between Brandon Spikes and Nate Solder. To me it isn’t a big deal, rather it shows how intense all of the players are and how they cannot wait to hit someone on another team.

To no one’s surprise, Scott Zolak will be taking over for Gino Cappelletti in the Patriots radio booth this season working along side Gil Santos. A formal announcement from 98.5 should be coming soon.

Word is, time to get series- Michael Silverman says all the Red Sox need to do is keep winning series’, and they will be right in the thick of the Wild Card race.

Sox make it interesting by racking up wins- Joe Haggerty has the Red Sox making this interesting of late by winning games and series’.

Red Sox rotation still unsettled- Joe McDonald says the Red Sox front office believed in their rotation by not trading for a starter at the trade deadline, but with Beckett getting injured and Cook struggling again things aren’t looking so positive.

A catching conundrum: Red Sox have decisions to make behind the plate- Alex Speier looks at the situation the Red Sox have at catcher with three catchers on their roster after Ryan Lavarnway was called up on Wednesday.

Craig Breslow overcomes hectic travel schedule to make strong impression- Didier Morais has the newest Red Sox reliever having a solid first outing with the team, despite arriving just one hour before game time.

Blame falls on Larry Lucchino- Ron Borges says everything that has happened with the Red Sox is on Larry Lucchino and all of the decisions he made back in the off-season.

Pieces in place for McDaniels- Greg A. Bedard says McDaniels has everything an offensive coordinator could want in terms of players in his first year back in New England.

Players get into swing of camp- Shalise Manza Young has in her notebook the scuffle that highlighted the practice session. Bill Belichick spoke before practice, so did not comment on what happened.

Patriots engulfed in ‘dog’ fight- Mike Reiss says the scuffle was not a big deal since no one really got hurt, and the team seemed to have no hard feelings for one another following the practice.

Chandler Jones’ early polish is impressive- Tom E. Curran looks at Patriots rookie Chandler Jones and what a strong camp he’s had thus far.

Red Sox win third straight, trade deadline looms

The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 7-3 Monday night at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz delivered his third straight outstanding performance going eight innings allowing three runs (two earned), on five hits while striking out four. Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks each hit two-run home runs supplying the Red Sox with all the offense they needed.

Today at 4 p.m marks the Major League Baseball trade deadline and plenty of rumors surrounding the Red Sox have surfaced, particularly surrounding Josh Beckett. Teams reportedly interested in the right-hander are the Dodgers, Braves and Ranges, but many Red Sox insiders have downplayed those reports (Alex Speier gave a good run down of where things stood last night with the team on the trade front).

Today should be more of the same with more rumors being thrown around, with most of them being just that, rumors. In the Twitter age no rumor goes unreported. It is very unlikely that the Red Sox will make a blockbuster move. If a move were to be made, it would be a minor one involving a current role player. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who has come up in trade talks, is unlikely to be dealt after punching a wall after grounding out last night. As always in this area and with this team, the trade deadline will be interesting.

The Patriots were off on Monday, but return to the practice field today. For all the Patriots coverage, visit patriotslinks.com.

Careful shopping needed in this market- Nick Cafardo looks at the Red Sox’ situation at today’s trade deadline and warns they need to be very careful in any deal they choose to make.

Sox reality check arrives with trade deadline- Gerry Callahan says today’s deadline is a “defining” moment for general manager Ben Cherington and the Red Sox organization.

Odds are against a Sox comeback, but it’s happened before- Tim Britton has although the numbers don’t look promising for the team to make the playoffs, it has happened before.

Clay Buchholz has come a long way- John Tomase has a look at Buchholz’s season, and how there has been a drastic improvement since the first few months of the year.

He’s only getting better- Alex Prewitt says Buchholz is now pitching like the ace of the Red Sox staff.

Dustin Pedroia continues to pull team together- Joe McDonald has Pedroia leading the team both on and off the field of late, and keeping the team close with the trade deadline looming. He also notes Pedroia is getting hot at the plate at the right time.

Pedroia backs up the talk with his bat- Maureen Mullen looks at the Red Sox’ second baseman and how his comments last Friday night may have fired both he and the team up.

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Red Sox lose fourth straight, time to panic?

In what is the most pivotal road trip thus far in the 2012 Red Sox season, the team dropped the first game 9-1 in Texas to the Rangers Monday night. The loss drops them below .500 for the first time since June 16. The games don’t get any easier as they will face the Rangers the next two nights before a travel day on Thursday before taking on the Yankees this weekend in New York. Both teams lead their respective divisions. If the team doesn’t start winning now, the next few months of baseball could have very little meaning in these parts of the country.

Bad starting pitching was once again the issue Monday. Felix Doubront, who leads the team in wins with 10, struggled. He allowed six runs in 5+ innings of work. The offense wasn’t much better as they finished the game going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Their only move: Going backward- Nick Cafardo has things are not going well for the Red Sox at the worst possible time.

