Tuesday, April 27

Failing Better

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. As we contemplate last night’s miserable failure by should be ace Josh Beckett, it is, perhaps, compassionate to offer him a few words of somber advice from his namesake, playwright Samuel Beckett.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

That’s right a this point Jose is just hoping that Josh Beckett will fail better. He has failed quite a few times this year, and, in general, he has not failed better.

In his previous outing, Beckett yielded 7 earned runs in 7 innings. That is failing. In last night’s outing he yielded 8 earned runs in 3 innings. That is failing worse, not failing better. To make matters worse his ERA+ this season is 61, which based on Bill Simmons’ explanation of the statistic, means that if Beckett introduced Equal Rights Amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives, he would only get a pathetic 61 votes for it, plus a few extras if he threw in a subsidy for struggling congressmen. Not good. Not good at all.

Now Jose is not at the point where he is prepared to say that the Beckett deal was a bad one. Bringing Beckett and Lowell to the Sox for Hanley Ramirez, a deal done while Theo was in a gorilla suit (note: Jose wonders whether it was a lowland gorilla or the rarer highland gorilla. He will have to check with his primatologist friend), probably won the Sox the 2007 World Series. That alone makes it worthwhile. Still, Jose can’t help but feel like we should have gotten more out of Beckett. His ERA+ in 2006 was 95, not abysmal, but below average. Then there was that spectacular 2007 season where it soared to 145, before settling into a good but not great 115 and 122 in 2008 and 2009 respectively. He’s certainly been a good pitcher, but a great pitcher year in year out? Well, think of a pitcher as a…well… pitcher… if it leaks iced tea on you six or seven times a year, are you going to keep it for another four? (Note: Yes?)

If the Red Sox are going to succeed this year, Josh Beckett, may need to take more than just a verbal instruction from Samuel Beckett, he may need to take a life lesson. While living in France, Beckett is said to have often driven a young Andre Roussimoff to school, an enormous lad who would later become known as the Eighth Wonder of the World Andre the Giant. Beckett didn’t give this enormous passenger a lift because he had to, he did it because he could, because this man, this soon to be giant, had greatness in him. That is what Josh Beckett must do, because these Red Sox are like Andre, awkward, lumbering, with at best, a mediocre grasp of English and bad teeth. Beckett must slow down the old Renault of his body, allow the Red Sox to hop aboard and then take them to school. Only then, might they know the greatness foretold.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.

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