This long-distance dedication for the Tom Petty classic goes out to the idiot in the rafters in Fenway Park for the stones concert the drunken teenager at Yankee Stadium two weeks ago.

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Although it would be an appropriate sentiment for the pastrami sub I had for lunch, I believe in this case it applies to the Boston Red Sox bullpen. The pen starts at the back-end and works forward to the middle and long relievers. Stability in the closer role is where it all begins. The reason the Red Sox will win or lose the American League East is Keith Foulke. If Foulke comes back anything at all similar to the closer who was a rock for the Sox in 2004, the playoff outlook is much rosier. Look at the Yankees as an example of what a solid closer can do for a team. As horrid as their starting pitching and bullpen has been, knowing that any lead in the eighth or ninth means the game over has allowed the Yankees to stay in contention and linger around near the top of the A.L. East and near the lead for the Wild Card.

With Foulke in the ninth inning role, Timlin becomes the eighth inning set-up man (to clarify: he starts the eighth inning, he does not come in with runners on base), and Chad Bradford and Mike Myers provide the righty-lefty bridge in the seventh inning. Any starter not giving six plus innings risks losing his cheapo win by having Jeremi Gonzalez, Mike Remlinger, and whomever else the Sox dig up for the transitional innings.

Foulke coming back is a huge question mark, as it is not as if he was pitching like Chad Cordero before he landed on the disabled list.


What a team player that Mark Bellhorn has turned out to be. Although I doubt he intended to or not, he has given the Red Sox a huge lift in the dog days of August; no, not by returning to the lineup, but by being designated for assignment despite a fairly hefty salary on the books, he has given Kevin Millar the splash of cold water in the face that he truly deserved. Amazingly, there is no Mount Millar erupting because he has taken a seat on the bench where he can think up ways to entertain Manny as John Olerud mans first base. No sir, Kevin Millar is a humble bumble, a goodnik at long last after being such a nogoodnik last season when his precious playing time was impinged upon even for one game.

By having Bellhorn designated for assignment without so much as a second thought, Kevin the Krazee Klubhouse Klown has finally realized that Theo and the Brain Trust are not going to put up with his petulant me-first attitude and chemistry killing whining and moaning. They will shut up if you put up, the numbers ala Manny, but not for a first baseman hitting .270 with four homers in almost 400 at bats and a Mark Belanger-esqe OBP. So a big thank you to my main man Smellhorn: see you September first and thanks for the assist.

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The over-under on Big Vince Wilfork landing on Brett Favre and seriously derailing his season, his consecutive game streak, and the season for the Pack is at about 8-1.

The over-under on the game is Pack as 2 point favorites going into the early part of this week.

Oh, by the way, if you bet on preseason games, you really do need professional help. Just the thought of money being in the hands some of the fodder that is out on the field in the fourth quarter is downright scary.

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Dickau that is, Dan Dickau, the newest point guard in the mix for the Men in Green. Not that you would know about it from the media in Boston. Dante Bichette Jr gets a lot more press than the Gang Green this week. Well, so much for all that Boston Celtics goodwill from acquiring Antoine Walker and making the playoffs. At least they still have February and half of March to share the spotlight with the Bruins as the only games in town.

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