By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Waiting for Beckett

The New York Times’ Jack Curry offers a fairly brutal assessment of Josh Beckett, noting, among other things, that the Red Sox’ supposed co-ace has a 6.80 ERA against winning teams.

Media Nation is surprised and not surprised at the Sox’ collapse this weekend. On the one hand, the team has struggled against good teams all year, building up its soft first-place lead by feasting on the National League and the likes of the Baltimore Orioles.

On the other hand, I’m amazed at Beckett’s struggles, and at the huge differential between Coco Crisp and Johnny Damon. Beckett and Crisp seemingly have the swagger and the confidence to do well here. Maybe they will, but not until next year.

One more thing. I’ve heard enough stupid comments from people complaining about the Sox not making a move for Bobby Abreu. The Yankees made their deal for Abreu on the same day that Trot Nixon was hurt. Nixon was not exactly burning up the league, but he was having a decent season, and there was really no reason to replace him in right. The Sox have made some dumb moves this season, but that wasn’t one of them.

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  1. mike_b1

    Bronson Arroyo since thre All-Star break:2-6, 4.62 ERA and 19 HRs allowed in 87.6 IP. Yeah, he’d be a huge help.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    If Beckett had posted those kind of numbers, we’d say he was … improving.

  3. Stealth

    Add at least a run to Bronson’s ERA for the difference in leagues, and then add the fact that all the teams had figured him out anyway.And subtract Wily Mo’s .857 OPS in 61 games, too.Beckett is only about six months older than Papelbon. He’s still learning and maturing. Schilling says he didn’t learn to really pitch until he was 30.The team is 16-20 since the ASB. They’re better than that. It’ll swing around. They’re only a game behind their record at this point of 2004, and although I doubt that they can heat up like that team did, I still expect them to go on a hot streak soon.

  4. Wes

    Sportswise, happy was the night the Red Sox swept away the Cardinals and won the World Series, followed closely by the decision to forgo the annual purchase of the block of tickets to Fenway. A decision not regretted one second. To sit and watch any of the three games past would have been too painful. And, I’ve yet to see Theo pull his weight, plus his general egotistical errors seem to have affected the coaching staff.

  5. Steve

    Abreu would be a huge improvement over Nixon. And that’s not meant as a knock on Nixon – Abreu is one of the very best OF’ers in the game, and will be for another 5 years at least.It’s tough for Sox fans to accept, but this is a rebuilding year. At no time since last October were the Sox positioning to win this year. I believe the Sox OVER-acheived before the All-Star break, giving us all some hope. But players like Abreu are NOT in the budget. We don’t have an extra 12-15 million to keep him around. Nor does the Sox front office want to give up someone like Pedroia to land some genuine star talent.Crisp is Damon-on-a-budget. By the 3rd year of Damon’s 4 year contract, Crisp will be putting up better numbers, but not yet.What is REALLY inexcusable, though, is to be in a stretch run without a lefty in the pen. Especially with all those games with the Yankees on the schedule. *That* wouldn’t be very expensive, but somehow that got by the Sox brain trust.

  6. mike_b1

    steve, totally agree that the Red Sox didn’t move on Abreu because of fiscal reasons (no matter what The CHB says), not because they didn’t think he’d contribute.And I couldn’t agree more on the Crisp-Damon comparison. No one missed Damon when he was going 1-12 with 4 Ks and no walks against the Sox back in May. And they sure won’t miss him in 2008, when he puts up a .275/.345/.650 line with 8 HRs in about 115 games.But let’s look at the rest of your statement. Abreu is 32 already. I somehow don’t think we’ll be talking about him when he’s 37. For the year (PHI and NYY combined) he’s put up 9 HRs and hit .298/.438/.450. That’s good, but it’s not great, let alone “very best,” especially when you tack on a $27.7M price tag. He hasn’t been one of the very best OFs since the ASB last season (this weekend notwithstanding).

  7. Steve

    Hey Mike, I’ll argue that, over at your place. 🙂

  8. Stella

    Well, there’s always next century…

  9. Anonymous

    Does anyone actually believe the Sox would not have won more games with Bronson? The team has not had a 5th starter all year, and lacks a number 4 or 5 right now. This was a self-inflicted wound by the boy genius who would be living with Dan Duquette in Dalton if Dave Roberts had not stolen second in 2004.

  10. mike_b1

    Anti-semeticism of the previous poster aside, I don’t believe the trade of Arroyo would have made any difference in the Red Sox W/L record to this point. Up to last weekend’s meltdown, the Sox were actually ahead of their 2004 pace and just behind their 2005 pace. Arroyo just went what, 6 weeks without a win? He’s back to what he was when he was here: a durable but mediocre pitcher.

  11. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — calling Theo a “boy genius” is anti-Semitism? You’ve got to be kidding. As for Arroyo … the Sox have been dying all year for a few “durable but mediocre” pitchers.

  12. mike_b1

    No, the the Sox have been dying all year with a few “durable but mediocre” pitchers.

  13. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — Look up “mediocre.” It does not mean, “sucks beyond all possible human understanding.” As for “durable,” two of the reasons Arroyo was supposedly expendable were Wells and Clement.

  14. mike_b1

    That’s funny Dan. (Bet you never heasrd that before.) Always figured you were anon, too.Beckett = mediocre. Taverez = mediocre. Delcarmen = mediocre. Snyder = mediocre. The ones who really sucked were Johnson and Clement, who had 2.5 good starts out of 12. (Beckett, recall, started the season allowing 3 ERs in 21 IP, then had a 3-game stretch in May where he struck out 17 in 20 IP and allowed 4 runs, and a 4-game stretch in June where he struck out 26 in 28.6 IP and allowed 9 runs, and another 3-game stretch in July where he allowed 6 runs in 20 IP with 17 Ks. Even Rudy Seanez had two great stretches — from May 6-June 16, when he allowed 3 runs over 12 games/14.6 IP, and from June 30-Aug 1 where he allowed only one run over 9 games/12.3 IP.)I think the loss of Wakefield hurt more than that of Varitek, but it’s a moot point.

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