Rivalry Heats Up

CC Sabathia got his 1st win of the year against the Red Sox last night in a classic Sox/Yanks battle….

Beantown Bash Fashion Show

On July 19 Chowdaheadz hosted the Beantown Bash Fashion Show & Red Sox Viewing Party at The Greatest Bar in…

Boston Red Sox: Josh Beckett looks to turn fortunes around in Cleveland

While the weather forecast for Progressive Field in Cleveland calls for low-40s and a stiff breeze tomorrow, Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett is hoping that he can ignite a spark. Not only for himself, but for his team as well.

With the team coming off an opening weekend during which they were not only swept, but outscored 26-11, there is no better time for Beckett to make his season debut and assert himself as the Beckett of old: dominating and fearsome.

Beckett’s balky back last season led to the worst season of his career, with a 6-6 record and 5.78 ERA. When spring training got underway, Beckett’s results weren’t all that impressive, leading to a 6.64 ERA. However during his last start at Houston last week, Beckett went five strong innings, allowing just one hit, striking out three and at one point retiring 11 batters in a row.

That is the Josh Beckett that the Red Sox will be counting on tomorrow, and for the 2011 season.

“I think pride matters to him a lot. His pride took a beating last year,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona told Ron Chimelis of MassLive.com .

“I think he feels he’s got a lot to prove. He’s still a big leader on our staff.”

Considering the pasting that John Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz took over the weekend, getting a lift from Josh Beckett could be just the medicine that the doctor ordered.

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Saltalamacchia catching on with Red Sox

When the Boston Red Sox failed to sign free agent catcher Victor Martinez during the offseason, they weren’t terribly worried. They felt they had a diamond in the rough in Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Saltalamacchia, dealt to the Sox last season at the trade deadline by the Texas Rangers, saw very limited action behind Martinez, and the Sox never got a clear picture as to his overall talents. However, general manager Theo Epstein nonetheless felt confident enough to take a flyer on Martinez and give Saltalamacchia a chance to start behind the plate.

Thus far this spring, Salty has done nothing to disappoint, hitting .355 with one homer and eight runs batted in, and gaining rave reviews for his handling of the pitching staff. During Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzake clearly felt comfortable throwing to Salty, something that was missing with Martinez behind the plate.

The other members of the Sox starting rotation have been impressed with what they’ve seen from Saltalamacchia as well.

“It’s funny, because he does things like ‘Tek (Jason Varitek) now,” Josh Beckett told MLB.com. “There’s not a better guy to follow if you’re in that position. Everyone said the same thing: ‘He looks like ‘Tek.’ That’s a pretty good guy to look like.”

Ace left-hander Jon Lester agrees with Beckett. “I’ve told a couple of people I think he reminds me a lot of ‘Tek,” Lester said. “He’s got that presence about him. When he talks, you listen. I don’t know if that’s just because he’s a big son of a gun or what, but when he comes out there and says something, you listen to what he has to say.”

High praise coming from the top of the rotation. However, Saltalamacchia knows he has his work cut out for him.

“I’m going to show up every day and give it my best,” said Saltalamacchia. “That’s all I can do. I’m not worried about how many fans are in the stands or the Yankees or anything like that. I’ve got to do what I can do.”