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.