Josh Beckett made a loud statement yesterday. He does not need any coddling.
Last night he absolutely dominated a stacked Yankees lineup going eight innings with 10 strikeouts and no runs.
He stepped up with a performance that the Boys from Boston sourly needed and gave the Red Sox a win, in spite of the efforts of very questionable second base umpire and an offense that seemed incapable of coming up with a big hit, Scutaro excepted.
Suddenly the talk of Boston has gone from gloom and doom to going forward. There’s still plenty of season left and Beckett gave us something to look forward to.
Ignoring Lester’s valiant seven inning shutout, but failed effort to beat the Indians last week, the pitching staff has been an embarrassment in the first go round. The Boston Phoenix wrote a rather scathing article before Beckett’s first start against the Indians in which the call into question Beckett’s reputation as an ace.
Last night he looked every bit the ace we once knew. The curveball was the nastiest I’ve seen it since the postseason of ’07, breaking sharply and with perfect control. The fastball was moving, popping, and most importantly, going exactly where Beckett wanted it. And, oh yeah, the cutter and changeup looked good too.
Josh had a swagger and confidence to him that was remarkable, considering his first start where he was lit up by the meager Indians offense. But he pitched like a man with something to prove. He pounded the zone like he didn’t give a thought to any supposed danger from the man in the batter’s box. He made a lot of good hitters look really bad. He outdueled a man who won over 20 games last year.
He was the Beckett of old.
He was Beckett the ace.
He was exactly who we needed him to be.