Valentine: Beckett 'deserved better'

Valentine: Beckett 'deserved better'
June 7, 2012, 4:21 am
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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.