Thursday, August 20, 2009

12 comments I Knew This Was Going To Happen

Last night Varitek was scratched from the lineup late in favor Of Victor Martinez. When I heard this news, all I could think was "please god let Beckett pitch great so I dont have to listen to arguments about how Tek can call a great game". Of course, Beckett goes out and throws like shit so now everyone is saying its because Tek wasnt behind the plate calling a good game for him. Nevermind the fact that Beckett couldnt hit his spots to save his life last night, or the fact that the pitcher calls his own game by choosing his signs, the catcher just throws down suggestions. Varitek calling a good game is like Derek Jeter and his intangibles.

Varitek was a very effective catcher for a long time, but now he is just a hole in the lineup and making his living off his "can call a good game" reputation. Seriously, thats it. He cant hit, he cant play defense, all he can do is "call a good game" whatever that means. After last night, I knew I could rely on a boston paper to write a shitty article that talks about this phenomenon. John Tomase of the Boston Herald did not let me down.

If nothing else, the Red Sox need Jason Varitek just to catch Josh Beckett

Right, and make their already starting to resemble a national league lineup weaker. Makes sense to me.

The Red Sox captain was a late scratch last night, forcing Victor Martinez to move behind the plate to catch Beckett for the first time. The two had never so much as thrown a side session together, and it showed.

Not throwing a side session together does not mean that this forced Beckett to miss his spots as badly as he did. I dont think Varitek not being behind the plate was forcing Josh to have a nervous breakdown and completely miss his spots. He is a professional MLB pitcher, all he had to do was put the ball where V-Marts glove was and maybe he wouldnt have gotten smacked around as much as he did.

Martinez hastily huddled with Varitek before the game, and then did the same with Beckett, but it’s unfair to expect any catcher to walk right in and know how Beckett ticks. The staff ace has spoken in the past about how the get-to-know-you process with Varitek took much of his first season here in 2006.

So....the get to know you season lasted the entire 2006 season? Really? Thats why Josh Beckett sucked so bad? Because of a "get to know you" phase? Okay, being as I remember this pretty vividly. The reason he got smacked around so much was because he was relying too much on his fastball and not enough on his secondary pitches because a)he thought he could just blow away hitters with his fastball and b) he thought his breaking ball was causing his blisters so he was reluctant to throw it.

And as he told last week, he doesn’t spend a ton of time reading scouting reports, instead putting himself in the best position possible physically to have every pitch at his disposal, while relying on his backstop to know the ins and outs of opposing tendencies.

I'm pretty sure V-Mart knows the "ins and outs of opposing tendencies" being as he has spent his whole career in the AL. Oh, and by the way, he has caught the past 2 cy young award winners, so I would argue that he can call a pretty good game as well.

All of that said, Beckett was not about to pin last night’s miserable outing (5.1 IP, 7 ER) on Martinez.

That would have been a pretty dick thing to do if he did.

Vick did a great job. My stuff didn’t equal what he was doing,” said Beckett, who noted that Martinez caught Cy Young Award winners C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee in Cleveland, “so he must be doing something right.”

Hey! I just said that! Way to include that quote in there to undermine the point of your article.

Still, the numbers are hard to ignore. Beckett is 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA when Varitek is his catcher. When someone else catches him, Beckett is 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA. Consider the following three games.

The one thing he chooses to ignore is out of all of his starts, only 3 times has another catcher caught beckett, so say it with me now: Small sample size. Not to mention that at the end of May, Beckett was rocking a ERA over 6. Who was catching him then? Yup, Varitek.

Beckett admitted he had nothing last night and the Jays teed off on him for three home runs and the seven runs.

Way to undermine the point in your article Pt. 2.

After last night’s game, manager Terry Francona noted that Beckett is a creature of habit, and the absence of both Varitek and pitching coach John Farrell (family issue) disrupted his routine. Beckett is never going to pin the blame on anyone but himself when he pitches poorly, but last night made it pretty clear that Varitek is a partner in his success.

You have done nothing to convince me that without Varitek Beckett is nothing. You even undermined your point twice by having quotes of Beckett admitted he had nothing, and you yourself admitted he had nothing. The only thing Mr. Tomase gives to make his point is a sample size of 3 games. Color me not convinced.


