That man was Josh Beckett, who's turned in two incredible postseason runs of his own.
"When I was [in the zone like Lee is now], I executed my fastball anywhere I wanted," Beckett, who was honored as the 2009 Champion Award recipient from Children's Hospital Boston on Tuesday night, told The Eagle Tribune.
"Down and away to righties. Down and away to lefties. … It didn't matter," Beckett said. "Cliff Lee looks like he is on like that. He's working it in and out, both sides of the plate. All he's doing is focusing on one pitch at a time. It's a pretty good feeling [to have] for a month."
Beckett knows well what that feels like. In 2003 with the Marlins, Beckett — a 23-year-old, second-year starter — posted a 2.11 ERA in five postseason starts and one relief appearance. He threw two complete-game shutouts, including the clinching Game 6 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium.
A legitimate ace four years later, Beckett picked up with the Red Sox where he had left off with the Marlins. Beckett's postseason stats from 2007 are truly staggering — four starts, 4-0 record, 1.20 ERA, 35 strikeouts, two walks, four earned runs allowed. He outdueled then-Indians ace CC Sabathia in Game 1 of the ALCS before winning in Cleveland in Game 5, when the Red Sox were trailing 3-1 in the series. He once again bested Sabathia, giving up just one run over eight innings while striking out 11. Nothing distracted Beckett that month, not even his ex-girlfriend Danielle Peck, who sung the National Anthem and "God Bless America" for Game 5.
Because his October was cut short this year, Beckett's had trouble enjoying the postseason.
"Any time you lose in the playoffs, it's so abrupt. All of sudden, it's over," Beckett told the newspaper. "You want to be out there … I know it's 3-2 [in favor of the Yankees]. I haven't watched that much."
It's safe to say that next year, he hopes to be watching from the mound.
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