Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Beckett set the tone from his opening pitch: a 93-mph fastball on a called strike to Mariner’s lead-off batter Dustin Ackley, who struck out on the fifth pitch, swinging at-an 88-mph changeup. Beckett needed just eight pitches (seven strikes) to get through the first inning.
He retired the side in order in the first three innings. Beckett struck out the side in order in the third, giving him four consecutive strikeouts. He struck out Mike Carp, swinging at a 92-mph fastball to lead off the third, giving him 1,044 career strikeouts with the Red Sox, passing Bruce Hurst for 6th on the all-time team list.
“He just looked like he took control of the game,” said manager Bobby Valentine. “He stood out there and wanted everyone to know he was Josh Beckett, including the opposition. Threw strikes, had all of his pitches, worked quickly with his catcher, and mowed them down.
“He had a great presence all week. David Ortiz whispered in my ear and said, ‘Watch him pitch today,’ in the second inning. It was a 1-2-3 first. [Ortiz] saw it in the first inning. There was something there. He belongs on that hill. That's his saddle and he looked very comfortable today.”
Beckett did everything I wanted him to do. Prove me wrong. I had not confidence in him going into his start, and why should I have? Beckett used his fastball to his advantage and dominated the Mariners in old Josh Beckett form.
Before the game, his teammates, old and new, came to his defense regarding his last outing. Tim Wakefield made a statement saying everyone needs a break, and Ortiz made a statement, making a point that everyone is entitled to their personal lives and activities.
All Josh Beckett needed was that start against the Mariners to quiet all of the controversy and he accomplished it. Philadelphia will be a tougher test, but if he can pitch as he did yesterday, he will have no problem with them either.
On Page 2, Youkilis will join the Pawsox today
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that Youkilis, on the disabled list since May 2 with a lower back strain, would make a rehab start as the designated hitter for Triple A Pawtucket Wednesday in Durham, N.C.
“We’re trying to get him at least three at-bats as a DH,’’ Valentine said before Tuesday afternoon’s 5-0 win over the Mariners at Fenway Park. “He looked really good taking ground balls today, moving around, a bounce in his step. So he’ll start tomorrow, and we’ll get him enough [work], whatever it’s going [to take] to have him say that he feels good.’’
Once Youkilis makes that determination, the Sox will have a decision on what to do with rookie Will Middlebrooks, considered the third baseman of the future.
The talk has already begun regarding third base, now it is going to go up another notch as Youk is getting back to game form. He will join the Pawsox on the road in Durham and in the very near future, he will be ready to return to the lineup. Aaron talked about the looming decision yesterday, and we'll be talking a lot more about it when we see the results with the Pawsox. We are not sure how many games Youk will be playing for Pawtucket, but we do know it will not be long.
Related: Herald: Kevin Youkilis starts to work way back
The rest of the links:
Globe: Ceremony full of emotion | Herald: Red Sox finally safe at home | Tim Wakefield receives royal sendoff | David Ortiz plays it small | CSNNE: Aviles proving he's fit for the shortstop job | WEEI: A bunt offered David Ortiz chicken soup for the soul (and batting average) | Providence Journal: Aviles continues stellar play in the field