Now that is playoff pitching
The game was over for about three seconds last night and one thought came to my mind. I’ve watched virtually every inning of every Red Sox playoff game since 1986 — so I guess last night was the 67th game that fits that category for me — and I was scratching my brain so hard to think if I had ever seen a Boston starter pitch a better playoff game than Josh Beckett did.
I remembered what Pedro and D. Lowe did in Games 3 and 4 of the 2004 World Series, but those were seven-inning performances. D. Lowe in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS was pretty special, but just six innings.
I’d say the closest thing that can compare in my time of watching Sox games is Game 1 of the ’86 World Series when Bruce Hurst spun a 1-0 shutout but was relieved by Calvin Schiraldi in the ninth.
Look at some of the all-time greats that have pitched for the Sox over the last 15 to 20 years and you can say this: Beckett out-rocketed Rocket; He out-Pedro’d Pedro. That’s pretty impressive!
This performance by Beckett stands in a class by itself. Not only did he pitch a dominant game, but the Angels hardly touched him. Four hits allowed, all singles. 108 pitches, 83 strikes. No walks. Eight strikeouts. Never more than one baserunner in a given inning.
This is when some players just step up. Ortiz — who by the way clocked one over the RF wall in Game 1 — is one of those guys. So, too, is Beckett.
I remember the first time I saw Beckett throw batting practice on a backfield in Fort Myers this spring, there was just something different about him. He carried a far bigger air of confidence and domination than he did last year. If it was as if he was saying, "There’s a new ace in town, albeit one year later than you all expected."
It seems that Beckett wants to do nothing short of willing this team as far as they can possibly go in October. Of course, he’ll need his offense and other guys in the rotation will have to step up.
To me, there was no question Beckett would fire a gem on Wednesday. But Dice-K’s start figures to be very intriguing. Can anyone really know what he will deliver on that stage? He definitely has a big game aura about him, but you don’t know until you see him really do it in October in the MLB playoffs.
I’m sure Red Sox Nation will enjoy the day off.
Youk write a nice blog entry entry about his first playoff start last night. Check it out.
Talk to you later,