Has Josh Beckett Lost It?
When the Los Angeles Dodgers made the big August trade with the Boston Red Sox last season to acquire Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto, there was major concern over one player. The concern was always over Crawford not Beckett.
Crawford, although currently nursing a hamstring, has produced quite nicely on the field. In the 25 games Crawford has been in, he is 28-for-91 (.308) with four homers, four stolen bases, and 20 runs scored.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told a group of us in the Dodgers dugout on Wednesday that Crawford will not go on the DL for now and they are just being “overly cautious.” The good news is that Crawford singled in a pinch hit appearance in last night’s series opener with the San Francisco Giants.
The player in question is Beckett who has started the season 0-4 with a 5.24 ERA in six starts. Visibly frustrated in the locker room on Wednesday night after he lasted just four innings giving up five runs (four earned). This Beckett is not the pitcher the Dodgers thought they were getting when they pulled the trigger on the trade.
Usually pitchers look to get in some type of rhythm to get themselves going within a game. Lately the only rhythm Beckett has been in has been pitching from the stretch and taking his time.
Mattingly mentioned that “When Josh gets in trouble, he slows the tempo way down.” I can personally vouch for the slowing down part as two hours had already passed by the time the fifth inning rolled around.
There has only been one start this season that Beckett has lasted longer than six innings which was a complete game 1-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In fact, Beckett hasn’t made it through six innings in four of his six starts.
If the Dodgers pitching staff was healthy Beckett might have a little more pressure on him to stay in the rotation. Beckett’s services are needed with Zack Greinke (collarbone), Chris Capuano (Calf), Chad Billingsley (Tommy John Surgery), and Friday Ted Lilly (strained rib) all on the DL.
Mattingly is worried about the mental aspect of the bad start and expressed that by saying, “You start thinking about climbing out of that and it’s not going to be one start and you’re back to .500.”
The question becomes, how long do the Dodgers let Beckett figure it out? If Beckett continues to pitch like he has and the staff continues to have health issues, the team will have no choice but to make a move.