The Red Sox saw another lead slip away for their third-straight loss on Friday. Now they call on Josh Beckett to stop the early season skid against Kansas City's Zack Greinke.
The Boston Red Sox go from the American League’s best team (New York Yankees) to arguably the worst when they visit the Kansas City Royals this weekend.
Game 2 of the series is Saturday at 7:10 p.m. (ET). Boston’s Josh Beckett and Kansas City’s Zack Greinke will each make their second start of the season.
The 29-year-old Beckett had an inauspicious debut last Sunday night, giving up five earned runs to the Bronx Bombers in just 4 2/3 innings. Boston ended up winning 9-7 after a strong comeback against C.C. Sabathia, but still lost the series 2-1.
Beckett was victimized by the long-ball, giving up blasts to Jorge Posada and newly acquired Curtis Granderson. He gave up a team-high 25 home runs last year in 212 innings, still managing to go 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA.
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The disappointing opener came as Beckett was finalizing a four-year, $68 Million contract extension. It was ironically announced the day after, much to the dismay of some fickle Red Sox fans who were still mad about the performance.
Beckett pitched very well in two starts versus Kansas City last year, 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA. The outing at Kauffman Stadium was two earned runs over six innings, a fortunate line after allowing 12 hits.
Beckett was 10-1 with a 3.59 ERA at home last year, 7-5 with a 4.13 ERA away. He will be pitching on an extra’s day rest. The ‘over’ is 1-0 after Beckett’s first start and 9-3 in his last 12 overall. A lot of that was due to very good run support.
Boston is 42-17 in its last 59 games against the AL Central, 17-4 versus the division with Beckett starting.
The Red Sox were 56-25 at home last year, but just 39-42 away. The road figure was minus nine units against the money line. They’ve gone 2-1 in each of the last three years in Kansas City.
The Royals went 65-97 last year, a 10-game decline from 2008. There wasn’t much difference between the home (33-48) and away (32-49) record. They were tied in the AL Central basement with the Cleveland Indians and a similar fight could be had this year.
Kansas City (1-2) opened up this year with a three-game home series with Detroit. The offense was a big concern even after adding veterans Rick Ankiel, Jason Kendall and Scott Podsednik. Kendall and Podsednik combined for eight hits in the opening series and the team averaged 3.33 runs. The bigger problem was the bullpen, which imploded in two games and has an MLB-worst 13.50 ERA.
The pen let down Greinke in Monday’s opener. He out-dueled Detroit’s Justin Verlander, giving up one earned run over six innings. That’s when the relief corps took over and allowed six runs in the seventh.
Detroit won the game 8-4, easily going ‘over’ the seven-run total.
Greinke was the AL Cy Young Award winner last season, going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA. Several AL starters had more wins, but none could touch his ERA.
The 26-year-old showed off his filthy stuff against Boston once last year. That came at home on Sep. 22, a two-hit shutout over six innings in a 5-1 win. That game him his 15th win, really helping the Cy Young cause.
The ‘under’ was 21-11-1 in Greinke’s 33 starts last year. Expect a very low total for this game.