Poor performance and back spasms have caused Terry Francona to push Josh Beckett's next start up two days from Wednesday to Friday. Tim Wakefield will start in the finale of the Blue Jays series.
Beckett tweaked his back taking batting practice in preparation for interleague games, but Francona implied that the rotation change was happening even before Beckett's discomfort. In seven starts, Beckett has the worst ERA (7.46) of any starter in MLB; he has allowed the most runs (35), the second most hits (one fewer than Shields and Pineiro), and has the 8th worst WHIP (1.659).
There's multiple reasons for the adjustment in the rotation. An additional side with Josh to force -- particularly out of the stretch -- him getting back to a proper balance point and not getting spread out to where he loses his downhill plane on his fastball. When he gets into a proper position, his curveball is less readable by an opposing hitter.Jonathan Papelbon is mixing his splitter and slider with his fastball and thinks his repertoire is "probably at its peak". Daniel Bard likes the return of Bot's splitter: "He's not just throwing it up there for a different look. ... [I]t's back to what it was when I was watching him on TV a couple years ago. It's that nasty, 90-mile-an-hour, foot of sink."
In his last six games, Papelbon has a 6-2-1-1-5 line, with the one run being unearned. However, the error in that game was Papelbon's errant pick-off throw; if the run scores due to the pitcher's own error, shouldn't that be counted against him as an earned run? ... For the season, Papelbon has allowed nine hits and nine walks in 16 innings. He has walked only one batter since April 24 (7 games, 6.2 innings, 26 batters faced).
Also: Mike Cameron was Pawtucket's leadoff hitter and DH last night. He went 1-for-3, with a double and a walk in his last two trips to the plate. He will play the outfield tonight. ... J.D. Drew was scratched from last night's lineup with vertigo. Tito: "He got real dizzy before the game. ... Looked like he just got off a boat."