Even before he took the mound Thursday night at Fenway, Josh Beckett had a target on his back. It didn't take long for the Cleveland Indians to find the bullseye.
Beckett, who found himself in the middle of a public relations nightmare following a report that he went golfing a day after he was scratched from his next scheduled start, was rocked for seven runs on seven hits in just 2 13 innings, taking the loss in an 8-3 loss by the Sox.
Beckett, 24, was booed lustily by the crowd at Fenway as he left. His ERA soared to 5.97. For the pitching staff, it marked the seventh time the Sox had allowed eight or more runs in the first 31 games.
Former Red Sox starter Derek Lowe, meanwhile, shackled the Sox for six innings, allowing two runs while recording 13 of 18 outs on the ground, thanks to his trademark sinker.
Michael Brantley led the Indians with four hits while adding two RBI. Jack Hannahan (homer) also knocked in two runs.
The Boston bullpen, called on in the third inning, contributed 6 23 innings in relief of Beckett and allowed just one run, but the Red Sox offense couldn't come up with a big when it mattered. The Sox left the bases loaded twice including the eighth inning and stranded 11 for the game.
The defeat was the sixth straight at Fenway for the Red Sox and 11th in the 15 home games this season.
More to come . . .
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.