Unreal

While the hugeness of Josh Beckett’s dominating performance against Cleveland last night/this morning continues to sink in, consider this:

  • This was the sixth straight postseason start in which Beckett went at least six innings, gave up no more than two runs and struck out at least seven. He’s 5-1 with a 0.93 ERA, 56 strikeouts in 48.1 innings with just seven walks.
  • In those six starts, Beckett’s worst was his Game 1 start last week — a 63 game score. Only three other starters in baseball postseason history have gone at least six straight starts with at least a 63 game score in each one — George Earnshaw of the old Phladelphia A’s, 1929-31, John Smoltz in 1996 and ’97, and Curt Schilling, who had eight such starts (5-0, 0.98) for the Phillies and Diamondbacks in 1993, 2001 and 2002. (Beckett’s regular-season high is just four straight).
  • Earnshaw is one of only two pitchers with a career postseason ERA better than Beckett’s 1.75 (minimum eight starts). It goes Christy Mathewson (11 starts, 1.06), then Earnshaw (eight starts, 1.58), then Beckett.
  • In three starts with Boston in the postseason, Beckett is 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA, 26 Ks, 1 BB in 23 IP. Only Babe Ruth has a lower ERA with at least three postseason starts in team history, and only Pedro Martinez in 1999 (0.00) has a lower ERA with at least three starts in a single Boston postseason (actually only two starts for Pedro, but the third game was the famed no-hit relief appearance).
  • No one in baseball history has put up a strikeout-walk ratio even approaching Beckett’s 26:1 over three straight postseason starts. The closest? Schoolboy Roe (26:1 in four starts and two relief appearances, 1934-35), Sandy Koufax (27:2 in 1963 and ’65) and Schilling (26:2 in 2001).

I’m gonna go ahead and say we’re all pretty happy with that trade.

47 comments… add one
  • He was and has been ridiculous in the post-season.
    Fucking crow!
    It is unreal how good he is in October.

    Nick-YF October 19, 2007, 2:16 am
  • Amazing. Just amazing.

    Jackie (SF) October 19, 2007, 3:37 am
  • Thanks for the context, Paul. A wonderful effort from Beckett. I know exactly where we’d be right now without him: arguing about how our front office treated our championship-caliber (ex?)-manager.
    The Sox are still at a big disadvantage in the series, but “big” is better than “gargantuan”, and we have Josh to thank for that reduction in magnitude.

    SF October 19, 2007, 6:44 am
  • he is the best pitcher in baseball right now…the end
    as for your chances sf….why do i always have to pick you up? ;) honestly, if you looked in the indians dugout last night, they are cooked…mark it down, the sox will win this series…seriously, no jinx…i’m not as anti-sox as i used to be thanks to you guys and this sit…

    dc October 19, 2007, 8:07 am
  • Happily so, it’s getting increasingly more difficult for me to have a problem with the trade. My question is: Why isn’t he consistently this good every other month? He’s always had the talent. And he performed, this well in the 2003 post-season but still regressed. Who is the real Josh Beckett?
    Meanwhile, why not start Beck on short rest for Game 7?

    Pete October 19, 2007, 8:36 am
  • isn’t game 7 scheduled for sunday?…that would only give him 2 days rest…?

    dc October 19, 2007, 8:41 am
  • dc:
    There’s a difference between being blue and being realistic. I’m thrilled the Sox won last night, but reality is that the Sox have a lot of work to do. Can they do it? Sure – it can happen, and I hope it does. But I am not going to have some sort of cocky gung-ho “Cleveland has no shot” attitude. What’s wrong with acknoweldging that the Sox still have an uphill battle?!

    SF October 19, 2007, 8:43 am
  • On the other hand, if we can win three straight from Cleveland in 1999 on the brink of elimination with the lineup they had and the lousy pitching (except Pedro) we had, surely we can do it this year when the Indians’ bats aren’t as good and our pitching is better.

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 8:49 am
  • My bad, I was thinking Game 7 would have meant three days rest. Still, just a terrible decision for Game 4. Simply awful. If the Sox lose the series, that’s the reason.
    I’m hoping the Fenway grounds crew has been letting the field dry out nicely. It would affect Carmona and Westbrook, but not as much Schill or Dice.

    Pete October 19, 2007, 8:58 am
  • Simply awful. If the Sox lose the series, that’s the reason.
    Really? Honestly? You can’t be serious. Beckett not pitching two nights ago will be the reason the Sox lost? That’s a preposterously reductive and simplistic analysis of a hypothetical loss.
    I was in favor of throwing Beckett in Game Four, I was in agreement with you on that strategy. But if the Sox lose the series it will be almost entirely because Curt and Dice-K and the bats etc. failed in their efforts when they had chances, not because the Sox didn’t pitch Beckett two nights ago.

