Beckett’s performance was an unpleasant surprise. I have to say that I expected more from him. It’s yet another example of an ace having a bad day that would be most pitchers’ good days. But it’s Beckett, and both he and we expect more.
He pitched a full seven innings and scattered six hits. He posted eight K’s and threw seventy-two strikes. His highest inning pitch count was twenty-two in the sixth, and he followed that with his lowest of nine in the seventh. Not coincidentally, he gave up all but one of his runs in the sixth, including his unearned run, for which you can thank Reddick and his fielding error.
But he walked three, he gave up four earned runs and five total, and he threw 112 pitches. All but one of his pitches were excellent. His fastball, cutter, and changeup were formidable. He put up high and low velocities, hit his spots, and varied his speeds. His curveball, on the other hand, was a relative disaster. Comparatively speaking, it was just missing. He threw it for a strike less than half the time.
Although Beckett’s line was similar to Lackey’s on Tuesday, there was one important glaring difference: Beckett got a win, because the lineup gave him some run support. Finally! Which means, of course, that Beckett is undefeated against the Yanks this year and, by the way, we beat them. Which is always the right and proper thing to do.
The Yankees had a one-run lead after Beckett allowed his first run in the third. That lead didn’t last long. In the bottom of the inning, Scutaro scored on a groundout by Pedroia, and Ellsbury scored on a single by Lowrie, who made Joe Girardi pay for deciding to intentionally walk Papi. Clearly that was a terrible judgment call.
In the fifth, Papi unleashed for a massive two-run shot to center on a fastball. It was very straightforward; it was just a straight shot over pretty much everything.
Then the Yankees did some damage in the sixth. We retaliated in the bottom of the inning. Reddick scored on a double by Tek, who scored when Ellsbury unleashed for a massive two-run shot of his own to left center field, also on a fastball. And he planted it into the Monster seats for the first time in his career. Off of a southpaw. It was a textbook example of exactly what you’re supposed to do at the plate: be patient, get ahead in the count, make the pitcher throw you something sweet that you can hit, and then just hit it.
I think Tek thought that that really looked like a lot of fun, because he did the exact same thing in the eighth with Reddick to right center field, also on a fastball, this one the first pitch of the at-bat. He put it into the bullpen.
Bard delivered a scoreless eighth. Paps delivered a scoreless ninth, for which he was denied a save thanks to Tek’s home run. I don’t think anyone is complaining. The final score was 9-5. Ellsbury and Pedroia both went two for five; Tek went two for four and has had some truly productive games lately.
Obviously one of the most important takeaways from this game is not just that we won but also that we beat the Evil Empire. Clearly a far cry from our performance on Tuesday. We sure made them pay for giving us scoring opportunities this time. We left only five on base and went three for ten with runners in scoring position. Oh, and did I mention that we won? Because we did. In a slugfest, too. That felt good.