Perhaps Josh Beckett’s thumb is a bit more of an issue than originally believed.
Beckett was just pulled from his start against the Tigers after tying a career-high by serving up five home runs. This included two homers each by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the new 3-4 combo in Detroit’s lineup. Alex Avila hit the other. The only other time Beckett had allowed five home runs in a game was August 23, 2009 against the Yankees.
All told, Beckett gave up seven runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings while walking one and striking out three. Just to put things into perspective about how bad this start was, Beckett didn’t allow more than six earned runs in any of his starts last year and it took him until June 28 to give up his fifth homer of the season.
Who knows if the bad performance had anything to do with the thumb. Weird things happen over the course of a season. But it’s worth noting that Aaron Cook tossed seven shutout innings today for Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox would have a built-in replacement if Beckett really is hurt.
So much for a Game 7 nail-biter. The Brewers and Dodgers were separated by just one run for the first five innings of Saturday’s NLCS finale, but a monster three-run shot from Yasiel Puig boosted the Dodgers to a four-run advantage in the top of the sixth.
The timing couldn’t have been better for Los Angeles. Brewers’ left-hander Josh Hader entered the game in the third inning and dominated the opposition for three scoreless innings, then was replaced on the mound by fellow lefty Xavier Cedeño. Cedeño promptly issued a leadoff single to Max Muncy to start the sixth and, just as promptly, was lifted for right-hander Jeremy Jeffress. After giving up another base hit to Justin Turner, it looked like Jeffress turned a corner. He induced a fly out from Manny Machado, then got Cody Bellinger to ground into a force out to shift the Dodgers’ runners to the corners with two outs.
That didn’t faze Puig, however. After appearing in 10 playoff games without a single home run, the outfielder blasted a 1-1 knuckle curve to center field to pad the Dodgers’ lead.
With three innings left to play, it’s still too soon to say whether or not the Dodgers just punched their ticket to the World Series. They lead the Brewers 5-1 in the seventh.