BOSTON (CBS) — Last time he walked off the mound at Fenway Park, Josh Beckett ignited a citywide debate on whether it was OK or not to boo an injured player.
This time around, he left nothing up for debate.
Beckett started Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Texas Rangers with a chance to redeem himself — at least somewhat — for his injury-shortened outing on July 31. While he was able to make it into the sixth inning, the results weren’t desirable. And the reaction from the fans was the same.
“Can’t control that,” Beckett said of the fans’ boos after he allowed eight earned runs in five-plus innings of work in a game the Red Sox eventually lost 10-9.
The booing of Beckett this time was not quite as loud or vicious as it was in his previous outing, but this start was particularly more disheartening for the Red Sox. Despite Beckett allowing three runs in the top of the first, his offense backed him up with two runs in the bottom of the inning and then tied the game in the third. In the fifth, though, Beckett allowed three more runs. The offense responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Rangers’ lead to one. Alas, Beckett took the mound in the sixth and gave up a single and a homer.
That would be it for Beckett, who finished with a line of 5 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3 HR. That’s hardly a winning formula, and it’s hardly anything new for Beckett, whose ERA jumps to 4.97 for the year with his latest effort.
Manager Bobby Valentine summed up Beckett’s afternoon — and season — in succinct fashion.
“He made some good pitches,” Valentine said, “and I guess some not so good pitches.”
Clayton Mortensen and Alfredo Aceves combined to allow two more runs over the remaining four innings, capped off with an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly in the ninth. Valentine said his options were limited due to a number of relievers being unavailable, leading him to send Beckett back to the mound for the sixth.
“He finished the fifth inning pretty good,” Valentine said of Beckett, who had allowed two home runs in the fifth. “Just the bottom of the order [was due up in the sixth] I thought maybe he could squeak one out. I sure wasn’t expecting [Geovany] Soto to hit a home run.”
The only positive for Beckett (if it can really be viewed that way) is that he avoided taking his 10th loss of the season, because the offense yet again bailed him out. Adrian Gonzalez hit three separate RBI doubles, Cody Ross hit his 17th homer of the year and Will Middlebrooks launched a three-run missile over the Green Monster to tie the game 9-9 in the seventh.
However, even that proved to not be enough, as the Rangers scraped across one last run in the top of the ninth, and a one-out double by Cody Ross in the bottom of the frame went for naught. For the team, it was no doubt a deflating afternoon at the ballpark. For Beckett, Wednesday was just another day when he pitched like the player who ranks 86th in the majors in ERA, and another day when the hometown fans let him know that’s just not going to cut it.
Beckett said he can’t control whether the fans boo him, but performing like the pitcher he’s supposed to be would likely go a long way.