Josh Beckett went eight innings and looked like .... Josh Beckett. He retired the final 14 batters he faced and allowed only two runners as far as second base. He has allowed five runs on 13 hits in 20.2 innings since coming off the disabled list.
If the Sox are to somehow survive this Biblical plague of injuries, their starters have to be the ones who carry them.
"He’s letting it go," Terry Francona said of Beckett. "We’ve been around him for a long time now. When he’s able to go out there with his full arsenal, he can be one of the best pitchers in the game."
The Mike Lowell Goosebump Moment was fun. After emerging from his jail cell deep beneath Fenway, Lowell got a standing ovation from the crowd then buried a pitch deep into the Monster Seats.
"It’s been an interesting road,” Francona said. “Probably only Boston. About brought the house down. I guess it’s safe to say that was an immediate impact. Good for him.”
Lowell appreciated the reaction of the crowd.
"I don’t know if they were clapping because they thought maybe I was gone or because they’re happy to see me still here,” he said. “It’s a real nice feeling. Running the bases felt real good."
It would be a great story if Lowell somehow ably filled in for Kevin Youkilis and the Sox made a run. But make no mistake about it, 2007 Mike Lowell would have trouble filling in for Youkilis. You don't easily replace a player of that caliber.
As for the fight, it was typically silly baseball stuff. Intentionally or not, Beckett hit two Indians and threw a couple of pitches in tight. So the youthful Indians had to retaliate.
But they were clumsy about it..
Justin Germano threw a pitch behind David Ortiz in the seventh inning. Jensen Lewis then did the same in the eighth with Adrian Beltre up. You get one chance to do it right, not two. So the Red Sox were steamed and next thing you know the teams were on the field. The Indians are lucky that Beltre didn't tear off somebody's arm are start beating them over the head with it.
Shelley Duncan, who is more than a little crazy, tried to get at Beckett, who also has his moments of insanity. Then Francona and Indians third base coach Steve Smith decided the battle was on. John Farrell was ready to go, too.
“I just got a little aggravated. Cut back on the Red Bull a little bit tomorrow," Francona said.
MLB will levy a bunch of fines. Players on the DL are not supposed to leave the dugout for fights but most of the DL'd Sox did. You sort of have no choice in these matters.
Finally, we have the long awaited return of Jacoby Ellsbury tomorrow. The Sacco and Vanzetti trial was less complicated than the machinations involving the fleet center fielder and his fractured ribs.
But starting tomorrow, that's in the past and now all that matters is how he plays. The Pink Hats will happy to see their boy tomorrow night.
"He brings something to our lineup that we've been missing, that threat to run and the speed," Francona said. "When he's healthy and doing what he can do, that gives us all a different look that teams have to respect."
Meanwhile, the vaunted Yankees are 5-6 in their last 11 games as A-Rod's blemished pursuit of 600 home runs has dragged the team into a morass of moral quicksand from which there is no escape.
(OK, so that is probably not true. But still.)
The Sox are 5.5 games out of a playoff spot with 55 games left to play. What else have you got to do this summer?
Thanks to everybody for reading today. There have been nearly 600 comments on Extra Bases in the last 24 hours. Don't any of you people have families?
Thanks also to summer intern Robert "Willie" Mays for helping out with the in-game blog tonight. Amalie and I had our hands full with the Lowell and Youkilis news and young Robert stepped up.