Monday, April 11, 2011

No Joshing Around For Beckett

0-6 and 2-7 are no way to start a baseball season, but that's the way the (AL East) heavily favored Boston Red Sox kicked off the 2011 campaign. You bet there was panic in Boston, but things may be a little better now for the hometown team after they took two of three from the Yankees this past weekend.

The Red Sox won the series because Josh Beckett looked like a younger version of himself. Fastballs popped, breaking pitches snapped, and batters swung and missed. Beckett struck out 10 and limited the Yankees to two hits over eight innings in a 4-0 victory.

CC Sabathia allowed just one earned run, but struggled all night, couldn't make it out of the 6th inning, and lost his first game (and first decision) of the year. Both teams had a chance to score early, but couldn't get the clutch hit. David Ortiz grounded out with two on and two out in the 1st for Boston. Carl Crawford lofted an inning ending fly out to Brett Gardner in left a frame later. The Yankees put two aboard with one out in the 3rd, but Dustin Pedroia deftly fielded a Gardner grounder up the middle and turned a double play.

Boston finally broke through in their half of the third, but as is usually the case in a series between these two, it wasn't without some drama and an unusual play. The Red Sox loaded the bases with no one out for Ortiz, but Sabathia got him to hit into a run scoring 4-6-3 DP. But not so fast...2nd base ump Mark Wegner called interference on Kevin Youkilis for going out of his way (which on replay he clearly did) to try to break up the double play. Wegner returned Pedroia to 3rd and Adrian Gonzalez to 2nd (infuriating Terry Francona in the process), and the Yankees had a tremendous break. At least for a moment. Mike Cameron merely dribbled a grounder to the left side that Eric Chavez could not make a play on and Pedroia scored afterall. Chavez was in at 3rd to replace Alex Rodriguez who sat out with flu-like symptoms.

The Red Sox added two more runs off of Joba Chamberlain and another off Freddy Garcia, who was making his season and Yankees' debut. But those runs didn't matter; not with vintage Josh Beckett on the mound. The Yankees only other serious chance to score came in the 4th when Mark Teixeira drew a one out walk and Robinson Cano followed with a single. But Beckett struck out Curtis Granderson and got Nick Swisher to ground out to end the threat.


Derek Jeter's woes continued with an 0-4 night that included three ground outs and a strikeout. His average dropped to .206 and has prompted many Yankees fans and some of the media to call for him to bat in the bottom of the order. While I understand the concern, I can't see making that move after just a handful of games. In case anyone hasn't noticed, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Jorge Posada, and Nick Swisher are all hitting near or below .200. A lineup shake up isn't necessarily the answer.

A.J. Burnett is suddenly the Yankees stopper. He'll look to put the Yankees back on track when the Pinstripes open a series with Baltimore at the Stadium tomorrow.

So much for talk of Mark Teixeira's hot start- he's back to his April woes. After hitting 3 HR with 10 RBI in the team's first three games, Tex has gone 2-21 with 10 strikeouts.

No comments:

Post a Comment