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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Shifting Expectations

With the expected news arriving yesterday that Tom Brady is out for the season with a torn ACL, the Red Sox and Patriots' expectations shifted. Suddenly, the Red Sox are looking like a good bet to make another deep playoff run while any rational Pats fan would be happy with a playoff appearance now that Matt Cassel is the starting quarterback.

Such are the times in the City of Champions. I understand that no other parts of the country will feel bad for the Patriots or their fans. We still have the Celtics (who just won an NBA Championship). And the Sox, who by the way are defending World Champions too. Tough life indeed. While it's stupid to simply stop watching the Pats since Brady is gone, it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds now.

The Tampa Bay Rays came to Fenway last night for an extremely important three-game set. Boston (85-58) won 3-0 behind yet another dominant performance by Jon Lester.

Losers of four straight and five of its last six, Tampa's (85-57) sorry offense could not do anything against Lester. He threw a Dice-K-esque 119 pitches in 7.2 innings, but the difference was that Lester (14-5) was firmly in control the whole time. The lefty struck out nine with three walks, while allowing six hits.

Boston scored all three of its runs in the first off Rays starter Edwin Jackson (11-10). David Ortiz doubled in substitute leadoff hitter Mark Kotsay (2 hits, run, walk). Youk singled in Ortiz and Jason Bay cranked a solo homer off the lights above the Monster.

Coco Crisp continued the best hitting streak of his Red Sox career, going 3 for 3 with a steal.

Jonathan Papelbon recorded four outs for his 36th save of the season. He came in the eighth and struck out Rocco Baldelli with runners on second and third.

Weather permitting, Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka go tonight in game two.

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