Clemens or Beckett?

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Clemens or Beckett?

Its an age-old baseball debate, right up there with Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame? Would Moises Alou have caught the ball? and "Was Izzy Alcantara actually The Messiah?"

Its simply: Who should start Game 7?

Of course, its different for every team, and in some cities, the answers obvious: Seattle (King Felix). Detroit (Justin Verlander). Anaheim (Jered Weaver). Yankees (Steve Nebraska). But for the last few years, its been a difficult question here in Boston.

On one hand, there was Josh Beckett, who wed seen do it before, and believed would do it again. Then there was Jon Lester, the more reliable pitcher, and probably the safer choice. Beckett was like ordering the sushi special at a random dive in China Town it could be the best thing you ever tasted . . . or leave you hunched over a toilet bowl. On the other hand, Lester was a solid noodle dish. Chicken lo mein, with a side of fried rice. There was a lower ceiling but you couldnt go wrong.

Anyway, these days that conversation is meaningless. First of all, because its been nearly four years since the Sox were in a position to even take part in a Game 7. Second of all, because for the better part of this season, Beckett and Lester were barely worthy of a playoff roster spot, never mind a start. In fact, if you had to pick a guy to pitch a fictional Game 7 in 2012, it would be Clay Buchholz. And even then, you'd like to see Buchholz maintain this dominance for another month or so before falling under his spell again.

So heres a better question:

Who would you rather start a potential Game 7 for the Sox: Beckett or 50-year-old Roger Clemens?

I don't mean now, because that would obviously be unfair. I think we have to give Clemens at least a few starts with the Sugar Land Skeeters to loosenbuild up his arm and catch up to Beckett's conditioning. Also, does anyone know how long it takes steroids to kick in? I mean, who knows, by the time October roles around, Clemens could be more charged than the Ultimate Warrior.

Honestly, think about, who would you rather have on the mound in a must-win situation: A slovenly, apathetic 32-year-old Beckett or a 50-year-old Rocket with everything to prove and enough 'roids in him to kill a rhinoceros?

It's something to think about. After all, these kinds of questions are why God invented off-days. Well, for that and golfing.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

Quotes, Notes and Stars of the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Angels

Quotes

"It's a joke. That's a brutal call for whoever's back in New York looking at it.'' - Mike Scioscia on decision not to cite fan interference on ground-rule double in the ninth.

"We played with 26 players tonight. I was like, 'Yes!''' - David Ortiz on the fan who touched Daniel Nava's double.

"If I had to go back and do it all over again, I probably would have just thrown a knuckleball. I didn't want to walk a guy, but I've got to think about the bigger picture and just swallow the walk.'' - Steven Wright, on the fastball thrown to C.J. Cron, who hit a grand slam.

Notes

* David Ortiz moved into 19th place all-time in home runs with No. 522, breaking a tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

* Ortiz collected his 2,000th hit as a member of the Red Sox, something only six other players in history have accomplished.

* Ortiz also passed Thomas in career RBI with 1,704, good for 23rd place.

* Ortiz extended his Fenway hitting streak to 18 games. He's reached base at home in every home game since April 29.

* Steven Wright has allowed just six homers all season, but three have come in the last four games. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox teammates to record 100 hits each before the team's 81st game since 1988 when four players did so - Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell and Marty Barrett.

* The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox against the Angels.

* The game marked the 47th time in first 79 games that the Sox have collected 10 or more hits. That leads the majors, with Kansas City and Detroit next at 39.

* The Sox are 23-9 in Brock Holt's starts.

Stars

1) David Ortiz

Ortiz had a three-hit game with two singles and a homer, the last of which was his 2,000th hit in a Red Sox uniform. The homer also was career home run No. 522, moving him past three Hall of Famers into 19th place all-time.

2) Brock Holt

Holt announced his presence loud and clear with two doubles, two runs scored, an RBI and an assist from the outfield.

3) C.J. Cron

Cron made things mighty interesting with one swing of the bat in the sixth, driving a ball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam that brought the Angels back to within a run.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

First Impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels

* John Farrell faced a tough call with Steven Wright in the sixth.

Wright doesn't fare well in wet weather, as the Red Sox learned earlier this season when he tried to pitch in a steady rain against Houston. With a downpour, Wright wasn't able to grip his signature knuckler, and the results showed.

In the fifth and into the sixth, the rain was picking up. By the start of the sixth, the rain intensified, and Wright began to struggle. He allowed a leadoff double to Albert Pujols, hit Jefry Marte and walked Daniel Nava to load the bases.

Farrell had Matt Barnes warming, but the manager was clearly trying to get his starter through the sixth and limit the bullpen workload, having gone to the pen in the third inning Monday and the seventh inning Wednesday.

The move backfired when C.J. Cron hit a grand slam. Wright has been terrific this season, but his inability to pitch when there's any rain at all creates a unique challenge for his manager.

* Brock Holt made his presence felt right away.

Holt missed more than a month with a concussion, and admitted before Friday's game that he still wasn't 100 percent recovered.

But that hardly seemed the case Friday night. In the field, Holt fielded a line drive in the corer by C.J. Cron and fired a strike to second, cutting down Cron attempting to stretch a single into a double.

At the plate, meanwhile, Holt clubbed two doubles to left.

Holt used that same inside-out swing both times to take pitches the other way, expertly using the Wall and Fenway to his advantage.

For the past week, the Red Sox were shuffling a few outfielders, none of whom had had much experience -- or success -- at the big league level. Even if he's not 100 percent and can't be counted on every day yet, Holt could provide a nice jolt to the bottom third of the order.

* Ortiz continues to pile up records.

His solo homer in the fifth - a line shot that curled past the right field foul pole, into the box seats -- was No. 522 of his career. That enabled Ortiz to move past three Hall of Famers: Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams -- with one swing.

Ortiz had been tied with the trio in 19th place for most career homers.

The homer also marked his 2,000th hit with the Red Sox. He became the seventh player to amass 2,000 hits in a Red Sox uniform. The others: Williams,  Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Bobby Doerr and Wade Boggs.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam