It's no secret that in 2010 Josh Beckett probably had one of his worst years, if not the worst year of his Major League Baseball career, depending on who you talk to. He finished 6-6 with only 127 innings pitched and an ERA of 5.78.
Aside from all the team injuries, Beckett's lost season was a HUGE reason why the Red Sox finished out of playoff contention in 2010.
The Red Sox were still able to win 89 games and finished seven games out of first place in the American League East.
At the close of the 2010 regular season, Terry Francona stated, "not everything has gone right. But you can bet Beckett is going to go home and work. He needs a clean slate, that will be good for him."
Theo and the Red Sox brass went out this offseason and made the necessary acquisitions by adding Crawford and Gonzalez, making them one of the most potent lineups in baseball.
However, we all know that good pitching beats good hitting. Francona stated, "If you pitch, you give yourself a chance". With the same usual suspects in the Red Sox starting rotation going into 2011, someone needs to step it up aside from Lester and Buchholtz.
In 2010, Lester was 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA and striking out 225 batters while Buchholtz won 17 and lost seven while only allowing nine home runs in 173 2/3 innings and an ERA of 2.33.
Lackey and Matsuzaka are what they are, if Lackey and Matsuzaka can give you a combined 22-25 wins and 370-400 innings pitched, Red Sox nation should take it and run.
If Wakefield gets to start in 2011, they'll probably be spot starts here and there; whatever innings he can eat up provided there's not too much damage, will help the pitching staff.
So what does this all mean? It means that Josh Beckett needs to step up and at least be three quarters of what he's been in the past.
If Beckett can win 15 games and pitch anything close to 170-200 innings, he puts the Red Sox in serious contention to win the 2011 world series.
With Beckett's focus, attitude and Clemens like demeanor on the mound, I see no reason for him not to have a bounce-back year.
After a shaky 2002 season in Florida where he finished 6-7 with a .462 winning percentage and a 4.10 era, Beckett bounced back the following year by leading his team to the World Series against the New York Yankees and winning the World Series MVP award.