(Sports Network) - Josh Beckett had a chance last week to silence his critics
with a solid outing, but instead left Fenway Park to a chorus of boos.
The birthday boy will get a chance to turn those jeers into cheers this
afternoon when the Boston Red Sox wrap up a two-game series with the Seattle
Beckett's controversial return last Thursday came after reports surfaced the
he played golf during an off day last week despite having his previous start
skipped due to soreness on his right side. With Red Sox nation already up in
arms, the right-hander was hammered for seven runs on seven hits and two walks
over just 2 1/3 innings of a loss to the Indians, his shortest outing since
Aug. 17, 2008.
Beckett, who turns 32 today, said the uproar about his golfing did not impact
his outing at all.
"None," he said when asked if it was a distraction. "I spend my off days the
way I want to spend them."
Beckett also said he didn't believe the fans had a right to take exception to
his off-day event.
"Not on my off day. We get 18 off days a year and I think we deserve a little
bit of time to ourselves," said Beckett.
Regardless, Beckett fell to 2-4 with a 5.97 earned run average in six starts
this season, but is a solid 6-2 in nine career starts versus the Mariners with
a 3.39 ERA.
The Red Sox would love for Beckett to get on track today, especially
considering they haven't lost since his last outing. Boston picked up its
fourth victory in a row with Monday's series-opening 6-1 win.
Jon Lester threw a complete game, allowing one run and eight hits while
striking out six.
"Obviously you want to go nine every time you go out there," said Lester.
"That's your goal, to stand out there (at the end) and watch everybody run in
and give them high-fives. You feel like all the work you put in that week is
for a reason."
Daniel Nava hit a two-run homer, Kelly Shoppach had a solo shot and David
Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez and Marlon Byrd drove in a run apiece for the Red Sox.
Jason Vargas was charged with seven hits and five runs over six full frames
for the Mariners, who slipped to 1-3 on their current 10-game road swing.
"Lester threw a good ball game," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We hit
some balls hard for outs and a couple of our guys had some good at-bats
tonight, but nothing with really any damage behind it."
Seattle will get one of its hurlers back in action as Blake Beavan takes the
hill for the first time since May 7.
The 23-year-old righty had his start pushed back following his most recent
outing, which ended after three innings after taking a liner off his elbow.
Beavan gave up a run on four hits before his exit and saw his winless streak
pushed to four starts (0-2).
Beavan, who hasn't won since April 15, is 1-3 with a 4.32 ERA in six starts in
2012. He has lost both of his previous meetings with the Red Sox, pitching to
a 6.23 ERA.
Boston won five of nine against Seattle a season ago, going 4-2 in Beantown.
05/15 10:55:28 ET
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