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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Dominant


Game 53: June 3, 2009
WinRed Sox10
W: Josh Beckett (6-2)
31-22, 3 game winning streak
L: Armando Galarraga (3-6)
28-23, 2 game losing streak
Highlights: Kevin Youkilis was cleated by Josh Anderson in the eighth. As the camera got a close-up of Youkilis writhing on the ground in pain, Don Orsillo taunted Dennis Eckersley: “What’s he saying, Eck?” Eckersley wasn’t falling for it, though. “I’m not going there any more,” the pitcher said resolutely.

Where Dennis Eckersley will go is saying “no-hitter” right in the middle of one in the making. While I wouldn’t engage in jinxing, I don’t get incensed if others do, particularly someone in the broadcast booth. They have to call the game, after all.

Eckersley was clearly excited about Josh Beckett’s pitching. He’s usually boisterous, but from the fifth inning on you could not stop him, you could only hope to contain him. Eck can’t help it, it’s a chemical imbalance.

Beckett had the Detroit hitters completely off balance. He was painting with his fastball and touching up with his breaking pitches. The potential perfect game fell by the wayside early with Placido Polanco’s one-out base on balls in the first. After that baserunner another Tiger didn’t touch a bag until the bottom of the seventh.

But Gerald Laird did his best in the sixth inning: he led off with a bunt attempt. Eckersley promptly chirped, “Nolan Ryan didn’t play that game.” In a way, Beckett is more frightening than Ryan. With Ryan, retribution would be swift and immediate; Beckett, however, bides his time. Laird made his first step towards redress by watching a curveball break across the plate for a called third strike.

Laird’s next turn was in the eighth, where he batted second. By that time the no-hitter was erased by Curtis Granderson’s solid single. Brandon Inge had led off the eighth with a double and the score was 10-0. If Ryan were on the mound the first pitch would smack Laird square in the thorax.

Beckett, however, is subtle, crafty. You would think he was a southpaw. With the count 2-2 Beckett plunked Laird in the leg with a fastball. By delaying payback, Beckett created a situation of plausible deniability. The Red Sox pitcher was perfectly credible when he said, “That’s part of his game. You look at the scouting report, he generally tries to do that in his second or third at-bat. It wasn’t that big a deal.”

Almost lost in the drama of the no-hit bid was an impressive offensive showing — J.D. Drew’s 200th career home run in the first. The two-run shot carried deep into right field and gave Beckett early runs to play with. David Ortiz only went 1-for-4 but didn’t look lost at the dish. His only hit was a double into right-center for two runs in the six-run barrage in the sixth inning. He lifted a loud out to end the fourth that would have been a home run in any other park.

Last night’s game contains three handy lessons for the budding baseball player:

  1. How to almost throw a no-hitter by Beckett
  2. How to strike fear into the heart of opposing pitchers by Drew, Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and Kevin Youkilis
  3. How not to play defense by Nick Green, Mike Lowell, and Dustin Pedroia

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