Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Sunday, April 16, 2006

RIDING THE HORSES

It's becoming a habit. The Red Sox won yet another one-run ballgame today, defeating the Mariners 3-2 behind another strong performance from Josh Beckett. That too has become habitual.

Beckett and veteran Curt Schilling have paired to become an unstoppable force -- thus far at least.

Sport illustrated calls the two former World Series MVPs the top pitching combo in all of baseball.

Beckett's line today; 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, and 5 strike outs.

Beckett leads the Majors with a 1.29 ERA this season. With a career best 3-0 start, Beckett has surrendered only 16 hits in 21 innings pitched, for a grand total of three earned runs. Beckett's 12 strike outs are double the six walks he's allowed.

Schilling, also 3-0, sports a nearly impressive 1.64 ERA. Schilling has given up only 11 hits in 22 innings, resulting in 4 earned runs. The big righty has frustrated hitters by issuing only three walks and 16 strike outs.

The Sox entered spring training with seven starters and questions about who would crack the rotation, who'd go to the pen and who would be dealt. Just two weeks into the 2006 campaign, Jonathan Papelbon has become the indispensable closer, Bronson Arroyo was dealt, and David Wells' damaged knee landed him on the DL. As the saying goes, you can never have enough pitching.

At this point, it's hard to know if Wells will ever return, and if he does, if he'll be effective. At 43 (next month) and quite overweight, Wells' knees have the tremendous burden of supporting the rest of him. And no matter how you slice it, by historical standards, Wells is simply old for a pitcher. If Keith Foulke continues to progress, that could allow the Sox to move Papelbon into the rotation to fill Wells' spot.

Sure, there will be happy talk about the possibility of Roger Clemens' return to Boston, riding in on his white horse to pitch the team back to the World Series. But at this point, that's all just speculation. And Clemens, like Wells, is old. Any expectations of him may be too great.

If the Red Sox hope to return to the promised land that is a World Series championship, they will have to ride their impressive, and quite capable, duo of Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett - the number one combo in all of baseball.

Copyright © 2006 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.

No comments: