(photo from Boston.com)
Things You Can Tell About Josh Beckett Just By Looking At Him:
He has a visor and a puka shell necklace.
He has an iPod full of illegal Phish bootlegs.
He has a Dave Matthews Band sticker on his Hummer (probably yellow).
He has cruised the BU and Northeastern dorms more than once.
He has friends named Chase, Landon and Dexter (at least one of whom owns a sailboat).
He thinks a pink, popped-collar polo shirt is a smart look.
He spends a good amount of his life hungover, a side effect of perfecting the keg stand.
He was not happy about getting the short end of the media stick in last night’s game.
And so, Josh Beckett did what Josh Beckett should have done and sacked up and pitched like his pants were on fire. We’re so accustomed here in Boston to hearing Pedro’s claims about a lack of respect that we made sure to give it to him. Over and over again. And it was Beckett who was left going, “Hey, guys? How about me? I am actually your pitcher now.” So then he must’ve figured that showing instead of telling was a good idea. Works for me. If we have to make him angry for him to pitch like that, I say we all take turns taking away his Jagermeister and his Maxim subscription.
Pedro, for his part, did not pitch like the Hall of Famer he is sure to be. Rather, he pitched like the Pedro who always got the ball on Opening Day and, unaccustomed to the cold weather, would get rocked by the likes of the Blue Jays or the Orioles. Not that these Red Sox aren’t capable of rocking just about anyone in their present state. But it’s worth noting that Pedro, usually so calm, collected and just flat out proud on the mound, looked flustered, distracted, and occasionally overwhelmed, especially when fielding Papi’s comebacker and brain-cramping on what would surely have been a double play. Not that anyone could really blame him. But it was strange to see Pedro visibly trying to keep it together.
Manny, for his part, didn’t even try. Dude has the worse poker face ever as he resorted to smirking and making all manner of weird facial expressions to keep from laughing and smiling while up to bat.
And poor, doomed Lastings Milledge. First, you’re saddled with a name like that which is, as Amy pointed out, not so much a name as it is a bridge in Southern Connecticut and then they stick you in front of that big, looming green wall in left field and expect you to track down fly balls with ease. It’s just not that simple. The poor guy, you could actually see him thinking, “Don’t screw this up again. Don’t screw this up again. Don’t screw-DAMMIT!” last night as Mike Lowell’s pop fly popped into and then out of his glove, plating two runs. Some days you’re better off not having gotten out of bed.
Also? Alex Gonzalez: Home Run Monster. That is all.
Oh, and NESN? While we’re here. Enough with the goddamn Taylor Hicks Ford commercial. Aren’t his fifteen minutes up yet? Why won’t he go away? Why are you forcing him on me? He does not motivate me to buy a Ford vehicle. He motivates me to find the mute button. What was wrong with the Kelly Clarkson Ford commercials? I would actually consider buying something she endorsed because she’s fun and I love her and think she would be a blast to do tequila shots with while mocking Guarini. But not Taylor Hicks. Never Taylor Hicks. Don’t you have Foxwoods or Southwest Airlines to advertise or something?
Anyway, force-fed “pop” stars aside, it was an interesting game, on the whole. Beckett rose to the occasion and Pedro shrank from it. Frankly, I had the script reversed with Beckett pitching well, Pedro dominating and one or both of the bullpens blowing it wide open. And speaking of bullpens, did we notice that Tito’s break with reality has ceased and there was not a single shot of either Seanez or Tavarez warming last night? Surely that would have turned the crowd into an angry lynch mob.
We have also decided that the Sox are so happy to have Kapler back that they’ve been scoring upwards of eight runs a game to guarantee that he’ll get some playing time. Oh, and Trot Nixon would like you to know that right field at Fenway Park is his territory (occasionally on loan to Gabe because they are the BFFiest of BFFs) but that no one else will be taking it over anytime soon and if he has to prove it to you with his bat, he will not hesitate to do just that. Jesus, Trot, .330? Damn. He is not messing around.
So Pedro got shelled, Beckett pitched like a big boy and in the Bronx, A-Rod hit a walk-off homer, thus dulling the boos for one day. (But seriously? Most pathetic excuse for a walk-off celebration ever.) All in all, the Sox era of good feelings rolls on. Tonight, it’s another marquee matchup of Billerica boy Glavine vs. Schilling. Overshadowed by last night’s hype, this just might be the best duel of the bunch. Guess we’ll see.