Indians-Red Sox Preview
Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett is taking heat for reports
he went golfing while supposedly injured last week.
Perhaps he was just preparing for October.
Beckett will try to help the last-place Red Sox avoid a sixth
straight home loss Thursday night when they open a four-game set
against the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians.
Beckett (2-3, 4.45 ERA) will take the mound for the first time
since April 29, when he allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings of a
4-1 road loss to the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander matched a
career high by throwing 126 pitches in that outing, prompting
manager Bobby Valentine to skip Beckett’s following turn in the
rotation due to soreness in the pitcher’s right side.
While the soreness kept Beckett off the diamond, it evidently
wasn’t enough to keep him off the links. According to reports, he
went golfing last Thursday during a team off day with fellow Red
Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
For his part, Valentine attempted to diffuse the
“He had a sore lat,” Valentine told the team’s official website.
“He wasn’t an injured player, I know that. We’ll take it from
there. But I’m sure that Josh wouldn’t do anything that’s going to
jeopardize his team or his season, I know that.”
Boston’s hopes of contending in 2012 will be jeopardized if the
club doesn’t improve its play soon. After dropping the first five
games of May to conclude a six-game homestand, the Red Sox (12-18)
lost two of three on the road to a Kansas City club that had been
2-12 at home before Boston came to town.
While the Red Sox try to avoid dropping six straight games at
Fenway Park for the first time since April 6-19, 2010, they’ll be
facing a couple of players who may remind them of better times. The
Indians (17-13) feature leadoff man Johnny Damon and Thursday’s
probable starter Derek Lowe (4-1, 2.39), both of whom played key
roles on Boston’s 2004 club that won the World Series.
Lowe, whose final game in a Red Sox uniform was the 2004 World
Series clincher, has only faced Boston once in his career, a 3-0
loss at Fenway on June 20, 2009, when he allowed three runs over 6
1-3 innings for Atlanta.
The sinkerballer has yielded two or fewer runs in four of his
first six starts for Cleveland, which acquired him from the Braves
last offseason. He didn’t earn a decision in Saturday’s 11-inning,
5-2 loss to Texas after giving up two runs and scattering nine hits
over six innings.
Damon is batting just .167 in eight games since joining the
Indians following an 0-for-4 effort in Wednesday’s 8-1 loss to the
White Sox. Cleveland had eight hits, but went 0 for 6 with runners
in scoring position and settled for a split after taking the first
two contests of a four-game set.
“A lot of it falls on my shoulders,” Damon said. “I’m the
leadoff guy and I’ve been pretty awful. It affects the guys coming
up after me. I definitely need to get it going.”
The Indians are trying to avoid their first three-game losing
streak of 2012.