Sox Ready For Second Half Surge?

The Red Sox begin the post-All Star break portion of their schedule tonight in Anaheim. Pawtucket Red Sox play-by-play voice Josh Maurer will call the games for NESN in this series and the following one in Houston, as Don Orsillo is on his scheduled (mandated) in-season break.

Red Sox Beat: A look at 5 guesses for Sox’ second half – Michael Silverman has some interesting predictions for the rest of the season.

Why Red Sox won’t be able to treat Eduardo Rodriguez like an ace – Rob Bradford looks at how an innings count is going to factor into the rest of the year for the 22-year-old lefty.

Baseball’s strike zone has expanded, and hitters aren’t happy – Alex Speier with a look at how –  to the player’s chagrin – the strike zone has indeed shifted this season.

David Ortiz explains why he was unavailable Sunday – Bradford has the Red Sox DH talking about what led to his being out of the lineup in the last game prior to the All Star break.

Yeah, just a cold.

Danny Ainge quietly upgrading Celtics roster – Adam Himmelsbach examines the offseason thus far for the Celtics, and how much progress has actually been made.

Confident Cam Neely: Bruins ‘can be a playoff team’ – Stephen Harris has the Bruins boss looking forward to see his revamped squad.

Steve Letarte gets high marks for NBC’s NASCAR coverage – Chad Finn looks at the Maine native who will be part of NBC’s broadcast crew this weekend from New Hampshire.

Finn also notes the news from 98.5 yesterday that Chris Gasper of the Globe has been named co-host of the Patriots radio pregame show, alongside his old Saturday partner Marc Bertrand. This marks a complete revamp of the program with both former hosts Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh no longer with the station or the Patriots radio network. As I’ve said before, I’m generally OK with Gasper, he at least tries to be thoughtful, and while he won’t be able to pull out his thesaurus on the air, that’s probably for the best. Bertrand, on the other hand, I just don’t get the appeal. What does he bring?

WHERE IS ROGER????

The old Fenway Park taunt of Roger Clemens seems appropriate here as we await NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling on the appeal of Tom Brady.

The rumblings have been that Goodell could issue his ruling today, which would be just perfect for Goodell, as this is the so-called “deadest day in sports” and Roger can have the spotlight of the entire sports world all to himself.

That he would arrange things so that this would happen tells you just about all you need to know about the Commissioner and his integrity.

One thing we can be sure of in all this. Goodell is going to act in whichever way makes him look the best, to the most people.

How will Roger Goodell rule on Tom Brady appeal? The way he thinks makes him look best – Oh, Chad agrees. Look at that.

(Though the NFLPA did some “Federal Court” sabre-rattling this morning, which might, just might make Goodell hold off a bit on his announcement.)

Some random items here:

So what do we think of the wacky morning show feud on WEEI? Two days in a row now it has been atop the Inside Track, and led the cover of the Herald yesterday.

Maybe if I was more cynical, I might suggest that this is nothing more than a publicity stunt, and using some friends at the Herald to get some attention. But nah, these guys are really angry at each other! Right? It’s just like the time Mikey Adams was so mad he locked himself in the studio until he got hired!

Prediction: John Dennis is gone within a year. “Retirement” to Florida.

Two not-awful Shaughnessy columns in the span of a couple weeks? What is happening? (Next, someone is going to say Gary Tanguay is making sense. Whoops.) Today Shaughnessy has a look at the Globe’s sports Rolodex (safe to click – this link brings no SEO boost.) which is actually pretty fascinating.

XANDER BOGAERTS IS GOING TO BE A FREE AGENT IN 2019 AND HIS AGENT IS SCOTT BORAS! AREN’T YOU WORRIED???? Well, no Tony, I’m not.

The story of Mookie Betts’ rise from Nashville to Boston Red Sox franchise cornerstone – A really good feature by rising star Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com.

Hunter has consistency in his sights – Chris Forsberg has a look at Celtics first round pick R.J. Hunter.

Danny Ainge: New forward Perry Jones a ‘much different’ player than a lot of other Boston Celtics – Jay King looks at the forward acquired from the Thunder yesterday.

