The Red Sox said today that starting times for their ALDS series against the Angels will be released by Major League Baseball at 3 p.m. We will have the information on the blog as soon as we receive it.
The Red Sox have an optional workout today in preparation for the upcoming ALDS against the Angels. The logo is already painted on the grass behind home plate, and the Red Sox players are beginning to take the field.
Brandon Moss, Bobby Kielty, Dustin Pedroia and Julio Lugo are present. We'll have more after we meet with manager Terry Francona at 1 p.m .
The celebration: "We get into this debate, it seems, all the time about what's the proper way to celebrate a wild-card spot, a division title, a Division Series playoff victory. ... Ultimately I'm not sure that's our call. I think the players react accordingly. Terry Francona has spoken up in the past about [how] you can't script these things, they just have to take place. And I thought one of the nice things about Friday was that it so involved the fans ... the 3,500 or so people that had stayed behind to watch the Yankees and Orioles play out on the big screen, then kind of got invited to the party with the players coming on the field and onto the dugout."
The team's health: "Manny looks to be fine. Youkilis still looked like he's battling that wrist a little bit, but I think that's unavoidable for a while. ... Some of the nagging stuff that cost guys a game or two here or there seems to be taken care of, and that's certainly the way you want it before the postseason gets under way."
Ellsbury: "Drew has kind of turned it around here in the last couple of weeks, and that debate that was raging seemingly early in the month -- Do you start Jacoby Ellsbury over J.D. Drew? -- that kind of has run out of some gas, if only because Drew has shut people up because of his production the last two or three weeks. But if he takes an 0-for-4 Wednesday and Friday, and doesn't look particularly good, then they have the option of giving Ellsbury a start, maybe, in Game 3. He certainly will go in in the late innings defensively for Manny in the games in which they are ahead, and of course he'll be used as a pinch runner when they see fit."
A FIRST: In the standings (for the Red Sox) and in the way they celebrated clinching the A.L. East Friday night. The blog A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory has what I think is the best of many home-made videos of the party that erupted at Fenway Park around 11 p.m. Friday when Melvin Mora -- think he got the idea from Ramon Hernandez? -- laid down the bunt that finished Baltimore's improbable comeback from a 9-6, ninth-inning deficit, giving the Orioles the victory over the Yankees and giving the Sox the division title. Steven Krasner and Joe McDonald had the down-and-dirty version of the night's happenings in Saturday's Providence Journal, and McDonald expanded upon it the next day.
GET THE PICTURE: We've been remiss all season in not linking to the nightly slideshows from Journal photographers, which have captured the season visually every bit as well as the writers do with words. Bob Breidenbach captured the festive atmosphere Friday night. Click to the second page for the postgame celebration.
MOVING ON: With that out of the way, attention now shifts to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whom -- because they got the choice by finishing as the A.L.'s top seed (they tied Cleveland for best record, but won the tie-breaker with a 6-2 edge in the season series between the teams) -- the Sox will play Wednesday and Friday at Fenway. Krasner gives a preliminary look at the Sox-Angels matchup, and Sean McAdam examines the potential roster makeup, which may include Kevin Cash as a third catcher in order to give the team more pinch-hitting and pinch-running flexibility. McAdam also notes it may be Daisuke Matsuzaka, and not Curt Schilling, starting Game 2 on Friday; the assumption has been that Schilling would follow Josh Beckett in the rotation.
HOT HANDS: The Sox head into the playoffs with both David Ortiz and J.D. Drew in the swing offensively. Krasner and McDonald provide the details on both.
DONE FOR THE YEAR: But they'll also head in without Clay Buchholz. Krasner and McDonald report on the decision to shut him down for the season.
I FEEL YOUR PAIN: Joe Torre, who endured an historic collapse of his own in 2004 -- you might remember that one -- has nothing but sympathy for Willie Randolph. (New York Post) Randolph, actually, was part of both of them; he was one of Torre's Yankee coaches in '04.
STILL TALKING THE TALK: One of the things some people hated about the Mets was their confidence, which they felt bordered on arrogance; a few of the players said earlier this year the Mets were so good they got bored with actually playing the games, which is why they'd go through down periods. Well, after yesterday's loss, Carlos Delgado was still saying the Mets ''were too good to finish like this.'' (New York Post) Maybe so, but to quote a great football coach: You are what your record says you are.