Just Another Manic Monday For Beckett In Blue Debut


Dodgers Lineup vs. Colorado

Victorino 7M.Ellis 4Kemp 8Gonzalez 3Ramirez 6Ethier 9Cruz 5Ellis 2Beckett 1


Josh Beckett-5-11 vs. Jeff Francis-4-4

*Guys according to a tweet from Ken Gurnick https://twitter.com/kengurnick/status/240211675687575552  The Dodgers have recalled Josh Wall, and the corresponding roster move will be announced during pregame. Not sure who it is, but I am guessing since rosters expand in a few days, someone is hurt. Probably a reliever. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we find out more information*

*Update of Update. accoridng to Dylan Hernandez https://twitter.com/dylanohernandez/status/240219241964519424. Shawn Tolleson has been optioned. There is no injury.*

The Dodgers fly into Colorado for a three game series on Monday, Tuesday night, and Wednesday afternoon. Afterwards they will fly back home to play Arizona, and San Diego. Weird schedule huh? This will be the Dodgers final series in Colorado in 2012.

Of course we are all still reeling with excitement over all of the news form the last 48 hours. The announcement of the blockbuster trade, Adrian Gonzalez’s debut at Dodger Stadium, and the greatest news of all, the return of the greatest sportscaster ever Vin Scully, to the broadcast booth for 2013. After my press box adventures on Saturday night, I am back to the safety and comfort of my living room couch. Stacie will be bringing you the postgame recap tonight, and we will have more analysis about the new players acquired from the Red Sox in future articles.

In the meantime, the Dodgers are still reeling over their loss to the Fish yesterday afternoon. While the Dodgers did not secure the sweep, they still secured a series win, despite their 6-2 loss. Fortunately for the Dodgers the Giants lost to Tim Hudson and the Braves, so the Dodgers remain two games back of the Giants, and only 1.5 back of a wild card spot.

Tonight marks the Dodger debut for pitcher Josh Beckett. He’ll have to do it in the annoyingly rarefied air of Coors Field. Beckett comes in with an impressive resume. He is a former all-star, 20 game winner, and Cy Young runner-up. He has extensive postseason experience with the Red Sox, including winning the 2007 ALCS MVP award. Beckett uses five pitches. He has a two-seamer, four-seamer, curveball, change-up, and slider. According to reports his fastball has dipped in velocity, but we are hoping he can regain his form with the Dodgers. This year with Boston he had a 5-11 record, 5.13 ERA, and 94 whiffs, and 34 walks in 127 innings pitched, and 21 starts. His decreased whiff rates, and increased hits per nine rate (9.3) is concerning, but I have confidence that Don Mattingly, and Rick Honeycutt can whip him back into shape. I won’t even get into the beer controversy thing, not now. With the injury to Chad Billingsley, and his return uncertain, we are going to need Beckett.

Against Colorado Beckett has a career mark of 4-1 with a 3.89 ERA, and in Coors field he has allowed 26 hits in 25 innings pitched which is concerning, but remember he also pitched there in the 2007 World Series. I am showing Beckett is 3-0 at Coors with 17 whiffs, 8 walks, and only two home runs allowed, which is not bad at all, so maybe there is hope here. None of the current Rockies have ever faced him, and the last time Beckett pitched against Colorado was during inter-league play in 2005.

Colorado will counter with lefty Jeff Francis. The veteran left hander is a familiar annoying foe to the Dodgers. Against the Blue, Francis is 5-4 with a 3.46 ERA, and 72 whiffs. This year’s version of Francis has been pretty bad like the majority of Colorado pitchers this season. Francis against the rest of the league is 4-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 16 starts. Francis does not walk anyone at all, only 17 walks. However his whiff rate is very low, with only 45 whiffs, and a 5,2 whiff per nine rate. In his last start Francis held the Mets to just one run over five innings. The Boys in Blue are batting .261 (36 for 138) against the left hander. Adrian Gonzalez is batting .231 (8 for 34 ), with a home run. Kemp and Ethier have done the most damage though. Matt Kemp is batting .367 (11 for 30) with three home runs, and 11 RBI off of Francis. Andre Ethier has crushed him as well, to the tune of a .333 (8 for 24), with a triple. The Dodgers have hit four home runs against Francis, and have a .693 OPS.

Even more cool is this pic of Beckett meeting Obama at the all-star game a few years ago. He looks surprised to see the President, and if it weren’t for Kevin Youkilis’s creepy sweaty face, and angry bird man Zack Greinke’s smirky devious look, the pic might be photoshop worthy!

Mike Petriello of MSTI, made an astute observation about last night’s annoying loss. I don’t always agree with everything Mike says, but this time he is correct. Mike goes on to say that even though the Dodgers left a small arsenal of men on base yesterday and couldn’t get the big hit, the runs will eventually come. What he means is if you continue to put that many guys on base, you are going to score some runs. Hopefully that’s what the Dodgers will do tonight at Coors Field.

Colorado is in fifth place, with a 51-75 record 19 games behind the Giants. The Dodgers come into town with a 69-59 record and are looking for their 70 win of the season. While the Dodgers are in Denver, the Giants will be taking on the Astros in Houston.

Ok so before I sign off, let’s have a little pep talk with Josh Beckett, shall we? Listen up Josh…I know Coors Field is a tough place to pitch it, and it has been a while for you. However this is an important game right now for us, every game is until the last day of the season. We have little room for error here. So please, just get outs and win! No excuses. So, please, please, don’t serve up home runs. Don’t make an error. Don’t walk anybody, don’t hit a guy, just shut the lowly Rockies down. In case you are wondering, the Dodgers have split the season series with Colorado at six games each. Of course, this is a much better lineup than the one that was blanked by the Rockies at Dodgers Stadium a few weeks ago.

First pitch is at 5:40PM on KCAL. Switch back over here after the game for our daily Dodger documentation, and postgame recap. Go Blue.