Apropos of the four Josh Beckett debates we’ve had here in the past three months — all of which have been remarkable for their civil, smart and well-thought-out nature — The Hardball Times a while back delved into whether a pitcher who is dominant for x number of starts and is abysmal for y number of starts is any less valuable than a pitcher who is consistently good for x + y number of starts (assuming of course that y is a pretty good share lower than x). It specifically focuses on NL Cy Young candidates — Oswalt, Webb and Carpenter.
The conclusion: That Carpenter, though having more stinkers than the other two, also had morre dominant starts, and when factoring in bullpen-average ERAs, he gave his team a better chance to win more games. In my book, any pitcher that can give you 19 quality starts per season at age 26 while adjusting to a new league and dealing with self-described "stupid stubborness" is a pitcher who is very valuable.
And for those who are curious, Josh Beckett’s night-and-day lines this season:
Quality starts: 19 games, 129.2 IP, 15-2, 2.22 ERA (including 13 IP, 5 ER against NY in 2 wins)
Non-quality: 14 games, 75 IP, 1-9, 9.84 ERA (including 7 IP, 16 ER against NY in 2 losses)