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Thumbs down for Beckett; but thumb not to blame

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 7, 2012 08:27 PM

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DETROIT — Let's get the big question out of the way first. Josh Beckett wasn't hurt today. He was just awful.

“Physically I felt great,” he said after giving up five home runs against the Tigers in a 10-0 loss.

Beckett's much scrutinized right thumb was fine according to Bobby Valentine. The problem was too many pitches over the plate to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, two of the best power hitters in the game.

“They were all in the middle of the plate and they hit them hard,” Beckett said.

Beckett's velocity was not better than 92-93, which cut down on the disparity to this changeup. But Beckett usually takes a start or two to get his velocity. He also won plenty of games at the same velocity last season.

Beckett was sharp in spring training and Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught him then. But there is little pre-game preparation in the spring, virtually none. That's where Jason Varitek excelled, calling the game for Beckett.

In four games with Salty catching him in his career, Beckett has allowed 19 earned runs over 22.2 innings. That's not necessarily telling given it's only four games. But it's something to watch.

Meanwhile Beckett's next game will be the home opener. That should be interesting.

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