Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine's words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox
Josh Beckett's first start of the season was a travesty, if not worse. The Red Sox' No. 2 starter went 4 2/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs and five home runs in a 10-0 whalloping in Detroit.
Six days later, with Boston reeling from a 1-5 start to the 2012 season, Beckett delivered potentially the most important performance of this young Red Sox season.
Beckett went eight strong innings on Friday, helping to guide the Red Sox to a much-needed 12-2 blowout win over the visiting Rays and providing the fans at Fenway Park something to cheer about — finally.
Manager Bobby Valentine praised Beckett for a phenomenal performance.
"The home opener and everything else combined, it was the perfect outing," Valentine said with a smile in the clubhouse afterward.
Beckett's outing helped spark the Red Sox offense to an outburst, highlighted by an eight-run eighth inning, but his outing also provided some needed rest to a laboring bullpen.
The impact of such an outstanding performance can be massive for a team's psyche, especially this early in the season. Beckett willed the Red Sox to victory on Friday, and with such an overpowering performance, he may have jump-started his Cy Young candidacy as well.
Yes, it's far too early in the season to start throwing around Cy Young favorites and finalists. But a performance like Friday's is just what a pitcher like Beckett needs to get rolling.
Beckett struggled out of the gate in 2011 with an ugly first outing as well, allowing four walks and three runs over five innings of work in a 3-1 loss in Cleveland. But the then 30-year-old rebounded famously in his next start, tossing eight innings and allowing just two hits and no runs in a 4-0 shutout of the Yankees.
Slow starts shouldn't be a cause of concern for Beckett, considering that he was regarded as a Cy Young favorite coming out of the All-Star break in 2011 and was even near the top of the league in ERA entering September.
His dominance of the Rays may be a coming-out party for the Red Sox, Boston faithful can only hope at least. It also may be just the jump-start Josh Beckett needs to kick off his quest for his first Cy Young award.