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Blog Entry

Biggest difference for Red Sox? It's Beckett

Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:39 pm
 
BOSTON -- The difference between the Red Sox and the Yankees isn't nearly as great as 11-3, as in 11 Red Sox wins in 14 meetings so far.

But there is a difference, a significant difference.

The Red Sox know who their top two starters are. The Yankees don't.

The Red Sox had Josh Beckett bounce back to his historic dominance this year. The Yankees had Phil Hughes regress to historic depths.

If the Red Sox have the Beckett of 2010 (6-6, 5.78), they're where the Yankees are, wondering who starts Game 2 behind Jon Lester the way the Yankees wonder who starts Game 2 behind CC Sabathia.

Instead, Boston has the Beckett who has started five wins in five starts against the Yankees, including Wednesday's 9-5 Red Sox win. Even on a night when he wasn't at his best (handed a three-run lead, he gave up four in the sixth) Beckett went seven innings and won.

Meanwhile, rescued from that early 4-1 deficit, Hughes quickly allowed two more runs and lost.

The Red Sox are now 19-7 when Beckett starts, and he has a 2.54 ERA that would be his best for a full season. In a year where John Lackey has been mostly bad, and where Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka have both been hurt, Beckett's return to brilliance is arguably the Red Sox's most significant development of the season.

"It's huge," manager Terry Francona said. "This is the guy we've relied on. We were hoping he'd come back with a vengeance, and he has. He's been so consistent."

Others attribute the turnaround to health, but Beckett talks more about executing pitches.

"I think that's what separates good seasons from mediocre seasons or bad seasons," he said.

And if there's something that separates the Red Sox from the Yankees, it's Beckett having a good (or better than that) season.

"I'm a different pitcher now than I was at any time last year," he said, after becoming the first Red Sox pitcher in 24 years to get credit for four wins over the Yankees in one season.

So is Hughes, an 18-game winner in 2010 whose 6.75 ERA this year is the second worst ever for a Yankee who made as many as 12 starts (David Cone's 6.91 in 2000 was the only one worse).

If the Yankees keep Hughes in the rotation now, it's only because A.J. Burnett is even less reliable. If they use him in a playoff rotation, it would only be because Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia got hurt between now and then.

But as much discussion as there has been this week of how the Yankees go from six starters to five, the overriding question is still how they find someone they want to start behind Sabathia in October.

The Red Sox could ask the same question about their third starter, but they know Lester and Beckett (in one order or the other) go 1-2. That puts them a big step ahead of the Yankees.

They're not 11-3 ahead, no matter what the record in head-to-head meetings says.

They are ahead, thanks largely to Beckett, and that's a big deal.


Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:21 pm
 

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 6:15 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:40 pm
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:50 am
 

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:17 am
 

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Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:32 pm
 

Biggest difference for Red Sox? It's Beckett

IF BECKETT WAS IN NATIONAL LEAGUE HE WOULD HAVE A BETTER ERA THAN LEE AND HALLADAY 



Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:30 pm
 

Biggest difference for Red Sox? It's Beckett

BECKETT IS GOOD BUT I WONDER IF HE WOULD STILL BE IF THEY ENFORCED THE RULE TOPITCH WITHIN 12 SECONDS INSTEAD OF A MINUTE


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