GOLD DUST TWINS: Jacoby Ellsbury's two-homer night -- and his mad dash home from first base with the winning run in the eighth inning (above right) -- got most of the attention, but he shared the spotlight with Dustin Pedroia in the Red Sox' come-from-behind 7-6 win over the Angels. Paul Kenyon's game story not only chronicles Ellsbury's night, but also the four-hit, three-double performance of Pedroia (above left), who knocked in Ellsbury with the run that broke the 6-6 tie. Steven Krasner goes Inside The Game to take a closer look at the eighth-inning climax, showing how just the threat of Ellsbury stealing second base helped secure the victory.
NOW WHAT? The big news before the game was the stiff neck that forced Josh Beckett to miss the start and led to the emergency callup of David Pauley. Pauley only lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, and was immediately sent back to Pawtucket, meaning the team will need to make another roster move before tonight's game. Krasner and Kenyon note it will be a position player if Jason Varitek is feeling better, or a backup catcher if the flu bug that has flattened Varitek and a few other members of the club is still strong enough to keep the captain away from the park.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Kenyon has a nice pregame vignette on Pauley, showing that while the young pitcher may have had a big-league roster spot for a day, he didn't cop a big-league attitude.
THIS THING OF OURS: Every so often, Steve Silva makes me laugh out loud.
CURSE THIS: The Angels are 14-25 at Fenway Park since Mike Scioscia took over as manager in 2000, including 7-21 in their last 28 games here, but they don't want to hear any talk about a Fenway jinx. (Riverside Press-Enterprise)
LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH: Matt Hurst, the Angels' beat writer for our Belo cousins in Riverside, Calif., talks to Angels players about what it's like to be an opposing player in Fenway Park. (Riverside Press-Enterprise) Some elements of the piece are disturbing, like Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr. telling how they've heard a few racial taunts -- which prompted the Boston Herald to look further into the subject -- but what comes across, mostly, is the passion, positive and negative, the fans have for the Red Sox and for baseball . . . passion so unlike other cities that the players really don't know how to process it. "There are no fans like theirs," said Garret Anderson. And Hunter told the Herald that, in spite of everything, he wanted to join the Red Sox as a free agent last winter. “I did want to come here," he said. "But it didn’t work out."
MANNY BEING MYTHIC: SI.com's Tom Verducci profiles Manny Ramirez in a piece that not only puts his bat into historical perspective but also notes that he's become a mythic figure at a time when the white-hot glare of multi-platformed media scrutiny almost precludes athletic myth. "It's like telling a story about Babe Ruth," Verducci writes. "It may or not be true, but just the plausibility of it is enough."
HAPPY TO SEE IT: On his Ask 14 blog, Jim Rice says he was thrilled at the reception Bill Buckner received on Opening Day.
POINT, MR. CASHMAN: The Joba's-Place-Is-In-The-Bullpen crowd had a good night, as Chamberlain rescued the Yankees from a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh inning and helped the Yanks beat the White Sox, 9-5. (New York Daily News) Johnny Damon cast his vote in the debate: He likes Chamberlain as a reliever. (New York Post)
NEXT TARGET: With the Joba Chamberlain contretempts settled -- for now -- Hank Steinbrenner turned his attention to another member of the Yankee pitching staff: Mike Mussina. The Baby Boss says he wants Moose to pitch more like Jamie Moyer, advice Mussina seemed to accept with equal parts humor and resentment. (New York Daily News) But on the LoHud Yankees Blog, Peter Abraham has numbers that show Mussina does pitch like Moyer.
A MATCH MADE IN . . . WELL, SOMEWHERE: Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune talks to Ozzie Guillen about what it would be like if Guillen managed the Yankees of Hank Steinbrenner.
A-DAD: Alex Rodriguez' wife Cynthia gave birth to the couple's second daughter. (New York Daily News)
STILL SOMETHING LEFT: On the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog, SG is unconvinced of something that is becoming accepted truth in Yankee Universe: That Jason Giambi is all washed up. If you want to read the case against Giambi, may we direct you to Steven Goldman of the New York Sun.
WHAT?? Joe Posnanski speaks for most everyone in the baseball world when he blows a gasket over Yankee fans booing LaTroy Hawkins because he had the gall to wear Paul O'Neill's number. (joeposnanski.com)
'NO SURPISES': Jose Canseco's lawyer says federal investigators stuck to the script in their three-hour meeting regarding Canseco's knowledge of steroid use in baseball. (New York Post) So did Canseco when it came to whether or not Roger Clemens was at his house during the 1998 party that became a focal point of a congressional hearing in February: He continues to insist Clemens wasn't there, photographic evidence to the contrary.
