Extra Bases

The sudden demise of Josh Beckett

Terry Francona said Josh Beckett looked as good as he ever has at the beginning of the game.

“Probably better,” he said. “He threw all his pitches for strikes, lot of swing and misses on all his pitches.”

Then came the sixth inning.

“It went south as fast as it could,” Francona said. “As good as he was commanding, all of a sudden it was gone.”

Beckett allowed nine runs for the third time in his career. Today marked the third time in the last four starts that Beckett has allowed seven or more earned runs. He has started seven games this season. Two were very good, one was pretty good, three were disasters and one was just awful.

Beckett was subdued afterward. “Crappy,” he said when asked to describe his season to date. Only he didn’t say crappy. You get the idea.

Good thing they didn’t sign him to a lucrative extension. Oh, wait …

As for the injuries on both sides:

* Jason Varitek has a bruise on his left forearm, the result of Beckett crossing him up and throwing a fastball instead of a curveball.

* Nick Johnson is headed back to New York for an MRI on his wrist.

* Robinson Cano has swelling on his left knee from where Beckett hit him and is day-to-day. The Yankees may need to make a move before tomorrow’s game given all their bumps and bruises.

In the last seven days, the Yankees have had seven players leave a game with injuries.

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