Wednesday, May 02, 2007
THE NEW ACE
Josh Beckett became Major League Baseball's first 6 win pitcher as the Sox beat Oakland 6-4. With a 6-0 record, a 2.72 ERA and 33 Ks, Beckett is the new Ace of the staff so far this season.
He's allowed 1 homer, and walked 9 batters this year. Last year he allowed 36 homers and walked 74 men. Right now he's on pace to allow 6 homers and walk 56 batters. It's still only early May, but the start that he's had is very impressive.
One thing that impresses me a lot about Becks is that he is keeping his pitch count down. He only threw 103 pitches tonight. If we had needed him to, he could have easily started the 8th inning. But, we have Okajima, who got his 7th Hold of the season with a hitless inning. What a find he's been. What makes Okajima even more enjoyable to watch is the fact that the Yankees could have had bought him from Yomiuri before us, but didn't. By the way, Okajima won AL Rookie of the Month for April.
Solid offensive performance by the Sox tonight. Every player had a hit, and the team had 13. No really big innings, but the Sox kept piling on runs. Ortiz with an RBI groundout in the 3rd, RBI single by Lugo in the 4th, Cora with an RBI groundout in the 6th, then Lugo with a Sac-Fly to follow, Cora with an RBI single in the 7th, and JD Drew with an RBI single in the 8th.
It was good to see Cora back in the lineup. Yesterday, the Sox said that second base would not be a platooned position. Honestly, I think Pedroia should either be platooned and play against lefties, or go back down to AAA for at least a month to get his swing/confidence back. Cora's doing well, and Pedroia is struggling. As important as keeping Pedroia in the lineup so he gets at-bats is to his development, it's also important that his confidence doesn't melt away. Maybe he could use some time in Pawtucket to hit some minor league pitching and get back into a groove.
I'm glad Timlin was used for the 3 run save in the 9th. It might have been good for Papelbon to come back right away after blowing a save, but in the long run, the fewer times he pitches on consecutive days, the better.
Man of the Game was Josh Beckett. Normally, a 7 IP, 3 ER start isn't enough to earn MOTG honors, but nobody else on either team really stuck out more than him. Becks also struck out 7.
Julio Lugo: 1/3, 2 RBI, Sac-Fly, SB
Hideki Okajima: IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, K
Kevin Youkilis: 1/2, 2 BB, run
Daisuke against Horacio Ramirez and the Mariners in a makeup game tomorrow.
In other baseball news, the Yankees fired their training staff. Good move. I'm not being sarcastic, either. They hired a new group of training/conditioning people this season. I guess they ran a different kind of program that was supposed to prevent soft tissue injuries. The program failed.