Talk about rationalization at it’s finest. I found this in my bookmarks, i obviously intended to take a whack it when I read it last winter and just moved on to other stuff. It damn sure makes for a funny read from Jill Seward:
When Cliff Lee announced his decision to don pinstripes this season (red ones, not blue), he joined an already stacked pitching rotation in Philadelphia. And while many are already calling the Phillies’ rotation the best of 2011, the Red Sox still have the potential to counter with their own staff.
There just are more ifs attached to Boston’s success.
The Red Sox’ 2011 rotation can compete with Philadelphia if Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz can continue their momentum from the 2010 season.
John Lackey and Josh Beckett can be just as commanding from the mound as Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt if the two Boston hurlers return to form this season. Beckett needs to overcome one of the toughest seasons of his career (6-6, 5.78 ERA), and Lackey needs to find his groove in the competitive AL East. Those two obstacles are difficult, but they are not impossible for either pitcher.
The funniest part about it is obviously in regards to Lackey. The guy has been overrated his entire career, with everyone always citing his post-season success with the Angels. But that was in 2002. Yeah, it’s been THAT long. He did have a couple of “quality starts” versus the Red Sox in the 2008 ALDS, but other than he hasn’t had much to hang his hat on the last decade.
His post-season performances have been very much like his regular season ones. Houdini acts. His K/9 have trended down, his WHIP has trended up and his K/BB ratio has steadily gotten worse. And that was in an A.L. West with a stagnant Oakland, a declining Seattle & a yet to emerge Ranger‘s team. His move the the “A.L. Beast” had disaster written all over it.
Lester was going to be phenomenal and I honestly knew Beckett would come around because it is, after all, an odd numbered year. The guy has an uncanny track record of excelling in odd numbered years and bombing in even numbered ones.
Josh Beckett‘s stats in 2005, ’07, ’09, and ’11: 65-24, 3.13 ERA, 8.5 Ks/9 innings. His numbers in 2006, ’08, and ’10: 34-27, 4.87 ERA, 7.1 Ks/9 innings. Go figure.
Buchholz was, despite his very solid year last year, not a given because (as many writers pointed out) he hadn’t shown the kind of consistency the Phillies starters have shown. This isn’t a knock on him, it’s just a statement of fact. 99% of young pitchers, no matter how talented they are take a while to get to the point where they are “money in the bank”.
In short, this rotation was nothing but crazy trends, uncertainty and statistical anomalies. For anyone to try and rationalize that THIS team’s starting pitching had the slightest chance to counter the one that assembled in Philadelphia was amusing, to say the least.