Beckett battled, but didn't have 'best stuff'

Beckett battled, but didn't have 'best stuff'
June 1, 2012, 5:46 am
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BOSTON -- Josh Beckett didn't have his best stuff on Thursday night. And when your offense lets the opposing pitcher in Max Scherzer off the hook at the same time, it's awfully difficult to complete a four-game sweep against a lineup like that of the Detroit Tigers.
But that's exactly what the Red Sox failed to do on Thursday at Fenway Park, falling to the Tigers 7-3.
Beckett had only one strikeout in seven innings. And while he continued to battle, he saw some solid defense behind him that helped prevent him from allowing more than four runs on 10 hits
"He gave us a chance to win the game," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the loss. "I don't know that that was his best stuff. It seemed like he didn't have his curveball until the sixth inning. He made some pretty good pitches, and they hit a few of them for hits. He did a good job of keeping them at bay."
Beckett agreed with not having his curve ball in this one.
"I made some pitches when I needed to, and didn't make some other ones," said Beckett afterwards. "You have five pitches in a game that you have to make, and I think I made three of them today. The other two cost me three runs in one inning.
"I don't think I had my curve ball to put guys away. It was difficult for me to get the ball down."
Beckett wasn't awful for a guy that didn't have his best stuff, but on a night like that, you need some big defensive plays, and that's exactly what Ryan Sweeney provided in the top of the second inning to keep it a scoreless game at the time.
With runners on second and third and one out, Jhonny Peralta put a fly ball down the right field line, and Sweeney came charging in after it at an awkward angle because of the side wall. But he was able to make the catch and throw a seen into home, one-hopping the ball to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who then made the tag on Delmon Young.
"I thought he made a great adjustment to round it out to get behind the ball and throw it right down the line," said Valentine. "A good defensive play."
"I've always prided myself on my defense and making accurate throws to bases," said Sweeney. "So when I made that throw, I felt like I had a good shot of getting him."
But as good as that defensive play was and may have saved him a few more runs, a couple bad bounces on throws to second from Saltalamacchia turned out to be costly. And when your starting pitcher doesn't have his best stuff, those bad bounces aren't going to help anybody.
Except for the Tigers, who took advantage of the two throws that ended up in the outfield while stealing second, and eventually taking third.
The first came in the fifth inning, as Quentin Berry stole second. Saltalamacchia's throw was on target, but hit a diving Berry and shot out to left field, sending Berry to third, and eventually home on a Miguel Cabrera single that gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead and ended up being the game-winning run.
Saltalamacchia's other throw to second that ended up in the outfield came in the ninth inning, as Cabrera stole second. The throw ended up in center field, and Cabrera took third, only to score on a Prince Fielder triple to give the Tigers a 6-3 lead.
"The last one, Saltalamacchia didn't get a good grip on it, and Cabrera caught us all by surprise," said Valentine. "I think Mike Aviles was a little late getting there, and Saltalamacchia was a little late throwing. The first throw would've been right on the bag."
Beckett didn't have his best stuff, and those plays ended up costing the Red Sox.