Valentine: Beckett 'deserved better'

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Valentine: Beckett 'deserved better'

BOSTON -- Josh Beckett pitched well enough to win Wednesday night, but didn't. Perhaps by now, he's used to such a fate.
Beckett allowed just two runs on five hits over eight innings, but got little support from his teammates, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Baltimore Orioles.
"Those were eight of the best innings we've seen all year,'' said Bobby Valentine of Beckett's outing. "He was efifcient with great stuff and all his pitches. Damn shame... he deserved better.''
That's a familar theme for Beckett this season. In his last five starts, Beckett sports a 2.21 ERA, but thanks to little offensive backing, he's just 2-2 in those five starts, despite allowing more than two earned runs just once in that span.
The outing was Beckett's eighth quality start of the season -- tops on the team. In fact, take away Beckett's first clunker in the second game of the season and the righthander has provided quality starts -- six or more innings pitched with three earned or fewer allowed -- in eight of those 10.
For the season, Beckett has allowed three runs or fewer in eight of his 11 starts in 2012. Yet, he has just four wins. Before last night, Beckett had averaged 5.54 runs of support for start, second lowest among Red Sox starters, behind only Jon Lester (4.64).
The problem? Little or no backing from his teammates. In 7 of his 11 starts, including Wednesday night, he's gotten three runs or fewer in support from the Red Sox offense.
"Josh pitched unbelievably well,'' said Mike Aviles, who knocked in the only Red Sox run of the night with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. "He definitely deserved a win and unfortunately, we weren't able to pick him up with the bats.
''Its just unfortunate we havent been able to back him up as well as hes backed us up.''
"When you have a guy pitching like Josh did tonight,'' said David Ortiz, "you want to make things happen and you dont see anything happen. It's frustrating.''
Beckett was lifted after the eighth, having thrown 93 pitches. Valentine had planned to send him back out for the ninth, but the pitcher battled "a little cramp in his hamstring,'' in his final inning of work.
After Beckett got Wilson Betemit to pop out to first for the first out in the eighth, the training staff and Valentine came out to check on him. He threw a few warmup pitches, then continued, getting the final two outs.
Beckett elected not to answer questions from the media after the game.

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

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Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"I felt a little cramp. I'm fine. I appreciate John and everybody looking out (for me). We obviously don't want anything to happen like last year, but I'm good.'' - Dustin Pedroia, who left the game in the fifth after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring.

"It's nice to be able to get deep into the game. That's my goal every time. My goal is nine innings, so if I don't get nine innings, I'm a little disappointed because I want to be able to go out there and pitch as many innings as I can.'' - Steven Wright.

"I think my release point was just a little off. That definitely makes it hard, especially when it's moving, because it's not a consistent release point.'' - Wright on the early-inning unpredictability of his signature pitch.

"Even when I was catching, I pride myself on running. I want to be an athlete back there. I want to run the bases, steal bases, things most catchers aren't known to do.'' - Blake Swihart, who hit two triples.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

* David Ortiz tied Paul Molitor for 12th on the all-time doubles list with 605.

* Ortiz has driven in multiple runs in three straight games

* Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average of .340 in interleague play, the highest ever for someone with 500 or more at-bats.

* Travis Shaw drove in three runs and now has 68 RBI in his first 111 games since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1974-75.

* Blake Swihart became the third Red Sox hitter this season to post two triples in the same game.

* The Red Sox clinched their fifth straight home series win.

* The Sox are 21-8 since April 24 and are 13-2 in their last 15 home games.

 

STARS

1) Steven Wright

Backed by some rare run support, Wright evened his record at 4-4 with seven-plus innings and his eighth quality start this season.

2) Travis Shaw

Shaw produced two hits and knocked in three runs, making him the fourth Red Sox player this season to reach 30 RBI.

3) Blake Swihart

Swihart got to flash both his power and his speed by hitting two triples to the triangle, motoring around the bases.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.