Red Sox vs. Indians Match-Ups, 10/3
|10.03.09 at 11:40 am ET|
Turning in 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball on Thursday silenced all the doubters who questioned the physical shape of Jon Lester. Whiffing seven batters in six innings in last night’s 6-2 win quieted all the skeptics who were uncertain if Daisuke Matsuzaka could continue his consistency. Tonight, it’s Josh Beckett’s turn to reassure those concerned about his health as he squares off against the Cleveland Indians (65-95) in the third game of a four-game set.
After missing his last start due to mild back spasms, Beckett (16-6, 3.78) returns to the mound tonight ready to make his final start of the regular season. A late scratch on Monday, the right-hander threw a successful 62-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Shortly after, Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona reported that “everything went great,” suggesting that Beckett would be good-to-go for his postseason tune-up.
Though the ace struggled through a month-long slump for the Red Sox (93-67) during August, Beckett has since shown signs of regaining his dominant first half form, compiling a 2-1 record with a 3.66 ERA in five September outings. Needing only one strikeout to set a career-high, the Texas native prepares to face off against the Indians for the first time this season.
In his career, Beckett has had his troubles pitching against Cleveland, posting a 1-4 mark with a bloated 6.46 ERA in five outings. At Fenway this year, however, Beckett has been exceptionally efficient, going 9-1 and compiling a 3.42 ERA in 15 starts.
Tied with the Kansas City Royals for last place in the AL Central, the Indians call upon the left-handed Aaron Laffey (7-8, 3.91) as he attempts to pitch the Tribe out of the basement and end the season on a high note. Having lost five straight starts, Laffey has not won a decision since Aug. 6 against the Minnesota Twins, when he tossed 5 1/3 innings allowing three runs in the 7-4 victory.
Laffey is making his first career start against the Sox, though he did make an appearance against Boston earlier in the year in which he pitched three shutout innings in relief to record the lone save of his career. Though the Red Sox batters have seen little of Laffey, Casey Kotchman has enjoyed plenty of success facing the lefty. In five career plate appearances, Kotchman has yet to record an out against Laffey, going 5-for-5 with two doubles.
Here is how each pitcher has fared against their opponents batters in the past:
Josh Beckett vs. Indians batters.
Jamey Carroll (20 career plate appearances) .333 AVG, .400 OBP, .333 SLG, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Travis Hafner (15) .333, .467, .833, 1 home run, 1 double, 1 triple 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Jhonny Peralta (12) .400, .500, .500, 1 double, 2 walks
Shin-Soo Choo (6) 2-for-6, 1 home run
Asdrubal Cabrera (3) 2-for-2, 1 walk
Kelly Shoppach (3) 0-for-2, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit-by-pitch
Aaron Laffey vs. Red Sox batters
Brian Anderson (6 career plate appearances) 0-for-6
Joey Gathright (5) 1-for-5, 2 walks
Casey Kotchman (5) 5-for-5, 2 doubles
Chris Woodward (3) 0-for-3
Nick Green (2) 0-for-2
Jason Bay (1) 0-for-1
J.D. Drew (1) 0-for-1
Mike Lowell (1) 0-for-1
David Ortiz (1) 0-for-1
Dustin Pedroia (1) 0-for-1
Jason Varitek (1) 1-for-1
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