    SF October 19, 2007, 9:02 am
  • Oh, no doubt those are secondary factors, SF. But they essentially punted a game. After what I watched last night, I have little doubt the Sox win Game 4 with Game 7 looking very good. Instead, they’ve got two elimination games where the matchups are tossups.

    Pete October 19, 2007, 9:10 am
  • Pete, if you still have a problem with the trade at this point, then I really have to consider the fact that you really don’t understand what it takes to win big games..The man could not have been any better this year. Also, I’m curious what you think if the Red Sox sign Lowell in the offseason – is the trade still miserable to you?

    Brad October 19, 2007, 10:05 am
  • Good point about the dry field though. I don’t think Westbrook survives the third inning this time around, but of course, they have to get there first.
    It would do Schilling well to not crap to bed tomorrow.

    Brad October 19, 2007, 10:06 am
  • In other news…
    Indians fans are UGLY!
    http://tinyurl.com/27v56u

    LocklandSF October 19, 2007, 10:40 am
  • I actually agree with Pete here (gulp). Sure, we’ve lost games because of a lack of timely hitting, a few rough calls, and bad pitching. But there’s not much that could be done about that. It’s not like Tito can teach Drew and Coco to not suck, or get the umps lasics surgery, or make Curt and Wake 30 again.
    But having Beckett start three games as opposed to two would’ve been a quantifiable improvement in our chances of winning. Ah well.

    Tyrel SF October 19, 2007, 10:48 am
  • Since Beckett threw 109 pitches, I doubt we’ll be seeing him pull a ’99 Pedro in relief in Game 7. But just for argument’s (hooray!) sake, if the Sox had tacked on those runs an inning earlier, would that have made a difference? That is, for Beckett to be available, in any way shape or form, on Sunday, what should his pitch count have been last night?
    Then again, in a Game 7 on the cusp of the World Series, maybe it’s all-hands-on-deck, except for Curt, who needs to do something sharp tomorrow to make this worth discussing.

    FenSheaParkway October 19, 2007, 10:54 am
  • FenShea, mlb.com is reporting that Beckett will probably be available for relief of Daisuke on Sunday.
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071018&content_id=2271856&vkey=ps2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb
    I think in a Game 7 it’s an “all-hands-on-deck” situation. If Beckett feels good on Sunday, we might see him in relief. Though Lester looks like a better option, especially after his strong relief option the other night.

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 11:04 am
  • No, FSP. Becuase Beckett could have come out after they tacked on the runs, with his pitch count somewhere in the 90s. But he pitched the eighth anyway.
    I, for one, wwill not be pinning the series loss on Francona or Beckett not pitching. At this point, I might pin it on Schilling. If he’s just mediocre in Game 2, and not awful, it’s the Sox with the 3-2 lead going home, not the Tribe, and we’re not even discussing the Sox’ bats after three wins against the combo of Sabathia/Carmona.

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 11:06 am
  • lets’ just hope all is moot, and we’re not blaming anyone but Carmona and Westbrook! Well, and maybe that child molester with the drum at the Jake.

    Brad October 19, 2007, 11:09 am
  • Of course we will never know (and this is coming from someone who wanted Beckett starting in game four), but would he have been as effective two nights ago? And would a game four start have negatively impacted a game seven start, due to strain from a short rest appearance? These are all unknowns, and though I disagreed with the move to start Wakefield, it was not indefensible, particularly if Beckett was feeling physical issues prior to that game.
    “Blame” is on the players, who have had their shots, not on management.

    SF October 19, 2007, 11:26 am
  • Oh, I’m not suggesting Beckett in Game 4 would have been a panacea, and the point is moot anyway. That’s not the point of my curiosity about a Game 7 relief appearance. But the guy has been the best Sox player this postseason (Manny a close second) so the possibility he could be used again effectively is tempting.
    I thought he pitched the 8th yesterday because he had already gone past the ‘point of no return’, as it were. Might as well let Beckett nail down most of his own game, than turn it over to MDC or Oki, and all that. I was just thinking about where that point might have been (after 6? after 7?), that’s all.

    FenSheaParkway October 19, 2007, 11:44 am
  • I also supported starting Beckett, but if you go back and look at that list I did of the worst postseason pitching performances in history, you’ll find many of them were good pitchers being asked to start on three days’ rest. So I was leery, but figured he could be no worse than Wakefield, even if he struggled.
    As it was, Wake gave up three runs in an inning that included a dropped popup and a double-play ball that ended up being an infield single after he touched it. Wakefield wasn’t bad that game; Delcarmen torched that one, and I’m betting that he would have been the first to relive Beckett had Beckett thrown on short rest and gone something like six innings.

