Archive for the ‘Josh Beckett’ Category

Baseball Writers, take note:

I hate to jinx anything with the Red Sox, but Josh Beckett is going to be the first Boston pitcher to win the Cy Young Award since Pedro Martinez.

After a disappointing first year in the American League last year, Beckett has come back to have the most successful season of his seven year career. He is the Major League leader in wins with 18 and is limiting hitters to a .245 batting average. He has turned into the prototypical power pitcher out of the same mold as Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.

Pitchers Dan Haren and Johan Santana are going to be Beckett’s strongest competition for the award. Both are the aces of their staffs. Both are in the top 5 in the American League in both ERA and WHIP. But what the Baseball Writers Association of America has to consider is that both of their teams have been out of the playoff race for the past six weeks. Meanwhile, Beckett has been pitching in a pressure cooker since opening day. Every game is a playoff game when you play in Boston.

With his fiery attitude and assaults on the team’s water cooler after a disappointing inning, Beckett has shown that he is ready to be the big-game pitcher the Red Sox hoped for when they traded for him. Let’s hope he is recognized for his efforts.

Dice KO’d

Daisuke Matsuzaka has been horrible during his last two starts for the Red Sox. His ERA is an absurd 16.88 in September. After allowing 8 runs to the Baltimore Orioles last night, he looks like a shell of the pitcher who not long ago appeared to be the future ace of the Sox pitching staff.

Coming over from Japan, major leaguers had no prior experience with Dice, so the first time against these teams he was showing stuff they had never seen before. Now that he’s going through these lineups a second time, the players are getting used to him – his slow wind-up, his weird butt wiggle, the variety of off-speed pitches.

Also, Dice isn’t throwing as many first-pitch strikes as he was earlier in the season, so he’s getting into more batter counts, allowing the hitters to wait on his fastball. When Dice K isn’t locating his fastball for first-pitch strikes and keeping batters off balance with the off speed pitches, he looks downright ordinary. He’s finding out that he can’t just throw fastballs past major league hitters.

As good as Dice K was in Japan, the talent over there pales in comparison to Major League Baseball, and a drop-off in performance was to be expected. Consider this: he is technically a rookie and has 14 wins playing in the toughest division in the league. If this was anyone else, they would already have his name engraved on the Rookie of the Year award.

Another thing to consider is that Dice K was used to pitching every 6th day in Japan. Pitching every five days and routinely throwing over 100 pitches per game may be wearing him down. If I were Terry Francona, I would give him his next scheduled start off. The Sox have a comfortable lead in the standings, and some guy named Clay Buchholz who’s proved to be a pretty good pitcher is ready to take his spot in the rotation for a game.

I’m really not worried, and here’s why: Dice K is respected by his teammates and members of the organization for his tireless work ethic and loyalty to his team. He is a true professional who will make the necessary adjustments to be a big part of the Red Sox playoff run, in this season and many more to come.

It’s not time to push the panic button…yet

First of all, let’s focus on the positives. The Red Sox played their two worst games of the year, and they are still 6 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees beat a depleted Sox lineup – no big deal. It’s August 30th and we are in the driver’s seat.

What did bother me about last night’s game was watching Roger Clemens bean Dustin Pedroia in the first inning without any retribution from Josh Beckett. If Schilling was pitching last night, Derek Jeter would be peeing blood this morning after getting drilled in the kidney by a 90 mph fastball.

Another thing, ESPN was making a huge deal about Clemens having a no-hitter into the 6th inning. He walked 5 batters! That should equate to five singles. Clemens’ performance was the ugliest 2-hitter I have ever seen. I guess it’s hard to have command of the strike zone when you have your million-dollars-per-start check in your back pocket.

Look for Schilling to shine today at Yankee Stadium. Saving the Red Sox from a sweep will sound good in his blog tomorrow… and in mine.

Game 1 goes to the Yankees

I feel so unsatisfied. The Red Sox just played one of their worst games of the year, and they have no one to blame but themselves. This was the supposed to be the game to set the tone of this series, and the Sox went on cruise control.

What is it going to take to give Dice K more than 3 runs of support? This guy had another solid performance. For nothing. Dice K should be leading the AL in wins, but unfortunately he has a 13-11 record. If the Red Sox were giving Josh Beckett this type of run support, no water cooler in Boston would be safe. But Dice K keeps handling it like a professional.

J.D. Drew played like his usual self. How’s this for a game? 0 for 4, 2 strikeouts, 4 left on base, grounded into 1 double play. Enough said about him. I need to go vomit.

Another thing that pissed me off last night was David Ortiz swinging on the first pitch from Joba Chamberlain in the 8th inning. This is a guy who Ortiz has never faced before, who had just walked Kevin Youkilis. Ortiz strikes fear in every pitcher he faces, especially 21-year-old rookies. He had the advantage here and gave up the at bat. It was just bad baseball all around.

With two games to go in the series, it appears for at least one night The Empire has struck back.