CLEVELAND -- Roger Clemens limped away from 2007 an ineffective mess, no longer a postseason menace. Pedro Martinez has all but disappeared. Curt Schilling is pitching on blood (though no bloody sock) and guts instead of pure stuff.
Into the autumnal breech steps Josh Beckett.
|'I think that would be something I could do,' Josh Beckett says of working an inning or two in a potential Game 7. (AP)|
Boston's ace is dominating this October the way a chainsaw takes care of a tree.
Any questions should be directed to Travis Hafner (1-for-7 with three strikeouts against Beckett in Games 1 and 5) and Victor Martinez (1-for-6). Any arguments, go see Ryan Garko (0-for-4 with two strikeouts) or Jhonny Peralta (0-for-5 with one whiff). Other witnesses? The Los Angeles Angels are qualified to corroborate.
Beckett is 3-0 this postseason, and he's allowed only three runs in 23 innings. That's a 1.17 ERA, and he's compiled 26 strikeouts against only one walk this postseason. One walk!
"That's why he's the best, man," Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "That's why we love him. He goes out and deals."
In October, it's a New Deal: In nine postseason games -- eight starts -- Beckett lifetime is 5-2 with a 1.78 ERA. And, in 65 2/3 innings pitched, he's allowed only 34 hits, walked only 13 batters ... and whiffed 73.
Right now, not only is Beckett the clear-cut MVP of these playoffs, he's the new generation poster boy of October pitchers. Clemens was never this dominating in the postseason. Schilling and Martinez had their moments but this, this ...
"There's no question he's done things that are hard to compare to," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said in reference to Beckett's place among the pantheon of recent October pitching heroes.
He deflated Jacobs Field as easily as pulling the plug from an inflatable raft. By the middle innings, with the Red Sox leading 2-1, the place was nervously quiet. By the late innings, after Boston scored two in the seventh and three more in the eighth, the joint was crestfallen.
In the dugout, the Indians' faces were more blank than their batting lines.
In the clubhouse afterward, the Indians manager was perplexed.