BOSTON -- Josh Beckett makes his seventh start of the season on Tuesday as he takes on the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
At 2-4 with a 5.97 ERA, he'll be looking to snap out of a personal two-game skid. He's also looking to get away from tipping his pitches, something that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had implied was the issue last Thursday when Beckett was lit up for seven runs in 2.1 innings against the Cleveland Indians.
It's also Becket's 32nd birthday, but Valentine doesn't see that as a distraction.
"I think guys always like to perform well on their birthday," said Valentine before Tuesday's game. "When you're the kind of pro that Josh is, I'm just happy that he has the ball. If he could pitch more than once every five days and I'd be happy to give him that. I think he's ready to go."
As for Beckett's previously sore lat muscle, Valentine clearly doesn't see it as a concern now. He acknowledged that Beckett took part in some batting practice before the upcoming weekend inter-league series in Philadelphia.
As for any potential concern for Beckett's velocity and that previous lat issue, Valentine also didn't think his decrease in pitch speed was a concern, if there even was a decrease.
"It depends on what the hitters are seeing," said Valentine. "Some of these guns are weird. So I'm not trusting all gun speeds . . . There's been times when his fastball has been plenty to control the head of the bat."
Jarrod Saltalamacchia will start behind the plate for Beckett for the first time since Beckett's first start of the season in Detroit on April 7. Kelly Shoppach started behind the plate as his catcher for the ensuing five games.