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Enough with the Josh Beckett excuse-making

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  August 9, 2012 08:58 AM

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Here's a novel thought: How about no more excuses?

When it comes to Josh Beckett, we're beyond Defcon 1. The once and former presumed ace vomited all over the field at Fenway Park Wednesday with a deplorable performance that ranks among the worst in his career, allowing eight earned runs over five-plus innings, spared the loss thanks to an offense that refuses to quit and allow Boston's defective duo of Beckett and Jon Lester to sink the season.

And yet, still, somehow, for whatever inane reason, Beckett's excuse-makers continue to defend a track record that is clearly a siphoning disaster. 

He shouldn't have come out for the sixth. The mound was wet. It was a long flight back from New York. He's just anxious about being traded.

Enough.

It took mere moment after Geovany Soto sent a Beckett offering into orbit, eventually landing somewhere directly in front of Kerri Walsh's sand (time delay and all), for Beckett's PR firm (aka, the BBWAA) to rise to his defense. On the same day that ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes penned a piece essentially asking to, "Pray for Josh Beckett," here's what the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson tweeted after Bobby Valentine mercifully lifted Beckett in the sixth inning Wednesday.

Also noteworthy: Beckett has been a complete failure and awful for almost a year now. Too much rest? Laughable. 

MacPherson backed up his statement by noting that Beckett's ERA on four or five days rest is actually 3.58, compared to a stratospheric 10.13 for anything more. Not sure if that includes a day at the links in between. But despite whatever support Beckett has in the press box, he has lost virtually all when it comes to Red Sox fans, who Wednesday booed one of the worst statistical pitchers in baseball this season off the mound, one week after being chastised by Beckett's media cuddlers for jeering a man who left Fenway with a tight back. What those enablers failed to realize is that Fenway wasn't booing a "hurt man" in that moment, but the sum of all parts, a talented pitcher who seemingly refuses to summon the fortitude that it takes to pitch at the top of his game in the major leagues.

Beckett deserves to hear the boos. He deserves outrage.

Yet when it comes to covering the Red Sox on a full-time basis, there still seems to be an aura of lollipop and cotton candy carnival glee. You're all wrong. The beat writers who are there every day know more, even if they profess a definitive agenda in order to defend their stance. That's what we've reached with Beckett, a guy who quite simply needs to go, as sophomoric an idea as that may have once seemed.

He quite simply can't make his next start, can he? Bullpen, DL, irrevocable waivers, get the guy out of the rotation. It was, you might remember, his cantankerous attitude that helped sink the 2011 club and got Terry Francona fired. Nothing has changed. Nothing. Beckett and Buddy Boy Lester are reasons 1 and 1A why the Red Sox are in the position they are, floundering below .500 with the season's internal clock ticking away the moments. There is no debate. If Beckett and Lester pitch like they are capable of pitching, this team is actually pretty good. Shocker, it was the same story last season.

Boston is now 4-13 at Fenway Park when either guy takes the hill. Think about that for a moment. Think about how wretched and downright insulting that number is.

Then again, maybe it's just too much rest. Or whatever other enabling excuse comes next week. 

Beckett isn't just a problem, he's the reason why the Red Sox are where they reside. Doesn't perform, doesn't work, doesn't care.

"But understand there is an alternate course available," Edes wrote, "one that acknowledges that even the toughest men -- maybe especially the toughest men -- have their moments of vulnerability too. And what is the downside in trying to lift up Josh Beckett when he may need it most?"

I get that. But when Josh Beckett eventually shows that he gives a damn in order for us to actually care, you know where to find me.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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