Results tagged ‘ Josh Beckett ’

May Day

April is in the books, and at 14-8, it wasn’t a bad month at all for the Red Sox. Especially when you consider that they started 2-6.

But if there are two players the Nation is preoccupied with right now, it has to be Josh Beckett and David Ortiz. Neither star has gotten off to a good start.

Beckett, after pitching a gem in his first start, is 0-for-4 in the quality start department in his last four outings. Most troubling are his last two performances, when he was belted for 15 runs and 20 hits over 9 2/3 innings.

The plus side, however, is that the ace is healthy. He says that, and the radar gun backs it. For some reason, his location has been off. He is leaving the  ball in the upper portion of the zone.

Then there is Big Papi, who has yet to leave the yard. Yes, a homerless April for the big man.

Ortiz is of more concern right now than Beckett because of his age, and the fact he didn’t hit consistently after coming back from the wrist injury last year.

Papi did do a nice job of going to the Opposite Field on the last home stand, peppering several balls off the Monster. But he’s yet to really turn on a pitch to right or right-center.

Again, it’s only a month. Players usually revert to who they are. My prediction is that Beckett and Ortiz both have a strong month of May and we are dwelling on someone else’s struggles when June starts.

In other news, Daisuke Matsuzaka is likely to begin a rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. He will go three innings in that one, and likely make another one after that.

Beckett, Sox made the right call

Give the Red Sox and Josh Beckett credit for not belaboring the appeal process. One Boston officials spoke with the league and found out they could go from a six-game suspension to a five-game suspension, they immediately talked Beckett into accepting it.

The timing couldn’t be better for the Sox. With Thursday’s off-day, the rotation now lines up perfectly. Jon Lester can now step into Beckett’s original spot on Friday, and make that turn on a regular four days of rest. Beckett will simply pitch Saturday, and get six days rest.

The rotation against the Yankees will be Lester-Beckett-Masterson, though the Red Sox do have the option of pitching Wakefield on Sunday if they choose. I have a feeling they will keep things as is, and give Wake the extra day.

How will Tito manuver the bullpen in the late innings today? Papelbon pitched the last two days; Saito pitched last night and has yet to go back to back. Okajima worked the last two days. My deductive reasoning leads me to believe Ramon Ramirez will get the ball in the ninth today.

We should finally learn Jed Lowrie‘s fate by tomorrow. Will he or won’t he have surgery?

Good to see old friend Mike Timlin back at Fenway today. Mike’s wife Dawn is running the Marathon tomorrow. Timlin spent a lot of time in the clubhouse this morning speaking to his old teammates. It appears he is retired, as no teams were interested in him over the winter. Today, Timlin is taking in the game from the Monster Seats.

Beckett appeals six-game suspension

Red Sox ace Josh Beckett was surprised by his six-game suspension for the pitch that buzzed Bobby Abreu off the plate on Sunday. He is also surprised that Angels manager Mike Scioscia criticized him for not showing remorse:

“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. Am I supposed to go give him a hug? I wasn’t really in a hugging mood right then.  I don’t really know what he wanted me to do,” said Beckett.

As for the suspension itself, which Beckett appealed on the spot?

“Yeah, we were pretty shocked. I think the appeal kind of speaks for everything that we feel,” Beckett said.

On how a pitch can go somewhere other than you want it when time is called at the last minute?

Every pitcher does that. I’ve seen guys that I’ve played with, they throw balls to the backstop. It’s just, it’s what we’re taught to do. We have to kind of protect ourselves in those situations. Stopping is not a good way to do that. It can end your career. One bad slip or something like that.”

“Like I said the other day, that ball could have wound up anywhere. It’s unfortunate where it ended up. That’s the only reason I’m standing here dealing with all this stuff. We’ll just see where it goes from here. Obviously we don’t agree. I respect the job that everybody has to do but I don’t agree.”

In other news, Julio Lugo could start his rehab for Triple-A Pawtucket as early as Tuesday.

On a different planet

I know a lot of you always think I’m on a different planet, but today I am actually in Jupiter, not to be confused with Mars.

OK, Jupiter, Florida. It was an interesting drive across Lake Okeechobee. Well, not really but I stayed awake for it.

Jason Bay and David Ortiz worked out in Fort Myers today, returning from their respective losses in the World Baseball Classic. They will both be in there against the Yankees on Friday night.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Jonathan Papelbon ripped Manny Ramirez for being a bad teammate in a magazine interview. This isn’ t exactly a news flash. If Manny had been on board with what the Red Sox were doing, he wouldn’t have been traded. They didn’t trade him because of his hitting. As Papelbon said in a text message to his buddies at Comcast SportsNet, “That old news story was four months ago. I’m not saying anything else, but I’m also not taking back anything I have said already.”

Anyway, on to matters that actually happened in Jupiter, Beckett was lights out again. Four shutout innings. Masterson fired zeroes for two innings. It was another tough day for prospect Michael Bowden, who allowed two runs and now has a 13.50 ERA in camp. Bowden has pitched in four games and given up nine runs.

