Welcome to First Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. For a complete wrapupof Monday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).
STORM BEFORE THE CALM? Theo Epstein, for one, believes the Red Sox will pull out of this. (csnne.com) As does Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. As for me, I think the Sox are scheduled to get back on track. (csnne.com)
And now, after a night in which Red Sox Nation got a chance to catch its breath -- and turn its grateful eyes to a team that's not in freefall (csnne.com) -- we'll see if Theo, Michael and I are right.
Not everybody thinks so. Both our own Sean McAdam and the Boston Herald's John Tomase point out that virtually all areas of the team have collapsed recently. In his Nation STATion column, Bill Chuck tells us why the Sox have been a .500 team over the last six weeks (and doesn't give much hope that things are going to turn around). The main reason? Pitching. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal agrees, at least with the notion that that's where a good chunk of the blame belongs.
If that's the case, there is some good news. Josh Beckett threw off a mound Monday (csnne.com) and may soon be ready to return. And weei.com reports a reinforcement -- in the form of promising right-hander Junichi Tazawa -- is on the way.
In any case, the Blue Jays are in town. We'll find out soon enough.
TAZAWA'S NOT ALL . . . WE THINK: Many people assume that this . . .
.bbpBox113339458253893632 background:url(http:a0.twimg.comimagesthemestheme1bg.png) C0DEED;padding:20px; p.bbpTweetbackground:fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px p.bbpTweet span.metadatadisplay:block;width:100;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid fff;border-top:1px solid e6e6e6 p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.authorline-height:19px p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author imgfloat:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px p.bbpTweet a:hovertext-decoration:underlinep.bbpTweet span.timestampfont-size:12px;display:block From Independent ball to Boston, welcome back Joey Gathrightless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet ReplyPeter Gammons
means Joey Gathright will be in a Red Sox uniform tonight. We shall see.
BAD MOON RISING: No good news last night, as the Yankees increased their A.L. East lead to four games by beating Felix Hernandez and the Mariners (New York Post) and the Rays pulled to within three games of the Sox in the wild-card race by beating the Orioles. (St. Petersburg Times)
MAGIC MAN: "How in the name of Kelly Shoppach are the Rays in this playoff race?" asks the Tampa Tribune's Martin Fennelly. Two words: Joe Maddon.
THAT'S CERVELLI: Another concussion has sidelined Francisco Cervelli indefinitely. (ESPN New York)
POLICE LOG: Manny Ramirez was arrested after a domestic dispute with his wife. (csnne.com)
OLD FRIENDS: Looks like the end of the line for Mike Cameron, who was released by the Marlins last night. (mlb.com)
AND FINALLY . . . When there's money involved, there's usually a solution to everything. (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)