One can argue Josh Beckett has been at times disconnected from the rabid Boston Red Sox fan base given his responses to closely scrutinized actions. There is no debate, however, that his last start was very disappointing. The embattled right-hander - who steered clear of controversy between starts this time out - looks to avoid losing a third consecutive outing Tuesday night when the Red Sox wrap up their two-game mini-series with the Seattle Mariners.
Beckett (2-4, 5.97 ERA) caused a mini-maelstrom in Massachusetts on Thursday when he allowed as many runs and hits as outs recorded - seven - in an 8-3 defeat to Cleveland. While one bad outing may incur the wrath of some fans in Boston, the pile-on came because Beckett opted to play golf one day after he was scratched from his prior scheduled start due to a sore lat muscle in his back. Generally prickly when it comes to dealing with the media, Beckett made no apologies for his round of golf with teammate Clay Buchholz, saying, "We get 18 off-days a year. I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves," but did note later he deserved the booing he got upon leaving his shortest outing in nearly four years.
The Red Sox (16-19) are hoping Beckett can bounce back while adding to their best run at Fenway this season when he faces Seattle (16-21) in a rare Tuesday matinee. They won their fourth straight there with Monday's 6-1 victory as Daniel Nava and Kelly Shoppach hit fourth-inning homers to break open the game and back Jon Lester's eight-hitter. Seattle has dropped nine of 10 on the road and 11 of 16 overall. Seattle scheduled starter Blake Beavan (1-3, 4.32) was given an extra two days to recover after being hit on the right arm by a line drive in his May 7 start against Detroit that knocked him out of the game after three innings. The Red Sox hit Beavan hard in dealing him two losses last year, totaling nine runs and 20 hits in 13 innings. David Ortiz is 3 for 7 with a homer and a double, Adrian Gonzalez is 3 for 6 with two doubles and Dustin Pedroia has a pair of two-base hits in six at-bats versus Beavan.
The Mariners are hitting just .235 overall but have shown some balance in their lineup with Jesus Montero (.262 5 17) seemingly getting used to his new home in his first full season. Michael Saunders, Kyle Seagler and Justin Smoak all have hit 4 HR apiece and with Beckett's struggles as of late it is going to be interesting how he performs this afternoon and how much crowd support is behind him. Beaven will have to establish control over a tough core of Red Sox hitters like David Ortiz (.346 7 26) who is following up last year's ressurection with another solid start. Cody Ross (.256 6 23) has also had some quality at bats as has Will Middlebrooks (.304 4 12), who has done a great job in taking over for Kevin Youkilis though he plans to return to triple A once Youk comes off the DL. The air may be damp and the hitters may be a bit tense due to the afternoon start time, but the price is nice and we hope to cash our 5th straight weather permitting. Best of luck however you play!