Josh Beckett In The Bullpen, originally uploaded by tjperr
...Josh Beckett's Back.
5.2 innings, five Ks, one run. Not a career performance, of course, and it ended on a dismayed note as Terry Francona removed him mid-inning when he strayed above a strict pitch count in the top of the sixth.
But there's a palpable smolder about Beckett as he makes his return from an extended stay on the DL, and he got in his swaggers off the field last night in Seattle. The Ks weren't cheap, either -- and they came on the fastball, a 12-6 curveball and a nasty slider.
As is his norm, he scattered hits (5), but surrendered few runs. As has been his rotten luck in the past, Beckett also put in a solid effort, only to be denied a win for his troubles. Scott Atchison* took that honor, since the previous night's subject of scorn, Bill Hall, wouldn't hit his game-winning homer until the top of the seventh.
Not to be forgotten in last night's crisp 2-1 win: Adran Beltre, who laid the foundation for Hall's later heroics with a double to deep left center, and Kevin Youkilis, for scoring a run on that hit, and for the resurrection of The Full-On Beard. It has obviously been there to protect Youk during this time of injury, and continues to be a source of his power. I would like the slowly spreading Beard to know that I appreciate it, even if it never got the chance to prove itself on the national stage in the All-Star Game.P.S. Eyebrows of Concern to Jonathan Papelbon, who made things a bit too much of an adventure again in the bottom of the ninth. What gives, guy? Well, when you get your act together, I'll be over here, picking out entrance music for Daniel Bard.
* who comes with but one item attached to the mental file I have with his name on it: the memory of someone behind me in the grandstand at Fenway saying loudly, "Why is my Dad pitching for the Red Sox?!"