After Josh Beckett was lit up to the tune of seven runs in 5.1 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays last Tuesday at Rogers Centre, he refused to sign off on the glittering array of excuses that were placed at his feet.Umm, Steve?
Remember? His pregame routine had been spoiled, with Jason Varitek being pulled from the lineup because of neck spasms. He was working with newcomer Victor Martinez for the first time. The Red Sox were without pitching coach John Farrell, who had returned home to Cleveland on family business.
The Stat Police were brought into the discussion, pointing out that Beckett was 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA with 'Tek behind the dish, as opposed to an 0-2 record and 11.25 ERA with either Martinez or rookie George Kottaras doing the catching.
Your condescending attitude is unwarranted because the first people who gave that stupid excuse any attention were your fellow media members. Using a term like "Stat Police" implies that it was those nerdy computer nerds who nerdily came up with this reason for Beckett's poor outing.
No, it was the media. Like your Herald-mate John Tomase, on August 19:
If nothing else, the Red Sox need Jason Varitek just to catch Josh Beckett. ...And the normally progressive-minded Adam Kilgore at the Globe also floated that weak balloon:
[T]he numbers are hard to ignore. Beckett is 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA when Varitek is his catcher. When someone else catches him, Beckett is 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA. ...
[Tomase then gives three games, spread out over almost four months (April 30, June 14, August 18) as evidence. Three whole games!]
Beckett is never going to pin the blame on anyone but himself when he pitches poorly, but last night made it pretty clear that Varitek is a partner in his success.
Josh Beckett is a man who relies on habits. He follows a meticulous schedule ... always the same, every detail perfect and familiar. ...The Globe's Chad Finn shot this fish in a barrel later that day:
At 4 p.m. yesterday, while Beckett glowered about the Red Sox clubhouse, his routine unraveled. ... With an untried formula last night, throwing to catcher Victor Martinez for the first time, Beckett produced his first clunker since June, allowing seven runs in 5.1 innings ...
He blamed only himself and not the circumstances. ... He believes when he takes the mound, he owns his results and who squats behind home plate is not a deterrent.
Numbers, though, suggest otherwise. ...
... the notion that the notoriously macho Texan might curl up into the Schiraldi position behind the mound if he has to throw to a backstop other than Varitek is ridiculous on the surface, and downright misleading if you have access to Beckett's career statistics.Anyone who truly understands statistics would never think, let alone suggest, what the media trotted out last week.
Why did no one mention Varitek's seeming inability to influence Beckett back on April 25 (5-10-8-4-3 against the Yankees, the only other time this year he has allowed eight runs) or on July 1 (7-6-5-2-5 against the pathetic Orioles). Where were Varitek's special powers through all of 2006?
This latest "theory" is merely more fuel for the Myth of the Amazing Varitek, the man who makes every pitcher great, except when that pitcher get his ass kicked, then it's his fault.