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September 29, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
As far as "things you don't want to hear right before the playoffs start" goes, learning your number one starter is out until at least Game 3 ranks right up there with, "Wait, the regular season is 162 games?" (Sorry, Mets fans).
Josh Beckett, he of the staggering postseason numbers of 6-0, 1.73 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 72.2 innings pitched, injured his oblique during a side session and will not make his scheduled Game 1 start. He's been pushed back to Sunday's Game 3, but even that's not definite.
Even in announcing Beckett as his Game 3 starter, Francona, who is as good a communicator as there is in the managing/coaching ranks, had a hard time getting out the words. Asked if he is confident Beckett will be able to make the start, the manager said, “Umm . . . yeah . . . I’m . . . Yeah . . . I don’t think we would slot him in, I mean, now certainly if he goes the wrong way, we’re going to use pretty good, hopefully very good, judgment. But I think that we’re slotting him in there because we think he can pitch there.”
Translation: Get ready for Tim Wakefield to start Game 3.
The Red Sox will now throw Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first couple of games, which with a combined record of 34-9, is nothing to complain about. But if Beckett if lost for much longer than Game 3, then so too may be the Red Sox' chances of defending its World Series title.