Who was that guy who started game 2 for the Red Sox and what has he done with Josh Beckett? One problem with the recent success of Boston sports is that we as sports fans have become spoiled and expect certain things, Josh Beckett included.
Saturday Josh Beckett went 4.1 innings giving up 8 earned runs on 9 hits. This is the second straight playoff start Beckett has been roughed up and there is certainly cause for concern in Red Sox Nation. Perhaps more concerning then the 8 earned runs is Beckett's velocity and control issues. Usually Beckett touches 96 on the gun and can put his fastball where he wants it. In game 2 Beckett topped on at 92mph and struggled with his location.
The Sox maintain that Beckett is not hurt however he did receive a shot of painkiller and anti-inflammatory on the last weekend of the season when he injured his oblique. I don't know if Beckett is still hurt, or maybe he just doesn't feel comfortable pushing himself for fear he will re-injure himself. If the Sox are lucky, Beckett is still fighting rust issues as his throwing schedule has been dramatically altered over the last 3 weeks.
With the series tied up at 1 the Sox send Jon Lester to the mound against Matt Garza in game 3 Monday at Fenway, 430pm start time (I myself will have to get creative and find a way to watch it at work). Lester has yet to give up an earned run this postseason and is filling the role of ace vacated by the troubled Josh Beckett.
ITM notes from game 2:
-Despite losing the Sox bats did heat up, unfortunately so did the Rays. Pedroia homered twice and Bay and Youk also had good games at the plate. Ortiz still remains in a slump, perhaps I was quick to jump on an earlier comment about his ability to come up with a big hit this series.
-The Sox bullpen performed great in game 2, again the Rays were just a little better. When Timlin came in I think a lot of fans thought that would be it, sure enough it was. Perhaps bringing in Paul Byrd might have been the better option.
-One question I would like Francona to answer is why he let Beckett pitch to Longoria in the 4th inning? Longoria already had two hard hits off Beckett and it was evident he didn't have his ace stuff.