Thursday, March 31, 2011

Josh Beckett, Madison Bumgarner Get on Track in Final Tune-ups

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 30, 2011

American League

Josh Beckett
Josh Beckett won't be on the mound for the Red Sox on opening day, but he will be in the rotation and Red Sox fans are probably feeling a bit better about that after Beckett, following four straight losses, picked up his only win of the exhibition season with five shutout innings against the Houston Astros.

The former World Series MVP (2003) has struggled through the Spring, compiling a 1-4 record from six starts with an ERA of 5.33, but he didn't need any excuses for his strong stint against the Astros. He allowed just one hit, didn't walk any and struck out three as the Red Sox completed their exhibition season with a 10-0 win.

Normally one of baseball's top hurlers, Beckett suffered injuries that limited him to 21 starts and a 6-6 record in 2010 while his ERA ballooned to a career-worst 5.78. Opposing hatters averaged .292 against him.

National League

Dallas Braden and Madison Bumgarner hooked up in a pitcher's duel on Wednesday, and by the time Braden stepped off the mound after 5 2/3 innings, his A's held a tenuous 1-0 lead.

Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner had allowed a run in the third, but that was all, as his Giants failed to get anything going against Braden, who limited them to just five hits.

But the Giants got the last laugh, scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to take a 2-1 decision in their final prep game.

Bumgarner didn't get the win. That went to reliever Marc Kroon (2-0) who struck out a pair of A's during a no-hit ninth inning. What Bumgarner did get for his efforts was a little momentum and maybe some needed confidence, allowing four hits and three walks while fanning six over the first six innings of the game.

The Giants' starter went 1-4 with a 5.93 ERA this Spring but hopes to fare better in his second professional season.

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