Beckett At His Best Dominates Cleveland
Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, and his name is Josh Beckett. Using his devastating curveball to complement his fastball and hitting both sides of the plate at will, Beckett and the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-1, sending the best of 7 series back to Boston for game 6. Beckett threw 109 pitches in his 8 innings, giving up one run (in the first) on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 11 (!!). Said his manager, Tito Francona...
"We've leaned on him all year," manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he was up [in the strike zone] in the first inning. Once he settled down, started establishing his breaking ball, he became the dominant pitcher we rely on so much."
Beckett's career postseason numbers have grown more and more frightening. He has allowed only 13 earned runs in 652/3 innings, an ERA of 1.78. He has won all three off his starts this October, allowing three runs in 23 innings, for an ERA of 1.17.
"I don't think Josh fears anything," Mike Lowell said.
Peter here, and Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International fear no other team when the best pitcher in all of baseball, our Josh, is on the mound. Papelbon came on to pitch the ninth, and it was evident that he was rusty. He needed 22 pitches to retire the Indians scorelessly and finish the game, but he'll be fine and dandy come Saturday. The batting star was Kevin Youkilis, who homered in the first, tripled home Pedroia in the 7th and scored on Papi's sacrifice fly. Manny also collected 2 hits and continued his torrid postseason pace. In all, the Sox had 12 hits, doubling the Indians' ouput.
Game 6 will be Saturday night at 8:20PM, again televised by FOX and FOXHD. Curt Schilling, who is needed hugely (an understatement!), will be opposed by Carmona in a rematch of game 2. The Red Sox cannot survive without a good effort from someone in the starting four other than Beckett. That's all I can say. So Schill HAS TO come up big, and if he does, Matsuzaka has to follow suit. Am I confident? YES! Do I have faith? OH YES!! FOREVER!!!
Click on the title of this post for The Globe's Danny Shaughnessey's article entitled "MIGHTY TURNAROUND." You'll love it. And just as a postscript to the Joe Torre post I wrote yesterday afternoon when the news broke, it wasn't about the money for Torre...he wanted two years to enable him to manage the Yanks for the team's last year in the old stadium and the first year in the new one. It was the least those dimwitted Yankee decisionmakers could have done. Enjoy your Friday, and get set for tomorrow night! I am...already!