Before last Tuesday's start in Toronto, Josh Beckett was making a serious case for the AL Cy Young Award. He had 14 wins, and was simply dominating, especially in his starts at Fenway.
But the wheels came off in the SkyDome, as he allowed seven runs in five innings. Most fans thought it was an abberation, and the old dominating Beckett would return for his outing against New York and C.C. Sabathia.
Beckett got his head handed to him on Sunday night, and became the first Red Sox pitcher to allow at least five home runs against him since Tim Wakefield gave up six against Detroit in 2006. It was also a career high in homers allowed by him in a game. It brought back bad memories of 2006, when Beckett was allowing homers by the tractor-trailer load, trying to do nothing but blow people away.
It was ugly from the start and didn't get any prettier. Beckett wound up going eight innings and allowed eight earned runs. His last two starts, the numbers are simply brutal: 13 1/3 innings, 15 earned runs. And he had a stretch in these two starts where he allowed runs in an astounding ten straight innings, before finally getting a scoreless one in the sixth last night.
You have to seriously wonder if Beckett is hiding an injury to go from one extreme to the other. I really hope this isn't a repeat of late last year, where it came out after the playoffs that he was really injured and trying to push his way through. A hurt Beckett may end any chance of the Red Sox going to the postseason this year.
It all added up to an 8-4 loss to New York, and the Sox are now 7 1/2 games behind in the AL East, and one up in the Wild Card. Safe to say te division is now gone. And unfortunately this week, Texas is playing New York in the Bronx. Does that mean we have to root for... well, I'd rather have all my back teeth pulled out than do that.
The White Sox play the Red Sox for four starting tonight, with Clay Buchholz taking the mound tonight. They are no pushover, and the Red Sox better find a way to regroup and make the push for the Wild Card.