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 11:47 am
  • I don’t think they would have taken Beckett out after the sixth or seventh to save him for Game 7 without an enormous lead, which would have been a smart move. It wasn’t available, though, as a tactic. You win the game you are playing, you can’t save your pitcher for a game you may never actually see. Good managing last night, to me leaving Beckett in as long as possible was a no-brainer.

    SF October 19, 2007, 11:48 am
  • The banter about Josh starting in Game 4 (or not) is stupid, the simple fact is, is that he had a sore back, Terry eluded to is but as a whole they were quiet about is, as they should have been. he wasn’t ready to pitch, therefore he didn’t. End of story.

    ShawnNYCsoxfan October 19, 2007, 11:49 am
  • He may have had a sore back, but many or most of us did not know that at 3pm Tuesday afternoon, so it was ripe for debate at the time. And did we ever!
    SF – I thought it was the right call last night, given the game situation. I was just evoking the hypothetical, wherein the Sox are up 7-1 and Beckett’s only thrown 70+ after 6, similar to how Game 1 turned out.
    Although given what we learned about the bullpen right now in the intervening Games 2, 3 and 4, it would seem leaving Beckett in last night even if the six run lead materialized sooner, would still have been the prudent thing to do.

    FenSheaParkway October 19, 2007, 12:28 pm
  • Beckett has definitely been amazing and has single handedly saved the Sox this post-season. Yet, every time I see Hanley Ramirez putting up those 5 tool numbers for Florida, and then I look at Lugo and his .150 BA, it makes me wonder if there was any way we could have kept him. Or, Theo should have just kept Orlando Cabrera after 04 (a highly overlooked, huge mistake IMHO)

    Stephen October 19, 2007, 1:06 pm
  • Luck is the only explanation.

    Russell October 19, 2007, 1:07 pm
  • It makes me cringe too Stephen, but good pitching always beats good hitting. I miss Hanley as much as the next guy, but I think most of us–with the exception of Pete–will agree that Beckett + Lowell > Hanley + Anibal

    Atheose October 19, 2007, 1:16 pm
  • Agreed Atheose. Sanchez was obviously not going to be taking Beckett’s place in this post-season. Or perhaps any.

    FenSheaParkway October 19, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • Beckett alone > Hanley and Anibal. That is, if you like winning playoff games without depending on the bats, which often fail when it matters most.
    Who remembers great seasons by a short stop that plays in the NL East (aka: double A ball) that end when the regular season does? Nobody. Well, at least not me. There are too many unanswered questions surrounding how well Hanley would do in Boston, you know, in front of people. Edgar was the best SS in baseball when he came here, and while they bailed too soon, he failed miserably.
    An ace, that can take the bump in huge games, block out everything else, and dominate the way Josh has is more valuable than Hanley ever will be. Every day of the week. Unless of course, you’re basing your value scale on something other than I am – like what’s on paper and not the field.
    He’s great, but Josh is great here now, 27, and carrying this team on his right arm. Pronk is a great hitter too, and how did he look at the plate last night?
    Pitching wins.

    Brad October 19, 2007, 2:00 pm
  • I was going to post the Top Ten reasons to start Coco over Jacoby but every single one of them has slipped my mind. Time to take out the trash.

    Pocono Sox October 19, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • Brad speaks the truth.

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • The top ten reasons to start Coco over Jacoby is remarkably similar to the light reading posted by gerb early this morning.

    FenSheaParkway October 19, 2007, 3:17 pm
  • Heh, I was just about to comment:
    It’s not like Tito can teach Drew and Coco to not suck … but he certainly can bench Coco in favor of Jacoby, which he hasn’t done, to my eternal dismay/rage.
    But it looks like FSP and PoconoSox just beat me to it.

    Jackie (SF) October 19, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • And Drew has certainly been better than either Coco or Lugo this postseason. Coco is the only one of the three who’s consistently sucked all year. Lugo and Drew had solid second halves, which makes me optimistic for next season.
    Memoria of Bellhorn c. 2004 keep flashing in my head, but the difference to me is that Bellhorn had shown he could be a solid hitter between the strikeouts and was just in a slump. Francona gambled correctly that Bellhorn would break out.
    With the exception of one month, Crisp has been in a two-year slump. It’s time to say, “Thanks for the defense, but we need a bit more production.”

