Papi has Beckett's back

Papi has Beckett's back
August 8, 2012, 7:59 pm
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It's now been more than three weeks since David Ortiz graced the Red Sox lineup, but while Papi struggles to work that Achilles back into shape, his mouth is working fine.

This morning, in a conversation with Rob Bradford, Ortiz sounded off on the recent booing of Josh Beckett, as well as the insinuation that the Texas Tough Guy may not have been as injured as he let on last Thursday against the Tigers.

"Are you kidding me? said Ortiz. When it comes to Josh Beckett, this is a guy who likes competition. Trust me, the way he was pitching that night, he wanted no part of being out of the game . . . "

He later added: "I think it was totally wrong about how lots of people made it sound like. Im pretty sure a lot of those people who wanted to make it sound like he faked an injury regret it right now.

OK.

It's easy to jump on Ortiz here for siding with Public Enemy No. 1, but I think the more interesting angle is that, yet again, we're faced with an example of a teammate backing Josh Beckett. It's another reminder that while No. 19 might be the most hated athlete in Boston, and a guy we all like to blame for poisoning the Sox clubhouse and ruining our lives as we knew them, the other guys on the roster don't seem to mind him.

And of course, that's a problem in and of itself.

Or maybe it's a sign that we've all gone overboard with the Beckett bashing?

I don't know. I hate Beckett as much as the next guy does, but if he's such a horrible presence in the clubhouse, why do teammates keep defending him? Why not just stay quiet and let him take his medicine? I'm telling you, through all the hatred that's been thrown Beckett's way, we still haven't seen any evidence that the players (aside from maybe Youk) feel the same way. And you know what?

It doesn't matter.

Even though Beckett's attitude gets most of the attention around here, the far more troubling development is that as he proved again this afternoon Beckett's no longer an effective pitcher. Whether it's a matter of age, injury, conditioning or dedication . . . he's toast.

He had a 6.08 ERA in July, with a 1.65 WHIP. He gave up 33 hits in 26 23 innings. He has been useless. And this afternoon brought us much of the same: Five innings, eight hits, EIGHT runs, three home runs and, most likely, another loss.

Wonder how Papi feels about that?

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine