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Silver Lining?

There's no question that Josh Beckett's oblique injury puts a major damper on the Red Sox' hopes of defending their World Series title. He's been one of the best postseason pitchers over the last five years and there's simply no replacing his bulldog mentality on the mound.

But perhaps Boston fans can take some solace in the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka, originally penciled to start Game 3 at Fenway, will now go in Game 2 in Anaheim. As maddening as it is sometimes to watch Dice-K pitch, you can't argue with his home and road splits. He's 9-0 with a 2.37 ERA away from Fenway Park and 9-3 with a 3.34 ERA in Boston. The Red Sox hope to have Beckett start in Game 3. That might be a reach, so if Boston has any hope of winning this series it's imperative that Matsuzaka comes up with one of his vintage road efforts.

What should concern the Red Sox almost as much as the Beckett injury is the fact that Mike Lowell (hip) and J.D. Drew (back) are also hurting. The Lowell injury is of greater concern, because that means Kevin Youkilis may need to shift to third base and Sean Casey starts at first, which would hurt Boston's defensive play dramatically. Against a team like the Angels, who excel at small-ball tactics and keeping the defense on its heels, that does not bode well.

By Tom Heleba  |  September 29, 2008; 1:32 PM ET
 
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Comments

They also do a Lowell-less lineup of 1B-Youkilis SS-Cora 3B-Lowrie. That hurts the hitting though: Cora's never been much of a hitter, and he's been declining from whatever little offensive skill he had.

Posted by: KR | September 29, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The Dodgers could loan Manny back on off days, and it wouldn't help. LA in 3.

Posted by: ce | September 29, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

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