A few short days ago, the obituaries were being written for this 2008 Red Sox season. The Tampa Bay Rays had scored 31 runs in their three consecutive victories after losing Game One and looked like they were well on their way to their first World Series appearance.
Somebody forgot to tell the Red Sox.
After the miracle comeback on Thursday evening, the Sox sent Josh Beckett to the mound in Game Six with hopes that he was the Josh Beckett of 2007 and not the Josh Beckett we saw in his last two starts.
When Justin Upton hit one on the catwalk for a home run in the first, it looked like (actually sounded like, since TBS couldn’t turn on the game switch or thought we really would rather watch comedy reruns) it could be a short night for Beckett. Beckett, however, adjusted and found a way to gut out five innings, giving up only one additional run.
He did not have the velocity we have been used to seeing, but he was able to spot his fastball and keep the Rays hitters off balance with his other pitches. He found a way to get the Sox to where they could use the relievers they wanted—huge for the Red Sox.
Much had been written and said about Beckett in these last few days. Was the oblique injury more serious than he was letting on? Or was there something else that was wrong?
Beckett continued to say he was fine. Most said that unless Beckett was Beckett, the Sox were dead, sayonara; see you in Fort Myers next spring. Again, somebody forgot to tell Beckett and the rest of this year’s version of the comeback Sox.
Many power pitchers have difficulty later in their careers in making the adjustment when they can no longer just blow the fastball by people. Beckett had to do it in a matter or days and found a way. He is now 3-0 in postseason play when facing elimination
In the sixth inning, Jason Varitek got his first hit of the series, it left the park and gave the Sox a 3-2 lead, and as it turns out, it would be all the Sox needed, as the bullpen hurled four no-hit innings to finish of the Rays.
Varitek has struggled mightily this year and many have wondered if he is playing his last season as a member of the Red Sox. But, like Beckett, he came up big when his team needed it most.
The resilience of Beckett and Varitek has got them to Game Seven—again.