In his last five starts at home, Josh Beckett is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.19. Overall he is 7-0 on the mound at Fenway Park. Maybe that’s why his offense loves to come out and play for him, or maybe it’s the fact that no slump can last forever and this is a $100 million lineup.
Either way, the Sox came out ahead last night with an 8-3 win that was sorely needed. Beckett had ten Ks in seven innings, giving up three runs and also bringing his record after a Red Sox loss to 7-1, and the one loss was a 4-2 complete game in which he got absolutely no backup from his hitters. He is leading the AL with 12 wins and a 3.44 ERA. If that doesn’t smell like a Cy Young candidate you need to pull your face away from the mirror and put down the rolled up dollar bill.
As for the other side of the ball, if Adam LaRoche (not French) hasn’t proved to you yet that he is an Ideal lefty hitter for Fenway, mcuh like Wade Boggs, then you are watching the wrong game. Since being freed from the baseball abyss known as Pittsburgh, LaRoche is 5-12 with a home run and three RBI. Last night he used his inside out swing and left center power to pace the Sox with two doubles in his first two at bats, both hits glancing off the wall, much like the way that Boggs got himself to 300 hits (this is not to say that LaRoche is a Hall of Fame Caliber hitter, just that he is perfect for Fenway).
Those doubles, along with hits from the slumping J.D. Drew and Jason Bay, a first inning bomb from Pedroia and three hits from Ellsbury at the top of the lineup, are possibly signs of the bats breaking out of their slump. Everybody out there who is freaking out that we need to trade for Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez (who makes me all hot and bothered because he would be awesome, but not for everyone in the farm system), or Hank Aaron, please just remember the track record that our guys have, and that there is still a lot of baseball to be played. A 2-1/2 game deficit in July is nothing to get worried about. So chill.
We’ll be fine. Unless something isn’t done about Smoltz.