New York Post, Boston Herald, New York Daily News sports page covers for Monday, August 24, 2009.

The Boston Red Sox had the right pitcher on the mound last night to try and take the series from the New York Yankees and more importantly pick up another game in the standings. The Yankees did have their ace on the mound in CC Sabathia and at the end of the night, he was better than Josh Beckett in the Yanks 8-4 win.

We can pretty much rule out any chance of the Red Sox winning the AL East as they are 7.5 games out with 39 games to play. While it’s possible the Red Sox can overcome that deficit, it’s more realistic that they are playing for the wild card this year.

In the wild card standings, the Red Sox hold a 1-game lead over the Texas Rangers who beat the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. The Rays sit just three games behind the Red Sox and the team still have six games left against each other (three in Boston, three in Tampa).

Beckett had a rough time in his last outing and that carried over into last night’s game as well as the first pitch he threw to Derek Jeter went out of the park. The same thing happened in the second inning when Hideki Matsui led off the inning with a solo home run as well. All told last night, Beckett gave up a career-high five home runs.

The ironic thing about the weekend series is that the former Marlins teammates, Brad Penny, AJ Burnett and Beckett, all had a tough go of things. I’m sure that’s purely coincidence though.

Beckett did settle down in the later innings but did end up giving up a second home run to Matsui. But for Beckett it was a little too late.

“These are humbling deals,’’ Beckett said. “That was a good [butt]-whooping I got out there. That’s the only words I got to sum it up.

“I’m still confident in the guys. Today was on me. The guys did what they were supposed to do. They went out there and got, I think, 10 hits. You can’t expect them to score 11 runs every time, which was basically what it would have taken for us to win, given the way I pitched.’’

Many thought it was the absence of pitching coach John Farrell and Victor Martinez catching him in his last outing but last night Jason Varitek was behind the plate and we saw the same result. So for all those theory conspiractists out there, you can put that one to rest. And let’s not forget that V-Mart has caught the past two Cy Young winners in Sabathia and Cliff Lee so he’s obviously doing something right behind the plate.

Smackdown [Boston Globe]

Hot hitter becomes a sitter [Boston Globe]

Easy does it [Boston Globe]

Harper waits to pass baton [Boston Globe]

Wagnerian drama plays out [Boston Globe]

Hot shots from the Fenway blast furnace [Boston Globe]

Be Concerned About Beckett [Hartford Courant]

Yankees find their Fenway mojo [Full Count]

Beckett is pounded early and often [Providence Journal]

Red Sox journal: Tazawa penciled into rotation for Thursday [Providence Journal]

Red Sox’ early success vs. Yankees irrelevant now [Providence Journal]

Baldelli: ‘I’ve had a lot of good things happen this year’ [Providence Journal]

Matsui feasts on Boston pitching [Providence Journal]

Beckett [Hit and Run with Dan Roche]

Yankees club Josh Beckett, take series [Boston Herald]

Derek Jeter’s year? [Boston Herald]

Josh Beckett falls short of big-game rep [Boston Herald]

One path left for Red Sox [Boston Herald]

Jonathan Papelbon not sold on Wagner deal [Boston Herald]

NY has turned tables on Red Sox [Boston Herald]

Tim Wakefield’s off-day work limited [Boston Herald]

Five Things We Learned on a Night When Beckett Was Humbled [Alex Speier –]

For more slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Providence Journal websites.

And if you must see what the enemy papers are saying you can check out the NY Post, NY Daily News, Newsday and Lo Hud websites.