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Filling the (MLB) Void: Beckett Bags the Bronx Bombers

Taking another look at the brilliance of Josh Beckett’s 2003 postseason.

Filling the (MLB) Void: Beckett Bags the Bronx Bombers

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Having a hard time with the Major League Baseball lockout? Yeah – us too. Especially when Spring Training should have started and there are still so many questions left to answer before the season can begin. So, we here at The Turf thought we’d offer a way to help ease that tension. While we may not have any of the current MLB baseball to watch live, there is PLENTY of archive footage available at our fingertips. We’ve scoured the internet and assembled some of the most iconicnoteworthy, and remarkable baseball games we could find. We also found some mundanerun of the mill stories, that seemed banal at first watch. However, at this point, we’ll take anything that resembles an MLB game, right? Until the lockout ends, we’ll feature one of the contests and provide you a link where you can relive the glory, exhilaration, and thrill from the comfort of your couch.

Game 6 of the 2003 World Series – A Fish Feat

The Florida Marlins took on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Game 81 of the 2003 season. The Marlins would score a run off Sox starter Byung-Hyun Kim in the top of the first. Boston responded in the same inning by scoring 14 straight runs. What was most remarkable about this eventual 25-8 loss by the Marlins is four months later the team had a chance to win the World Series.

Florida was facing the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series. The Yankees had just survived a classic seven game series vs. the Red Sox. The Marlins had defeated the Chicago Cubs in their own seven game series.

Florida’s World Series hopes would rest on the arm of starter Josh Beckett for Game 6. Beckett was the #2 overall pick in the 1999 MLB Draft. He was the #3 prospect in baseball before the 2001 season, and the #1 prospect before the 2002 season. The Marlins let Beckett ease into the majors, with 4 starts in 2001, 21 in 2002 and 23 in 2003.

When the 2003 postseason began Beckett was 17-17 in his career. However, he also had struck out over a batter per inning and had an ERA of 3.32. The wins would come, but Beckett’s skills had arrived.

Beckett took a hard loss in Game 1 of the NLDS, striking out 9 Giants in a 2-0 loss. It would get worse in Game 1 of the NLCS as Beckett gave up six earned runs, though the Marlins were able to salvage a 9-8 victory. Florida then saw Chicago win three straight games to take a 3-1 series lead.

Facing elimination, the Marlins turned back to Beckett. And his response was flawless. Nine innings pitched, 11 strikeouts, three baserunners allowed and zero runs allowed. Florida won 4-0 and saw another day.

Beckett would be needed in Game 7 vs. the Cubs too. Trailing 5-3 in the 5th inning, the Marlins plated three runs to take a 6-5 lead. Beckett would enter the game in relief and throw four innings allowing only one hit and one run. Florida would hold on to win 9-6 and earn a spot in the World Series.

Where Beckett needed to pitch in Game 7 of the NLCS he couldn’t start in the World Series until Game 3. Beckett was very solid going 7 1/3 innings, striking out 10 and only giving up two runs. The Marlins would drop the game though and be down 2-1 in the series. Game 4 saw Alex Gonzalez hitting a game-winning home run in the 12th. The Marlins offense scored six runs off the Yankees bullpen in Game 5 after David Wells left with an injury to take a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 arrived with an opportunity for Josh Beckett to clinch the World Series. And he answered the call again with another shutout. Beckett allowed five hits and two walks, but also struck out nine Yankees. The #2 pick in the 1999 Draft was everything Florida could have asked for, and then some.

Terry is from Massachusetts and is a passionate fan of the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. He also will admit he only pays attention to Syracuse basketball when they're good. If there's a Twitter trade rumor even remotely associated with one of his teams, he's likely fallen for it. Finally, he believes 100% that if the Celtics had beaten the Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals they would have swept the Thunder in the Finals.

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