Beckett Battered, Busted And Bruised...Tampa Bay 9 Red Sox 8 (11)
Only seven pitchers in playoff history had given up 8 runs or more in only 4 1/3 innings...until last night at the Trop Dome. Make it eight as Josh Beckett, the recipient of a pain injection earlier in the week, was battered bloody by the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston wasted 12 hits and 4 home runs in a losing cause. The final score was 9-8 Rays, and Red Sox Nation is very worried about their ace. Will he pitch again in 2008? Right now, we don't know, but things sure look bad for him. A shallow sacrifice fly to right by Upton scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning. Timlin had come in to pitch because Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona was literally down to his last man on the pitching staff, namely Mike Timlin, who should hang up his cleats when the season ends, a post season quite possibly shortened by the ineffectiveness of the Boston ace, Josh Beckett. What a shame. Here are some thoughts from Tito, pitching coach John Farrell, who was ejected for arguing a strike/ball call late in the game, and the hurting man himself, Josh Beckett...
"I'm fine," Beckett said when asked about his condition. "It's frustrating when your team gets eight runs and you can't win the game. That's the frustrating part."
"More than anything, it was mislocation," said Sox pitching coach John Farrell. "I thought his stuff was consistent with what he was throwing the last 6-7-8 weeks of the season."
"We wanted Beckett to get through that fifth and set up our bullpen, and it didn't work," said Francona.
Peter here. Beckett's two-game linescore since straining the oblique and getting the injection: 9 1/3 innings, 18 hits, 5 walks, 5 homers, 12 earned runs, 199 pitches. And that just will not do. Is it better to just sit him down and find out where the discomfort is coming from, and why? I SAY YES, and (gulp) (gulp again) let Byrd take his spot for game five next Thursday at Fenway. But the Sox bats were working and working well. They banged out 12 hits, three each by Pedroia, Youkilis and Bay. They also hit four home runs. But, unlike the TV show, eight was NOT enough, and in the post season, that can be deadly to a team's chances. Boston did what it originally set out to do by knocking Kazmir out early, and the Tampa 'pen was not nearly as effective as the Boston bullpen, which was just fine, thank you, until Timlin toed the rubber. And then, scant minutes later, the Tampa Bay portion of the crowd down in Florida went home happy. The Red Sox simply went home, home to a New England that was thirsty for a 2-0 series lead, ravenous for a good showing from Beckett. Well, neither of those things happened, and the hunger remains, stronger than ever. The road is uphill from now on for the defending world champions.
Francona puts the ball in the hand of the team's true ace, Jon Lester, who will try to regain the home field advantage for the Sox Monday afternoon (YES, I said afternoon. First pitch will be at 4:37pm EDT). So we wait and try to enjoy a Sunday off day. The 'pen needs a rest. You & I need a rest. Beckett might be resting all winter long. We'll know more later and you'll read about it right here. Don't be surprised if Byrd takes the place of Josh at the end of the week. I hope not, but my inner feelings say that's going to happen.
Have a wonderful Sunday and a great Columbus Day Monday, click on the title for all the Boston Herald knows, and as always, BE WELL. And here's the bad news pitching line for Boston...
IP H R ER BB K HR Series ERA
J. Beckett 4.1 9 8 8 1 5 3 16.62
J. Lopez 0.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 NA
M. Delcarmen 1.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
H. Okajima 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
J. Masterson 0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
J. Papelbon 1.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
M. Timlin (L, 0-1) 0.2 0 1 1 3 0 0 13.50