Last Chance Texaco Game # 2...Boston Red Sox At Tampa Bay Rays
Here we are - it's very early Saturday morning, a Saturday that might be the last day of the 2008 Boston Red Sox season or a day of celebration and anticipation of a game seven tomorrow night in St. Petersburg, Florida. It'll be Josh "Baseball" Beckett facing Tampa Bay ace James Shields, who is pitching with one extra day of rest. Manager Terry Francona has stated again and again that Beckett will be his game # 6 starter and, if needed (please!), Jon Lester will toe the rubber for game seven. But the troubling question that surrounds us all still lingers - is Beckett hurt? Can he still pitch effectively with a fastball that tops out at 92 MPH? His usual is 95-96 MPH, so there is less room for error if his fastball location is a little off, which it has been for his starts against the Angels and these Rays. All questions will be answered tonight, starting at 8:07pm EDT. You can see the game(s) on TBS and TBSHD, much to their delight. Were it not for the amazing Sox comeback, 2008 baseball would have ended for the TBS network. Now they reap the benefits (read revenue) for one, if not two more games.
Back to Beckett...here are some thoughts from Boston pitching coach John Farrell when he was asked if there was still a possibility that Lester might be moved up a day to start on Saturday...
"That was part of the initial conversation when we set out the rotation at the beginning of the series," Farrell said. "But given the situation we're in, we're going to need every starter to get to the next level. And that being the case, we didn't want to take a day away from Jon to move him up. We're still competing for a world championship. We've got to take care of this series first. But we weren't willing to run Jon out there with one less day of rest because we're also balancing a workload, an innings total that is unprecedented for him. So, all those factors combined, we stayed the course with our rotation."
Peter here, and that's good. I wouldn't have it any other way...if Lester was shifted to a game 6 slot, we'd STILL see Beckett for game 7. So the stage is set and the fans of Tampa Bay, Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International are ready, MORE than ready. SO LET'S PLAY BALL! Tonight...8:07pm EDT...TBS...GO SOX. You can click on the title of this post for the Boston Globe's complete coverage of game six and beyond. As always, BE WELL. Your pre and postgame comments are welcome and will always be answered. If you don't have a blogger or google (gmail) account, email me. It's easy to set up a gmail account, it's free, and you'll be able to comment on any of your favorite blogs. If you do that, I'll send you an invitation email to gmail, a great and completely free email system. Have a wonderful and safe (and winning) weekend.