“He just needs the ability to go out and pitch a number of innings,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “Right now, with him as a career starter, routines are disrupted. He’s aware of that. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the benefit of being able to start a ballgame and go, here, here’s three or four innings for you and go settle into a rhythm. Even though today, i think he did a much better job getting into that rhythm. His strengs and attributes are certainly durability, being able to pitch a high number of innings and he’s in a situation where he’s trying to make an impression. He’s clearly a depth starter for us. And we’re getting him the work when it becomes avialable.”

Offensively speaking, not much to report today. Outfield prospect Josh Reddick had three hits from the leadoff spot and is hitting .500 this spring. Julio Lugo was 1-for-2, and has a .450 average.  

Classic Exodus

There was a different feel in the clubhouse at City of Palms Park this morning, as David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Bay were spending their final few hours in Fort Myers before going to the camps of their respective countries for the World Baseball Classic. Javy Lopez was also leaving camp, but Puerto Rico will train just down the road in Fort Myers for the next few days.

Meanwhile, Dice-K remains in Japan, where he’s been all spring. He pitched for the second time in a game situation yesterday — or is it tomorrow in Japan ??? — giving up a hit and two walks over three shutout innings against the Yomiuri Giants. It was a relief appearance for the Dice Man.

By the way, Mr. Ortiz has a message for his teammate, but possible competitor during the Classic

“I’m
going to take Dice-K deep for sure,” chuckled Ortiz.

But Dustin Pedroia, whose TEAM USA squad will be playing in the same bracket as Canada in the first round, couldn’t resist telling Jason Bay that his squad won’t be around long.

“Pedroia told me to pack one pair of underwear,” said Bay.


Speaking of Bay, he will play center field for Canada to allow his team to generate some more offense.

After those early-morning chats about the Classic, I trucked over here to Hammond Stadium for a tilt against the Twins. The Red Sox trotted out Pedroia, Ortiz and Youkilis in this one, and have a loaded arsenal of pitchers going today, including Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito.

Youkilis (photo below) just smashed a homer to right-center, improving a swing that he felt had been “horse manure” in recent days.

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Beckett had a nice easy stint, mowing down all six batters he faced. He didn’t get to use his changeup because he was so efficient at being ahead in the count. Oh well, that’s a problem Beckett and the Red Sox will gladly take.

Papelbon was impressive in his first exhibition outing, firing 10 pitches and mowing through the Twins in order.

Sox are in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. I’m not scheduled to go on that trip, but I will pass along whatever updates I get.

And so 2009 begins — unoficially

Though it won’t match the buzz you will feel at Fenway Park on April 6, when the Red Sox open their season against the Rays, there is at least some excitement here at City of Palms Park, with the Old Towne Team facing off against Boston College.

Ace Josh Beckett fired two perfect innings, striking out two. His first pitch of the season, at 1:02 p.m. ET, was grounded to second off the bat of J.B. MacDonald. Harry Darling had his bat sawed off by Beckett, but the righty deftly caught the looping liner for the out. Mike Augustine hit a soft grounder to short to the third out. The leadoff batter in the second was none other than Sam Shaughnessy, the son of the long-time Boston Globe columnist. I wonder what was going through Dan’s mind as he took in the at-bat in from the press box.Young Sam struck out looking on a nasty 1-2 pitch from Beckett.

The early “almost highlight” of the game came in the bottom of the third when Ortiz launched one to deep right-center. It was going, going and … caught at the warning track.

As we start the top of the fifth, with BC leading 1-0,  we are into Tazawa time. Here is Junichi Tazawa, signed out of the Industrial League of Japan and to a Major League contract back in December.  He is likely to start the at Double-A Portland,but the Red Sox have been impressed by what they’ve seen from him this spring. Against BC, he turned in a swift, 1-2-3 inning.

It must be a pre-exhibition, exhibition game. The Red Sox just sent up batting practice pitcher Ino Guerrero up for an at-bat in the fifth inning. Ino, who is best known for being a close confidant of erstwhile Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, drew a walk. Who would have thought that Guerrero would draw a walk in an exhibition game while Ramirez still doesn’t have a job?

Below is a Brita Meng Outzen photo on Ino being congratulated by hitting coach Dave Magadan after he came out for a pinch-runner.

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Guerrero, by the way, is 48 years old, according to a couple of trusty clubhouse sources.

“That was just to
liven up the day a little bit,” Francona said. “I liked the way he got the walk and acted like
he won the World Series. He may get another chance against Northeastern.”

It was like Christmas Day for the beat writers who cover the team, as we were handed copies of the 2009 media guide earlier this morning. Yes, that book will be our bible for the next eight or nine months, you can be sure of that. Snazzy cover this year, with a black and white image of Jim Rice “National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2009″ contrasted with a color image of Dustin Pedroia “2008 AL MVP GOLD GLOVE SLIVER SLUGGER AWARD.

Pedroia will play tonight against the Twins. Lugo, Baldelli, Ortiz and Drew are the regulars  today who played behind Beckett.

