By Maureen Mullen
FORT MYERS, Fla. For the third consecutive outing of his five starts this spring Josh Beckett turned in a less-than-stellar performance. Against the Blue Jays Friday night at City of Palms Park, he went six innings, plus one batter in the seventh (whom he hit with a pitch), allowing seven runs, all earned on 11 hits and no walks with five strikeouts, as the Red Sox lost 11-8.
The first batter in each inning reached base, including Corey Patterson to lead off the game with a first-pitch double to center field, one of three first-pitch, lead-off doubles Beckett allowed.
Results aside, I felt like I did some things that weve been working on, Beckett said. I felt like they were a little comfortable for the first time. I got to take some positives away from that. But obviously the results are what they are.
Beckett said he is becoming more comfortable with adjustments he and pitching coach Curt Young have made to his delivery.
Yeah, especially out of the stretch, he said. I had plenty of practice today on it. It was just something weve been emphasizing trying to get comfortable with, some things that weve altered a little.
Its more mechanical stuff for me, just getting comfortable with some of the new things that Curt and I been working on.
In his last three outings against the Pirates twice and the Blue Jays Beckett has pitched a combined 14 23 innings, giving up a 16 runs, 13 earned, for a 7.98 ERA.
Obviously you look at the results and theyre not good, he said. Today I got to take some positives. I felt like I threw the ball good. I felt like there was the home run that Adam Loewen hit I felt like was a pretty good pitch. Probably wasnt the right pitch at that time because we had him out front on some changeups and stuff like that. Like I said, the results stink but there were some good things that happened today.
The two good things were he got real stretched out and he felt real good physically, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. He made some mistakes. It seemed like the first hitter of almost every inning was on. So he was pitching out of the stretch. Saying that, once he got to that point I thought he made some good pitches. There were some pitches that still wandered back over the middle, got hit pretty good. But he feels real good physically. I think its one of those things where in March youre glad he feels good and the runs dont count.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen