BOSTON - APRIL 04: Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up a home run to Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Wednesday was a day of one or two big negatives outweighing a great deal of positives for the Red Sox.
Said negatives, by name, being Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine.
Beckett was in need of redemption after being booed when leaving his last outing with a back injury. He had, to be fair, been fringe-average on the year to date, pitching decently in stretches with much of the discontent being whipped up by the media jumping all over easy stories involving chicken, beer, and golf while stirring outrage over his "lack of accountability." He wasn't helping himself with his attitude, but he was better than he was given credit for.
He's a lot harder to defend now. A three run first, a rough third he just barely survived, and then five more runs between the fifth and sixth, leaving him with eight to his name on eight hits, two walks, and three homers.
Two of those, however, probably should never have happened. One absolutely should not have, and that's where we turn to Bobby Valentine. After the three-run fifth, Valentine tried to get one more inning out of Beckett. After a leadoff hit from David Murphy, he just wanted one more batter. Geovany Soto took him deep, and for that Bobby is to blame.
What's worse is that Valentine then repeated the act with Clayton Mortensen. With over 40 pitches on his arm, Mortensen was left in to face Elvis Andrus to start the ninth. That in itself is defensible, if not easy to defend. Letting him stay in after the leadoff walk to Andrus to face Josh Hamilton?
Sure enough, Hamilton got his hit, moving Andrus to third with no outs on the board, and letting him score the go-ahead run on the sacrifice fly.
The positives at the plate were numerous. Crawford had a triple and was robbed of a double in the first, Gonzalez was excellent with three doubles, Ross was at full strength again with three hits including a homer, and Will Middlebrooks drew two walks and then clubbed a three-run shot that brought the Sox back from a 9-6 deficit in the seventh.
Wasted heroics, unfortunately, thanks to the two big negatives.