The Red Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles by the score of 5-4 last night, and watched in frustration as their health woes continued to pile up. Alex Cora and Sean Casey have thankfully just returned from the DL and Cora was starting at shortstop for Julio Lugo, who is recovering from a mild concussion. In the 3rd inning, JD Drew made a diving attempt to catch a soft fly ball from Freddie Bynum. The ball landed in his glove, but the momentum pulled the glove back as Drew rolled with the dive, forcing his wrist to get painfully bent back and the ball spilled loose. Drew came out of the game and was replaced by Jacoby Ellsbury, who had the night off nursing a bruised knee. Then, as the Red Sox took the field for the 6th inning, Coco Crisp did not join them. He had to come out of the game, suffering from stomach pains and a headache. With two of the Red Sox four outfielders out, the Sox were forced to move Kevin Youkilis to right field, shift Ellsbury over to center, and send Sean Casey in to first base. The only position player left on the bench was Kevin Cash. One more injury would have made for an interesting move.
Luckily no further injury moves were required last night, but the Rational Sox Fan has discovered that Josh Beckett was also hurt during the game, but had managed to play through it, lasting 5 2/3 innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. His injury, like JD's, also came in the 3rd inning. With two men on base, two outs, and one run already in, Josh watched a 95 mph fastball to Luke Scott get hit a long way to right field and settle into the stands for a 3 run home run. As Beckett turned to watch the ball arch through the air, he claimed he felt a sudden pain to the right side of his powerful ego. "It was kind of a quick, jabbing sort of pain, like being punched in the shoulder after hearing a passenger say 'punch buggy blue, no punch back'", said Beckett during post-game interviews. He was able to work through the pain and managed to hold the Orioles scoreless until his departure in the 6th inning.
We talked with trainer Paul Lessard about what we can expect from Beckett next. "Well, the injury does not look too bad", said Lessard. "We'll give him the next four games off to let it rest and heal up." According to Lessard, the Sox will start with some rest and some basic ego massages. Newspaper clippings of past excellence will be posted around his locker, and his 2003 World Series MVP trophy will be prominently displayed in the locker room. These sorts of gentle ego massages will be followed with more active ego strengthening exercises. The first will be playing cribbage against the notoriously bad Dustin Pedroia. We all know Terry Francona likes to beat Pedroia in a hand or two of cribbage before each game. It is one thing Francona does to boost his own ego, and the Sox feel Beckett will benefit from it as well. Presuming the cribbage goes well, the last stage of rehab will involve pitching a simulated game to Pawtucket outfielder, Joe Thurston. Thurston has played 4 games with Boston, and has gone 0-8 with a 0.000 batting average. "A few innings pitching to Thurston ought to really boost Josh's ego and get him ready for his next start", said pitching coach John Farrell.
Red Sox Nation is nervous today. The Sox will decide today if JD Drew will need any time off, and what moves might need to be made as a result. Thankfully, the prognosis for Beckett is not as bleak.
Tonight, Jon Lester takes the mound to try to stop the Red Sox' 3 game losing streak and send the team home to Boston on a happy note. Facing Daniel Cabrera, this seems to be the likely scenario. Lester is 3-0 in his three career starts against Baltimore, while Cabrera has gone 1-9 with a 7.84 ERA in 12 career starts against the Red Sox. Alex Cora has had the best success against Cabrera with 11 hits in 20 at bats. Let's hope Lugo needs one more night off.
(Photos courtesy of Yahoo Sports) (Beckett's bruise is fictional - all other elements of the post are fact)