    Paul SF October 19, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • 1. Crisp has been terrible at the plate all series, but he was *exceptionally* terrible last night. If ever there was a moment to make the move to Ellsbury, it’s now. (And heck, in the unlikely event that Jacoby were to look like a lost rookie in the playoffs, Francona could always sub Coco for him mid-game.)
    2. It’s all on Schilling now. Gave 7 is a purely theoretical prospect. We need Curt to come through à la ALCS Game 6 ’04, only without his fastest stuff.
    I sure hope (and don’t doubt) that Bex and G38 are conferring in detail about what worked last night against each hitter, that Schilling is reviewing each at bat of Game 2 over and over again on video, and spending a ton of time with Boston scouts.
    On the plus side, Fenway will be rocking and Carmona has shown himself to be vulnerable… But this SF is veddy nervous.
    And that theoretical Game 7, if we get there? That sounds like a total crapshoot, with only (what would then be) momentum and home field advantage in our plus column. I would expect not only to see an inning or two from Bex, but possibly also from Wakes if DiceK gets slapped around early.

    Hudson October 19, 2007, 4:50 pm
  • (What particularly irks me about Francona’s use of Jacoby this off-season is that he has treated him strictly as a defensive asset, subbing him in the OF in situations where he’s unlikely to come to the plate. For example, last night he put JEll into left only after Manny had his last at-bat in the 8th. With Crisp utterly lost at the plate, and Ellsbury as fast on the basepaths and perfectly good in the outfield, it is baffling that he hasn’t been used more.)

    Hudson October 19, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • The Ellsbury Crisp dilemma is legit, but what does it say about the quality of our manager that this is the source of most of the angst for the fans, whether or not a great defensive player like Crisp who has had some bad games at the plate should be replaced by a good, young, unproven player for what might be a potentially marginal offensive uptick? Tito is doing a great job this playoffs.
    Crisp had a great game against Carmona in Game #2, I seriously doubt Ells will start, and that’s probably the right move.

    SF October 19, 2007, 4:59 pm
  • I agree, SF.

    Brad October 19, 2007, 5:08 pm
  • I have a bit of angst about some bullpen moves too, but it’s marginal. :)
    The Ellsbury thing is just baffling to me. What does Francona POSSIBLY have to lose by giving Coco a game off? Ellsbury is speedier on the basepaths, maybe a tiny bit inferior in CF (he has the speed to get to most balls, but I think Coco reads them a bit better and knows the field a bit better…) but in all likelihood would be a serious improvement at the plate.

    Jackie (SF) October 19, 2007, 5:09 pm
  • With Schilling pitching to contact, no way Ellsbury plays over Crisp. Balls in play means that Tito will maximize the defense. Add in that Crisp excelled in Game Two at the plate with Carmona hurling and it would be very surprising if Coco was benched on Saturday, unless of course an injury has hit him.

    SF October 19, 2007, 5:11 pm
  • I know this is a Sox issue, but I will chime in anyway…
    Remember Tito has gone on record saying that Coco could be the best defensive CF’r he has ever seen, let alone managed. I would be SHOCKED if in a elimination game he went to Ellsbury. It’s a game where you have to assume Schilling will give you a big game and that Carmona will be he usual dominant self. With that said Francona will go with defense and experience over potential. He knows what he gets from Coco defensively and quite frankly anything he gets on the offensive side is a bonus. Just my thoughts.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 19, 2007, 5:20 pm
  • I see your point about playing Coco on Saturday, defense-wise. Offensively I think it’s still no contest. Yeah, Coco was 2-5 with a K in Game 2… good, but I wouldn’t say he “excelled at the plate”. And it is worth noting that one of those two hits was off Borowski when we were already down by seven.
    Even if it does make sense to play him Saturday, I still don’t understand the rationale for playing him for the last couple nights. He just looks terrible at the plate.

    Jackie (SF) October 19, 2007, 5:20 pm
  • who has had some bad games at the plate
    Yeah, 162 of them! *ba-dump*

    Paul SF October 20, 2007, 12:27 am
  • Rotoworld states that Jacoby is starting.

    Pocono Sox October 20, 2007, 2:40 pm
  • Actually, Sean McAdam of the ProJo is reporting this, Rotoworld links to the ProJo.
    Like Trisk, I am shocked by this, considering the need for defense tonight.

    SF October 20, 2007, 2:50 pm
  • I think it’s a weighed risk. How many balls do you think are going to be hit to CF tonight, really, that Coco could get to but Jacoby won’t be able to? Meanwhile, having Jacoby’s high energy particle jets stream from the black hole that is our 6-9 could really spark our offense.
    Anyway, I’m excited to see him tonight. My only fear is that Tito’s waiting so long will put undue pressure on him.
    *walks off, whistling “Centerfield”*

    Jackie (SF) October 20, 2007, 4:43 pm

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