The Boston Red Sox entered last night’s contest with the New York Yankees with the momentum of a four-game winning streak and their ace, Josh Beckett, set to toe the rubber.
By the end of the night, they were left with a decisive loss and more questions about Beckett.
Is Beckett pitching through some type of injury that is limiting his effectiveness? While an injury is never good news for fans, such news might alleviate the growing anxiety amongst them that Beckett might spend much of this season performing well below expectations.
There is no shame in getting knocked around a bit by the stacked Yankees’ lineup, but the failure of Beckett to locate his pitches leaves him vulnerable to any group of hitters.
Nick Swisher blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning and then Beckett came apart in the sixth inning with a series of hit batsmen and walks. When Manager Terry Francona made his way to the mound to take the ball from his ace, the damage had been done. In total, Beckett allowed nine earned runs to see his ERA balloon to 7.46.
To be fair, he was not afforded the luxury of pitching with much margin for error, as Phillip Hughes had his way with the Red Sox lineup for most of the night to continue his dominance of the American League over the past two seasons. Hughes gave up two earned runs over seven innings to actually see his ERA rise to 1.69 to go along with his 4-0 record.
Last season as a reliever, Hughes led all relievers in ERA and even picked up three saves.
David Ortiz continued to show signs of life in driving in two runs for the home team. Adrian Beltre drove in the other.
Jason Varitek was crossed up on a pitch from Beckett in the fourth and was forced to leave the game with a contusion on his arm.
The Sox will turn to Clay Buchholz in game two of the series today, while the Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia.