Should Beckett Turn the Page on the Calendar?

Anyone who has followed the career of Josh Beckett knows that he is reluctant to change. Pitching coaches and managers have come and gone and all ended up throwing up their hands and saying that the best way to deal with the big righthander is to let him do his thing. Apparently, Beckett is now reluctant to turn the pages of the calendar as well.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration but there is a very odd statistical anomaly in Beckett’s performance this year. Consider the following:

Date Opponent IP H R ER BB K HR
April 7 @ DET 4.2 7 7 7 1 3 5
May 10 CLE 2.1 7 7 7 2 2 2
June 6 BAL 8 5 2 2 0 5 0
July 6 NYY 5 8 6 6 2 5 0
Aug 8 TEX 5 8 8 8 2 2 3
Total 25 35 30 30 7 17 10


That trail of tears amounts to a line like this: ERA: 10.80, WHIP 1.680, K/9 6.12, HR/9 3.60

What do those starts have in common? Those are Beckett’s first starts of each month of the 2012 baseball season. It’s hard to believe that his ERA would be above 11.00 in first starts of the month were it not for a terrific outing against the Orioles on June 6.

What makes these starts even more curious is what happens during the rest of the month. Generally speaking Beckett looks like the kind of guy that you’d hand a $68M/4yr contract with ERA 3.46, WHIP 1.200, K/9 6.82, HR/9 0.203.  It’s a dramatic change for Beckett once he gets into the rest of the month. His ERA would be in the top 30 among qualifying pitchers, occupying a spot with C.J. Wilson and Gio Gonzalez. The same is true of his WHIP.

What does it mean? Probably nothing at all, just one of those odd curiosities along the 162 game marathon known as a season of major league baseball.

The again, if you’re still holding out hope for a one-game Wild Card playoff you better hope that someone else is lined up for their first start of October.

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