Through 35 combined starts — 19 for Lester and 16 for Beckett — the pair have combined to tally just 10 wins, five apiece. More than halfway through the season, Lester has a 4.80 ERA. Beckett's is 4.53.
From afar, ex-captain Jason Varitek has noticed the woes of his two former batterymates. And he suggested Lester and Beckett simplify their pitches and build from there.
"If they're executing [pitches] one through four, they're going to be fine," Varitek said. "They'll start with No. 1 and execute that and work everything, the ability to work everything off that, they'll be fine. If we stay in the moment of negativity, so to speak, we can all catch ourselves in that same turmoil of 'What's wrong?' instead of 'What's right?' and through that, continue to focus themselves on what's right and not what's wrong."
The numbers make the subpar stretch seem worse. Both Lester and Beckett have as many wins as Daniel Bard, who has been toiling in Triple-A since June 3 after experiencing into control issues. Felix Doubront, on the other hand, has as many wins (10) as Beckett and Lester combined.
But Varitek thinks the pair is capable of turning it around.
"Josh, for the most part, you put the majority together, has done pretty well," Varitek said. "Jonny, it hasn't been easy for him, but sometimes when things aren't easy, maybe the next two months could be. It looks like he's got good stuff. It's execution."
In the past, Varitek would be responsible for sitting down with the pitchers and brainstorming ideas to help. Now retired, Varitek said he misses the challenge of lifting up his pitchers amid adversity.
"That's the part that keeps you on point, keeps you sharp: 'What do I do next? What can I do next to help out Jonny or Josh or [Junichi] Tazawa or whomever it was?" Varitek said. "That's the fun part, the intellectual part of the position I played that was a constant grind and constantly keeps you thinking and moving forward and doing certain things."
Beckett and Lester are still searching for answers, just without the captain.
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