Well, actually, that's probably not accurate. If you asked Beckett, he would probably still be disappointed that he hadn't gotten a win in his previous six starts. But, on his seventh time out to the hill, he was able to get that "W," leading the Red Sox and helping them move a game over the .500 mark.
Overall, the line wasn't that pretty, as Beckett allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings, walking two against seven strikeouts. It was a quality start, yes, but it actually raised his middling ERA a tick to 4.44 on the season. The Red Sox are still waiting to see Beckett dominate as the staff leader they think he still is, but he did show glimpses of that pitcher — particularly once he got past the first inning.
"At the beginning of the game a couple of his fastballs got hit and he was kind of out of sorts," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. "But after he settled down he was the kind of pitcher we need him to be."
In that first inning, Beckett gave up three runs on four hits, giving away the one-run advantage his offense had spotted him in the top of the frame. No matter, for Beckett cruised the rest of the way, with Elliot Johnson's sixth-inning double the only time a Ray would get to second from that point on.
It's no secret where the Red Sox' issues lie. The offense has consitently been amongst the best in the American League, and it only figures to get better with the returns of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, and a presumed renaissance in production from Adrian Gonzalez. Likewise, the bullpen started off the season in awful fashion, but since the latter stages of April has been downright dominant.
That leaves the starting rotation as largely shouldering the fault for the Red Sox' middling start, and it's something which can't be blamed on injuries. Beckett and Jon Lester have been mostly healthy all season — save for a minor Beckett shoulder issue — but inexplicably ineffective, leaving the unheralded likes of Felix Doubront, Aaron Cook and Franklin Morales to lead the way. And while they've performed well, they shouldn't be asked to lead a staff.
That's why signs of Beckett's resurgence are so important to the Red Sox. If the Sox gain an ace, then with the new playoff format nearly enything is possible.
Boston's just hoping they see more than glimpses of that form from Beckett the rest of the way.