Red Sox starting pitcher Beckett throws against New York Yankees during third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in New York

Red Sox shut out Yankees behind dominant Josh Beckett

5 Comments

Josh Beckett entered Saturday’s game with a fine 11-7 career record against the Bombers, but it certainly hasn’t been easy.  His ERA stood at 5.90, and he had given up 24 homers in 23 starts.

That’s why the Red Sox have to be thrilled about just how outstanding Beckett has been in two starts versus the Yankees this year.  The 2010 version of Beckett was absolutely manhandled by the Yankees, giving up 29 runs and nine homers in 26 innings.  He had a ridiculous 10.04 ERA in his five starts.

This year, Beckett has pitched 14 scoreless innings in two wins over the Yankees.  He allowed four hits over six innings and struck out nine as part of Boston’s 6-0 win tonight.

Of course, that’s not all that has the Red Sox happy at the moment:

– Adrian Gonzalez homered again, giving him six in six games and eight in 13 games for the month of May.  Tonight’s was a three-run blow in the seventh inning that put the game out of reach.

– Jacoby Ellsbury had two more hits, including a two-run double that put the Red Sox on the board against CC Sabathia in the fifth.  He lost a 19-game hitting streak on Wednesday, but he’s collected four hits through the first two games against the Yankees, pushing his average up to .301.

– Jason Varitek contributed a key hit in front of Gonzalez’s homer tonight.  After batting .091 in April, he’s suddenly contributing with five hits and three walks in his five starts this month.

– And perhaps best of all, the Yankees appear to be in some pretty serious disarray, with the Jorge Posada drama completely overshadowing the game tonight.  Manager Joe Girardi, upset about a pitch that should have been called strike three in the aforementioned Varitek at-bat, was tossed from this one after Gonzalez homer.  Even the typically unflappable Sabathia is struggling some at the moment, and no one in the lineup is hitting higher than .281.

Of course, the Red Sox shouldn’t get too cocky.  The Yankees are still far and away first in the majors in homers, and their one explosion Sunday away from reclaiming the AL lead in runs scored.  Plus, they’re still two games ahead of Boston in the standings.

But things are looking up for Boston.  If Jon Lester can outduel Freddy Garcia and improve to 5-1 on Sunday, then the Red Sox will not only have completed a road sweep of their rivals, but they’ll have gotten to .500  for the first time all season.

And it will have taken only 40 games.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
1 Comment

Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.