Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sox Take Huge Chip Off Rox! Win Game 1 -- 13-1!

Top notch: Red Sox ace Josh Beckett gets a handshake from manager Terry Francona after his seventh and final inning of work in last night’s Game 1 World Series win.

Fenway Bleacher Creatures salute Josh Beckett & his 9K performance in Game 1 last night.

Josh Beckett throws the first pitch of 103rd World Series at Fenway Park on October 24th.

Red Sox - Rookie Second Baseman - Dustin Pedroia set the tone as he smashes a lead off homer in game 1 of the 2007 World Series at Fenway Park. The Red Sox lead the series 1-0 over the Icy-hot Rockies. Pedroia has been scorching in the past few games.

The Red Sox set a Game 1 -- World Series Record -- by scoring 13 runs. Their ace starter Josh Beckett led the way with a solid 7 inning performance. Beckett allowed only 1 run on 5 hits and struck out 9. Veterans, Mike Timlin & Eric GAGNEE pitched the 8th & 9th of scorless ball.

With Ace Going -- Sox Can’t Be Beat

By Tony Masarotti -- Thursday, October 25, 2007 (BOSTON HERALD)

The first 17 pitches were all fastballs - clocked between 95-97 mph - and so
Josh Beckett [stats] let it be known early. He planned to do to the Colorado Rockies what he did to the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians.

He intended to grab them by the throat.

And so, as the Red Sox [team stats] opened the 103rd World Series with a 13-1 victory over the Rockies last night in a game that was not nearly that close, here is what we once again learned: The Sox are absolute world beaters behind their gunslinging ace.

Beckett is now 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in four postseason starts this year - his ERA actually went up last night, from 1.17 - and the Sox have outscored opponents by a 34-5 landslide in those games.

In October, with Beckett on the mound, the Red Sox look bulletproof.

“He’s just got such good stuff and it seems like he’s executing all his pitches,” said third baseman Mike Lowell, who also played behind Beckett during the pitcher’s dominating 2003 postseason with the Florida Marlins. “In ’03, I thought it was the best streak I’ve ever seen of any pitcher, and he’s made a good comparison this postseason. That’s as dominating as he’s ever been.”

Said first baseman Kevin Youkilis [stats]: “He’s proven himself over the whole year of how good a pitcher he is, and now he’s just stepping up even more and showing you that he’s probably one of the best pitchers in the game right now.”

What Beckett is doing, too, is showing that he is truly one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time. With last night’s victory, Beckett improved to 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 72 postseason innings. In major league history, among pitchers who have thrown at least as many innings as Beckett, only Mariano Rivera (0.77) and Christy Mathewson (1.06) have a better ERA.

Last night? The Rockies never had a chance. Colorado entered Game 1 with a perfect postseason record (7-0) and with a 21-1 record in its last 22 games, an efficiency that also produced an unfortunate truth. The Rockies had not played a real game in eight days when they took the field, and they had to do so against a man now pitching with the power of Nolan Ryan and the precision of Curt Schilling [stats].

In the first inning alone, facing the minimum three batters, Beckett threw 15 fastballs and struck out the side. Willy Taveras went down looking before Kaz Matsui and Matt Holliday both went down swinging, and the Red Sox had a pretty good indication that Beckett was precisely the same pitcher he was a week ago in the ALCS.

“First batter. I mean, you knew on the first pitch of the game,” said reliever Kyle Snyder [stats] when asked at what point he realized Beckett once again was locked in. “He has a rare ability to repeat his delivery. He and Curt Schilling are probably the best in baseball at that. Look at their walks totals. Curt Schilling has as good a command as anybody, and I think some of that’s rubbed off on Josh. It’s a real pleasure to watch.”

Lest there be any doubt, consider this: In 30 innings this postseason, Beckett has 35 strikeouts and just two walks. For his postseason career, Beckett now has 82 strikeouts and 15 walks, positively absurd totals for a power pitcher of his ilk.

In the history of the game, among pitchers with at least 50 postseason innings, only Lefty Grove and Deacon Phillippe have a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than the talented Mr. Beckett.

All of this brings us back to the Rockies, who, after a truly miraculous run, once again have been in touch with their mortality.

Colorado has lost nothing more than the first game of this series with the scene to shift to Denver for Game 3, though Beckett looms for Game 5. Beckett is 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his career at Coors Field. He is on one of the greatest postseason pitching runs of all time, and there is simply nothing to suggest the Sox can lose when he takes the mound.

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