Beckett shines: Josh Beckett was lights out against the Yankees tonight. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out ten, over eight scoreless innings. The last time he pitched at least 8 innings of shutout ball was July 12, 2009 against the Kansas City Royals. He showed great command of all of his pitches including his four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter, curveball and changeup. Beckett was dominant, retiring 14 straight batters from the fourth inning to the end of his outing. Beckett’s record now stands at 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
Offense showing signs of life: The Red Sox left 16 men on base, but combined for 12 hits in 34 at-bats (.353). Eight out of the nine starters recorded at least one hit. The usual suspect, Dustin Pedroia continued to fuel the offense, collecting three hits in his third straight game. David Ortiz, who has had a relatively quiet series, also had two hits including an RBI double. Kevin Youkilis continues to work his way out of a slump, rifling a single to right-center in his first at-bat, and drawing two walks. While it’s still in progress, the Red Sox offense is starting to gain some momentum as they head into a series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Gonzalez hit on hand: Red Sox nation held their breath in the fifth inning when Adrian Gonzalez was hit on the left hand by a CC Sabathia fastball. It couldn’t be worse timing, considering the Red Sox recent struggles and the fact that he is close to finalizing a seven-year extension with the club. He did stay in the game, and was not attended to by trainers in between innings. The good news is that he will not need x-rays and is day-to-day.
Papelbon back to form: For the first time since early 2009 there was excitement at Fenway when Jonathan Papelbon entered the game. In the last two seasons there hasn’t been that sense of euphoria when the bullpen door opened and number 58 trotted out to the sound of “Shipping Up to Boston”. In that time it almost seemed like fans lacked confidence, and held their breath when Pap entered close games. Not tonight. Jonathan Papelbon followed up his great outing in game one, with another one tonight. He retired Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and Mark Teixeira in order; two by way of the K. Once again he used his slider, splitter and fastball affectively. Since his shaky outing in the Texas series, Papelbon has pitched two perfect innings, and struck out four, while earning a save. His now has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.