When Kenny Powers made his debut pitching in Mexico for the Charros, he made his way to the mound in an over-the-top, Americana-filled display of awesomeness that even included the old Hulk Hogan "Real American" entrance music. You can watch it here (but I warn you, this is not appropriate for all audiences).
Josh Beckett's arrival was absolutely nothing like that.
He did however, arrive five days ahead of schedule. The Red Sox pitchers are catchers are required to report on Sunday, Feb. 19.
Upon his arrival, Beckett got right to work, throwing a 50-pitch bullpen session. The Sox new pitching coach Bob McClure said of Beckett: “He looked pretty sharp. He looked very healthy."
Seeing Beckett arrive early in camp definitely should be taken as a good sign across Red Sox Nation. He appears focused. The interesting thing will be witnessing how he does come the start of the season.
While many fans just remember the beer and chicken Josh Beckett—the one that went 1-2 in his final four games of the 2011 campaign (all of which in September)—many forget that 2011 was actually one of the better years in his career.
Prior to September, Beckett was riding a 12-5 record in 24 starts. His ERA was 2.56 with a WHIP of just 0.967. When the calendar flipped to September, Beckett put up a 5.48 ERA and 1.348 WHIP in four games with a 1-2 record.
His May was incredible, allowing an ERA of just 1.00. June saw him post his lowest WHIP of the season at 0.714.
While he finished the year with a 13-7 record, he still only had a 2.89 ERA and 1.026 WHIP: career bests. All things considered, there isn't much room for improvement. The biggest obstacle Josh Beckett will have to face this season is how September unfolded while remaining focused for the entire 2012 campaign.
Does this early arrival indicate a reinvigorated ace? I think it does. Opposing batters should be put on notice.