Scarlet Fever

A teenage girl's perspective on the Red Sox and everything else.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bend it Like Beckett


So I'm sitting here in my Red Sox PJ pants, wearing my Papelbon tee shirt, and hugging my Sox pillow. Basically I'm the happiest little thing alive. Baseball is back. Even if it's only in annoying one-hour blocks, it's back on my TV and Scarlet Fever has taken me over once again. A new season, a clean slate -- anything could happen.
I figured I'd write something about someone other than Dice-K. Because seriously, love the guy to death, but there are other players on our team. And I love them to death too. So today's topic is Josh Beckett.
Now, I'm naturally an optimistic person anyways, but I'm predicting a spectacular season from Beckett. The season we all expected last year. I mean, he has a World Series MVP under his belt; we all know the story. Someone that good doesn't just implode. Last year was a struggle for him, and he's the first to admit it, but it was a learning experience too. He notes that "there's things that you want to work on every spring. For me, it starts with throwing offspeed pitches for strikes, which I did pretty well today. I've been throwing curveballs for probably a little over a month now, even though it was all [on] flat ground. It was something I really wanted to work on this spring, and so far, mission accomplished."
We cannot forget that he's only 26; he has several years to go until he even reaches his prime. In his first start of Spring Training, he dominated. Of his 18 pitches, 21 were strikes, and of the six outs he enduced, five were by way of the K. Pitching BP went well too; according to Francona, Beckett looked "phenomenal"; the skipper noted that "his fastball was down, exploding through the zone. He threw the ball very wall." And though Beckett's main goal this spring is to vary his pitches, don't worry about him forgetting his fastball: "He's a fastball pitcher," assures Francona. "If he commands his fastball down and up when he wants to, it will be amazing how that breaking ball will be more effective also."
After last year's mediocrity (I think I made that word up), Beckett has been all but forgotten. With all the buzz surrounding Matsuzaka it has been easy for the rest of the team to avoid the limelight. I'll be very surprised if Beckett doesn't bounce back. Without the added pressure he faced last year, he'll excel. He's a competitor, and competition runs in the veins of Red Sox Nation.

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