If Josh Beckett's surface statistics are any indication, he is firmly in the running for the American League Cy Young award in 2009.
On the season, Beckett has registered an impressive 14-4 record. He holds a 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and a 149/43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Opponents are batting a mere .233 against him.
The Red Sox offense has been chugging along the past two games, scoring 11 and 14 runs. The bats will need to be present if Beckett wants a chance to beat the tough-as-nails Sabathia.
From a pure individual perspective, tonight's game is a must-win for Beckett. Beckett is in a position to become a favorite in the Cy Young race, and a win over the rival Yankees (and CC) would solidify his already-lofty status.
Boston, currently 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East, would also benefit greatly from a solid start from Beckett tonight.
The Red Sox are somewhat of a long shot to catch the Yankees and win the Division, but crazier things certainly have happened.
The Boston bullpen will also get a big breather if Beckett can reach a solid pitch total for the evening. Let's face it: the Sox bullpen is tired.
Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard are the Sox relievers who are likely to be used if they are in a winning position near the end of the game.
What impact do you believe a win for Beckett would have on his AL Cy Young candidacy?