Josh To The Rescue...Again. Smoltz Gone
After a much needed night off, the Boston Red Sox find themselves in Toronto, Canada for a three game series with the Blue Jays. Kevin Youkilis will be back in the lineup and our 2009 savior, Josh Beckett, will be on the hill. That's a great combination. Since mid to late April, Beckett has been on a tear, going 12-2 with a 2.17 ERA. Batters are hitting .208 off him and are slugging .314. Pretty much the stuff of a Cy Young candidate. After observing what kind of shape he was in after an off-season training program, manager Terry Francona and pitching coach supeme John Farrell knew good things were in store. Farrell had this to say recently (thanks, Boston Globe)...
“Overall command, strike-throwing ability, certainly is there. But I think the mental component of his game has been very consistent, very much under control. He’s one that thrives on adrenaline to get him to a certain level of competitive state, but it’s not to the point where it’s overdone, that negatively affects his ability to make pitches from hitter to hitter or from inning to inning. I think more importantly in key situations, where there’s been less than two outs and runners on base, he’s not tried to do more, in other words, get added velocity or think, ‘I’m going to try to strike a guy out on the first pitch of the at-bat.’ As a result he’s methodically 0gotten through a number of innings where runs could have scored.’’
I ask you this...where would the Sox be without him? I shudder to think. But we go on. Boston lost a half game in the Wild Card standings after a Texas win but gained half a game on the losing Yankees, who unfortunately don't make losing a habit anymore. Here are the pitching matchups for the Toronto series.
8/18 at Tor. 7:07 PM ET NESN Beckett (14-4) vs. Romero (10-5)
8/19/at Tor. 7:07 PM ET ESPN & NESN Buchholz (1-3) vs. Halladay (13-5)
8/20 at Tor. 7:07 PM ET NESN Lester (9-7) vs. Richmond (6-6)
Boston has released pitcher John Smoltz and he is available to any team anywhere. Some clubs are said to be interested for him to join their bullpen.
That's a wrap for this hot and very humid Tuesday morning. I again invite you to visit Nadia's blog. Just scroll to the post directly below this one and click on the title to be zapped there. You can click on this post's title for more Sox news courtesy of Sports Illustrated and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. Thanks. GO SOX.