Josh Beckett: “I spend my off days the way I want to spend them”

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After Josh Beckett got shellacked by the Indians last night he faced the press. Not surprisingly, the press asked him about the golf-between-starts-despite-maybe-having-a-bad-back thing.  Beckett politely — but defensively — told the press to mind its own business when it comes to his free time:

“I spend my off days the way I want to spend them,” he said. “My off day is my off day. We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves.”

Then, when asked about the Fenway fans booing him off the field, he brought the honesty:

“It was directed at me,” Beckett said. “I pitched like sh**. That’s what happens. Smart fans.”

Yup.

And while this will no doubt bring forth five days of people criticizing Beckett’s golf habits, the fans don’t boo and this isn’t a big deal if Beckett simply pitches well.  That’s the problem here.  Not “the perception problem,” as John Tomase puts it in this Boston Herald article.  Just as no one would have given a rip about beer and chicken if the Sox hadn’t sucked on the field last September, no one cares about the golf if Beckett gets outs.

In other words, what fixes “perception problems” is not pitching like sh**.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.