12 February 2011
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Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP John Lackey, SP
Josh Beckett, SPWe recently discussed Josh Beckett as one of the Keys to 2011. In short, I chalked up the disaster that was his 2010 season to injury and predicted a leaner, meaner version of "The Beckinator" in 2011.
Beckett was a mess in 2010. The back injury caused all kinds of problem and even when he came off the DL, he just didn't look right. John Farrell said Beckett had lost his edge/confidence and wasn't able to dig out of tough spots like we've seen in the past.
With a clean slate in 2011 and plenty motivation, I expect Beckett to have a solid season. One key to his success will be his effectiveness against lefties... and the Yankees.
Take a look how Josh has faired against lefties and the Yanks over the last three years:
2008 versus LHH - .260 BAA / .710 OPS compared to .252 / .687 versus RHH
2008 versus NYY - .238 BAA, 20 K, 5 BB, 27.2 IP
2009 versus LHH - .258 BAA / .696 OPS compared to .226 / .683 versus RHH
2009 versus NYY - .268 BAA, 28 K, 9 BB, 32 IP
2010 versus LHH - .310 BAA / .940 OPS compared to .267 / .726 versus RHH
2010 versus NYY - .339 BAA, 26 K, 13 BB, 26 IP
As you can see, when Josh is pitching well against lefties, he also pitches well against the Yankees, theoretically because the Yanks always have tons of lefties in the lineup, but with 26 of Beckett's 127 innings pitched coming against New York last year (and some pretty scary stats from those games) you have to wonder if the splits are bit skewed?
As a righty, Beckett typically faces more lefties than righties over the course of a season, so he needs to be effective against them. His track record proves he can do it, so that confirms that something was wrong in 2010. As we mentioned in the Keys to 2011 post, he backed off the curve last year and threw the cutter more often... with a healthy back and legs, the curve should be an effective pitch again and that's his best weapon against lefties.
Bottom Line: Quality Curveball =Success vs LHH = Success vs Yankees = Success for Red Sox
Rob's Prediction: 30 GS, 192 IP, 15 W, 9 L, 3.75 ERA, 190 K
* Special Category: BAA vs Lefties - .268
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