By Matt Snyder
Josh Beckett was originally scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but he was bumped for staff ace Jon Lester. Instead of simply slotting Beckett to get the ball Wednesday -- which would have been a full week since his last start -- the Red Sox have not scheduled him for his next outing yet. Monday, he threw a bullpen session with manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein on hand. As Nick Cafardo of Extra Bases points out, it's not unusal for Beckett to have thrown the bullpen, but it is quite unusual that Francona and Epstein were watching. UPDATE: OK, so now the Red Sox have scheduled Beckett as Wednesday's starter.
The speculation is rampant that there's something physically wrong with Beckett, stemming from throwing 125 pitches on April 21 against the Angels (one pitch shy of his career high, and it was only his fourth start of the season). It's just that the Red Sox haven't said anything at all about it. So it's either a mystery or there really is nothing wrong with him -- as the Red Sox have indicated.
“We leaned on Beckett pretty hard there a couple games,” Francona said. “Just wanted to get everybody situated so they feel as good about themselves as they possibly can.” (Boston Herald )
The big workload actually seemed to disrupt what was a resurgence for Beckett. After a mediocre first start, he was 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 24 strikeouts in his next three starts. He only allowed eight hits and five walks in those 23 innings. Most importantly, his stuff was back to where it was when he was a dominant force. But then, Francona seemed to overextend him into the eighth inning at Anaheim. Beckett's next start -- last Wednesday at Baltimore -- lasted six innings, and he gave up seven hits, four runs and two home runs. He only struck out four.
On the season, Beckett, 30, is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 34 innings.
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