Cellar and sellers- Scott Lauber says this stretch for the team could turn them into sellers at the trade deadline.

Red Sox trying to hold together- Joe McDonald has the team needing to start winning games, but most players aren’t panicking yet.

One-and-done playoff might not be worth big trade for Red Sox- Brian MacPherson says the Red Sox might want to consider holding on to their top prospects and not make a big trade at the deadline.

Doubront can’t get Sox back on track- Sean McAdam looks at Doubront’s performance Monday night, one of his worst outings of the year.

On a more positive note, the Bruins signed head coach Claude Julien to a multi-year contract extension, and Patriots training camp kicks off Thursday.

Julien’s extension with Bruins well-deserved- Joe Haggerty says Julien getting the extension that he has certainly earned.

Two Brady favorites vie for jobs- Jeff Howe looks at Deion Branch and Jabar Gaffney possibly competing for playing time.

Red Sox blow out White Sox, Ortiz to DL

Led by slugger Cody Ross’ two three-run home runs the Red Sox powered over the White Sox 10-1 Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Felix Doubront picked up his tenth win of the season, which is the same number as Jon Lester and Josh Beckett combined. Jacoby Ellsbury continued his strong play since his return as he went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

After receiving a second opinion on his Achilles it was determined that designated hitter David Ortiz will go on the 15-day disabled list. The Red Sox will get Dustin Pedroia back Thursday, and will most likely use the DH spot to give a few guys a rest from playing the field, rather than having one player fill the shoes of Ortiz.

Around this time of year no rumor should be a surprise, but this one came out of no where. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, as well as USA Today reported the Red Sox have been engaged with trade talks involving Carl Crawford. One of the teams he mentioned was the Marlins and the deal would be the Red Sox sending Crawford and Jose Iglesais to the Marlins in exchange for former Red Sox Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell. This really doesn’t make sense on so many levels, but during July this probably won’t be the last crazy rumor to get out there.

On top of the trade rumors, Crawford has had to deal with the aftermath of the racial slur directed at him during his rehab game with Portland in Manchester, NH. You really have to feel for the guy who has been outstanding in his first three games of the year having to deal with all of this, and to Crawford’s credit he has said all the right things.

Felix Doubront fulfills promise foreseen by Bobby Valentine- Scott Lauber looks at Doubront’s outing and how Valentine has believed in him since the first bullpen session he saw him throw.

Ross, Gonzalez step in for injured Ortiz- Danny Picard has players stepping up to try and make up for Ortiz’ absence in the lineup.

Cody Ross helps fill void- Joe McDonald also has Ross stepping up to make up for Ortiz’ production while he is on the DL.

Cody Ross validates decision to sign with Red Sox, showing swing suited for Fenway Park- Didier Morais looks at Ross’ swing being perfect for Fenway, and how he already has more home runs than all of last season.

Gonzalez headed in the right direction- Brian MacPherson has Adrian Gonzalez being locked in at the plate ever since the teams’ West Coast trip prior to the All-Star break.

The return of the real Adrian Gonzalez- Alex Speier looks deeper into Gonzalez’ recent hot streak at the plate.

Rondo NBA’s best point guard?- Interesting quotes from Rajon Rondo in an interview to a French newspaper while at a Nike Camp in France. This was supposedly translated from English to French, then back to English, so things could have gotten a little distorted. Rondo calls himself the best point guard in the league, and adds he has been “running” Celtic timeouts for the past two seasons.

Penn State should discuss ending football- Bob Ryan adds in his take on the Penn State scandal and the aftermath.

Youkilis returns to Fenway, Ortiz injured

Monday was a busy day in the world of Boston sports, led by the return of Kevin Youkilis to Fenway Park. The Red Sox won the game 5-1 over the White Sox as a result of Adrian Gonzalez’ three-run home run in the eighth inning. The big story of the game was on the home run designated hitter David Ortiz appeared to injure his leg while rounding second base. Following the game manager Bobby Valentine said it was an achilles injury and he is expected to miss a few games. Ortiz said he would have an MRI Tuesday.

Ortiz injures achilles tendon- Nick Cafardo in his notebook has what a bizarre injury season it has been for the Red Sox.

Kevin Youkilis feels love at Fenway- Joe McDonald looks at the former Red Sox’ return to Fenway, a game in which he had three hits.

Kevin Youkilis feels comfortable with White Sox- Bob Ryan (subscription only) also has a look at Youkilis’ return to Fenway. It was Ryan’s last official Red Sox assignment with the Globe before he is set to retire after the Olympics. The media gave Ryan a standing ovation in the press box during the game.

Another solid outing from Aaron Cook- Maureen Mullen has another quality start from a Red Sox starter.

