|Red Sox Need Beckett for Playoffs||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on September 15, 2011
The Red Sox caught a break with Josh Beckett.
His knee injury that looked serious turned out not to be such a big deal, or so at least they'd like us to believe.Â And if the Red Sox are not guilty of plying a little misinformation, it's likely Beckett will pitch in this weekend's big series against the Rays.Â In the pitching-thin American League, that should offer the Sox a significant advantage.
That would seem to put the Red Sox in the catbird's seat, at least until they got to the third starter.Â That's where things could get a little dicey.Â After all the Red Sox third starter at the moment is up in the air.Â Clay Buchholz is recovering from a spinal fracture and may not be back in time for the playoffs and the uber fragile Erik Bedard who the team acquired at the trading deadline, is unsurprisingly nursing an injury to his leg for which there seems to be no specific timetable in regards to a return.
If neither makes it back in time that probably promotes Tim Wakefield to the No. 3 slot in the first round, as John Lackey has been dreadful since coming to Boston and Andrew Miller has serious control issues as well as an ERA in the mid 5 range.Â While Wakefield hasn't been much better (his ERA is a 5.03), he does have good playoff experience and as a knuckleballer at least offers a greater likelihood of the possibility of throwing a lights out type of game.
That makes Beckett even more important to the Sox.Â After all, without him the Sox would not only be forced to throw two of their weakest pitchers in the best of five first round, but could find themselves facing a sweep if Verlander, Wilson or Weaver managed to outduel Lester.Â With Beckett as the No. 2 starter, it's far more likely that even if Lester lost in game one, that Beckett could salvage the next one and even the series before it got to game three.
For that reason the diagnosis of Beckett having nothing more than an ankle sprain, has got to cheer Red Sox Nation.Â At the moment they have reason to be optimistic that they'll have at least their one-two punch ready for the first round.Â If Bedard or Buchholz come back before that, it's icing on the cake.Â They'll need those guys at some point, either to save the season in the second round or when they face their NL counterparts, all of who seem to have good pitching depth.