Commentary

No excuses, just frustration

Sox ace Josh Beckett looks for answers after another poor outing against New York

Updated: August 9, 2010, 11:35 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

NEW YORK -- When Josh Beckett pitches and the Red Sox lose, he always places blame on himself. That was the case again Sunday night when the New York Yankees defeated Boston 7-2 at Yankee Stadium. The right-hander surrendered a season-high 11 hits and allowed seven runs in only 4 2/3 innings of work. It was an unusual outing for Beckett, especially given the fact he has pitched well in his three previous outings after being activated from the disabled list.

The Yankees hit him hard and often.

That's also becoming a theme when Beckett faces the Yankees. In his past five starts against New York dating back to last August, he has allowed at least five runs in each outing, posting an 0-3 record with a 10.41 ERA.

He had no explanation after Sunday's loss as to why New York has been hitting him hard, but he wasn't about to make any excuses.

[+] EnlargeJosh Beckett
AP Photo/Kathy WillensJosh Beckett surrendered a season-high 11 hits and allowed seven runs in only 4 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Sunday.

"The balls found the barrels and it's hard for guys to catch balls that are hit that hard," Beckett said. "I just threw too many balls over the fat part of the plate. It's pretty simple. They don't hit balls out of the strike zone that hard."

In fact, the Yankees are hitting .407 against Beckett this season.

"He had a really strong bullpen, but he probably left too many pitches that caught too much white," said Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash. "Anytime he goes out there and gets hit around a little bit, which he did and gave up some hits tonight, it's a little surprising. But, you also have to look at who he's throwing against. Hopefully he'll bounce back."

Even though Beckett placed the blame on himself, a pair of throwing errors didn't help the cause.

With the game still scoreless with one out and a runner on second in the bottom of the second inning, the Yankees' Brett Gardner drilled a hard grounder up the middle. Red Sox second baseman Bill Hall made a spectacular diving stop, but had to rush his throw due to Gardner's speed and the ball sailed out of the reach of first baseman Victor Martinez, allowing a run to score.

"If the throw is close to the bag he's probably out," Hall said. "It's one of those plays that speed is the difference. I had to rush the throw a little bit, but that's a play I need to make. I know I can make that nine times out of 10. I gave them the momentum and they kept it going."

Beckett kept the damage to a minimum and the Red Sox cut the deficit to one run when Hall made up for his miscue with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning. But things got ugly in the bottom half.

The Yankees' Mark Teixeira absolutely crushed a fastball that was down and in and deposited it into the right-center-field bleachers to lead off the inning. Beckett then walked Alex Rodriguez and hit Robinson Cano before Lance Berkman provided a one-out, RBI double and put runners on second and third.

Cano was taking a big lead at third when Cash attempted to pick him off, but his throw hit the runner's helmet and ricocheted into the outfield. Cano scored and the Yankees eventually tacked on two more runs in the inning on Derek Jeter's two-run double. Cash thought if he had made a better throw, Cano would've been out on that play.

"At the time it would have been a big play because it maybe could have stopped the bleeding a little bit and got us out of that inning," Cash said. "I've got to make that throw in the inside of the bag. I've got to make a better throw."

Beckett said the pair of throwing errors did not take him out of his rhythm, and he also didn't blame his catcher for his miscue.

After Beckett exited the game, the Sox's bullpen work of Manny Delcarmen and Tim Wakefield held the Yankees scoreless the rest of the way. Unfortunately for Boston, the damage was done and the Sox could not mount a comeback.

"You give up seven runs, who else are you going to blame? It's not anybody else's fault in here," Beckett said. For the second consecutive game, a Red Sox starter was outdueled by the opposing pitcher. This time it was Yankees right-hander Dustin Moseley who dominated the Sox, working 6 1/3 innings and allowing only two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

"Early on he commanded the ball really well," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Later on in the game, he didn't command quite as well but he mixed his pitches and changed speeds. He just never gave in." Boston desperately needed to win this series, but now the Sox can only hope for a split with a win in the finale Monday afternoon.

Now the onus falls on Jon Lester.

The left-hander has lost his past four starts, but pitching against the Yankees could get him back on track. He's 4-1 with a 4.01 ERA in 10 career starts against New York, including a 2-1 mark with a 2.81 ERA in five starts at Yankee Stadium. "I'm always eager for him to be on the mound for my team," Beckett said of Lester. "He's one of [the best], if not the best, pitchers in the league. It's always nice to have him pitching."

The challenge will continue for the Red Sox because the Yankees are sending Phil Hughes (13-4, 3.96 ERA) to the mound against Lester. "We've got to move on to tomorrow," Beckett said. "It's tough for me, but it's no one else's fault in here that we lost tonight. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and do better as a team."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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