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ALCS NOTES

Beckett's rib strain has side effects

October 12, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox insist Josh Beckett is sound, that the right-hander is fully recovered from a rib-cage strain he suffered in late September, but the evidence hardly supports their case.

Beckett, as well as his reputation as the Mr. October of pitchers, took another beating Saturday night, the Rays pounding the erstwhile playoff ace for eight runs and nine hits, including three home runs, in 4 1/3 innings of Game 2.

And it could have been worse had Carl Crawford not fallen asleep at first base in the third inning. Crawford hit a run-scoring single to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead but was picked off for the final out of the inning, Beckett's throw reaching first baseman Mark Kotsay before Crawford even reacted.

Cliff Floyd led off the fourth inning with a home run that, had it come in the third, would have been a two-run shot.

Beckett, who won all four of his playoff starts to lead Boston to the World Series title last season, entered this October with a 6-2 record and 1.73 earned run average in 10 career postseason games.

He reportedly received an injection of painkiller and anti-inflammatory medication after suffering his rib-cage strain, and his performance this October is an indication Beckett is not 100%.

Including his poor division series start against the Angels, when he gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings, Beckett has given up 12 earned runs and 18 hits in 9 1/3 playoff innings, his career postseason ERA jumping to 3.07.

Misery has company

Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir fared only marginally better than Beckett, giving up five runs and six hits, including three homers, in 4 1/3 innings.

The left-hander, who needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning of his division series start against the Chicago White Sox, had another rocky first Saturday night, giving up two runs and two hits, including Jason Bay's two-run double, in a 38-pitch inning.

--

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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