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 the best Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
After the game, standing at his locker and answering to the media, Josh Beckett looked despondent and his eyes appeared to be red as he spoke in an understated, monotone voice about his latest poor effort starting for the Red Sox.
With eight runs allowed — including three home runs — over five-plus innings of work, there's no getting around the fact that Wednesday's loss was just a plainly bad start for Beckett at a very inopportune time. Trying to avoid back-to-back losses, get back to the .500 mark and take a series from one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, Beckett tossed up a dud, still searching for the ace form he's shown in the past.
"He made some good pitches and, I guess, some not-so-good pitches," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the Sox' 10-9 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. "He finished off the fifth inning pretty good, and then against the bottom of the order I thought he could squek one out. I sure wasn't expecting [Geovany] Soto to hit a home run."
Again, upon exiting the game in the top of the sixth inning, Beckett heard the boos rain down on him from the Fenway Park crowd, clearly unhappy with his continued subpar performance. It may be a taboo to boo a player for being injured, but there's no unwritten rule that precludes fans showing their displeasure with an underperforming star — it's practically a rite of passage in baseball.
That being said, the Red Sox need Beckett, and Jon Lester, and they need them badly. The reality of the situation is that with the contracts those two are under, respectively, and the importance they've had to the team over the years, neither of the duo is going anywhere save for injury — likely no matter how horrendous their performances may become. Beckett, Lester and the Red Sox are stuck with each other do or die. And lately it's been a lot more death than life.
In truth, if Beckett and Lester were to resemble anything even close to what was expected of them coming into the season, the Red Sox are probably in a position to take one of the two wild card spots — and potentially challenge the Yankees for the American League East — and we're not having conversations about "what if?" Remember, this is a team that's still at .500 having seen its two most depended-on pitchers not just regress to a mean, but become worse than league-average hurlers.
Replace your twin aces with Triple-A-caliber starters, and few teams are going to be in contention, and that's more or less what has happened with the Red Sox this season.
Nonetheless, like it or not Beckett and the Red Sox are wedded and in this together. They, and this season, will live or die together.
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