Red Sox vs. Angels, 2008 ALDS. Does this sound familiar. Well it should, except for the "2008" part. Well that "2008" part is a big part. The Red Sox starting rotation is looking a little bit different to say the least from last years going into the ALDS.
1. Josh Beckett.
Or should I say, lack there of. Beckett is not scheduled to start the series and this leaves Sox fans thinking "not good". Last year Beckett won all four games he started for the Red Sox, with a 1.20 ERA and 35 strike outs while only walking 2. He only allowed 19 hits over 30.0 innings pitched, and only one of those was a home run. Beckett's playoff run also included a complete game shutout. Oh, and did I mention he only allowed four runs.
Even though the playoffs have not started yet, this season Beckett has had a bit of an off-year. If you compare his stats from 2007 to 2008 the things that stand out are his record and his ERA His record is a dissapointing 12-10 this year, after a spectacular 20-7 2007 season. His ERA is 0.76 points higher this year at 4.03.
If Beckett gets to start a few games this postseaon he needs to put up similar stats to last year.
2. Jon Lester
Jon Lester In 2007, Lester was a sophomore pitcher trying to solidify the Red Sox starting Rotation. Lester was a cancer patient in 2006, and was becoming one of the "feel good" stories in baseball. In 2007 he started 11 games for the Red Sox and was 4-0. During the playoffs he was 1-0 in 3 games started, that one game being the World Series winner.
Lester has been the Sox most consistent pitcher this season. He has started 33 games and posted a 16-6 record. He has a ERA of 3.81 and has only allowed 14 homers. The highlight of Lester's season was when he no-hit the Kansas City Royals on May 19. Lester will be pitching Wednesday night in the first game of the series for the Red Sox.
Lester needs to have a strong postseason for the Red Sox if they want to advance past the Angels.
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
Daisuke Matsuzaka ......um, I really don't know where to start. Daisuke has been the Red Sox most inconsistent pitchers. His numbers have been up and down during his whole 2 seasons in a Red Sox uniform. Daisuke had a 15-12 record in 2007, with a 4.40 ERA. He did have a lot of strike outs, with 201. He also gave out 80 base on balls. Over 32 starts in 2007 he allowed 100 earned runs.
This is when it get complicated. Daisuke has a 18-3 record this season despite being among the league leaders in walks. His strike outs are down, and his walks are up. The ratio is 154 K's to 94 free passes. He has allowed 14 more walks this season, and has two less starts at 29. Even with all these walks, his ERA is down 1.50 points! And remember that bloated earned run total of 100. Well in 2008 its down 54! You must be thinking this is crazy, but there is more! After allowing 25 home runs last year, only 12 have left the yard against him this season! And with all these improvements he is not being considered a Cy Young candidate. Show me somebody more inconsistent, and I will show you a little league pitcher!
If the Red Sox don't get Beckett back to top form, even if Lester and Matsuzaka have some good games, the Red Sox will have their hands full with the LA Angels.
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