An In-Control Josh Beckett, And A Heck Of A One-Two-Three Punch For The Red Sox Rotation
For Josh Beckett, what a difference a year makes. Last year he was a guy who could not put his off speed pitches in the strike zone. So he came back with heat, fastballs that the hitters were sitting on and depositing into the seats. Read this, from the Courant, about Beckett's Sunday start. And I'll be back with a comment. Title click for the entire article.
"The Red Sox righthander made his final Grapefruit League start against his former team, the Marlins, and finished the exhibition season the way he started, displaying command of his pitches in a 12-6 victory before 8,048 at City of Palms Park.
Beckett pitched seven innings, allowing one unearned run and three hits, while striking out seven. He walked three, including two in the sixth inning. But all that did was shine the spotlight on his consistency this spring.
Beckett (3-1) had one walk in 182/3 innings over five starts before Sunday. His final totals: 29 strikeouts and four walks in 252/3 innings. Considering Beckett set a career high with 74 walks last season, this camp was a rousing success. It's hard to hone in on a 95-96 mph fastball when there's two different pitches coming at you. I think he's confident that he's throwing strikes. He's commanding his pitches. He's opening up the strike zone."
And this from the Herald...further illuminating!!!
"Beckett said his new delivery adds an element of deception. Instead of raring back to throw and surging forward to release the ball with the same relative speed in the motion, he is beginning the windup at a much more deliberate pace, adding quickness to the arm action only before releasing the ball. Beckett said it’s a return to his former style, which he gradually got away from over the past few years."
Me here again. Hey, you're stuck with me! I hope that's OK. It sounds that the "former style" of Josh, as defined above, will make him so much more fun to watch in 2007. Unlike last year, when we had to cringe before every fastball. Eye-closing terror. Nail biting madness and lunacy. Home runs in baker's dozens!
Let's see.....watching Josh pitch THIS season, with Curt Schilling and our Daisuke. The numbers one, two and three pitchers in our rotation all have a good shot at being up there with the best in the league. And we members of RSN expect that to be. Number four Tim Wakefield will be, well, Tim Wakefield. Sometimes unhittable, at other times all too hittable, an inning eater who will win 14 or 15 games and lose close to 10. Pitcher number five? Give me a month. I don't even know his name yet. I know the man's name (P.S. It starts with a J) who will pitch in the number five spot in April, but with early off days in the schedule, the number five guy won't be needed much. Not in April. As Jon Lester strengthens and grows more confident, and healthy, God willing, at Pawtucket, we watching the big club wait in anticipation for his joyous return.
Enjoy this Monday, the week before the regular season starts. We have much to look forward to, and be thankful for, but what excites me the most is the subject of this post. And that is the developing maturity of our numbers one, two and three starters. It's not inconceivable that each could win 20, or near 20, games. And just that thought, that ONE thought, makes me smile. And it's nice to smile after my tough weekend.
Thanks for reading. For being here.