As Matt Sussman put it when the idea for this column came to his inbox recently, “It’s about time!” He and others who know me well are fully aware I am a born and raised Bostonian who closely follows all the city’s major sports teams. Over the last year-and-a-half or so, I’ve had my say on all things sports on Sussman and Tuffy’s “Treehouse Fort” Internet radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com on a weekly basis, usually reporting from the “Boston Bureau” and rounding up and discussing the idiotic moves in professional/college sports with my “What Were They Thinking” segment.
Now, I’m ready to add to this a weekly analysis, commentary and foresight on all things Red Sox, the good, bad and ugly. This week I’ll be focusing on Red Sox pitching. So let’s get this thing started already.
Red Sox record for the week of June 8: 5-1
The Red Sox started this past week a half game behind first place Yankees. But after sweeping them at Fenway Park and taking two of three games in Philly over the weekend, they now have a two-game edge over New York.
Red Sox starters as a group were not very effective for a long stretch to start this season, with only Tim Wakefield standing out among them with his surprisingly high and team-leading 8 wins. But over the past couple of weeks, outstanding outings from Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Brad Penny have vaulted the Sox back into first place, not to mention relieved arguably baseball’s strongest bullpen from carrying the team.
Beckett and Lester have been especially dominant of late: Beckett went 3-0 with one no-decision against mostly first place teams in his previous four starts before yesterday’s sub-par 11-hit, six-earned run performance in Philadelphia – another first place club. Even with that frustrating start, Beckett has lowered his ERA dramatically over the last five weeks or so from 6.75 on May 5 to 3.77 going into Philly Sunday – it moved up to 4.15 after he and the Sox lost to the Phillies 11-6.