If Beckett's right tonight, the Rays have no hope. He lives to deliver meaningful victories, and if he gets to step on an opponent's throat in the process, well, that's just a fringe benefit. Beckett is the rare athlete who's confidence grows and focus sharpens under the brightest lights. Call him the anti-Kazmir.
It is due as much to his makeup as it is his ability that Beckett has been a postseason hero twice before his 30th birthday. He stands alongside the Gibsons and Schillings as one of the greatest postseason pitchers ever, he stands alone among his generational peers, and all it takes is a cursory glance at his playoff numbers to know there is not an ounce of exaggeration in that statement.
Which is why this is the truth: It will be extremely difficult for the Red Sox to win their second straight championship and third in five years without Beckett in peak form. (Yes, extremely difficult. After 2004, we never say anything is impossible.)
For all of the amazing things Lester has accomplished in his young career - including, we should note, winning the clinching game of a World Series at age 23, just as Beckett did - he needs a few more unforgettable October moments before he can match highlight reels with his teammate.
As for tonight . . . a memorable September moment from Josh Beckett would do just fine.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.