Beckett left Tuesday’s rain-shortened matchup against the Detroit Tigers after his back “locked up” on him, according to The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. We’ll now have to see how long Beckett is sidelined for, and Abraham notes that he did miss some time in 2010 with a back injury.
Beckett hasn’t pitched well at all this season, but even though the Red Sox didn’t acquire a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher at the trade deadline, everything is going to be just fine.
What Boston did do at the trade deadline was acquire Craig Breslow, a left-handed reliever from the Arizona Diamondbacks. It may not have seemed like the biggest move, but it’s a very smart one.
With Beckett’s injury, the Red Sox will only have four regular starting pitchers. However, Boston does have Franklin Morales in the bullpen, who has started five games for them this season while filling in for other injured starters.
The Breslow acquisition now allows Morales to take Beckett’s spot in the rotation. As Abraham writes, Boston GM Ben Cherington liked the flexibility that the trade gave them, whether it be having three lefties in the bullpen or being able to use Morales in both roles.
Morales has pitched well in the rotation and out of the bullpen this season. He is 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 26.1 innings as a starter. In 28 relief appearances, he has a 3.23 ERA in 30.2 innings.
Even though it provides depth to the bullpen having three left-handed options, Boston needs Morales back in the rotation. He showed great control of all of his pitches and rarely showed the disgruntled emotions that several other Boston starters have displayed on the mound this season.
Cherington may not be well liked for keeping Beckett, but now he’s a genius for making a move that allows Morales to move back.
Boston is still in the playoff hunt and Morales could be the guy to aid Clay Buchholz in the rotation. Jon Lester needs to step up and Felix Doubront needs to keep himself out of high pitch counts, but making the playoffs is not out of the question, yet.
Whether Josh Beckett will be missed or not, should he miss a significant amount of time is irrelevant since Morales can pick up the slack.
I didn’t think that Cherington would do anything to improve the team at the trade deadline, but somehow he managed to get something positive accomplished.