beckett_2014-03-08

Fifth Starter Day: Good For Maholm, Less So For Beckett

beckett_2014-03-08Josh Beckett faced 14 batters tonight against Seattle. Seven reached base, and while that’s bad, look at it this way: only four stayed there! …because three (Jesus Montero, Stefen Romero, and Justin Smoak) crushed dingers and needed only to jog lightly around the bases. Extrapolated over a full season, that puts him on pace for approximately 382,918 homers allowed. (Roughly.)

That’s pretty terrible, though of course the normal spring training caveats do apply, and Beckett told SNLA’s Alanna Rizzo after his outing that he was attempting to work on his fastball. And really, that’s the kind of thing that’s so easy to forget about spring training. It’s about the work, not the outcome. In a game that counts, you would pay more attention to the scouting report, attacking a hitter’s weakness. In March, you want to get your work in, and if the ball lands 400 feet away, well, so be it.

Usually, anyway. We can brush off lousy Clayton Kershaw starts pretty easily, and we have. If this were 2007-era Beckett, we’d do the same. Of course, this Beckett is 33, coming off a lost season, and at least theoretically battling Paul Maholm for a rotation spot — and it’s hard not to notice that a few hours before Beckett got lit up, Maholm struck out four Rangers over three innings, allowing a single run.

This was only the second outing of the spring for each pitcher, and so obviously not all that much should be read into it. Still, Beckett can’t afford lousy games like Kershaw can, and this isn’t likely to quiet any questions about that last starter spot.

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The good news! Joc Pederson arguably had two homers tonight himself, though one turned into a double when it was uncertain whether it had actually gone out or not. Either way, he hit the ball off the end of the bat and still basically got it out of the park, and so we’ll look past the defensive miscommunication that let a ball drop, which had it been caught, may have averted a Beckett homer (since the inning may have ended). Dee Gordon reached twice and stole twice — that’s seven for seven this spring — while looking like far more of a second baseman than he ever did a shortstop.

Via Chad, here’s that Pederson blast:


GIF Link

YES PLEASE.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.