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For the second straight start against the woeful O’s, Beckett needed only to win to give the Red Sox breathing room. For the second straight start, his team gave him the lead (twice). And for the second straight start, Beckett crumbled.
The O’s blasted him for six runs in six innings, including a killer inside-the-park three-run homer from Robert Andino that blew the game wide open and dropped the Red Sox into an unfathomable tie with the Rays with two games to play and the season slip-slidin’ away.
“It’s baseball,” Beckett said. “You can’t be (expletive) when your teams needs you. That’s tough. But that’s the way it is.”
If ever there was a moment tailor made for everything Beckett is supposed to mean to the Sox, it was last night. Instead we got Bad Beckett at the worst possible time.
Herald | Ace lacking for delivery
I said it in the post about Tek being scratched, and I'll say it again: We can't afford to have Josh Beckett playing badly. And while Tomase is more critical of Beckett than I would be in the above piece, he's mostly right. This is the time when you need an ace to step up, and Josh didn't.
Now, when I say I wouldn't be as critical, I would say we didn't see full-fledged Bad Beckett. He certainly had control issues, as he tossed four walks over six innings, but he did get squeezed a couple of times. It's also worth pointing out that had Jacoby Ellsbury made the catch on the Andino inside-the-park home run, it would have been 3-2 Orioles and the inning over. It wasn't an easy play, but it could have been made.
That said, this team doesn't need any more excuses. Beckett just wasn't the guy he can be. You can blame a fluke play, the umps, or Salty, but ultimately he didn't get the job done and now the Rays are tied with us for the wild card.
This team is really getting hard to pull for. Nick and one of our readers discussed in the comments of the recap whether we even want the Sox to make the playoffs. I can't bring myself to say no, but I am certainly open to this season being over. I don't know how much more of it I can watch.
On page 2, Gordon Edes documents the team's fall from grace.
"We're all going to come out tomorrow and play as hard as we can," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.
"I'm going to leave everything on the field. I'm not going to have any regrets about the season, that's for damn sure. I'm playing the game as hard as I can, and I'm sure so is everybody else. So win, lose or draw, I'm not going to hold my head down. I'm playing my ass off, so is everyone else."
Silent John W. Henry, the Sox owner who hasn't been heard from at all during this hellacious month, is liking soccer more each day. Meanwhile, pugnacious CEO Larry Lucchino, whose blood pressure is being taken on an hourly basis, would never admit it, but he probably felt at least some kinship with the spectator here who dashed onto the field and pranced unchallenged in front of the Sox dugout, middle fingers extended on both hands, before being allowed to make his merry way for a few minutes more.
"There's not much to say," manager Terry Francona said. "We need to come out and win tomorrow. We've backed ourselves up about as far as we can go."
ESPNBoston | Red Sox's fall from grace complete
I particularly enjoyed the digs at Henry and Lucchino. But really, digs can go around everywhere.
How about contrasting Carl Crawford -- who looks like he couldn't get on a plane to the Caribbean fast enough -- with Pedroia or Beckett, at least in terms of attitude. Beckett may have choked last night, but he owns up to it.
This team's mentality might be the saddest part of all this. They have plenty of talent, and it doesn't seem like anybody cares about this collapse except for Pedroia.
Herald | September mourn | Marriage worth saving | Catching the injury bug | Drew puts finger on new goals | Globe | Even worse | Shields, Rays able to take care of business | Beckett unable to deliver | Now caught shorthanded? | Report says Lackey has filed for divorce | CSNNE | Sox lose wild card lead after 6-3 loss to Orioles | Beckett, like Lester, fails Red Sox down the stretch | Notes: Saltalamacchia, Varitek banged up | Report: Sox still looking to trade for a single start | ESPNBoston | Josh Beckett aced out again | Meltdown month continues for Red Sox | Red Sox swoon continues; fall into tie with Rays after loss to O's | Kevin Youkilis return 'an uphill battle'