Beckett, Sox feel more frustration
June, 12, 2012
By Matt Porter | ESPNBoston.com
MIAMI -- On a night that had the Boston Red Sox grinding their teeth, right-hander Josh Beckett was likely more annoyed than most.
Boston’s offense was unable to save Beckett (4-4) from becoming a tough-luck loser for the second straight outing. He allowed four runs in his first 11 batters of the game, but set down 15 of the final 16 he faced.
Beckett, who did not speak to reporters after taking a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on June 6, also did not appear in the clubhouse after Monday’s game.
The Marlins made the last-minute decision to open the roof in their ballpark in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. That may have messed with Beckett, who was said to have struggled with swirling winds in the first inning of his first career start against the Marlins, the team he helped pitch to a World Series title in 2003.
“There was a wind out there, and he figured out the wind a little late, I guess," manager Bobby Valentine said. "His two-seamer was just dynamite tonight. It was moving. It was just unhittable.”
Sarah Glenn/Getty ImagesAfter some early struggles, Josh Beckett retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced.
The Marlins didn’t knock around Beckett in their first-inning rally. Shortstop Jose Reyes laced a backspin-heavy liner over second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who leaped and extended all of his 5-foot-9 frame, but missed it by a few inches. The ball scooted to the wall in right-center, and Reyes raced to third. A sacrifice fly brought him home.
Giancarlo Stanton singled and scored on Logan Morrison’s RBI double, which bounced off the wall and off Adrian Gonzalez’s hands in right. A soft liner to center by Gaby Sanchez brought home Morrison to make it 3-0.
“With that roof open, his ball was moving a lot,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “He had a real good sinker going. When he was trying to throw a four-seamer, it was running. Cutter into Morrison didn’t get in, and he hit it pretty well. Other than that, they kind of got just weak singles. We had Reyes with two strikes, threw a decent curveball down and he stayed with it and hit it for a triple. That’s really all they got all night.”
Valentine didn’t think the Marlins brought much of an onslaught.
“It was a two-strike breaking ball, and [Reyes] got the head on it,” Valentine said. “We got that, and we got a fly ball. Then the bloop and the ball off the fence were legit.”
A single, a sacrifice bunt and a Donovan Solano RBI single in the second made it 4-0. Beckett settled in and threw 97 pitches (65 for strikes) before ceding to Mark Melancon, who was making his first appearance since the second week of the season. He worked a 1-2-3 eighth and reported no issues.
“I felt like I’m back,” said Melancon, who had a 49.50 ERA before he was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on April 18. He lowered it to 33.00 with a scoreless eighth.
What the Red Sox -- losers of seven of their last eight -- wouldn’t give to see a few high-ERA pitchers come their way. But Tuesday they’ll get lefty Mark Buehrle (5-6, 3.49), and on Wednesday, Ricky Nolasco (6-4, 4.36). Neither is easy pickings. They’ll need efforts like Beckett’s to continue treading water.
“I thought Josh was great today. He was awesome, man," Pedroia said. "That first inning, they hit some balls pretty good, and they found some holes. But I thought his stuff was great and he did a great job of keeping us in the game.”