Saturday, October 11

Who is the Pressure Really on Tonight?

Dice-K and the Sox took game one last night and the pressure is now squarely on the Rays right? Absolutely, but there is someone else who is facing a lot of pressure in tonight's game....someone who is used to the spotlight and usually drops F bombs by the dozens...per inning. Yep, all of RSN's collective eyes will be on Josh Beckett tonight as Boston looks to take complete control of the best of seven series that moves north to Boston after game two.

Beckett looked rusty in his game three loss to the Angels, well short of the high expectations set by both himself and RSN. Part of the problem, fortunately for the Sox, is that the bar continues to raise higher with Dice-K pitching well and Jon Lester's dominating run through the ALDS. Tonight, with Beckett operating on six days rest, will give the Sox a good idea of what to expect from their "ace" for the remainder of the playoffs. Some say Beckett is still hurting as his fastball was only touching 93mph instead of his normal 96mph in his last start, others think he'll be ready and showcase the unbeatable Beckett seen in prior Octobers. Tony Mazz had an interesting article in today's Globe calling JB more of a question mark than an answer nowadays.....I'm not ready to throw one of the greatest post season pitchers in MLB history under the bus for one rusty performance, but I will admit there is a lot of pressure on him to perform tonight.

Even with all that said, the bulk of the pressure is on the Rays here in game two...either win to split the home openers, or go down 2-0 and head to Fenway to face Jon Lester. It's a big game for a young franchise that has shown its resiliency all year, tonight is another test.

....ITM Note...I'm getting sick of typing the word "test" when it comes to the Rays, I'll be happy when they continue to compete in years to come and we can stop including that word in every sentence that has Tampa or Rays in it.


Red Sox

(FYI JD is out because it's a tough lefty in Kazmir going tonight, NOT because he's a sally)

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, RF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. David Ortiz, DH

4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B

5. Jason Bay, LF

6. Jed Lowrie, SS

7. Jason Varitek, C

8. Mark Kotsay, 1B

9. Coco Crisp, CF

--Josh Beckett, SP


1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

2. B.J. Upton, CF

3. Carlos Pena, 1B

4. Evan Longoria, 3B

5. Carl Crawford, LF

6. Cliff Floyd, DH

7. Dioner Navarro, C

8. Gabe Gross, RF

9. Jason Bartlett, SS

--Scott Kazmir, SP


Anonymous said...

My biggest problem was the constant shaking off of varitek. WTF was that all about?

Then when Old Man Guerrero stole third on Varitek and Lowell, Beckett semed to get upset and immediatly served up a three run bomb.

DVicino said...

dale, I agree and I'm even more worried after last night's performance. He's clearly not "right"...fastball was only touching 92 last night...which makes his changeup much less effective when it comes in at 88.

The question now becomes, what do the Sox do? Keep running him out there? Shut him down and try to figure out what's right with him? Tough call when considering how important these games are and how good he's been in the past.

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