Tigers Need to Jump on Josh Beckett in Predictable Hitters’ Counts Tonight
By Matt Snyder
Josh Beckett has made two All-Star appearances since joining the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2006 season, but his time in Boston has been far from smooth. He’s now in his sixth season with the Red Sox, and his ERA with the team stands at 4.15 (971 innings). I can’t imagine that’s what the club had in mind when the acquired him from the Florida Marlins.
But so far, this appears to be a “good year” for Josh Beckett. He’s posted a 3-1 record in eight starts (51.1 innings) with a miniscule 1.75 ERA. As is the case with any pitcher with a sub-2.00 ERA, good luck has probably played a role in his success, but his DIPS numbers all agree that he’s been very good (2.71 FIP, 3.10 xFIP, 2.85 tERA).
I think everyone is aware that Josh Beckett is a strikeout pitcher, but here’s a look at how his season rate stats compare to his career line:
So he’s really not doing anything differently from what he’s done in the past with respect to strikeouts and walks, but he has cut the home run rate nearly in half, and that has certainly helped him out thus far.
Beckett is giving up a few more fly balls this season than he has in the past, but he’s still getting more balls hit on the ground than in the air, and he also has done well to limit line drives.
Nearly 12% of all fly balls have been infield pop ups. Not a lot of good contact being made off of Beckett this season.
Beckett’s pitching arsenal features a fastball that he’s been throwing at 93 MPH (he throws it 54% of the time), a 75 MPH curveball (18%), an 89 MPH cutter (15%), and an 88 MPH changeup (13%). Here’s a graphical look at how Josh has mixed those pitches depending on the count (click image for a larger version):
Beckett shows a traditional approach to hitting here. He throws a ton of fastballs when he’s ahead in the count, but he shows a good pitch mix (with a special affinity for the curve) when he’s ahead. It looks nearly impossible to guess which pitch he’s going to throw when he’s ahead in the count with two strikes.
Getting behind in the count does not appear to be a comfortable spot, so the Tigers hitters should be prepared to hit the fastball when they see it, especially if they find themselves in a predictable count.
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