See that guy over there? The one the other 24 guys have on their shoulders? That's Josh Beckett. You know, the number 2 starter on the 2007 World Series Champions: that Texas kid with the 95 mph heat and attitude to burn.
I know there is a lot of folks who are worried about this boy this year: I gotta admit, watching his head do a 360 as he watched gopher ball after gopher ball leave the yard last year was not a pretty picture. Think about it though: new league, his starting catcher missed a chunk of time, and his pitching coach had hip replacement surgery. And while I like Al Nipper as much as the next guy, let's face it: he ain't no Leo Mazzone. Well, neither is Leo these days for that matter, but we'll let that slide for now.
Three years ago this man went into Yankee Stadium, on three days rest, and COMPLETE GAMED the Yankees in Game 6 to win the World Series: At 23 years old. You think he was intimidated? Yeah: me neither.
This is the guy, who last year in SPRING FREAKING TRAINING started woofing at the much larger, much taller, and much scarier Ryan Howard for pimping after hitting a home run. He's not short in the confidence department.
I mention all this because it seems like people may be ready to hit the panic button: Schill looked, well, like he was 40 last night. I think it's just an aberration, but you never know: now the thought of Beckett being the stopper has got some feeling a little tense, to say the least.
16 wins: career high. Over 200 innings: career high. Made EVERY start: only Sox pitcher to do so last year. Pitched much better from August 1st on, and looked strong in ST. Also, he has seemingly grasped the concept of Tek = Good, Josh on his own = BAD.
Tomorrow night, Beckett gets the chance to right the ship: I think he's up to it. After all, he walked into hallowed ground 3 years ago and put his cleat right on the Bambino's throat.
I think he can handle the Kansas City Royals.