In the past couple of days it has come out that following Josh Beckett’s start on May 10th – the now infamous 2-inning outing in which he allowed 7 earned runs after playing golf – David Ortiz called a mandatory players-only meeting. Ortiz, who has shouldered a lot of unwarranted blame along with Dustin Pedroia for failing to be team leaders (they couldn’t stop the collapse last September all by themselves!) apparently gave the team something of a tongue-lashing and specifically called for the pitching staff to step up.
It seems as though the staff, and Josh Beckett in particular, took Ortiz’s words to heart.
Beckett has been lights out in his past two starts, throwing a 7-inning shut out with 9 strikeouts in his previous outing and throwing 7 2/3 innings last night while allowing only a single run. Perhaps more importantly, he out-dueled Cliff Lee. As one of Beckett’s only proponents left here in the Boston area, this is absolutely a “told you so” moment for me. Peter Gammons called Beckett a 4th starter last week, my roommate is calling for him to be traded, and the entire city sees this guy as being lazy and unmotivated. I for one see an incredibly talented pitcher – a pitcher with the type of talent that doesn’t grow on trees. Once again I will cite my favorite Beckett stat from last season – the man had a 2.40 ERA entering September, and he still finished the season 5th in the league in ERA (and better than the Yankees’ ace) at 2.89. If he had also received the “average” run support that the Red Sox gave to their other pitchers last season, he would have been 19-3 on the season. In other words, the man still has it.
My Beckett ranting aside, the Red Sox are now one game below .500 which also happens to be one measly game behind the Yankees, who seem to have put a very mediocre season together without much criticism of their own. But enough about the Red Sox and the Yankees, THE Baltimore Orioles continue to reside atop the AL East standings and are even the second best team in baseball at the moment behind the LA Dodgers.
Let’s just say I think there will be some shuffling as the season continues. What are we going to get out of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Daisuke Matsuzaka once they return?