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Is Josh Beckett an Ace?

Josh Beckett

After Tuesday night’s unbelievable 11-10 loss to the Orioles, which featured the best bullpen in baseball surrendering an astounding 13 hits and 10 runs in two innings, the Sox needed, above all, a stout performance by staff ace Josh Beckett. Depended upon to play the role of stopper, Beckett was hit hard, giving up five earned runs—including two homers—in seven less than spectacular innings.

I, for one, expected more. But, then again, I always have.

After Josh Beckett’s great 2007 season, and absolutely dominant post-season, I thought the right-hander from Spring, Texas, was on the verge of greatness. I imagined a six or seven year run of 18 wins, 200 K’s and sub-3.00 ERAs. I thought he was this generation’s Roger Clemens. It didn’t happen. Most likely, it never will. Beckett’s reputation as a great pitcher is based upon that one great season, as well as one great game— his unforgettable performance in the sixth game of the 2003 World Series.

Now 29 years old—the apex of a baseball player’s career, according to stats guru Bill James—Beckett is, to my mind at least, maddeningly inconsistent. Entering this season, Beckett’s career ERA was 3.78. As a member of the Red Sox, he has posted ERAs of 5.01 (2006), 3.27 (2007) and 4.03 (2008). This season, after an utterly horrific April (2-2, 7.22 ERA), Beckett rebounded with a number of outstanding efforts, capped off by a fabulous June in which he allowed only 6 earned runs—all in one game!—and fashioned a 4-1 record. His ERA for the month was 1.51. He was, in a word, brilliant.

Why isn’t he always brilliant?

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3 comments for “Is Josh Beckett an Ace?”

  1. [...] of the 13 are Red Sox. Beckett, of course, continues to embody the term “staff ace” (or does he?), Papelbon’s still a dominant closer, and Wake is having a stellar year, especially in light [...]

    Posted by All-stars, smilin’ at me/Nothin’ but All-Stars, do I see… | Sports of Boston | July 7, 2009, 8:00 pm
  2. [...] than that, the 5-2 victory was a ho-hum affair. Josh Beckett was not particularly sharp, but he still managed to hold Oakland to 2 runs in 6 2/3 innings. After Okland’s Scott Hairston [...]

    Posted by Sox Win Slightly More Interesting Than “House” Rerun | Sports of Boston | July 8, 2009, 8:19 am
  3. [...] ⋅ August 29, 2009 at 8:49am ⋅ Post a comment As readers of this blog know, I have questioned Josh Beckett’s ace-worthiness before, and Friday night’s game did nothing to ease my [...]

    Posted by Sox Outlast Blue Jays 6-5 | Sports of Boston | August 29, 2009, 8:49 am

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