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Actions speak louder than words for Josh Beckett

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  May 24, 2011 11:50 PM

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AP Photo/Mark Duncan

CLEVELAND — It would be nice to report about all the funny things Josh Beckett said after beating the Indians tonight. Or how he snapped off a couple of cocky lines about showing up everybody who doubted him coming into season.

But you won't read any of that. Beckett stood in front of his locker, fiddled with his sunglasses and talked about throwing more changeups because his curveball wasn't working. And, gosh darn it, that caused him to get in a few bad counts.

The secret of his success? Executing pitches when he has to. Now there's an exciting story.

Given that he was 6-6 with a hideous 5.78 earned run average last season, there has to be a side of Beckett that wants to boast about being 4-1, 1.69 after 10 starts and scattering five singles over 6.2 innings against the best team in baseball tonight. He must want to point fingers at everybody who said he was done. Or wink at Terry Francona and say, "Am I still your No. 4 starter?"

But Beckett is a baseball player and baseball players will go to great lengths not to screw up good times. Beckett has allowed two runs in his last 30 innings, the last thing he's going to do is talk about how good he has been. That invariably leads to walking off the mound in the third inning five days later.

The object now is to ride this as long as long as it will go. Beckett has a ridiculous 0.95 WHIP and has gone beyond the sixth inning in half of his starts. This isn't a fluke. This is a guy who is the best starter in the American League right now.

“He’s been so consistent, which is a great thing. I think he feels good about himself,” Francona said. “He should.”

Surely he does Just don't expect to hear it.

As to other matters:

• Lefties are now 1 for 12 against Rich Hill with six strikeouts. He got four outs tonight and talked about how calm he felt. Relievers change like the weather, but the Sox may have something in the pride of Milton. Hill's belief in his slider and his ability to dial up his fastball make him a great weapon.

• The speed of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford changed the game. They each had stolen bases that led to runs and made running catches in the outfield that took away hits.

• Jason Varitek is is 10 for 33 with six RBIs this month. His home run was his first in nearly a year. The catching tandem, after a shaky start, has solidified nicely.

OK, day game after a night game tomorrow. Time to get some sleep. Thanks for reading,

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