(Tito, moments after receiving word that plans for the commemorative statue in Kenmore Sq. are on hold)

In the battle for spoil-sports of the week, with all due respect to Willie Randolph’s Mets and their fine efforts in derailing Florida’s playoff hopes (not that injuries aren’t playing a part, too), the Devil Rays continue to create headaches for the AL East challengers. Boston’s Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin allowed a combined 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Red Sox losing 7-4 at Tropicana Field. Said result coupled with Randy Johnson earning his 15th win over the Orioles tonight has the Yankees leapfroging past Boston for the AL East lead.

While I’ll not champion Mariano Rivera as an AL MVP candidate, if there were an award for the one player the Red Sox desperately wish they had the equivalent of, he’d be a shoo-in.

Back to the NL East for a moment, no matter how much grief I’ve given the Mets for fielding much of what would otherwise be the Norfolk Tides starting lineup during injury-plagued portions of ’05, what can compare to the Marlins enlisting Mike Mordecai to play 2B on Tuesday? How about Mike Lowell, playing his first game at 2nd since college? (OK, that didn’t happen, but they were considering it.) And for once, there’s someone yelling “where’s Mota?” other than Metal Mike Piazza ; the injury to gutless Guillermo has the Marlins grasping at straws (and not the cool, twisty kind, either). Does Paul Quantrill have any business taking the ball in a must win game?

The correct answer would be “no”, but neither does Braden Looper.