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I know, you’re reading the headline and saying… so?
Babe Ruth probably did the same thing back when he was a Red Sox pitcher in the 1910’s. But then again, he was Babe Ruth. He hit 714 career home runs and finished with a 2.28 career ERA with 107 complete games.
According to the Boston Herald’s John Tomase, Red Sox pitchers with off days (presumably starting pitchers, of course) would drink beer in the clubhouse during the games. Yes, DURING the games. That’s an issue, and it could have contributed to a widely discussed problem with the team: physical fitness.
I’m no doctor or nutritionist, and I’m not necessarily a health nut either, but I know beer in excess without exercise can give you a beer belly, which I would not classify as meaning someone is physically fit. I can’t speculate on whether or not the starters work out as much as they should, but let’s just say they’re not as in-shape as they could be (they don’t appear that way, at least). Out-of-shape starters cannot go as deep into games as starters in tip-top shape, and tend to tire out at the end of the season in September.
That’s exactly what happened as the Sox stumbled to a 7-20 record over the final month of the season. Starters had a combined 7.08 ERA, the worst month for Sox starters in team history, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Lundblad. The Sox starters were so bad that reliever Alfredo Aceves finished second on the team in innings pitched in Sept (25 IP, 1.80 ERA).
Without pointing fingers, here’s a list at the Red Sox starters this season (the first four started most of the September games): Jon Lester (31), Josh Beckett (30), John Lackey (28), and Tim Wakefield (23) started at least 20 times. Other starters this season: Clay Buchholz (14), Andrew Miller (12), Erik Bedard (8), Daisuke Matsuzaka (7), Kyle Weiland (5), and Aceves (4).
We can eliminate Dice-K because he was gone by midseason. Weiland isn’t old enough (kidding, he’s 25, but I doubt that was his issue). Aceves pitched very effectively out of the bullpen in the second half, so he’s out. Buchholz was rehabbing throughout the second half, so he’s out. That leaves Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Wakefield, Miller, and Bedard as the likely suspects.
I’m not going to speculate beyond this point, so you be the judge.