Monday, March 10, 2008

Beckett's Back

Josh Beckett had to be scratched from his last start due to back troubles. Naturally, news such as this leads to two possible reactions. The reasonable reaction is that it’s Spring Training, so the Red Sox don’t want Beckett throwing any more than he has to. They understand that even I get a sore back periodically and a little bit of rest makes it feel better in a couple days. The other reaction is: OH MY GOD! HIS BACK! He could be out for the SEASON with a bad back! This is horrible! The season is ruined! The Red Sox may not win a game this year! Luckily, so far, that reaction has been kept in check. Perhaps the afterglow of the 2004 and 2007 championships has given Red Sox Nation a little bit of perspective. I sure hope this sort of reason turns out to be the norm.

One thing the Sox have done about the injury is drop hints that it might jeopardize the trip to Japan. So, the injury is either a little more on the serious side, or the Sox are looking for a way to keep Beckett in the country. Personally, I think half the team should “tweak” their backs to keep them home from Japan. Let’s send Daisuke and Snyder out to start the two games, and keep the rest of the rotation here to avoid the jet lag. Wake can still have lingering effects of last October’s injury. Lester and Buchholz can come up with some tenderness they need to rest. Let’s keep the team home if we can, and not face the April slump that the Yankees and Tampa faced when they played in Japan. The first 15 games for the Sox this year are against Oakland, New York, Detroit, Toronto and Cleveland. These aren’t exactly teams you want to be sleepwalking against. Not only are they quality teams that could win anyway, but the games could have tiebreaker significance. A couple years ago, the head-to-head record gave the division to the Yankees. And, last year, head-to-head record gave home field advantage to the Sox instead of Cleveland. That certainly came in handy. Do we want to play any of those teams in April with a disadvantage?
So, keep them all home. Manny must have another sick grandmother to tend to. Papi can still be rehabbing that sore knee. I’d rather give up the first two against Oakland than the first month against everyone else.

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