Wednesday In July

A scattering of observations, thoughts and opinion for a week many people are on vacation…

The Red Sox are continuing to creep back to respectability, though that could all go out the window in the next few days as Rick Porcello takes the mound tonight, and then the AL East-leading Yankees come to town for the weekend. We’ll know quite a bit more about this  team by the time the weekend is over.

Xander Bogaerts had the game winning hit last night, a bases loaded (and clearing) single in the seventh inning. The young shortstop, who is part of the MLB All-Star Game Final Vote (and currently in last place on that ballot) has been on fire as of late, showing the potential stardom many had him ticketed for.

I think I liked Mike Napoli better when he had sleep apnea.

The WEEI radio broadcast last night was…busy. Mo’ne Davis. John Tomase. Roger Clemens??? The Rocket apparently is attempting a redemption tour, hoping/asking/begging for his number 21 to be retired by the team.

Hey Roger, maybe you shouldn’t have burned so many bridges, not just with the team, but with the fans on the way out of town, huh?

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The Celtics reportedly acquired David Lee from the World Champion Golden State Warriors yesterday (trades can’t be made official until at least tomorrow), sending Gerald Wallace and a minimum contract (either Baab or Pressey) to the Bay area.

While some continue to express snark at Danny Ainge’s smaller moves to acquire “assets” – this one was a no-brainer.

Wallace, while a favorite of the media, did not play much over the last two seasons here. Moving him for another expiring contract (a bigger one!) in a player who can actually help the team this year is a major steal. There’s no downside here, unless you’re still hanging in the crowd that believes tanking for a high pick is the only way to go.

What’s next for the Celtics? Some still think Marcus Smart is their most valuable trade asset and could see him going to say, Philadelphia for Nerlens Noel. I don’t know if I’d feel good about that swap, but I could be talked into it.

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Rookie GM Don Sweeney took some heat after trading young defenseman Dougie Hamilton away for what was perceived to be low value. Following that move, for which he was harshly criticised by many, Sweeney has made several other moves, which have made the Bruins younger and faster. Bringing in free agent winger Matt Beleskey and trading for Dorchester’s Jimmy Hayes along with some other smaller moves.

There was plenty of spin coming from Causeway street over Hamilton’s desire to be here, but when Fluto Shinzawa, who I view as pretty much agenda-free when it comes to the Bruins wrote that it was Hamilton’s desire to get out of Boston, I tend to believe it.

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We’re in the dead zone for the Patriots, who open training camp in just about three weeks. Right now, the waiting game is afoot, as Roger Goodell contemplates Tom Brady’s appeal of his four game suspension. Don’t expect it any time soon. Goodell has yet to rule on Greg Hardy’s appeal, which was heard in May. In fact, I would not be surprised to see Goodell push the decision out as long as possible to make Brady sweat, and to reduce the amount of time his team would have to get the legal process started should Goodell not eliminate the suspension.

The NFL Network wrapped up its Top 100 Players of 2015 series last night, as ranked by current NFL players. The Super Bowl Champions have three players out of the top 100.

Julian Edelman, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

That’s it. Well, Darrelle Revis is on the list too, but he obviously isn’t on the team now.

No Devin McCourty? No Jamie Collins?

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What is happening at the WEEI morning show? They’ve gone full soap opera drama. (Listen at your own risk)

John Dennis is mad at Gerry Callahan because he says he’s not being supportive enough of his sobriety.

Gary Tanguay is mad at Glenn Ordway because the Big O is filling in this week when Tanguay insists he was originally booked and Ordway weaseled his way on by calling Callahan.  Tanguay also claimed multiple times that Julie Foudy hit on him, and said he was once propositioned by a man at a rest stop. He said he couldn’t sleep for days because he wondered if he attracted gay people.

He continues to complain about not getting the Patriots radio play-by-play gig, and Minihane asked him if he had gotten it, would he be screaming about Spygate and Deflategate the way that he has. Tanguay said No.

Apparently next week, Tanguay and Mike Mutnansky are going to be doing the 10-2 shift on WEEI. The shift they were both canned from. Should be awesome.

Kirk Minihane just doesn’t care anymore. He’s not going to change. If he gets fired, so be it.

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Still won’t link it, but Shaughnessy’s column the other day about cleaning out his home office of sports memorabilia wasn’t horrible.