Earlier this month, Beckett incited a firestorm by spending an off day on the links after being skipped for one start because of a stiff muscle behind his right shoulder. At worst, he came off as disrespectful to the organization. At best, he showed a lack of judgment. Even pitching coach Bob McClure agreed it didn’t look good.
But here is the reality: Like him or not, Beckett has been the Red Sox’ best starting pitcher. And yesterday, he couldn’t have been much better.
Facing the Phillies in the finale of a three-game interleague series, Beckett gave up seven hits, only three of which left the infield, and ran his scoreless streak to 14 innings before finally yielding a run in the eighth. The Red Sox emerged with a 5-1 victory, and Beckett posted a quality start for the sixth time in eight appearances.
Herald: Beckett superb in Sox win
To answer Lauber's question: no people won't be mad because he's not being taken out for precautionary reasons. That's why people were mad about what happened. If he had pitched like this a couple weeks ago, Sox fans would recommend courses for him.
That's the thing with this city and its fans: we don't care what you do or how you act! As long as you bust your ass and win, we will deal with you for as long as possible. Beckett has been Boston's sweetheart & public enemy #1 yet he's the same stubborn bastard today as he was six and a half years ago. Winning changes the perception.
The way Beckett has come out the past two outings has done plenty to get people off of his back. If he gets into the same pitching groove he was for most of the 2011 season, he will be cheered and if he can work magic in the playoffs once again... he will become Boston's most beloved once again.
Again, winning solves everything.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Bird watching next | Dice-K has a setback in rehab | Herald: Sweet Swingin' Salty rates as AL's best | Aviles provides pop atop order | Orioles still perched in 1st | CSNNE: Beckett dominates in 2nd straight outing | Aviles, Salty stay hot in Philly | Youkilis set to return | WEEI: Living through 12 pitches of Adrian | Sox players held heated meeting | Source: Lavarnway was in Philly