FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Sox are on their way to trying to win their first game of this season’s Mayor’s Cup race, having just gone up 2-0 on Kevin Youkilis’s first home run of the spring season. Manager Terry Francona joked earlier that the competition was the reason for stacking his pitching lineup today against the Twins at Hammond Stadium, with Josh Beckett starting, followed by Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon, in the closer’s first outing of the spring.
When the media assembled downstairs to greet Beckett, after he had thrown just 29 pitches (18 strikes) in a perfect two innings of work, the pitcher said, “Hard to come up with questions for that one, isn’t it? We were just in here talking about, I don’t know what they’re going to ask.”
There were questions, of course.
In his outing, Beckett got almost all ground balls (one flyout) and no strikeouts, and barely made a dent in the Twins’ order. It was Beckett’s first crack at major league hitters, after facing Boston College in his first outing.
“You go out there to get six outs, you only face six guys, that’s pretty good,” Beckett said. “I asked Tito how many pitches it was. I was just going to make sure it was over 22. It was. Just didn’t want to go backwards.”
While Beckett said he wanted to throw some changeups today, he never really got into counts in which it was appropriate. He had said after his last outing that the changeup was going to be a focal point this spring.
He will pitch again on Friday, going three innings this time, against his old team, the Marlins.