Josh Beckett is the textbook “ace” pitcher. By the numbers, look what he’s done:

  • Averages just under seven innings per start
  • Three complete games
  • ERA of 2.28 since the first month of the season
  • Seven starts with 0 earned runs
  • 39 walks in 143 innings

He keeps the team in every game he starts, goes deep into the game to protect the bullpen and get to the set-up/closer combination and keeps runners off base.

Smoltz is on the opposite end of the scale. He’s yet to sniff a seven-inning start and has already given up 6 homeruns in 37 innings (Beckett has allowed 10 in 143 innings). Please, no more talk about his “stuff” still being good.

Today is a big start for Clay Buchholz. He’s been pitching “OK” since joining the rotation but it’s time he makes a statement and erases some doubt. I want seven innings and two earned. Thank you.