Mass Hysteria

Mike Timlin's Last Time Pitching in Fenway?  Photo by Jess Gatley
Mike Timlin Photo by Jess Gatley

On Sunday, during the last game of the regular season, I was online at the place I spend many game nights.  Near the end of the game, one of the regulars cuts in with the news that Josh Beckett has strained his oblique (per Joe Castiglione).   Folks start worrying and I look around to see if this story has legs.  The only place I can find it is on the Boston Herald’s website.  Apparently, Steve Buckley was the one who broke this story.   “Oblique KOs Josh Beckett” was the headline.  Buckley’s sources apparently told him it was so bad he probably wasn’t going to pitch in the ALDS.  I looked everywhere else online and found no reference to this and the folks at NESN didn’t mention it at all during the game.  But it was on every message board I checked.  “OH NO!!!  NO BECKETT!!!!”.

The the game ended and Sports Desk came on and told us there was “news” about Beckett…but didn’t even lead off the show with the story.  Finally, Tito gave his press conference and told us that, yes, Beckett tweaked his oblique, but he was penciling him in for game 3 of the ALDS.  Francona looked fine in delivering this news…not worried, not nervous…nothing.  I decided it certainly wasn’t worth worrying about if Tito wasn’t worried and that, once again, a story had been “broken” that served no purpose but to freak people out.

Which is why I find it interesting that Buckley, the guy who has spent much time this week going on about Beckett’s injury, wasn’t the guy who wrote the story following Beckett’s side session yesterday.  Here’s what Michael Silverman wrote today:

Josh Beckett’s 27-minute, 65-pitch side session at Angel Stadium yesterday produced the most positive outcome the Red Sox could have hoped for.

It appears as if the ace’s tweaked right oblique will permit him to make Sunday’s Game 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park after all. “Provided there’s no concerns coming out of his exams after the bullpen or the follow-up tomorrow, he should be on line for Sunday,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “That hasn’t been an official announcement but I will tell you that from the look in his bullpen today, he looks ready to go Sunday.”

Farrell said Beckett was able to throw without any restrictions.

Go figure. No need to panic…Josh will be fine to pitch on Sunday. Thanks for the week of angst, Steve Buckley.

Now to give Buckley some props (go figure!).  He’s the only one, thus far, who has written anything about my man Mike Timlin opening talking about retirement.

The veteran relief pitcher said yesterday that he is considering retirement, and that he will discuss the matter with his family during the offseason before making a decision.

“There’s a real possibility I could shut it down,” Timlin said. “This could be it.”

I can’t remember Timlin every being that serious with retirement talk. And, seemingly, he IS serious.

If Timlin has pitched his final game in the big leagues, he went out in style. He worked an inning of shutout relief in the Red Sox’ in the regular-season finale, a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park [map]. He struck out 22-year-old Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli on his last pitch.

When the inning was over, Timlin could be seen walking toward home plate and saying something into the ear of umpire Jim Wolf. He also collected the ball from his strikeout of Cervelli.

“I got the baseball from my last three or four outings,” said Timlin, not knowing at the time which one might be his final appearance.

This is, obviously, something everyone has seen coming. But to see it out there like that…well, I admit to being a little teary-eyed about it.  For now, I won’t dwell on it…but there will certainly be more to say about this once the post-season is over.

Tonight, Daisuke takes the mound and, hopefully, brings us another victory.  How huge would two wins in Anaheim be??  Oddly enough, I really think the Sox can do it.  9:30pm can’t come soon enough!

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