Red Sox set to announce Josh Beckett extension

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The Red Sox have scheduled a press conference about Josh Beckett for three o’clock this afternoon, which likely means the two sides have officially agreed to the contract extension that was reported to be close last week.
Beckett’s new deal is expected to cover four seasons and pay the 31-year-old right-hander about $68 million. Toss in the $12 million he’s making this season and the Red Sox will owe Beckett a total of $80 million over the next five years, which is essentially identical to the five-year, $82.8 million contract Boston just handed out to John Lackey as a free agent.
Beckett struggled last night in his 2010 debut, serving up back-to-back homers to Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson on the way to giving up five runs in 4.2 innings and failed to record more than one strikeout in a start for the first time since mid-2007.
However, even with that ugly outing he’s 65-34 with a 4.08 ERA and 724/206 K/BB ratio in 796.2 innings spread over 123 starts for the Red Sox, plus 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA in the playoffs. Acquired along with Mike Lowell from the Marlins for a package that included Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez in November of 2005, he’s currently in the final season of a three-year, $30 million deal.
Beckett, Lackey, and Jon Lester are now each under the Red Sox’s control through 2014.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.