When Josh Beckett last walked off the mound at Fenway Park, the Fenway Faithful let him know what they thought of his pitching performance that night. After that start last Thursday, he then watched the other four fellow starters all put up quality starts and picking up the wins.
So on his 32nd birthday and the way starters compete with each other plus the way he was perceived after his last outing, you just knew Beckett would come out and silence his critics.
And he did exactly just that as he dominated the Mariners lineup for seven innings in a 5-0 win for the home team.
He allowed four hits, all of which were singles, and two walks while striking out a season-high nine. Beckett threw just 93 pitches, getting 11 swings-and-misses. His fastball velocity got as high as 94 MPH but he was consistently around 92-93 with great command and location on it. He also mixed in his curveball and cutter along with a nasty changeup.
Now some people out there are saying that Beckett dominated because this was the light-hitting Mariners. Does that really matter people? With the way Beckett pitched last night, there weren't going to be too many teams that would hit him. He did what he was supposed to do last night and that's all that should matter.
Now you hope that he takes the positives from this start and uses them going forward.
David Ortiz got the scoring going for the local nine with a solo home run in the 3rd inning. He finished the afternoon going 2-for-3 with his other hit a bunt single to beat the shift employed by the Mariners. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, catching Beckett for the first time in a long time this season, also had two hits as did Mike Aviles, both of which were doubles, who also knocked in two runs.
Will Middlebrooks added another hit and RBI, his 14th since being called up. He also stole his second base of the season.
With Kevin Youkilis starting his rehab assignment today, the Red Sox will have to make a decision on what to do with Middlebrooks. Youk shouldn't lose his starting spot because of injury but how do you send down someone who is hitting .300 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. It won't make sense for Middlebrooks to sit on the bench in the big leagues so he probably will be sent down when Youk returns.
When you look at things, you want Youk to play. You want him to be able show that he can be healthy and perform. Why's that? Because if he can show that he can stay healthy and perform, there's the possibility you can use him as trade bait to pick up a piece that you need. I'm just throwing that out there for everyone to think about.
The Red Sox are playing good baseball right. Let's hope they can continue that roll now that they head back out on the road for eight straight games. They'll kick that off tonight with the first of a two-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team they took 3-of-4 from back in April.
We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Beckett up to speed in Sox’ shutout win [Boston Globe]
Ceremony full of emotion [Boston Globe]
Youkilis to make rehab start with Pawtucket [Boston Globe]
Red Sox finally safe at home [Boston Herald]
Kevin Youkilis starts to work way back [Boston Herald]
This is what Red Sox need [Boston Herald]
David Oritz plays it small [Boston Herald]
Tim Wakefield receives royal sendoff [Boston Herald]
Jonathan Papelbon reflects on why he's no longer a Red Sox [Rob Bradford - WEEI.com]
Beckett tosses seven shutout innings, Sox win, 5-0 [CSN New England]
Beckett gets on 'saddle', locks in vs. Mariners [CSN New England]
Ortiz puts down rare bunt single against shift [CSN New England]
Aviles proving he's fit for the shortstop job [CSN New England]
Wakefield honored, overwhelmed at Tim Wakefield Day [CSN New England]
Ortiz, Red Sox prepare for interleague games [CSN New England]
Rapid reaction: Red Sox 5, Mariners 0 [ESPN Boston]
Video: State of the Nation [ESPN Boston]
Edes: Beckett back to being king of the hill [ESPN Boston]
Salty, not Shoppach, behind plate for Beckett [RedSox.com]
photo credit: AP Photo