The Josh Beckett haters have been coming out in droves all season; a lot of the hate has been warranted, some not so much. Beckett has not been good this season (5-9 record, 4.54 ERA), but he has not been terrible by his standards (his ERA is only 3rd highest in his 7 seasons with the Red Sox). He has had three starts with 6 earned runs or more, but has also had seven starts with 2 earned runs or less (not including his last shortened start).
Many do not care about advanced statistics, but if you look at Beckett's Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) - which measure's what a player's ERA should look like assuming that all batting averages on balls in play and the timing at which balls drop in for hits are at the league average - he has been above average. In other words, take out the bad luck that Beckett has faced this year in terms of leaving runners on base, and his ERA would currently sit at 3.54. That's lower than his FIP last year, and lowest since 2008.
Performance aside, there is still a lot not to like about Beckett. He can stink of apathy, arrogance, and an unhealthy diet, and it often seems like he does not care about baseball, this city, and the fans.
However, a different side to Beckett was shown when he went on WAAF's morning radio show yesterday to discuss a variety of topics including this season, the trade deadline, and his opinion on the media. If you have twelve minutes to spare, I suggest you listen to the clip - especially if you have disdain for Beckett, because it's never too late to change your mind.
Josh was jovial throughout the whole interview; he was quick to fire off a joke, and appeared very honest in his answers.
He said his back is feeling good, and that the muscle spasms in his last start were from a combination of bad sleep, anxiety and "exterior distractions", and a wet mound. Anyone's free to have the opinion that Beckett wanted out of that game fast because it was starting to go downhill for him, but I'm going to take the Texan's word on this one and accept his excuses. Beckett also appeared very human when talking about the trade deadline. Although he discussed how he tries to pay little attention to the media, he couldn't help but be stressed out by the rumors of him being traded.
He claimed he is happy in Boston, and that the Red Sox clubhouse is the "exact opposite" of dysfunctional. Bringing up similar feelings that Jim Rice and Ted Williams had when they were players, Beckett feels like a majority of the media will portray a perception of negativity, even if that is not what they are seeing behind the scenes.
Beckett takes the mound this afternoon at 1:35, hoping to find the groove that he was in during the start of his last outing; he has a career .694 winning percentage in days games. He seemed happy in his interview yesterday morning, but will be even happier if he can help the Sox win a series against the best team in the AL this afternoon.Joel Trunfio 8/08/2012 09:11:00 AM Tweet