In the wake of an epic September collapse that saw the Boston Red Sox blow a 9 game lead in the AL Wild Card, Josh Beckett was expected to start his redemption tour in 2012. His first start didn't go as planned and some fans went as far as calling for him to be traded.
On April 7th--the second game of the season--Beckett got shellacked to the tune of 7ER and 5 HR in just 4 2/3 innings against the mighty offense of the Detroit Tigers. Concern regarding a thumb injury that Beckett said went back 18 months had people concerned.
Tim McCarver--broadcasting the game for FOX--said on one curveball "that looked like a pitcher with a sore thumb" and "he'll put that pitch in his back pocket". That wasn't the case as Beckett came right back with a curveball for a strike on the next pitch but the outing was cause for concern in Red Sox Nation nonetheless.
With Boston's number two starter scheduled to start Fenway's home opener, Bobby Valentine made a comment before the game that he was "holding his breath" that Beckett was OK--causing even more concern among Red Sox fans, but it proved unwarranted.
All Beckett did was go out and shut the Rays down with an 8 inning, 5 hit performance allowing just 1 run and getting his first win of the season. Bobby Valentine called it "the perfect outing" after the game and revealed that he would drop one of the 13 pitchers on the roster for a position player.
The performance from Josh Beckett was just the beginning of a long road that will hopefully result in confidence from the Red Sox fan base but it was a nice way to start.
For all of the positives that came out of Friday's game there was an equally important negative. Jacoby Ellsbury--runner up for '11 MVP--was injured in the fourth inning trying to break up a double play at second base. Ellsbury slid hard into Reid Brignac causing the shortstop to come down hard on his right shoulder. Jacoby was visibly in pain, holding the shoulder tightly as he walked off the field and left the game.
Initial reports Saturday morning say that Ellsbury suffered a type of dislocation in the shoulder and will likely miss 6-8 weeks. Not encouraging for the Red Sox especially after a 2-3 performance coming off a slow start in the first 6 games of the season.
Che Hsuan-Lin will meet up with the team today and stay for the remainder of the series against the Rays.
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