Beckett admits bad starts are 'killing the bullpen'

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Beckett admits bad starts are 'killing the bullpen'

BOSTON Give Josh Beckett this: He wont apologize and he wont back down.

Beckett lasted just 2 13 innings Thursday night as the Indians pounded him for seven runs on seven hits including two home runs. His record fell to 24 while his ERA jumped to 5.97. It was the second time in his six starts this season he has given up seven earned runs. Prior to this season he had not given up seven runs in 39 straight starts since August 13, 2010.

It was his shortest start since going 2 13 innings on August 17, 2008, when he gave up eight runs to the Blue Jays.

The Sox have now lost three straight, and eight of nine in May. They fall to 411 at home this season, losing 11 of their last 12 since April 16.

All of which make the erstwhile aces decision to play golf on the teams May 3 off-day highly questionable. Valentine had announced on May 2 that Beckett would be skipped in his May 5 start against the Orioles because of a sore right lat muscle.

Beckett, though, in true Beckett fashion, was not going to apologize for his choice of off-day ventures.

No, he said. I spend my off days the way I want to spend them.

Asked if there were any lingering physical issues, Beckett replied:

I feel pretty good.

Beckett started off well enough. He struck out Indians lead-off batter Johnny Damon on a curveball, then gave up a two-out ground-rule double to Asdrubal Cabrera, who stole third. Beckett got Travis Hafner to ground out, ending the inning.

Beckett quickly ran into trouble in the second. With one out, Shin-Soo Choo walked, took third on Michael Brantley's double and scored on Casey Kotchman's sacrifice fly. Jack Hannahan's third home run of the season put the Indians up 30.

The Tribe delivered the knock-out punch in the third. Jason Kipnis led off with his sixth home run of the season. Cabrera singled and Hafner walked before Carlos Santana flied out. Choo's double scored Cabrera, and Michael Brantley's second double in as many innings scored Hafner and Choo, ending Beckett's outing. Left-hander Andrew Miller entered and retired the next two batters to end the inning.

He started off really good, throwing strikes and kept the ball down the first inning, said Valentine. Everything seemed to be really good. Maybe it was just a little too much time off. Two strikes he wasnt executing his pitches, had a split left up, curve ball left up and they got whacked.

Before the game, Valentine downplayed Becketts golf outing.

"I've never seen a pitcher get hurt playing golf," Valentine said pregame. "Again, I didn't think he was injured when he was skipped."

After the game, Valentine was asked if Becketts layoff he hadnt pitched an April 29 loss to the White Sox in Chicago might be the reason for Becketts performance.

Im not sure if thats the case, Valentine said. It was the two-strike pitches that it seemed werent being executed. The other ones were fine. A little feel maybe.

No, Beckett said when asked if the layoff affected him. I threw a bullpen three days ago. I felt good in it, made some minor adjustments. Everything was flat. Same speed. You can't throw balls down the middle of the plate.

I thought everything, sinker was more flat moving instead of having depth. Cutter same thing. Instead of having depth, everything was moving kind of flat.

He had no physical issues, he said.

I feel pretty good.

Asked what impact the golf outing or the resulting brouhaha had on him or his preparation, Beckett was quick to reply:

None. None.

Asked if he had any regrets, Beckett said:

My off days my off day.

But as he left the field, with his team on its way to a record of 1219, the Fenway crowd voiced their displeasure, raining a chorus of boos usually reserved for opposing players, on him.

I think it was directed at me, he said. I pitched like expletive. Thats what happens. Smart fans.

Are they smart enough to question his decisions?

Not on my off day, he said.

We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves.

With Becketts outing, Sox starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 6.06, averaging 5 23 innings per start. Beckett himself is averaging just over 5 23 innings in his six starts.

Is killing the bullpen, Beckett said. The bullpen did an unbelievable job tonight five relievers went 6 23 innings, giving up one run. You cant expect those guys to go out there and continue to do that. You can't pitch every night. You can't do it. I thought our position players played good defense today. A lot of the balls they hit off me were too hard. You can't catch those.

If good pitching, like good hitting, is contagious, its got to start somewhere.

Somebodys got to start that though, he said.

I dont know. For me I know today was a lot like five starts ago. Just everythings flat, everythings in the middle and some of the other guys have started turning the corner.

So, what will he work on before his next start?

I have to get my fingers back on top of the ball, he said. Creating at least angle, if you dont have the depth on your pitches.

Well, thats something, anyway.

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.