This is Josh Beckett’s time.
He’s on the mound in a game that is arguably the Red Sox’ best shot
at easily securing the one win they need to effectively seal a division
title. His boyhood hero opposes him on the Yankee Stadium mound. Want
to seal your place in Red Sox lore? Here’s where you start, kid.
Do what Pedro did in 1999, when he struck out 12 Yankees in the ALCS
while Clemens did what he always seemed to do in the postseason — find
a way to blow it. Pedro didn’t blow it. He outpitched Clemens in Game 7
in 2003, he outpitched him in 1999, the same postseason in which he
came into a key game despite an injury (as opposed to leaving a key
game because of one).
Now it’s Josh Beckett’s turn. This isn’t 1986 Roger Clemens. This
isn’t even 1995 Roger Clemens. This isn’t even close to 1999 Roger
Clemens. This is the most expensive league-average pitcher in baseball
history, a starter who has allowed at least four earned runs in every
start against the Red Sox since May 2003. Never even mind the
three-inning disaster he produced with the season on the line for the
Yanks in Game 7. This Clemens is beatable, decidedly so.
Beckett, on the other hand, is in Clemens’ mold. Fiery. Outspoken.
Texan. Good. Very damn good. No pitcher in baseball has more wins. No
pitcher in baseball has a better combination of strikeouts-, walks- and
home runs-per-9. He was 4 years old when Clemens made his Major League
debut, and he’s the undisputed ace of a Red Sox team that is rolling to
a probable division title. It’s time to show why it was a mistake for
the aging, lumbering veteran to tempt this rivalry again.
Beckett v. Clemens. It’s on.