Once every fifth game, the Los Angeles Dodgers send Josh Beckett to the mound. 27 games into the season, Beckett is 0-4 in six starts.
I like Beckett. I always have. He is to be respected as a winner and still can deal some filthy stuff. The problem is he has a tendency to serve up power numbers. Big hitters have gotten fat in the slugging percentage categories with home runs and doubles off the right-hander this season.
He also throws a tremendous amount of pitches these days, which must worry the Dodgers since he rarely makes it beyond the fifth inning. That puts added pressure on the bullpen.
Instead of fixing Beckett however, the blue crew should just focus on some extra batting practice when Beckett is scheduled to start.
Get into a slugfest. If they know already that Beckett is good for surrendering five or six runs in the first five innings, then they should work on that themselves.
It’s easier said than done, sure, but they should take that mindset into those games. Tell yourself you need eight runs to win and play accordingly. Don’t just sit and wait for the two-run bomb or the five-run inning (which doesn’t look like it’s ever going to happen for L.A. this year) and play a little small ball. Get a guy or two on first before swinging for the fences.
This, of course, falls in the hands of manager Don Mattingly and his coaching staff. Hitting coach Mark McGwire could expand his horizons here and work on getting some base knocks for his lineup. Get a guy on and sacrifice him to scoring position. Set up your high-average guys for RBI situations. Play offense.
Usually this approach is saved for when you’ve got your shutdown pitcher on the hill and a run or two will get you the win. The Dodgers should start using this approach to open up opportunities to get in a slugfest when Beckett is throwing.