Beckett Dominates; Bring Him Back on Three Days’ Rest?

If tonight’s match-up of the top two contenders for the AL Cy Young award was any predictor of things to come, Josh Beckett will take home the award. But then, the Cy Young is about the regular season, so C.C. Sabathia is still in the running.

But more important is who wins this series, and the Red Sox got a huge jump at home and sent a message to the Indians’ pitching staff. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were on base an amazing 10 straight times between them as the Sox went into double digits.

And Beckett, who gave up a run in the first inning, because of the run support, only pitched 6 innings and 80 pitches. Could he come back on three days’ rest?

What would Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax say?

Koufax defined a good pitcher as “a guy that throws what he intends to throw.” That would fit Beckett.

He also said, “If there was any magic formula, it was getting to pitch every fourth day.” And he closed out a World Series on two days’ rest, defeating the Minnesota Twins in game 7 in 1965.

But he paid a price. He said later, when he retired early at the top of his game, “I’ve got a lot of years to live after baseball and I would like to live them with the complete use of my body.”

Pitchers don’t have the steel they used to have when hurlers like Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn started and finished a game no matter how many extra innings they played. (Spahn said, “A sore arm is like a headache or a toothache. It can make you feel bad, but if you just forget about it and do what you have to do, it will go away. If you really like to pitch and you want to pitch, that’s what you’ll do.”) But what today’s pitchers do have is healthier arms and bodies. I admit, I often long for the good old days of invulnerable pitchers. But it’s not the world we live in today. We had only one twenty-game winner this year. There used to be several per year.

Beckett has pitched on three days’ rest before. But I have to believe if Terry Francona was going to do it, he would have pulled him after five. Bottom line: It wouldn’t be a good risk to take and the Red Sox seem to have signaled they don’t intend to do it. They want Beckett to play longer than Koufax did.


2 Responses to “Beckett Dominates; Bring Him Back on Three Days’ Rest?”

  1. 1 Beppo October 15, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    I’m glad they’re not bringing Beckett back on 3 days rest. I know he pulled it off in 2003, but he was younger then. The stats on pitchers in the postseason on 3 days rest is something like 29-52 (since 1995). I think that’s the main reason the Braves didn’t win more during their dynasty, because Bobby Cox liked to turn to the big name pitchers on 3 days rest, and that really hurt the stats of Glavine & Maddux.

    I know a lot of analysts think aces should be brought back on short rest, but the pitchers these days aren’t used to the workload. A few decades ago, teams didn’t use a 5-man rotation during the season.

    I also miss the complete games, where a starter could throw 120 pitches and finish the game effectively. Too often a good starter is pulled for a reliever with a 4.50 ERA, and I’m thinking “WHY?!?”

  1. 1 It’s Wakefield « Sports and Ethics Trackback on October 16, 2007 at 7:21 pm

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