Red Sox shut out Yankees behind dominant Josh Beckett

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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.

The top 100 Jock Jams

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. So here’s a fun list from Billboad: The 100 Greatest Jock Jams of all time.

You know ’em when you hear ’em. “Seven Nation Army.” “Rock and Roll Part 2.” “Sirius” by the Alan Parsons Project. Songs that existed before they were used at sporting events but songs you rarely ever hear outside of them anymore and, frankly, kinda don’t want to because they’ve been forever turned into sporting event anthems.

It’s hard to disagree with this list. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is at number one. I’ll grant that, even if you hear that way less now than you used to, mostly because it was SO overused as, perhaps, the original jock jam from the 1980s-forward. All of the rest make sense.

Baseball lends itself far less to jock jams than the other sports as the intensity level of the game is so much lower for the most part. Also, since the rankings tried to intentionally stay away from songs that relate to only one sport there is no “Centerfield” or “Glory Days” or songs like that. Baseball is represented, though, with “Sweet Caroline” at number 20. Likewise, you might hear any number of these songs when the bases are loaded and the visiting manager comes out to make a pitching change. A lot of players use these songs as walkup music too.

A good time killer on a slow day.

(h/t to my wife, who sent me the link and said “Did you see this? Could be a good garbage post”). Um, thanks?

Yoenis Cespedes plans to run more, lift less this offseason

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Yoenis Cespedes plans to be in The Best Shape of His Life next season.

He didn’t really say that, but this article in the New York Post features Cespedes doing more or less what those Best Shape of His Life stories are aimed at doing: changing perceptions and/or trying to take the heat off of a poor or injury-impacted season.

In Cespedes’ case it was two hamstring injuries this year which limited him to 81 games. He hit the disabled list with a leg injury last year too. So what’s he gonna do? Less emphasis on bulk, more on running:

“I think in the past I have gone into the season where I have spent a lot of time in the gym doing a lot of lifting, so I come in feeling very strong,” Cespedes said through an interpreter before the Mets’ 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Marlins. “But I definitely wasn’t dedicating the time I need to be running, to really give resistance to my muscles.

Of course the bulk was, at the time, supposed to be to what was responsible for his resurgence after he fell off while playing with the A’s and Red Sox. Get strong, hit bombs. He did that, it worked and then the injuries came and now, apparently, that’s not supposed to be a good thing for him.

I get that bodies change and that exercise science is often an inexact science. And, where it is more exact, it’s outside of the total understanding of outsiders like us. But it often seems that guys in baseball do a thing, then do the opposite thing, then go back to doing a thing based on gut feeling. And that injuries are going to come to certain players no matter what they do.