Please, just a few moments of your time to discuss the power of fielding-independent pitching stats ...
Beckett Lester Three weeks ago, reputed Red Sox "aces" Josh Beckett and Jon Lester sported decidedly non-ace ERAs: 6.42 for Beckett, 6.51 for Lester. But Lester, while he'd given up too many home runs, had struck out 54 batters (and walked only 16) in 47 innings. And Beckett, while he'd issued too many walks, had struck out 41 batters and given up only four home runs in 41 innings. Neither had pitched brilliantly, but both had pitched better than their ERAs suggested.
Nevertheless, there were definitely some anxieties in Red Sox Nation, and while I haven't listened to WEEI in some time, I can imagine the sorts of things that Ray in Somerville and Billy in Braintree were saying about Beckett and Lester.
Well, look at them now.
Beckett's got a 0.91 ERA in his last four starts, and he's lowered his season mark to 4.09.
Like Beckett, Lester's won three of his last four starts, and he's lowered his ERA from 6.51 to 5.09; in his last two starts he struck out 23 batters in 15 innings.
Essentially, there's never been anything wrong with Beckett and Lester -- and by extension, the Boston rotation -- that a little better luck wouldn't cure. If only fixing David Ortiz were so easy.