Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

The Josh Beckett NON Issue

Smiles, everyone, smiles! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

After the announcement that Jon Lester would be the starting pitcher on Opening Day, we waited patiently to find out how the rest of the rotation would round out. We have to wait no more!

After Jon Lester the rest of the rotation shakes out with John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The moment this information was shared with the free world it started:  Josh Beckett will be pissed.  This is the beginning of the end for him.  Tito has no faith in him.  The horror.  The horror.

Beckett’s a big boy.  I think he can take the hit.  You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think Lester deserves the Opening Day start, including Beckett:

“It’s a body of work. It’s not just a one-time deal. It’s a sacred thing. It’s a real cool honor to have, especially with an organization like this. It’s something nobody can take away from him. No matter what happens, it’s something that’s special. I’m happy for him. I’ve been telling him for years, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of Opening Day starts.'”

Sure, I hear you say, but that’s just one guy. Beckett has three in front of him.  Well, maybe he’s taking public speaking classes or maybe his new status as married has mellowed him, but according to the same Rob Bradford entry:

“Those are his decisions,” said Beckett, who is scheduled to pitch in the Red Sox’ first game of their three-game set in Cleveland. “Just like I would always feel like he would back me up, I back him up on his decision, as well.”

Not exactly bitter-sounding is he?

Here’s what I think:  This team has a unified goal…they want to win.  Theo Epstein has put them in an excellent position to do just that. Maybe they are all realizing that little things like number in the rotation is meaningless once the season begins?  Maybe they’re all on the same page and just want to win games?

Everything doesn’t have to be a controversy.  The fans and the reporters can get their feathers ruffled about Beckett’s spot in the rotation but the only important thing to me is what he does in that spot.

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March 17, 2011 - Posted by | 2011 | , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. I think Beckett has just matured. Also having a couple of not so hot seasons will humble a pitcher. whether its due to blisters or what. I’m psyched for Opening Day here!!

    Comment by Tex19 | March 17, 2011 | Reply

  2. I have seen many smiling pictures of Beckett this season and I am enjoying them.

    Comment by Anita | March 17, 2011 | Reply

  3. Yesterday, I had the good fortune of being invited to the BoSox Club luncheon by ace photographer, KellyO. It was terrific, as you are surrounded by avid, smart Sox fans. Gordon Edes led an informal interview with Theo Epstein and Terry Francona. This is where we learned about this year’s starting rotation. In his comments, Francona said Lester really was the the team ace and deserved the nod. It’s hard not to acknowledge Lester, and hard to avoid Beckett, as this was his province.

    Two things come immediately to mind. First is everyone should recall the transition in 2004, where an icon named Martinez was challenged by the newcomer named Schilling. By year’s end, the debate was pretty much settled, ans Schilling emerged as the team’s ace.

    The second thing to consider is there’s a touch of brilliance here, as Beckett now has some of the high end pressure off his shoulders and can focus on improving his game. He still has the stuff, but no longer the burden of a merciless press.

    IMHO, a pitcher has to possess a pretty ego, especially considering that there will be those kinds of days. Beckett has a healthy ego, but he’s also not stupid. Frankly, my guess is he would like nothing better than to be the Sox ace, but is not deserving of it and is perhaps a tad grateful for the way this season’s rotation is set. That’s maturity, IMO.

    And who knows? Maybe Lester might get a run for his money. Maybe there’s another kind of 2004 in 2011… Hard sayin, not knowin

    Comment by Tru | March 18, 2011 | Reply

  4. Schilling may have ascended to the spot of the team’s ace in 2004, but somehow the 2005 opening day starter was David Wells.

    Comment by Sharpie | March 18, 2011 | Reply

  5. I’m thinking if Beckett gets his control back in the strike zone, an awful lot of number-four starters in this league will bemoan their fate as they go up against him. His stuff is as nasty as it ever was. My ill-informed guess is that the back issue is the culprit for his recent struggles. When you’re protecting a tender or stiff back, you don’t bend fluidly–and you tend to leave pitches up. That already tight breaking ball comes out a little bit flatter and the heater stays in the zone too long. And the adjustments you make to accommodate an iffy back are hard to jettison even when you’re healed. If his back is truly solid now, it’s a matter of recovering the mechanics from which he deviated in order to protect the back. Easier said than done, but JB is a pro. I think he’ll work it out.

    Comment by Elai ne Apthorp | March 19, 2011 | Reply

  6. I’m from New York and love baseball but do not have a favorite baseball team. What I like is players who are tremendous competitors. Unless I’m wrong, when Josh goes to throw his first pitch of the season, the last thing on his mind will be where he’s pitching in the rotation. His only focus will be on getting hitters out.
    P.S. Of course he’s going to be annoyed. Great competitors WANT TO BE #1! But once he’s on the hill, will not be thinking of that.

    Comment by Larry Cicchiello | March 20, 2011 | Reply


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