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 Tuesday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).
HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN: Let's face it, you're always going to be smiling after an 18-6 victory (csnne.com), no matter when it happens.
But you'll forgive the Red Sox if their smiles seemed just a little wider last night, since this one a) snapped a five-game losing streak, b) hopefully ended a 10-losses-in-13-games slide and c) came on the same night that the Rays blew a late lead and lost to the woeful Orioles, in a game David Price started, no less (Tampa Tribune), which stopped the bleeding a little in the wild-card race and got their lead back up to four games.
Not only that, but . . .
AT LAST! Tim Wakefield finally won his 200th game, in his eighth attempt. The quest has been so well-chronicled that it needs no recapitulation here, except to relate how happy Wake was to win No. 200 at Fenway. (csnne.com) Still, Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald won't think back to this night when he reflects on the highlight of Wakefield's career; he'll remember a dark October evening in which Wake set the stage for the greatest comeback in sports history.
MORE GOOD NEWS: Josh Beckett is on track to pitch either Thursday or Friday, and Clay Buchholz may actually be healthy enough to throw a side session later this week. (Both stories csnne.com)
SOME BAD NEWS: Kevin Youkilis admits he has a sports hernia that needs surgery, but thinks he can play through it. (csnne.com) Didn't Mike Lowell say that about his degenerative hip condition in 2008 . . . ?
AND SHOCKING NEWS: Bobby Jenks has been diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (csnne.com), though the Red Sox are trying to make it sound like it's not that big a deal. Which is hard to believe, because, generally, pulmonary embolisms are very big deals.
WELCOME ABOARD: The Internet was buzzing yesterday morning with rumors that the Red Sox were adding Joey Gathright and Junichi Tazawa to the roster, but they weren't the only ones. (csnne.com)
STOP WORRYING: SI.com's Joe Sheehan says it's unlikely that the Rays will overtake the Red Sox for the wild card.
ANOTHER MILESTONE: Wakefield wasn't the only one stepping into the history books on Tuesday. Mariano Rivera recorded his 600th save (New York Post), one away from the major-league record, as the Yankees beat the Mariners to stay four games ahead of the Sox in the A.L. East race. Even noted Yankee-hater Mike Lupica says there'll never be another Mo. (New York Daily News)
COMING SOON . . . The return of Alex Rodriguez. (New York Post)
LOOKING AHEAD: The Rangers -- a potential playoff opponent -- are thinking of moving Alexi Ogando to the bullpen. (Dallas Morning News)
OLD FRIENDS: Mike Cameron was always thought of as a good teammate -- that was certainly how they felt about him in Boston -- and thus the news that the Marlins released because of unspecified "conduct detrimental to the team" is shocking (Miami Herald) . . . Coco Crisp's MRI came back negative (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com) . . . It's been a good September for David Murphy and a bad one for Justin Masterson. (Both rotoworld.com)
AND FINALLY . . . David Ortiz loves them like brothers, but he hopes his NBA pals aren't able to attend his celebrity golf tournament this December. (csnne.com)