Much has been made of Josh Beckett's affinity for Jason Varitek, but the numbers speak for themselves. Before last season, Josh Beckett Boston threw over 731 innings to Jason Varitek, during that he had a 3.90 ERA with Varitek behind the plate. At the same point before last season,  Beckett had pitched 201.2 innings to other catchers and had a 5.53 ERA.

It may seem foolish for a top of the rotation "ace" to have to a personal catcher, or to have such a drastic split, but this isn't the first time. Greg Maddux used to exclusively pitch to "Eddie Perez" in Atlanta. That meant that every 5th day the Braves would sit one of the best hitting catchers in the NL to play a pudgie guy with a creepy mustache, all so Maddux felt comfortable. Pitchers can be a weird bunch.

Well, it's beginning to look like the Sox won't have to bring Tek back and prop him up behind the plate for the rest of Beckett's time with the team. After Beckett's first start, in which he threw to Salty. We all remember how that went, right? Beckett was tagged for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings, including an astounding 5 homeruns.

But the last four starts with Shoppach, Beckett is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA. After a shaky start in which he allowed three runs on three hits in the first inning of Sunday's 4-1 loss, Beckett gave up three hits over the next 5 2/3 innings. He finished with eight strikeouts and three walks over 6 2/3 innings.

For a guy who offered the fact that his shirt sleeve was a half inch longer on one side as the reason he got shelled in the first game, it's pretty apparent that comfortability is a HUGE factor. And even though the Red Sox lost yesterday, between the successful road trip and Beckett finding someone who doesn't make him want to serve it up on a platter, the Red Sox seem to be turning a corner.

Here's to hoping Bobby V isn't waiting around the other side of that corner - ready to trip up the Sox - just as the start to get going. 

Pete Mastors 4/30/2012 11:14:00 AM Edit
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