Bengoodfella said...

First off, I don't appreciate the National League lineup comment. It's a horrible stereotype the NL has had to deal with just because they don't have a made up Designated Hitter position in the lineup. It's not even a real position for a baseball players, it is generally for guys who can't field or play any other part of the game except hit.

Other than that, you are right. I am sure there is a little bit of a get to know process with pitchers and catchers but I can't believe without that process the entire game will fall apart for the pitcher. V-Mart has been with the BoSox for almost a month now, I would think he would learn how to catch some of these guys if need be in his spare time. You could explain a little bit of the problem on bad communication but not the fact Beckett got rocked.

If I am not wrong, the guy who caught Buerhle's perfect game, had never caught him before that day. So much for the need for good communication. I like the purpose of the article which was, "we would like to blame Martinez for Beckett's bad game but we have no proof of it, so we will do it anyway."

I remember when McCann got called up, John Smoltz complimented him by saying he called a good game. I couldn't help but think, "you are John Smoltz and have been pitching for 16 years in the big leagues. I really doubt he needs to do too much to call a good game."

AJ said...

So when does the talk about the AL Central getting a team into the playoffs with a record worse then the 3rd place team in the AL East start? I say in the next 2-3 weeks.

Do the Red Sox writers always have to find something to complain about? Seriously, Beckett is a top 3 pitcher in the whole MLB, whoever his catcher is doesnt matter. So this is just another thing to complain about by a Red Sox fan writer.

He got beat, he can't win every single game. It just so happens that their better catcher caught that game, it happens. I think if you asked 1000 people, 999 would say they would rather have Victor in there then Varitek.

I think someone should figure out how many times that Ump was calling the game when Beckett pitched. And also what the exact temperature was, how full the moon was, what the humidity was like, who was sitting in section 101 seat 4 row 8 and if they ate a hot dog or piece of pizza. That way we can blame everything and everyone on this loss instead of just saying he got beat (you know, like he has be beaten 66 times in his career).

Fred Trigger said...

Okay, perhaps I should've said "a lineup that is starting to resemble the San Fransisco Giants and San Diego Padres." But the other night they ran out a lineup of Ellsbury, Woodward, Kotchman, Lowell, Ortiz, Alex Gonzalez, Bay, Varitek, and Drew. I spot 4 automatic out in that lineup. But still, my point stands: NL lineups are weaker because you are replacing the DH with a pitcher. Thats a lot of missing offensive production.

The catcher that caught Buerhle's perfect game admitted to not knowing that he had a curveball.

Bengoodfella said...

That lineup you just listed had three ex-Braves in the lineup and I agree there are automatic outs in there and two of the Braves are those automatic outs (me throwing up in my work trash can).

I wasn't really offended at all. I am just kidding, though I am not a huge fan of the DH there are good DH's out there...somewhere.

Ramon Castro is who caught his perfect game and yes, you are right, he didn't know he had a curveball...which pretty much proves there is a little bit that goes to pitcher/catcher chemistry but overall it may be a little overrated.

It's possible Beckett sykes himself out when he doesn't see Varitek behind the plate, I don't really know, but I know Martinez can call a decent baseball game just based on guys he has caught and succeeded with.

AJ, that's interesting you say that. I accuse Bill Simmons of never saying his teams just lose and always making excuses for why they lose that never has to do with talent. This guy did that also. I guess he is just used to Beckett pitching well and figures it can't be that he just got beat. Beckett is a top 3 pitcher, but those guys lose sometimes also.

Speaking of pitchers who suck...who would have thought coming into the year Derek Lowe would be the Braves 4th best pitcher? I know nobody cares but it's true. He's the 4th best pitcher. If the Braves luck into the playoffs and they go to a three man rotation, he should be out.

Fred Trigger said...

I dont know. I think the only one of the 3 braves that I would consider an automatic out would be Woodward. Kotchman is respectable (even though he hasnt lived up to his hype yet) and Drew at the very least is still an on base machine.

