Let me start off by letting you know it would be hard to find a bigger fan of
Joshua Patrick Beckett than myself, to the point where I have wondered if asking my girlfriend to toss in a dip and wear like fifteen Phiten necklaces would be out of line. It began with his domination of the Yankees in the 2003 World Series at the ripe age of 23 and only grew during his early Sox career while anchoring the Red Sox to their second World Championship in four years during 2007. His love for smokeless tobacco, the cocky attitude which often irritated the opposition (leading my dad to nickname him “The Prick”), and hilarious post game interviews were the perfect
recipe for a Boston athlete man crush.
After struggling towards the end of 2009 season and his disgusting showing
fresh off a 4 year $68 million dollar contract extension during an injury plagued 2010, Beckett had even his biggest fan wondering if the best years were behind him. Just like any tumultuous relationship I had to give him one more chance. When it’s good its really good, and that is exactly what Beckett was on April 10th against the Yankees and their ace C.C. (don’t call me Captain Crunch) Sabathia. The new look (and very expensive) Red Sox were 1-7 and on a national stage Joshua Patrick dominated the rivals in Beckett like fashion tossing 8 strong 2 hit innings while fanning 10 and only issuing 1 walk.
Excluding his first start at Cleveland, Beckett is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA (with a
career best 19 1/3 scoreless innings streak during that stretch to go along with
couple wins coughed up by the bullpen) early in his 2011 campaign. Beckett is no longer the 23 year old flame flower who could dominate hitters with an upper 90’s fastball, his early success has been the result of being healthy and developing four plus pitches he can throw in any count. His effective use of the change-up and cut fastball (a pitch that created a lot of problems for Beckett last year) are the most notable changes to his arsenal.
Combining the 31 year old Texan’s change of approach on the mound (a
must if he wanted to be successful in the later years of his career) with his cocky demeanor and leadership qualities gives me reason to believe “The Prick” is back. Beckett has restored my faith and I could not be more excited to watch him take the bump every fifth day and continue to be the Ace of a staff many consider to be the best in the American League. If Beckett’s success continues (and I think it will) I am confident he will take these Red Sox deep into October (maybe even picking up some hardware that begins with “Cy”) and most certainly lead to a pretty awkward conversation between the Boss Lady and myself.