Beckett Hit With 6 Game Suspension and Fined

Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett is suspended 6 games after an incident that occurred on April 12. Boston was facing the Angels in game 3 of a series when Beckett threw a high and tight pitch at Abreu after the umpire granted the batter a late time out. The pitcher is also being fined an “undisclosed amount.”

Whether or not the threatening pitch was intentional is debatable, however, what cannot be argued with is Beckett’s attitude after Abreu showed anger at the pitch. Beckett walked off the mound towards Abreu, who was being held back by Varitek, in a confrontational fashion. This action, not the pitch, is probably the reason for the suspension.

With an objective viewpoint, I can say that Beckett did deserve ejection in that game. The umpire did a terrible job handeling the situation.

The 6 game suspension takes away one start from Beckett, which would probably be April 18 against the Orioles. The Sox management will probably switch him with one of the other starters scheduled to play against the Orioles at a later date.

   

Game 1: Sox 2 – A’s 8

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher: Jon Lester (0-1) LHP
Oakland A’s starting pitcher: Dallas Braden (0-1) LHP

Boston Red Sox starting lineup:
R. Baldelli CF
D. Pedroia 2B
D. Ortiz DH
K. Youkilis 1B
J.D. Drew RF
J. Bay LF
M. Lowell 3B
J. Varitek C
N. Green SS

Oakland A’s starting lineup:
R. Sweeny RF
O. Cabrera SS
J. Giambi 1B
M. Holiday LF
N. Garciaparra 3B
J. Cust DH
K. Suzuki C
B. Crosby 2B
R. Davis CF

Nick Green is starting again in place of Jed Lowrie because Lowrie is on the 15-day DL due wrist problems. These wrist problems could be the reason for his low batting average, as he claims he did not want to tell any of the coachs about his injury because he wanted to play. Obviously, if this is indeed the case, the injury got in way of his playing.

Coming into this game I was looking for more solid performances from the Sox batters, and I was hoping that Lester could show some more command and control on the mound. What the Red Sox need to do is to play a little small ball and score runners that get into scoring position, as I think they need to stop relying completely on brute force and homeruns to win games.

Baldelli and Youkilis each scored one run. Youkilis’ run come from a homer he hit in the 2nd inning which gave the Sox a short lived lead. Youkilis had two hits. Pedroia, Ortiz, Drew, and Bay each had one hit. Youkilis and Ortiz both had one RBI each.  

The A’s definitely obtained the momentum early in the game and started to set the pace despite Youkilis’ spectacular homer in the top of the 2nd inning. As if it were a twist of fate, Jack Cust, the first batter Lester faced in the bottom of the 2nd, homered. Lester proceeded to give up 1B and 2B to the A’s by allowing a hit from Suzuki and by hitting Crosby with a pitch. I was happy to see that Lester struck out the next batter.

It seemed as if Lester was in damage control mode, but, to my uttermost dismay, the A’s scored 4 more runs before the inning was out. The score suddenly mutated into a disgusting 5-1 Oakland. It was one of those moments where you just let out a deep sigh. I thought to myself, “Lester is definitely having a rough start to the year.”

I honestly do not know what his problem is. Nerves for the new year? Maybe. Pressure from high expectations? It’s a possiblity. But this is the second game. All jitters should have been dealt with in his first game. And as for expectations, he is a professional, right? I’m not saying either of these things are the problem here, but we all can agree that Lester is not performing like the pitcher he is. Lester gave up another homer to Garciaparra in the 5th, making the score 6-1 Oakland. 

Youkilis and Ortiz both played big parts offensively in the game. With a homer and a hit Youkilis gave Boston its only lead of the game (which lasted for a half inning), and he also provided an oppourtunity for the Sox to cut into the 5 run deficit with his hit. Ortiz batted in Baldelli (who drew a walk) in the 6th inning, hoping to start something good for the Olde Towne Team. The score had changed to 6-2 Oakland from Ortiz’s RBI single.

The bullpun was bustling around the 6th and Javier López took over for Lester in the 7th inning. With 2 out, López hit Giambi with a pitch, placing him on 1B. Takashi Saito was then called in to relieve López. Saito gave up a triple to Holliday, which scored Giambi. It was now 7-2 Oakland.

