It was a solid Spring Training for Beckett, who looked healthy and strong throughout. Now, it counts.
"Right out of the gate, he was throwing pretty firm," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "The ball was coming out of his hand nice. He competes well. This kid is going to be fun, he's going to do well."
The stage of pitching for the Red Sox? That should be something such a fierce competitor should thrive on.
"This kid likes to compete," said Francona. "I was talking to [Mike] Lowell about it and he said he thought coming to Boston would be great for [Beckett] because there's interest, there are critics. I think he thinks that will give him a kick in the pants in a good direction."
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (15-8, 3.38 ERA in 2005)
Beckett is coming off a career high of 15 wins. This is his first career appearance against the Rangers. Beckett's main goal for this season is to stay healthy, as he's attempting to make 30 starts and pitch 200 innings for the first time in his career.
TEX: RHP Kameron Loe (9-6, 3.42 ERA in 2005)
Loe has had limited action in his career against the Red Sox, giving up five hits and three runs over three innings. The Rangers named Loe the fourth starter at the beginning of Spring Training and he did nothing to cheat their trust. He worked hard on developing a changeup to complement the sinker/slider combination that worked well last year, and went 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in three spring starts. Loe went 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA as a starter last season.
Player to watch
First baseman J.T. Snow is slated to make his first start in a Boston uniform, spelling Kevin Youkilis.
On the Internet
Official game notes
Friday: Red Sox (Matt Clement, 13-6, 4.57 in 2005) at Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 10-13, 4.52 in 2005), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 1-0, 2.57 ERA) at Orioles (Bruce Chen, 13-10, 3.83 in 2005), 4:35 p.m. ET
Sunday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 0-1, 17.18) at Orioles (Rodrigo Lopez, 1-0, 6.43), 1:35 p.m. ET