Sox, Pats Head West, C’s Ready To Start Defense

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.

Celtics

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.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has Sam Cassell talking about the difficulties of repeating, having done it with the Rockets in the ’90’s. Murphy’s notebook has more on Cassell returning to the Celtics.

Patriots

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.

Carey, Martinez to Call Sox Games on TBS

TBS has released their Telecast Schedule and Broadcast Teams for the MLB Division Series coverage.

The Red Sox games will be called by Chip Carey, with Buck Martinez as the color analyst. Craig Sager will do the reporting.

NESN’s Don Orsillo gets the call for the Tampa Bay series against either the Twins or White Sox. Orsillo is teamed with Harold Reynolds.

NESN’s Dennis Eckersley will be in the TBS studios for the pregame TBS MLB on Deck show, and the postgame Inside MLB show as well.

For national radio, Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell will have the Red Sox/Angels series on ESPN Radio.

Red Sox Rally Monday

The baseball regular season is now behind us, and it is onto the postseason for the Red Sox. The Sox received a bit of a blow yesterday when it was revealed that Josh Beckett suffered an oblique injury during his bullpen session, which caused the Sox to push their ace back to game three, and move Jon Lester into the game one start.

Amalie Benjamin reports on the injury to Beckett, and has Terry Francona quoting team Dr Thomas Gill as saying ‘Hey, relax. This is going to be all right.’ – which should make Sox fans feel a little better. (Though Dan Kennedy thinks you still need to keep your fork handy.) Steve Buckley (who apparently was the first with the story yesterday) doesn’t include the quote from Dr Gill, and paints a more grim picture of the scenario for the Red Sox. Rob Bradford has Beckett feeling better yesterday.  Jeff Goldberg has more on Beckett getting pushed back to game three. Ron Chimelis has Francona delivering the news after the second game last night. Mike Fine says that the Beckett injury is a real damper for the Red Sox. Alan Siegel says that the Beckett injury puts the Red Sox postseason hopes in jeopardy.

Bob Ryan says that whatever happens this postseason, these Red Sox are playing with house money. Jim Donaldson makes the argument that either team could sweep this first round series. Lenny Megliola says that it is a tough road ahead for the Red Sox. Bill Burt says that Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia are the new “Dirt Dogs.”

Buckley looks at Johnny Pesky’s No. 6 getting raised to th right field to join the other numbers retired by the Red Sox. Bill Ballou has Pesky overwhelmed with the attention yesterday. Chimelis has Pesky humbled by the honor yesterday. Joe McDonald has more on the ceremony honoring Pesky. A piece from McDonald yesterday is well worth a read, it’s a look at the first major league hits by Gil Velazquez and George Kottaras, and what it meant to them. Jon Couture says that retiring Pesky’s number just feels wrong.

Carolyn Thornton has the Sox splitting the season ending doubleheader with the Yankees. Bob Stern has more on the season-ending twin bill. Rich Thompson has Mark Kotsay ready to contribute to the Red Sox in the postseason. Dan Lamothe looks at the Red Sox injury-depleted playoff roster. Joe Haggerty looks at Pedroia coming in second in the batting race. Bradford has Tim Wakefield ready for bullpen duty in the postseason if needed.

Bill Doyle has Don Orsillo talking about working the postseason for TBS.

Adam Kilgore‘s notebook recaps a busy doubleheader day at Fenway yesterday with the Yankees, which also including the retiring of Johnny Pesky’s number 6. Thompson’s notebook has Jon Lester moved up to start game one. Thornton’s notebook has more on Lester, as well as J.D. Drew finally seeing some action. Chimelis’ notebook has Jonathan Papelbon unhappy with his final performance of the regular season. Stern’s notebook has the Red Sox trying to get through yesterday’s doubleheader without any more injuries.

Patriots

The guys at Patriots Daily has planned a week long tribute to Troy Brown, honoring the man many feel embodies everything good about this decade’s Patriots. Yesterday Scott Benson had the piece A Man Among Men, grasping at words to describe Brown as a football player. Today, Chris Warner chimes in with the Legends of Troy, a look at the signature moments of Troy Brown’s career with the Patriots.

Mike Reiss says that Bill Belichick’s Patriots usually fare well coming out of the bye week, and looks at a few things the team has been working on. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots Red Zone struggles continue to be a major concern. Shalise Manza Young has a look at receivers coach Bill O’Brien. Michael Vega looks at how hard work and versatility have made Ray Ventrone an asset to the Patriots. K.C. Joyner on WEEI.com says that the doomsday predictions for the Patriots are off base.

Misc

Stephen Harris says that the Bruins must remember the lessons that they learned last season. Barbara Matson has the Bruins working on getting their team and act together. Joe Haggerty has Michael Ryder ready to show the Canadiens something.

Mark Murphy looks at the challenges Doc Rivers will face in trying to put his bench together while trying to repeat at NBA champs. Jeff Howe has the Celtics ready to begin their title defense after a short summer.

Mark Blaudschun says that it is too early to write some teams off from the National Championship race in college football.