Listened to Boston’s sports-talk radio station (WEEI) on my drive to Fenway Park. Terry Francona is getting roasted by the locals for:
1. Leaving Josh Beckett in too long.
2. Not using Paul Byrd in long relief
3. Using Mike Timlin in the 11th inning.
Beckett has admitted to strained oblique but his diminished velocity and inability to keep the ball down suggests he has could have another injury. It’s pretty evident something has been up with him this season. There is little doubt Francona will turn to him again if the series goes beyond five games, but one would think Beckett will have a short leash.
The criticism of Francona sounded much what Joe Torre used to get in New York around this time of the year.
Here’s what I find ironic: Joe Girardi clearly has a great understanding for pitching and for managing a bullpen and if he can get the Yankees into the playoffs, those skills could make a tremendous difference in a series. But the Yankees have to get in the playoffs first. Based on this season, you can’t just take that for granted.
The Rays are not working out today, understandably. But Joe Maddon and some of the players will be here at Fenway Park. The Red Sox do plan a workout but it’s probably not going to be a very lengthy affair.
Back with more later.