Vasquez, Jurrjens, and Hanson are having sick years. Lowe is an enigma of a pitcher. In 03 he pitched like shit the whole year and then in the playoffs he was lights out. Same thing in 04. In the previous two years (0 and 02) he was a stud as a starter and then a stud as a reliever. I could never figure him out. He has definately had a weird career.

Bengoodfella said...

I can't tell you how pumped I am to be paying him $15 million dollars when he is 39 years old.

Speaking of much do you want to bet Smoltz will go to St. Louis and Dave Duncan will be a "genius" for turning his career around when Smoltz starts pitching well? I am not saying Duncan hasn't done well with other guys but he will not deserve any credit for Smoltz because the only problems with John Smoltz are that he is 42 years old and coming off major arm surgery. If he can find his location, he will be golden.

From a Brave's fan perspective, it is so nice to have a guy like Tommy Hanson. I am treating him like I treated Tom Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux...I don't talk about him because I am afraid if I do talk about him, he will go away or get hurt.

Back to the BoSox, Varitek is a good leader but Martinez needs to get on the same page as Beckett soon because Varitek won't be there much longer.

Iridescence said...

This is a great post Fred. I don't have much to add because you've basically said it all. Why does the Boston Globe suck so much? Seriously from what I've read from those guys the only use I would have for it would be toilet paper if I was desperate. What a repository of terrible sports writing it is! It's a shame. Red Sox and other Boston team fans deserve better than Shank, Masserati and the rest of that crew of morons.

I'm also worried about all the auto-outs the Sox have in their lineup. But Now that Pedroia and Youk are back, if Drew can just stay reasonably health (big if I know) and Papi can continue he semi-ressurgance it won't be too bad.Varitek getting injured may be the best thing that could have happened to this team right now. I respect Tek for what he has done for the Sox but he is too old and ineffective to be an everyday player on a playoff team.

I do think Smoltz may be effective as a reliever. He seemed to run out of gas as a starter and totally come apart for one inning or two. He does still have good stuff though. It will be interesting what he is able to do with the Cards.

The Braves have a nice looking rotation BGF. I don't follow them much but they look like they're on the way back to the playoffs soon (in the next couple of years at least).

Bengoodfella said...

Really the BoSox signed Varitek knowing he was going to be a big hole in the lineup this year, they just did not have another backup and he IS well respected by the team. Now they have Martinez and don't really need Varitek all that much. I still have a feeling he is going to come through big in some way this year. I don't know how, but I have a feeling.

Smoltz always was a good reliever and I am surprised the Cards are sticking him in the #5 spot but I guess that is where they think they can fit him in. I guess we will see how that works out.

The Braves do have a good rotation...and I don't want to talk about it because Jurrjens and Hanson are going way over the amount of innings they should pitch. They aren't making the playoffs this year though...or the next...or the next.

Fred Trigger said...


It was actually the Boston Herald, not the Globe. The Herald is far worse for having Gerry Callahan alone. Also, John Tomase, the guy who wrote the article is best known as the writer who claimed there was a tape of the Rams walkthrough from the 01 superbowl, but looked like an ass when none surfaced. He is now basically blackballed by the Pats.

Mazz isnt too bad. I think the best thing the globe has going for it is Chad Finn who, ironically enough, wrote about the same thing but took my stance on it.

Bengoodfella said...

(Being fake bitter) Yeah, great post Fred. I never get "great post" when I put my long posts up...and I don't want a "great post" comment. Fred can just swoop the fuck in any time he wants and everyone loves him and what he writes. Ok, enough complaining I am going back to start writing my post everyone will hate for tomorrow. I don't want a "great post" either because then I will know you are just making my fragile ego feel better. (stops being fake bitter)

Fred, I knew that I knew Tomase's name from somewhere. He is that guy isn't he who said he had proof and he had nothing.

Fred Trigger said...

Thats the guy. Yeah, he cited a source that said they taped the rams walkthrough. Of course, there was no proof of this and he got kicked off the Pats beat immediately after. Guess thats why he is writing Varitek is a god of intangibles stories.

Bengoodfella said...

I guess his intangible is "inherent and constant wrongness." I do remember his name but I had forgotten what part he played in the whole Spygate issue.