Re: Beckett threw 125 pitches last night; Did Francona leave him in too long? Do you have a problem with this?
posted at 4/22/2011 7:32 PM EDT
This is from WEEI.com:
Of the many story-lines to come out of the Red Sox’ 4-2 win over the Angels Thursday night in Anaheim, one was the amount of pitches Sox manager Terry Francona left Josh Beckett in for — 125, the second-highest pitch count the pitcher had ever experienced.
The number was the second-most pitches Francona has allowed a starter to deliver in the season’s first month since he took over as manager in 2004. The highest? The much-scrutinized 133-pitch outing by Curt Schilling on April 25, 2006 in Cleveland. (It should be noted that Francona got caught in a 10-pitch at-bat with Jason Michaels, Schilling’s final batter.) The second-most came last season when John Lackey tossed 120 pitches.
Yet while it isn’t the norm for Francona to be going 120-plus pitches with starters in April, with history being our guide, there really shouldn’t be a huge outcry when it came to leaving Beckett in to face Maicer Izturis having already thrown 118 pitches.
Many are still stung by what happened to Schilling following that outing in Cleveland. After one start, the then-ace went on to turn in a 5.73 ERA in May. But the two scenarios really shouldn’t be compared.
The problem with leaving Schilling in was that he was 1. He was coming off an injury-plagued season in ’05; and (this is the big one) 2. The righty ended up throwing more pitches in that month (April) than any other month in his career (674). So, really, it was more about the entirety of the season’s first 30 days than it was that one game.
So, where does that leave us with Beckett?
Beckett currently stands at 435 pitches for April. With one more start to go in the month he figures to eclipse his previous biggest April workload as a member of the Red Sox, in ’09 when he totaled 530 pitches. It was that first month, two seasons ago, that should offer optimism.
Immediately after that April in ’09, Beckett tore off perhaps the best run of his career. In May he went 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA. June saw the righty go 4-1 with a 1.51 ERA. And July finished with Beckett going 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA for the month.
Moral of the story: Look at the month and look at the pitcher. Don’t just look at the game.