Grapefruit League rotation; Ortiz returns to practice

We have a pitching order, at least for the first few games.

Ace Josh Beckett will be the first Boston pitcher to take the mound in Spring Training, when he faces Boston College at City of Palms Park on Wednesday afternoon. Tim Wakefield pitches that night at the Twins’ complex.

Jon Lester pitches at home against the Pirates on Thursday, followed by Michael Bowden at Port Charlotte against the Rays on Friday. Lefty Kris Johnson, a Minor Leaguer, starts against Northeastern on Saturday afternoon, and Clay Buchholz pitches that night at City of Palms against the Reds.

And to come back in and answer Julia’s question. David Ortiz’s shoulder is fine. He was back out there taking BP today after missing two days of workouts.

Papi stays inside

For the second straight day, David Ortiz did not participate in outdoor drills with his teammates. Is it Papi’s knee that was surgically repaired after the 2007 season? Is it that left wrist that kept him out for seven weeks last year?

Relax, you Red Sox Nationers. It’s nothing of that sort. Ortiz merely had a bit of a sore shoulder and will be back out there for a full day of drills on Saturday.

“He’s a little better,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“Actually, a lot better. We held him back one more day. I think he probably just overdid
it the other day a little bit. He’s not a guy that’s probably done a ton of
throwing coming into camp. We go out there and he does the groundballs with
everybody and then he went home and fell asleep on it but I think tomorrow he’ll
be fine. It’s his left shoulder. It’s sore. It’s nothing that anybody has had
any concerns about.”

To give you an idea of how slow camp has been the last few days, Ortiz actually drew a crowd at his locker to talk about the nagging shoulder. He completely downplayed it, saying that he was fine and that he expects to be back on the field tomorrow.

“It’s just the kind of thing that happens and you have to do what you have to do, you know?” Ortiz said.

After the workout, Ortiz, still in workout shorts and a Red Sox sweatshirt, could be seen sitting in the drivers seat of his red ferrari. Nice ride!

In other news, Josh Beckett threw his first live BP of the spring and looked pretty impressive in doing so.

“Thought Beckett
did well,” Francona said. “[He] kept the ball down and stayed in his delivery.”

Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Justin Masterson were some of the other significant pitchers to face hitters.

Stay tuned Saturday, as Francona will unveil his early Grapefruit League pitching rotation at that time. I know, it doesn’t quite compare to the Kevin Garnett knee injury in terms of news value, but interesting to pent-up Sox fans nonetheless. 

Game 2 of the ALCS — More Problems For Beckett

If you’re concerned, you should be. Josh Beckett has come out and gotten hit hard through three innings. Everyone was hoping his Game 3 start against the Angels was just a fluke of rustiness. While Josh isn’t laboring to that degree, the Rays are making solid contact against him.

I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect Beckett will suddenly put the Red Sox on his back this postseason. Lester will have to keep being that guy.

That said, the Boston bats have done a great job against Kazmir, who threw 87 pitches in the first four innings.

Also, David Ortiz‘s comments were very provocative after Game 1, saying that he saw different faces on the Rays than in the regular season. In other words, they weren’t the same care-free team they were during the regular season. It was extremely interesting to hear Rays manager Joe Maddon back those comments before Game 2:

“I agree, and I did see it,” said Maddon. “That was our first foray into that situation yesterday and I’d like to believe we’re going to come out and be more typical today. But I can’t disagree with him.”

Tonight, we will find out what kind of series this is going to be. Remember, when the Indians beat the Sox in Game 2 of last year’s ALCS, that basically set up a seven-game series.

Stability At the Top

On the same day the Red Sox could move into sole possession of the top spot in the American League East for the first time since the All-Star break, it is refreshing to know that there is also great stability at the top of the organization.

Theo Epstein will not need a gorilla suit to exit Fenway Park on Halloween this year. Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe has reported that the GM — who has gone in less than six years from a 28-year-old wonderboy to one of the most respected executives in the game — is on the verge of signing a new contract.

Though owner John W. Henry basically told Shaughnessy the deal was done earlier on Tuesday, Henry backed off slightly on those comments to the rest of the media later in the day while conceding an announcement is imminent.

“I got a little ahead of where we are today in commenting
on what have been refreshingly private negotiations,” wrote Henry. “We are
not done, but we expect to have an announcement in the near future. I have
asked all involved not to comment until this is finalized.”

I wonder what this organization would like right now if Epstein, had, in fact, bolted in ’05. Would they have won it again in ’07?

At any rate, the Red Sox are lucky that upper management (Epstein and his staff) and field management (Terry Francona and his staff) is a big strength of this team. It is one less thing to worry about. Imagine having a Ned Yost-like situation in Milwaukee?

As for tonight’s game, I think it is important both in the short and long term. Obviously Beckett puts them back into first with a win. And if Beckett does that and is dominant in doing so, perhaps it is fair to forecast the ace to go on one of those runs he had late last season.

Though Lester has been a rock, there is something comforting about being able to rely on Beckett as the front man for the staff.

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