STOP WORRYING: The fretting about C.C. Sabathia's slow start can officially cease after his six-scoreless-innings, 11-strikeout performance in the Indians' rout of the Royals. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Yahoo.com's Jeff Passan says Sabathia has been receiving words of encouragement from throughout baseball and that yesterday he looked "every bit like his Cy Young self."
GET REAL: The Toronto Star's Richard Griffin says the notion of the Blue Jays' signing Barry Bonds to replace Frank Thomas is "crazy."
CHANGE ON THE FLY: It's been said that it's a bad sign for baseball organizations when institution-level decisions are made during the chaos of a season. If that's the case, what to make of Jim Leyland's almost cavalier announcement that Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera are switching positions, effective immediately? (Detroit News) But News columnist Lynn Henning says the change was desperately needed, as Cabrera was redefining the term 'defensively inept' in his pathetic attempts to play third base.
THE END IS NEAR: It looks like the demolition of Tiger Stadium, which has sat empty since the Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 2000, will finally begin in May or June. (Detroit Free Press)
COUNTERPRODUCTIVE: With the Cardinals' cleanup hitters struggling, opposing pitchers are working around Albert Pujols in the No. 3 hole; he's on pace to walk 154 times this year. And Pujols is getting so frustrated about it that he's starting to get himself out by swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Baseball Musing's David Pinto says Pujols has to adopt the Barry Bonds approach and accept the walks, because it will mean more runs for the Cards.
TAKING ON THE WORLDWIDE LEADER: The Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon chides ESPN for the way it "ambushed" (his words) Miguel Tejada in the taped interview about his age discrepancy, and says the fact that he's two years older than his listed birthday is no big deal. Pinto notes that Tejada has hit better since the news broke.
MEAT FOR HIS SUPPORTERS: Brewer manager Ned Yost thinks Prince Fielder's three-hit, two-walk, sacrifice-fly performance yesterday should silence critics who think Fielder's new vegetarian diet has cut into his offensive production. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
BITTERSWEET: John Smoltz recorded his 3,000th career strikeout but suffered the loss as the Nationals beat the Braves. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
MIGHTY MOUSE: The Rays remained unbeaten in Orlando as they beat the Blue Jays in their annual game at Disney World. "Nobody goes into Disney and beats the Rays," writes the Tampa Tribune's Martin Fennelly. "Nobody."
BET ON A VET: Ex-major leaguer Jesse Barfield, stunned by the Blue Jays' release of Frank Thomas, says every team needs veteran leadership in the clubhouse. (cbc.ca)
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: In light of speculation that the Mets may do to Carlos Delgado what the Jays did to Thomas, our pal The Tao of Steib wonders if Toronto would consider bringing back Delgado. "We'd usually dump on anyone who came up with this sort of fanciful BS notion of returning a player to the team for completely sentimental reasons," admits Tao. "But there's something about the idea of seeing Delgado back in Toronto that melts away all of our reason and good sense." A suggestion, Tao: Take a look at this post on FanGraphs before starting a full-fledged We Want Carlos! campaign.
REMEMBER WHEN: The Los Angeles Times' Jerry Crowe writes about the 30-year anniversary of Lyman Bostock trying to give his entire April salary back to the Angels because he got off to a slow start after signing as a free agent from the Twins. The team refused to take it, so Bostock instead donated the money to charity. That memory has been lost because Bostock, tragically, was killed in a drive-by shooting that September in a case of mistaken identity.
HERE AND THERE: Both Mike Hampton and Tom Glavine they're ready to return to the Braves (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) . . . Andruw Jones is blaming allergies for his slow start this season (Los Angeles Daily News) . . . The healthy-again J.J. Putz records his first save since Opening Day as the Mariners beat the Orioles (Seattle Times) . . . They've banned smoking everywhere at Shea Stadium, which will make it tough for Bobby Cox to enjoy his postgame cigar when the Braves visit this weekend. (espn.com)
OLD FRIENDS: The Marlins can't decide whether or not to sign Hanley Ramirez to a long-term contract (Miami Herald) . . . Eric Gagne blew another save -- though his manager said he threw the ball well -- but Gabe Kapler made it all good with a game-winning hit for the Brewers in the 12th inning (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) . . . Kapler, incidentally, has a great Q-and-A with Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News in which he says if could trade places with anyone in baseball for one day, he'd switch with John Henry.
AND FINALLY . . . Change your bookmarks: Chad Finn has a new home.
-- ART MARTONE