Oh Josh Beckett, how we loathe facing thee. That he’s posted a 10-4 record with a 2.82 ERA in 21 starts against the Rays speaks volumes. It says that Beckett has been a tough nut to crack. He’s not infallible mind you, but he is pretty damn close…against the Rays at least. On the positive end of things, Beckett has been on a skid of sorts with the Red Sox losing the last five Beckett starts. Then again, four of those five starts were low scoring affairs where the Red Sox scored a total of seven runs combined. Here’s to hope that the Josh Beckett who pitched prior to the All-Star break shows up, not the one that pitched against the Rays in May. In his July 6th start against the Yankee, Beckett gave up six runs on eight hits in the 10-8 Red Sox loss.
A quick look at his splits by the pitch count shows how tough Beckett can be.
Patience at the plate is again in order. However, unlike Buchholz whose OBP and SLG against shoots through the roof when hitters are ahead in the count, Beckett’s left on base percentage shoots through the roof in similar situations. D’oh!
A few Rays have had success over the years against Beckett, namely Luke Scott (11-27, 3 HR, 8 RBI), Desmond Jennings (3-7), and Jeff Keppinger (3-7, double, RBI). Unfortunately Maddon has penciled Hideki Matsui (9-35, triple, 3 HR, 5 RBI) into the DH spot instead of Luke. I suspect it’s more because of Matsui’s patience at the plate.
The Rays could make up some ground in the wildcard chase with a Rays win, and Orioles and Angels losses. Tampa Bay could also push the Red Sox back under .500, three whole games behind the Rays. This should be another fun one.
Rays 7/15/12 Starting Lineup: