|Bobby Valentine on Josh Beckett: ‘I’ve never seen him like that’||07.07.12 at 12:26 am ET|
The Red Sox’ offense did their best to make Josh Beckett forget his first inning. No such luck.
There were five runs in that first frame, with nine Yankees batters going to the plate. The result was a 5-0 hole the Red Sox ultimately dug out from, but could never truly brush aside.
It was Beckett’s worst inning since he allowed five in the first last August 13 against Seattle, and included his first bases-loaded walk since April 18, 2009. All in all, it ultimately allowed for the foundation of what would end up being a 10-8 win for New York Friday night at Fenway Park.
“First inning, the strike zone was very hard for him to find and I’ve never seen him like that,” said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, whose team tied the game twice in the first two innings, with five runs in the first and one in the second.
“His changeup was squirting out of his hand and he just wasn’t’ getting it in the first inning. To our offense’s credit, he gave up five in the first and one in the second and we had their closer in the game at the end of the game. That’s a good job. It really kind of put us climbing uphill the whole game.”
Beckett wouldn’t allow a run after the second inning, going five total, but the early damage was still too difficult to dismiss.
“It was tough just rhythm-wise. I was battling myself, especially in the first inning,” he said. “I kind of sped up my mechanics there in the middle innings and at least out of the wind-up it made a difference. The stretch was pretty tough.
“I was really struggling. I think in the first inning I just wanted to throw a strike I didn’t care where they hit it. Like I said I was just really battling myself. I think the second inning was better, I kind of sped things up, I was having a hard time getting my arm up.”
The early-inning struggles might have come as some surprise for the Sox considering Beckett’s success against the Yankees over the past two seasons. Beckett had faced the Yankees five times since the beginning of the 2011 season, going 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA, allowing a .185 batting average against.
“You’ve got to make pitches against them, they’re good,” he said. “Everybody talks about rival this rival that. It’s not that it’s just that both these teams have been really good for a long time so it automatically plays itself up like that. They’re a good team. We’re a good team. They’ve been a good team for a long time. We’ve been a good team for a long time. You just have to make pitches. Today was one of those nights its warm, the balls flying so it makes it more important to make pitches.”
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