With the word being that Josh Beckett tore part of his skin on his middle right finger, the question now comes if Beckett can make his next scheduled start, set for this Friday against the Braves. This is a shame, because he’s faced the Braves many times and could utilize that knowledge very well against a lineup that only knows the old Josh Beckett who pumps fastballs. It would have been domination.
Beckett says he’s 50/50 on making the start, but I don’t want to take any chances, even if it’s just a torn skin flap or it’s a recurrence of his blisters/eczema problem. Right now we’re 21-11, 8.5 games up on the hated New York Yankees and nine on the surprisingly good Baltimore Orioles, ( the latter in spite of their manager).
Put Josh Beckett on the DL.
Sure, he misses a game against the Braves, Yankees and Indians (three very good ballclubs) but we could get him back in time to fit him in against the Yankees or to kick off the Athletics series in Oakland.
Is it a great move? No, it’s not. Beckett starts against three good ballclubs, as I mention, and he’s doing excellent so far. The man is on pace to strike out 200 batters in 213 IP. There’s something that Rob Neyer said about Beckett’s injury that’s stuck with me, however: “I think it’s more likely that Beckett simply is not built to pitch effectively and give his team 200 innings. He can do one or the other. Not both. This season, Beckett’s apparently decided to pitch effectively. Which was great while it lasted.”
I don’t know if Neyer’s right or wrong here yet, but I don’t particularly care. Beckett is only 27 years old (as of today, happy birthday!) and has plenty of time to prove his detractors wrong. I’m not worried about Beckett’s injury troubles (yet). If it’s a one-time occurrence, this is going to go by the wayside. But … if this is indeed blister related, then it’s time to worry a bit. I’m aware the club said it was not blister related, but do we really believe them? They’re not at J.P. Ricciardi levels just yet, but they can be pretty vague, just like Bill Belichick.
In the end, I don’t care if he can give us 200 innings of 2.66 ERA ball this year. I care that he makes a majority of his starts, sure. But I’m fine with him missing two or three starts (it can be two if they skip the fifth starter on the off-day on May 24, but that’s doubtful) if it means getting him healthy. Now, if he continues pitching effectively and goes down again later in the year, then he does prove Rob Neyer right.
But Josh Beckett didn’t get over the 200 inning hump last year for no reason. Beckett certainly didn’t do it because he sucked, as Neyer says. Beckett did it because he remained healthy, not because he sucked. He sucked because he was adjusting to a new league with a pitching style that he had to completely change after the year and move to a different spot on the rubber.
If the skin heals enough that he can start against the Braves or only miss one start, I’m all for pitching him.
But I want him available in September and October, racking up the wins. I want him available to toe the mound in Game Seven of the World Series. I want Josh Beckett on the DL. Better safe than sorry.
Assuming we put Beckett on the DL, I see us having three options for a replacement.
Current longman Kyle Snyder has appeared in 11 games, all in relief. He’s logged 12.3 innings of 2.19 ERA ball, and has whiffed eight batters, but walked five for a WHIP of 1.21. The low WHIP is due to only allowing 10 hits. I think it would be best to have Snyder step in and see if he can give us a quality game. If he gets blown up against the Braves, then perhaps we explore other options, but he’s been at the major league level all year and has delivered. Let’s see what he has.
Devern Hansack, who has a 3.89 ERA in six games in the minors, is an option. He was called up a bit ago (and sent down for Javier Lopez) and pitched 0.2 IP, racking up three runs. It’s no secret, however, that he can pitch at the major league level. He is my choice to be called up as a reliever if they elect to start Snyder, but not to start.
Another option is Kason Gabbard. Gabbard really showed last year that he could be a quality major league pitcher, and has come into his element at Pawtucket this year. He has a 2.75 ERA and a 3-1 record in 39.1 IP. He’s started eight games and notched a BB/K of 12/35. Best of all? He’s a lefty, and he could do well against the Yankees’ lefty-powered lineup, plus he could give offenses a different side of the rubber to worry about instead of going into Boston knowing that all righties will be toeing the mound.
Of course, there’s Jon Lester, and he could have gotten the call, but the Red Sox are moving tremendously slow with his rehab from a forearm cramp. I think it’s a bit ridiculous, but … I’m not the doctor or the GM.
All in all, my choice to start against the Braves is … Josh Beckett. But only if he is 100 percent healthy. If he’s not, put him on the DL, and let him recuperate. Let’s be safe here.

The results of the poll:

Should the Red Sox try to acquire Edwin Encarnacion?
* Yes, do what it takes!
7% of all votes
* Yes, but not for anyone we will truly miss.
37% of all votes
* Maybe, we’ll have to see how things play out.
22% of all votes
* No, no matter what, stay away!
21% of all votes
* The Reds will not trade him. Stop dreaming!
13% of all votes

Interesting mix of responses. A good amount want to move him for people we will not truly miss (which in retrospect, is a bad poll answer to give – of course you want to get someone for no one you will miss) … while 22 percent are unsure. 21 percent want to stay away no matter what (likely the defense issues and good play of Mike Lowell) and oddly, 13 percent think I need to stop dreaming.
I voted for the third option, by the way. I would be comfortable sending Craig Hansen and some other pieces for him.

One other note: I went to Shea Stadium this Sunday, and saw Oliver Perez take a one-hitter into the ninth inning before giving up a homerun to Bill Hall and getting pulled. It was the second straight year Hall homered on Mother’s Day in the ninth inning with a pink bat. Shea Stadium is just okay. I got a horrific sunburn, and there was nothing “great” about the Stadium, but the apple that rises up after every homerun is pretty cool. What I didn’t like was that behind the centerfield scoreboard and bleachers was a whole lot of pavement, and then another wall separating that pavement from the outside. It looks like it’s just used for maintenance. It looks like wasted space.
It’s just a “stadium.” Some notable differences from Fenway: Beer is served to you, and there are tons of security guards all over the place who act as ushers. The fans are great, and deserve a better stadium. They were into the game all day long, and were clapping after every positive effort the Mets game. For mistakes, they did let out a small groan, but it wasn’t the “ohhhh, they suck and my life is over” groan that Red Sox fans emit. They all hate the Yankees, especially the person who searched my camera bag on the way into the stadium, and someone who gave me a high-five after the game. (I was rocking my Red Sox hat, but I did have a Jose Reyes shirt on, courtesy of the friend who treated me to the game.) I’ll have pictures once we finish working out the kinks on the new photo gallery we’re implementing.
All in all, I recommend going to experience the great club the Mets have and their fans, but don’t go for the stadium.