You got the sense that Josh Beckett could live with the smaller strike zone imposed by home plate umpire Larry Vanover tonight. Beckett could even live with the three runs he allowed in the first inning, maybe because he didn’t want to throw his shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, under the bus for committing an error that left him pitching out of the stretch one batter into the game.
No, there were other things happened tonight specifically, and this season in general, that Beckett has not made peace with.
One was the duration of the first inning, in which the Rockies sent seven batters to the plate and scored three.
“I definitely had it going differently in the bullpen,” he said. “You leave your guys out there standing for, I don’t know, 40 minutes, 30 minutes in the first inning. I’ve just got to make my pitches.”
Later, he added again, “you can’t leave your guys standing out there flat-footed in the first inning for 40, 45 minutes.”
We didn’t have a stopwatch on the first inning, but the final out of the Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Rockies was recorded at 11:06 — 3 hours, 54 minutes after the first pitch.
Beckett was also unwilling to forgive himself for a pair of curveballs he threw in the fourth inning that wound up as doubles for Josh Rutledge and Carlos Gonzalez, the latter driving in two runs to give Colorado the lead for good.
“You don’t expect a guy like (Carlos) Gonzalez to stay on that 2-0 breaking ball (a curve) there, get the two runs to give them the lead,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “That’s a credit to him and the all-star caliber hitter he is. That’s a good pitch by Josh and a better swing by him.”
Beckett was less generous toward himself.
“I threw the wrong pitch at that spot, at that time,” he said. Beckett and Ellis seemed to disagree, or at least seemed unable to decide, what to throw on several occasions. All Ellis would say is that “it’s my job to get on his page.”
Rutledge led off the fourth inning and saw three curveballs from Beckett, hitting a long double on the third.
“Probably (bad) pitch selection there as well,” Beckett said.
In six starts this season, the Dodgers’ number-three starter has completed six innings just twice. That seemed to bother him more than his 0-4 record and his 5.24 earned-run average.
“That’s the double whammy: Pitch like crap and then you also burn the bullpen today,” Beckett said. “You never want to pitch like that as a starter.”
The 32-year-old didn’t specifically mention his record, even though a win is the most obvious thing missing from his brief 2013 resume. In my game story, I mentioned that he, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw are the only Dodgers who haven’t missed a start this year. Ryu and Kershaw are a combined 6-3. Beckett is looking more and more like a third starter only by default.
Of course, his career suggests that Beckett will manage to turn things around. No one lasts 13 years as a major-league pitcher without learning how to make adjustments, and Beckett knows now is the time to adjust.
“I’ve just got to get back to work, figure something out,” he said. “That’s what this business is all about. They’ve made an adjustment to me. It’s a pretty good one. I can’t just go out and keep pitching like s—.”
(Judging by the lack of response on Twitter, the s— didn’t make its way onto TV, and Fox is counting its lucky stars for its tape delay policy.)
One more note about tonight that didn’t make my game story: Javy Guerra became the 19th pitcher to appear in a game for the Dodgers this year. No team has used more.
Oh, and check out John McCoy’s awesome photo gallery from the game (it’ll go faster than the game itself, promise.)