John Lackey sticks up for “good guy” Josh Beckett

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Who better to discuss the Red Sox trading Josh Beckett than a pitcher most fans would like to see leave Boston too?

John Lackey, who was one of Beckett’s best friends on the team, told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that the trade was a good move for everyone involved because “it had gone too far here for him” and “I don’t think it would have ever come back.”

And then Lackey stuck up for Beckett:

It’s baffling to me people write things that don’t even know the man. Guys write stuff who don’t know Josh. He’s a good guy. It’s too bad that it came to that. They write about the Beckett Bowl (charity event), that we were partying and stuff, but they raised $300,000 for Children’s Hospital that night. Throw something in there positive.

If he’s sensitive to the criticism Beckett received from the Boston media I can’t even imagine how Lackey feels about his own treatment in the press. Or among fans. Or anyone, really.

And if the Red Sox could have dumped Lackey’s contract along with the Beckett and Carl Crawford deals they surely would have jumped at the chance. Instead they still owe the rehabbing right-hander $15.25 million in 2013 and the same amount in 2014.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.