Josh Beckett sure seemed to wear out his welcome in Boston, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem pretty excited about their newest addition to the rotation. He'll make his anticipated debut when he starts the opener of a three-game series against the host Colorado Rockies on Monday night. Beckett had his run-ins with Red Sox fans and management during his tenure, from reportedly drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during Boston's late-season collapse in 2011, to being publicly chastised in May for playing a round of golf one day after missing a start due to a reported injury.
Though his reputation may be damaged in Boston, it's of no concern to him now that he's been traded to Los Angeles along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in a blockbuster deal. Part of the backlash Beckett (5-11, 5.23 ERA with Boston) has received is due to his overall poor performance on the mound. He hasn't won since beating Tampa Bay on July 15, going 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA over his last six starts. He gave up four runs in six innings of a 4-1 loss to the Yankees in his last outing Aug. 19. The Dodgers hope Beckett can get off to as good of a start as Gonzalez. The first baseman homered on the second pitch he saw in Saturday's 8-2 win over Miami, then went 2 for 4 with an RBI in Sunday's 6-2 defeat in the series finale.
Los Angeles (69-59) trails St. Louis by 1 1/2 games for the NL's second wild-card spot, and it will look to bounce back against a Rockies team that has won six of eight despite Sunday's 5-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Colorado (51-75) mustered only four hits - its fewest since July 24 - and was shut out for the first time since July 27. Jeff Francis will oppose Beckett looking to build on Wednesday's performance when he allowed one run in five innings of Colorado's 5-2 win over the Mets. Francis (4-4, 5.79), who lost to Beckett in their World Series matchup nearly five years ago, gave up three runs in four innings of the Rockies' 6-4 loss to the Dodgers on Aug. 8 as Los Angeles salvaged the series finale. The left-hander is 2-3 with a 6.99 ERA in eight home starts.
Coors Field still being one of the many parks left that are hitter's delights, it basically supports the still relatively high totalled lines that are posted here on a regular basis. Despite the effect of the humidors favoring the pitchers over the last few years, the high altitude and favorable dimensions still favor the offenses in the long haul. Dodger Stadium being the almost exact opposite, Don Mattingly's club hits far better on the road than they do at home. Before the blockbuster trade they had only slugged 85 HR but given their recent acquisitions over the past few weeks they are primed and prepared to make a run to beat out San Francisco for the NL West title. Gonzalez (.306 16 90) has seen his power numbers decline even from hitting in the likes of Fenway, but his consistency at the plate will only help LA in the final month of the season. Matt Kemp (.338 17 54) and Andre Eithier (.290 14 75) have also battled multiple injury stints on the DL, but are also poised to make an impact as will Hanley Ramirez (.256 20 79). So while Francis will be on the estimated pitch count through the 6 man rotatio of Colorado, he's going to need plenty of run support as the Rockies look to continue to play spoiler with their good play as of late. While their pitching is at the bottom of the barrel, they are hitting .270 collectively with quite a bit of power through the lineup. Carlos Gonzalez (.311 21 81) has had another all star season, and Willin Rosario (.245 20 52) has shown he has some pop in his bat despite sharing the catching duties. Michael Cuddyer (.260 16 58) has battled the injury bug that has put some decline in his full season numbers in comparison when he played for Minnesota. Dexter Fowler (.305 12 44) leads the team in hitting and has provided manufacturing of hits thanks to his speed and versatility. Pitching at Coors will not be too different as Fenway, with the only exception being perhaps the lack of the Green Monster in left. Expect lots of offense this evening. Best of luck however you play!