The Twins beat the Rays this afternoon, putting the Yanks back in first by a half-a-game.
[Picture by Bags]
Welcome back to where we belong.
The Rays' loss was amazing. Down 6-0 they scored six runs, capped by a Bartlett pinch-hit grand slam (he came in for Matt Joyce!), in the eighth. Then in the ninth the Twins scored on a pop-up that hit the A-Ring in the morally degenerate Tropicana, and added another on a single, and they held on for the win.
 What's the story, RT? Link?
Oh, got it. Here's the story.
Kevin Youkilis will have season-ending surgery on his hand on Friday in Cleveland, multiple sources have confirmed Thursday afternoon.
Youkilis, who tore his right adductor muscle on Monday against the Indians, traveled to Cleveland on Thursday to receive a final opinion on his injury. It was determined that surgery is the correct route for treatment, and he will go in for the procedure on Friday.
 Slowey was cruising along, and when i had to leave, he had a 6-0 lead over the Rays in the seventh. Wha happened (I did see the box and highlights, so I know)? I wonder what is worse for a team, to quietly lose without mounting a comback, or to tie it up and ultimately lose, due to the quirks of your own ballpark?
This game has to be emotionally draining on the Rays. Too bad...
 Slowey was cruising and was pulled with the bases loaded and 1 out. Crain came in and walked in a run (of all the pitches in the AB, only 1 was out of the zone; this was courtesy of "Fox Box" the Tays announcers pointed out that Crain was throwing strikes), Mahay came in and threw a pitch Bartlett crushed for a grand slam.
Tays = Rays :p
This Red Sox game should be interesting, but it would be more fun to watch the fans. Red Sox Nation is in full flagellation mode. Awesome.
Choo solo shot of Dice-K in the first. Ellsbury leads off the bottom with an out. (He must be among the lowest OBP lead-guys in all of baseball.)
 Last night on the game wrap, both Tom Caron and Eckersley agreed that TONIGHT is absolutely a MUST WIN game for the Sox. (We simply can't lose 3 of 4 to Cleveland).
It's game 109 for the Sox.... and it's a MUST Win.
Frankly, without Youk (and Cameron), the sooner they are out of it, the less painful it will be for RSN.
The Red Sox/Cle game is on MLB network. I'm almost hoping for a Sox win so they will not be so desperate this weekend. No foe is as dangerous as when in the final throws of survival.
The Yankees face Buckles, Lackey, Becket and Lester. Any or all can rise to the occasion. The Yanks must take at least two of these games.
I'd rather get Daisuke, but none of those pitchers is really very scary these days. Beckett might be the toughest, in fact. Lester has been kind of soft since the All Star Break, and Lackey really isn't all that good. Buchholz would be my biggest worry, but his wife just gave birth late last night to their first baby. I kind of figure he'll be a little distracted, if not low on sleep.
Josh Tomlin is interesting after three innings, in Fenway.
(Also pretty damned lucky.)
 Congratulations to Buckles. He should spend the whole weekend with his new family.
On paper, at least at the start of the season, that rotation looked like the best in the game. Every team especially the Sox, play outside expectations against the Yankees. Hopefully you're right.
The Sox have been good against good teams this year, and bad against bad teams. They're 15-15 against the Indians, Orioles, Royals and Mariners. If they'd played as well against those teams as they have against the Rays and Yankees, it would be a tight three-way race right now.
I do think the injuries will prevent them from climbing back into things, but if they were healthy I would expect them to threaten in September.
Scutaro spoils Tomlin's bid for perfection.
What is the reason for the Sox mediocrity against mediocre teams? Are the fans calling for Tito's head or the injuries getting the blame? If that happened here, Girardi would be hung by a giant magnet to his braces.
I do expect the Sox not to go away easily, and picking up ground this weekend would be the start of their climb. The danger is obvious, one of the these three .600+ teams in the AL East will be out of the post season.
Tomlin works into a jam, bases loaded with two out...
 I don't think there's any particularly good explanation. If it were injuries, then presumably they would be a bad team against good teams too. Nobody is mad at Tito, really -- I don't think the fan base has noticed that the mediocrity has been against mediocre teams. (They just know their guys are clearly not as good as the Rays and Yanks.)
You really count the Red Sox among ".600+ teams"? To me, the American League looks like this:
Rays, Yankees neck-and-neck.
Beltre belts a grand slam!
It doesn't seem like the Sox are one of the .600 teams, but as we know, you can't count them out until it's obvious (I still get nightmares about the 2004 post season).
They are missing many of the tools in their kit, and maybe RSN has moved on, but Yankee fans will not. With the win tonight, and a sweep in NY (shouldn't happen), the Sox will be right at .600. The Yankees have to stay on the gas this weekend.
 This Heidi on the NESN broadcasts is interesting. Is she a pretty talking head, or a real reporter?
She's Kim Jones.
I figured that, but Kim is not as...spectacular? She is more of the smart goofy girl in chemistry class than the head cheerleader in high school.
Heidi Watney is not a dummy. She looks like a cheerleader, for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if she got better chemistry grades than Kim.
That said, I like Kim better.
Old-School Banter Scroll
RHP Adam Warren (2.2, 3.63)
LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-4, 2.71)
8:10 p.m., YES Network
LHP Andy Pettitte (10-11, 3.88)
RHP Paul Clemens (4-6, 5.69)
7:10 p.m., YES Network
LHP Erik Bedard (4-12, 4.81)
2:10 p.m., YES Network
Baseball Think Factory
MLB Trade Rumors
Lo Hud Yankees Blog
This Isn't Happiness
Everyday I Show