Honestly, when a team changes pitchers around like this, they look somewhat undecided and unsure. Problems result too, as evidenced here, when a reliever is brought into certain situations with 2 out. Yeah, the guy hit someone with a pitch, but so did Lester, and Lester gave up 6 runs on 10 hits over 6 innings, including two homers. That averages out to a hit per inning. And I do realize that Saito is a good reliever, but this run is a likely a result of him being thrust into the fray.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Saito walked Cust. Suzuki then doubled. Cust was moved to 3B and then scored after a sacrifice fly from Crosby. Oakland increased their lead to 8-2.The Sox could not mount a comeback in the 9th.

I diagnose the slow, sluggish offense and the inconsistent, “emotional” pitching as the problems of the Red Sox today, and also for pretty much this whole week. It is a sad start indeed.

Lester becomes 0-2 on the season.

The Loveable Losers are making a return, as Boston falls to 2-5. We all just need to remember that it is still way early in the season.

The Boston Red Sox take on the Oakland A’s in game 2 of the 3 game series tomorrow in Oakland at 10:05pm Eastern. 

 

  

Game 3: Sox 4 – Angels 5

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher: Josh Beckett (1-0)
LA Angels starting pitcher: Dustin Moseley (0-0)

Boston Red Sox starting lineup:
J. Ellsbury CF
D. Pedroia 2B
D. Ortiz DH
K. Youkilis 1B
J.D. Drew RF
J. Bay LF
M. Lowell 3B
N. Green SS
J. Varitek C

LA Angels starting lineup:
C. Figgins 3B
H. Kendrick 2B
B. Abreu RF
V. Guerrero DH
T. Hunter CF
K. Morales 1B
J. Rivera LF
M. Napoli C
M. Izturis

The Sox lose game 3 against the Angels in opening week. The Angels win the series 2-1.

While
Beckett started shaky, the Sox offense gave him support with back to
back homeruns in the 2nd inning. Part of Beckett’s problem can be
attributed to the home plate umpire. The umpire made a few bad calls
that were against Beckett, as a few of his curves that were in the zone
were ruled balls. Most of these bad calls occurred in the 1st inning
however, and did not effect the game’s outcome.

Beckett gave up
a hit in the 1st inning to the leadoff man, who proceeded to steal 2nd
after his single. This might be a fluke on Beckett’s part, and I hope
it is just that. That being said, I still think he still needs to throw
to 1st every once and a while to keep the runners, especially the
leadoff runners, on 1st. Games can be won and lost on this skill.

There
was a little scuffle on the field after Beckett threw a high and close
pitch to Abreu after the batter called to the umpire for time late.
Angels CF Hunter was ejected after making signs deemed offensive by the
2nd base umpire. Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia, relief pitcher Justin
Speier, and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher were ejected between the top
and bottom of the 2nd inning. Ron Roenicke, the Angel’s bench coach,
took over the ejected manager’s duties.

After this incident, I
checked an Angel’s website to see their view of the dispute. All that I
saw was a poll that they had put up recently that asked viewers what
baseball team they disliked the most. Out of teams like the Dogers, the
A’s, and the Yankees (I am chanting in my head: “Yankees suck” as of
now), 6 out of every 10 Angels fans picked the Red Sox. Say what? How can a team’s fan base overwhelmingly hate the Sox? This will probably change over the course of the season, but seriously?

Youkilis
and J.D. Drew hit the back to back homeruns in the 2nd inning to give
the Sox an early 2-0 lead. Sadly, this lead would not last as the
Angels would strike for 3 in the bottom of the 3rd and would eventually bring home 2 more runs by bottom of the 8th.

Big Papi had 2
hits and 1 RBI on the day. I was glad to see him hitting the ball
again. Pedroia scored 1 run and had 1 hit. Youkilis had 2 hits, one of
which was homer, but he sees his batting average drop to .522 (which is
still great). Nick Green had 2 hits and scored 1 run. Varitek had 1
hit. J.D. Drew had 1 hit which was on a homer.

When Okajima
came in relief for Beckett in the 7th, he gave up a home run to the
first batter he faced. I hope he gets better and calmer as the season
progresses.

What really upset me, however, is that the bases
were loaded for the Sox in the 8th, but they failed to score one run
with only one out. Sacrifice fly anybody? If they scored one run, the
end result of the game probably would have been different. A lot of
people agree that the Sox need to work on scoring runners who are in
position. They did not deserve this loss. It is almost fortuitous. 

They did score one run in the 9th, but the comeback fell short.

The Sox drop to 2-4 on the season.

The Boston Red Sox take on the Oakland Athletics tomorrow at 10:05 Eastern. Young lefty Lester is the probable starter.  

