Tito: Results will silence Beckett critics

May, 15, 2012

If Josh Beckett pitches today (4 p.m. start) like he did his last time out (7 runs in 2 1/3 innings), he’ll surely get booed off the Fenway Park mound again and some will continue to call for the Red Sox to trade him.

Terry Francona will not be one of those people.

Beckett’s former manager, who is now an ESPN analyst, acknowledged that while Beckett is stubborn (as recently demonstrated by his standoffish response to questions about a golf outing after being scratched from a start), he thinks his results will eventually speak louder than his words.

“When he first came to Boston, I remember telling the media one day, he’s stubborn and someday we’re going to like that,” Francona said in the Baseball Tonight video above. “Now he’s going through a tough time, he’s still stubborn. That’s just the way he is. He’s not going to give in. But I’ve seen that good side of him. He’s not going to let that side in with the media and it’s kind of a shame because there’s a lot to like. That’s just the way it is. When he pitches good people won’t care."

Beckett’s season has been a roller coaster through his first six starts. In four starts from April 13-29, Beckett was 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 27 2/3 innings. But if you add in his two stinkers (7 runs allowed in 4 2/3 innings on April 7 and the debacle his last time out), it balloons his ERA to 5.97.

“They want to build around him,” Francona said. “People are forgetting. Up until about the end of August (last season), he was probably second or third in Cy young voting, then the wheels fell off. Not just him, but everybody. And he’s had a tough start (this season). But rather than run from him, they want him to pitch like Beckett can pitch because that’s how they’re going to win.”

Francona is referring to the disastrous ending to Beckett’s 2011 season. Before giving up 12 earned runs over 13 1/3 innings in his last two starts, he was 13-5 with a 2.50 ERA.

“He likes to compete. He’s not going to back down from a challenge, which is good. I just think when things are going good he gets locked in, he feels good about himself, and he’s not there yet. It’s going to take some work.”

Do you agree with Francona? Do you still believe in Beckett or has he lost you? Vote in the poll above and sound off in the comments section.



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