It’s about time: Josh Beckett finally takes my advice

September 27th, 2006 → 5:50 pm @ // No Comments

For two-and-a-half months, I’ve been trying to tell Josh Beckett how to translate his remarkable skill into a remarkable record. I started back in mid-July, when I said that Josh needed to stop talking and start learning how to pitch. On August 4, I was even more forceful: “Beckett’s ego seems to be getting him in more trouble than anything else. As I’ve said before, the days of him being able to rear back and blow hitters away with his disturbingly straight fastball are over; this ain’t the NL East.” Finally, on August 20, I all but gave up, pointing out that in his previous nine starts, Beckett was posting an ERA of 6.83. That was immediately after his 5.2-inning, nine run, nine walk disaster of an outing against the Yankees. You remember that game, right?

Well, it seems as if Beckett’s finally listening to me, and all I can say is: it’s about time. I know bloggers have a reputation for sitting around in their bathrobes writing for a handful of similarly obsessed freaks, and I’m happy my work is helping to correct the record. For one thing, I work in my underwear. For another, at least two World Series MVPs are paying attention to what I’m saying (although I never did find out what Schilling thought of the book). Clearly there’s no other explanation for what’s happened to Beckett since that start versus the Yankees.

To wit: I said Beckett’s “ego was getting him in more trouble than anything else.” After the Yankees game, Beckett attributed his inconsistency to “stubborn stupidness.” If those two sentences were any closer Beckett would be nailed for outright plagiarism (and I could write about that, too).

And: since my August 20 post, Beckett, as the always-worth reading Alex Speier writes in today’s Union-Leader, has gone 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA and has coughed up just two homers over five starts; previous to that, he’d given up two or more homers in nine of his starts. As Speier points out, a big reason for that success is the fact that Beckett has begun focusing more on movement and location as opposed to velocity, using 92 or 93 MPH two-seamers that dive out of the zone instead of his ruler straight four-seamer that comes in at about 4 mph quicker…and leaves the park even faster than that.

(Beckett’s not the only uniformed member of the Sox to take my advice; Terry Francona finally seems to be listening to me. “He’s trying to be more of a pitcher,” Speier quotes Francona as saying inre: Beckett. That sounds an awful lot like my saying Beckett needs to “learn how to pitch,” doesn’t it? Francona previously said that I’d upset some people with my book; I’m glad he’s finally come around.)

(And: I know I’m throwing caution to the wind by posting this a couple of hours before Beckett’s start tonight against the Devil Rays; if he bombs, I’ll look like an ass. But think of smart I’ll look if he comes up aces again!)

Post Categories: Josh Beckett

2 Comments → “It’s about time: Josh Beckett finally takes my advice”

  1. maineiac

    17 years ago


    I think you may have jinxed him tonight 😉

    Beckett was not quite so good tonight (although really Beckett looked great until the seventh)…it always amazes me how long it takes Tito to react to a pitcher going south in a game.

    Other teams will get someone up in the bull pen immediately and then have the catcher go out and talk with the pitcher a couple times, maybe have the pitcher throw to first a couple times, have a visit by the pitching coach, etc. to buy some time. Not Tito.

    In the 7th inning of tonight’s game, Crawford singled and then Norton walked on a full count. You could tell Beckett was gassed. But Beckett stays out and faces SIX more batters. How can it take that long to get a new pitcher out there? Does Francona think that it looks bad or something to play the delay game when your pitcher struggles?

    This has happened multiple times this season and I can’t recall a single time that the Red Sox slowed down the game to get relief warmed up but can recall numerous times the opponent has.


  2. knuckler1

    17 years ago

    Hmm, looks like the former.


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