  

Welcome to The Boston Blab; Game 2: Sox 5 – Angels 4

First off, I would i like to extend my gratitude to every loyal Sox fan that decides to frequent or just visit this blog. I plan to write an entry after most games where I talk about the different aspects of Boston’s performance. My opinions will be stated, and feel free to disagree.

I owe the name of the blog to my friend Adam who suggested it. Too bad he is an Indians fan. They are doing so well so far!

Lets get down to business.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher: Brad Penny (0-0)
LA Angels starting pitcher: Joe Saunders (1-0)

Boston Red Sox starting lineup:
J. Ellsbury CF
D. Pedroia 2B
D. Ortiz DH
K. Youkilis 1B
R. Baldelli RF
J. Bay LF
M. Lowell 3B
J. Lowrie SS
J. Varitek C

The Angels starting lineup:
C. Figgins 3B
H. Kendrick 2B
B. Abreu RF
V. Guerrero DH
T. Hunter CF
K. Morales 1B
J. Rivera LF
M. Napoli C
E. Aybar SS

After coming off of a loss to the Angels yesterday (April 10), the Sox managed to comeback and win in game 2 of the 3 game series. Might I say that I did not mind the Sox losing yesterday because it was such an emotional game for the Angels. I realize that the whole Angel’s team and baseball nation are still in shock from Nick Adenhart’s death, and I send out my deepest condolences to all those involved in or affected, physically and emotionally, from Adenhart’s untimely passing.

The Red Sox produced 8 hits in the game, just one more than their opponet. They left 9 on. Baldelli, Bay, and Varitek both had 2 hits each, while Ellsbury and Lowell both had 1 hit each. Bay had 3 RBI, and Lowell had 2 RBI. Bay scored 3 runs, while Baldelli and Lowell each scored 1 run.

As you might see, Jason Bay had a monster game. From his amazing “controversial” catch in the 4th inning (we at Red Sox Nation know it was legit), to his two homeruns in the 7th and 9th innings which brought home a total of 3 runs, he is definitely the MVP of this game. He is now batting .333. Bay wants to stay with the Sox and is obviously a good fit for the team.

Lowell was also a very important player as his homerun in the 5th innning tied up the game and brought a much needed momentum swing to the Sox.

Ellsbury is doing better than at the immediate start of the season, but he made a bad decision in the 1st. He thought the starting Angels pitcher Joe Saunders forget about him after he singled and then stole second. He then attempted to steal 3rd base. I don’t know about you, but if Jacoby Ellsbury was on base I would not forget about him, for then he would steal all the bases in the world. Ellsbury ended up being tagged out by the 3rd baseman after a few seconds of scrambling.

I was kind of sad that Youkilis did not have any hits in the game. I wanted him to keep that monster batting average.

Red Sox starting pitcher Brad Penny had a tough start to the 1st inning. His control and location was not there, and so many balls were thrown and a walk was given. The runner that was walked ended up scoring. Penny got better as the game went on, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings. However, he did allow two homeruns. This can be a cause for concern, but not that much of concern, as we all know that Penny had a terrible ’08 season and practiced little in the Spring. He posted a 4.50 ERA.

I still do not know what to expect of him though.

To me, for some reason, Penny does not seem “legit.” I mean this as in he does not seem to be comfortable in Boston. I don’t know, something about his performance just felt awkward. He could possibly be using his performance in Boston this season as a launching pad for a higher paying contract from any team. Though this probably is not true, I still stand by my previous statement that his performance today just did not feel totally right.

Ramon Ramirez came in relief for the 7th and pitched for 1 and 2 thirds innings. He struck out one and allowed one hit. Ramirez is showing that he is a solid relief pitcher that can bridge the gap between the starter and the famous closer. He is one of the best relievers on the team, so far. 

Papelbon appeared on the mound for the last out of the 8th inning. He allowed a homerun from the Angels in the 9th, and proceeded to load the bases. After a 10 pitch battle with Kendrick, Kendrick finally hit a fly ball into the glove of Rocco Baldelli to end the game.

I wasn’t too proud of Papelbon. He did not have much control over his fastball, which was fast as ever, but we all know that means nothing if you can’t place it exactly in the right spot. I don’t know what got over him, possibly it was the homerun, but I was taken aback when he loaded the bases in the 9th inning when the Sox were only up by one run.

The Sox improve their record to 2-3. They are still at the bottom in the AL East, but of course, there is much of the season left ahead of us.

The Red Sox take on the Angels in game 3 of the 3 game series tomorrow at 3:35 in LA.