As some of you know, I’ve been under the weather for the last few days, and so last night I took advantage of Josh Beckett starting to skip the game entirely and get some much-needed extra sleep. In retrospect, that seems like a pretty good choice, because Beckett was once again terribly disappointing, getting bounced after only three innings. (Which brings up a sidenote — any conversation about how mediocre the bullpen has been has to start with a discussion about how often the rotation asks them to throw 4-6 innings a night.)
But looking at the line, something seemed off. Five strikeouts in three innings is actually very good, and while allowing four runs clearly isn’t, only two were earned thanks to an Adrian Gonzalez error. He didn’t even give up a homer, which isn’t usually something you can say, and so pulling him that early seemed odd to me. Again, that’s just from looking at the box score, since I wasn’t watching live. (I was also wondering how A.J. Ellis managed a triple. Ouch, Bryce Harper. Ouch.)
So was it… yes. Yes it was:
Josh Beckett, who is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA, left the game after just three innings in part, manager Don Mattingly said, because he slightly strained a groin muscle covering first base on an Adam LaRoche groundout. Beckett is also battling an assortment of minor injuries, Mattingly said. But what?
“He’s had some little stuff going on in different areas, and I think it was bothering him tonight,” Mattingly said.
Little stuff, such as?
“We had known some little stuff was going on,” Mattingly said.
Of course. Actually, it’s not that cut-and-dry, because Beckett insisted that he’s healthy enough to pitch and that whatever it is Mattingly is referring to wasn’t affecting his performance, but I’m really hoping he’s just trying to be a tough guy, because some explanation to his poor season would be nice. No one expected the Beckett of old here, but a decent mid-rotation starter didn’t seem like too much to ask, especially with a move to the National League. There are signs of hope here — he’s striking out nearly a man per inning, which is great — but it just hasn’t come together, as the Dodgers have lost seven of his eight starts.
To say that they’ve lost seven of eight is somewhat misleading, because that includes the 1-0 complete game he lost in Arizona when he was outstanding, but something is clearly not working. Over his last three starts, he’s gone just 13 innings, allowing nine earned runs (though striking out 16); without knowing the truth about his health, it’s difficult to judge what’s going on here. Until we get some clarity, we don’t know, and while it seems odd to say given the unbelievable run of injuries we’ve seen, I almost hope he does go to the disabled list, just in hopes that it really is a health concern that’s bothering him.
If he does, that further clouds the Dodger rotation. Clayton Kershaw & Hyun-jin Ryu are solid so far, and Chris Capuano was much better in his second start off the disabled list than the first. But without Beckett, you’re almost forced to have Zack Greinke start Wednesday (which is more than a little concerning, as we’ve discussed) and also keep Matt Magill in the rotation, which isn’t wonderful.
Of course, I say that as though there’s really any question that Greinke is starting for the Dodgers on Wednesday. Of course he is. If you know he’s starting for the Dodgers, you don’t say anything just to keep the other team guessing about who they’re preparing for. If he’s starting for a minor league club, you announce it to get your affiliate some additional ticket sales.
He’ll be in Los Angeles. Mark it. That being the case, the only question now is, “is Magill going to Albuquerque, or is Beckett going to the disabled list?”