BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox dropped their opening day game against the Tigers, and it seemed as though the sky was falling.
It’s ok. Not only do they have 161 games to go this season, they also have two more in Motown this weekend, and the name Verlander won’t be involved with either of them.
Plus, they have two very intriguing arms of their own taking the mound.
The Red Sox and Tigers get back at it Saturday afternoon, as Josh Beckett toes the rubber for the first time this season for Boston. Beckett had a strong spring – even with a troublesome thumb – going 2-0 while allowing just two runs over 19 innings.
But all that will be remembered by Red Sox fans is the “Chicken and Beer” and Beckett’s final two outings against the Orioles last season, when he allowed 12 runs over 13 1/3 innings. Beckett and the Sox lost both of those games, en route to missing the playoffs for the second straight season.
Saturday will be his first shot at redemption.
Last season, Beckett only allowed three runs against Detroit over two outings. He may even get some run support on Saturday, something Jon Lester didn’t get Thursday.
The Sox bats will have a much easier task Saturday, going against Doug Fister rather than reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. Fister was impressive for the Tigers after coming over from the Mariners at the trade deadline last season, and shut down the Sox for five innings in his only appearances against them in 2011.
Over his three-year career Fister is 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA against Boston, allowing 24 hits and 12 runs over 24 1/3 innings.
But even more intriguing than Beckett’s start will be Clay Buchholz’ on Sunday. It will be his first since walking off the mound in Tampa last June with a back injury that ended his season.
While Buchholz’ spring numbers are not as promising as Beckett’s – 2-2 with a 5.23 ERA, giving up 18 hits and 12 runs in 20.1 IP – he did strike out 15 while walking only three. Sure, spring numbers are about as useful as 13 pitchers on an opening day roster, but any sign of encouragement is good for Buchholz.
He said he was ready to go in September, but the Red Sox stopped playing baseball earlier than expected. Now Buchholz gets his long-awaited return on Sunday. If he can reproduced his 17-win campaign from 2010, or even continue down the same path that had him go 5-0 in May and June last year, the season will look a lot brighter for Boston.
Max Scherzer, a career 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA against Boston, goes for the Tigers on Sunday.