Crawford gets off to good start- Mullen also has a look at Carl Crawford’s first game back this season.

Ross can relate to Youk facing former team- Brian MacPherson and Tim Britton in their notebook have what Ross said it is like facing a former team.

In football news, Monday was the deadline for players who were franchised to reach long-term agreements with their respective teams. Otherwise the players will be forced to play the entire 2012 season under the franchise tag and cannot sign a long-term deal until the 2012 season is over. As expected the Patriots and Wes Welker did not reach a long-term deal.

What’s next for the Pats and Welker- Mike Reiss has the options the Patriots have Welker have regarding his next contract.

Wes Welker, Patriots, will wait- Jeff Howe has what the next off-season will look like for the Patriots and Welker.

In media news, Talkers.com came out with “2012 Talkers Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk”, ranking sports talk shows from 1-to-100. Boston was well-represened in the list as Dennis & Callahan came in at No. 7, followed closely by Toucher & Rich at No. 11. No. 21 was The Big Show and Felger & Mazz was No. 33. Rounding out Boston’s representation was Mut & Merloni at No. 73. Gresh & Zo were not on the list. Take this list for what it is worth.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/GreshandZo/status/225034003005177856"]

 

Will the Red Sox be buyers or sellers?

With the Red Sox sitting at .500, 43-43 and 9.5 games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East standings at the All-Star break, the biggest question among fans is whether or not the team will be buyers or sellers at this month’s trade deadline.

Despite being 9.5 games out in the division, the team is only 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but the issue is there are five teams ahead of them.

With all of the injured players scheduled to come back in the next few weeks the Red Sox could look at those as midseason acquisitions, or they could become sellers and trade some of their star players

Tony Massarotti believes that the Red Sox should be sellers, and look to trade one of their top pitchers.

Possessors of a 40-35 record roughly 10 days ago, the Red Sox limped into the All-Star break late Sunday night on the heels of a 7-3 defeat to the Yankees at Fenway Park. With loss, the Sox dropped to a perfectly mediocre 43-43. But before we make this too much of a big-picture issue, let’s focus on the two men who absolutely needed to step up in the weekend series against New York and who jointly fell on their faces.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

Massarotti wants the Red Sox to trade Beckett or Lester, but not both.

If Ben Cherington and the Red Sox are smart – and assuming they are not doing so already – they should be exploring any and all deals for either Beckett or Lester (but not both) as we approach the trading deadline set for the end of this month. Lester is obviously the more desirable to keep, but he would probably fetch more in return.

Massarotti brings up the dreadful numbers of the two starters this season, and also throws in a random line mentioning John Lackey.

Beckett and Lester also rank 28th and 30th among the same 41 pitchers in ERA, making it all the more curious that the Sox would allow chicken-fried running mate John Lackey to be joining the team on road trips despite the fact that he will not pitch for at least the majority of this season.

To me, I think the Red Sox will either be buyers, or do nothing — not be sellers. First of all, who could the Red Sox look to move?

Beckett would be extremely tough to deal because he has 10-5 rights, and who would the Red Sox look to get for Lester? Prospects? What good would prospects do for the Red Sox, who aren’t about rebuilding, rather look to win year in and year out. Very rarely at the deadline do you see starts being traded for stars.

With the number of injuries the Red Sox have had, especially in their outfield, it is presenting an issue when Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return.

Daniel Nava has been outstanding filling in for Crawford. Ryan Kalish performed pretty well before being sent down to Pawtucket last week when Ryan Sweeney returned from the disabled list. Sweeney has played well when he’s been healthy, and Cody Ross is on pace to hit a career high home runs, despite missing a month with a fractured foot. Where are all of these players going to go? They are too good to be optioned to Triple-A.

The team could look to deal the likes of Nava and Kalish, but they need to think long-term. Ellsbury is set to become a free agent after next season, and all signs point to him not resigning. Crawford has battled injuries this entire season, so can he really be depended on? Thinking long-term the Red Sox cannot deal away their young outfielders.

With the recent news that Carl Crawford is contemplating Tommy John surgery following the season keeping him out 6-8 months that would take him a few months into next season. What is the sense of Crawford even playing this season?

He should have the surgery now, and not try and play when he really shouldn’t. He should call this season a wash, and direct his full attention to 2013.

The Red Sox’ hands are tied. They really cannot be sellers at the trade deadline. They are forced to go with the players that they have signed to contracts, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

With the amount of talent on the roster they can get hot and click at the right time to string together a number of wins to get right back into the playoff hunt. Despite the struggles of the front-end of the starting rotation they have all proven they can be “aces,” who is to say they cannot step up and perform like them in the second half.

But, with the difficult schedule that awaits the team following the All-Star break, they could dig themselves a hole that is too deep to dig out of.