Reviewing 2012: The Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Beckett

On Aug. 25, the Dodgers pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox, acquiring all-stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, as well as $260 million in salaries.

Josh Beckett was sort of a throw-in to the deal, but after being one of the Red Sox most beleaguered stars since their September collapse of 2011, Beckett came over and pitched exceptionally well for the Dodgers.

Beckett is one of the most decorated pitchers in the game, a three-time all-star and a World Series victor in 2003 with the Florida Marlins and again in 2007 with the Red Sox.

Beckett was the MVP of the ’03 World Series.

However, Beckett appeared to have worn out his welcome after six-plus seasons in Boston. After the Red Sox epic collapse last September, Beckett and his Sox teammates, John Lackey and Jon Lester, were accused of drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.

Beckett came under further media scrutiny when it was revealed that he golfed after missing a start due to a lat muscle strain earlier in 2012.

Although, Beckett was in the midst or arguably his worst professional season, he was an All-Star as recent as 2011.

So, the Dodgers had no reluctance in picking up Beckett and his contract.

The Numbers

Overall: 7-14, 4.65 ERA, 2.54 K/BB, 170.1 innings pitched, 1.33 WHIP, 28 games started

With the Dodgers: 2-3, 2.93 ERA, 2.71 K/BB, 43 innings pitched, 1.33 WHIP, 7 games started

A change of scenery did wonders for Beckett, who finally started resembling his former all-star self upon stepping into the Dodgers rotation.

Chad Billingsley injured his elbow once Beckett arrived in Los Angeles, so immediately Beckett filled in as his replacement. Although Beckett, pitched well, he was plagued by a lack of run support from his Dodgers teammates. The Dodgers scored five total runs in Beckett’s first four starts with the team.

Although, Beckett may not regain the form he demonstrated when he was leading the Red Sox to the title in 2007, he showed the Dodgers that they have another reliable, veteran arm that, when healthy, can be trotted out for 180 innings.

Season Highlights

Sept. 1 vs. Diamondbacks – Beckett got his first win as a Dodger, pitching 6.2 innings of one-run ball, striking out nine and walking one. His’s only mistake was a solo shot he surrendered to Justin Upton in the third inning.

Andre Ethier put Beckett and the Dodgers ahead 2-1 in the sixth with a solo shot of his own. Beckett’s win also ended a personal five-game losing streak for him.

Sept. 19 vs. Nationals – Beckett pitched into the seventh inning for the first time in nearly two months. He gave up only three earned runs in 7.1 innings and struck out two with no walks.

However, the Dodgers bullpen would have one it’s worst showings of the season and proceeded to blow a 6-0 lead. Matt Kemp would save the game with a go-ahead solo home run in the ninth.

Sept. 30 vs. Rockies – After one of the longest seasons of his career, Beckett closed out 2012 on a high note, pitching six innings of one-run ball, striking out five and walking three.

Beckett and the Dodgers got the victory, and the Dodgers kept their playoff hopes alive in anticipation of a season-ending series with the Giants.

What’s Next?

Beckett will make $15.75 million in each of the next two seasons. Beckett should start the season as the Dodgers’ third or fourth starter, depending upon whether the Dodgers acquire another pitcher.

Either way Beckett is with the Dodgers for the foreseeable future, and if he can pick up where he left off in the final five weeks of 2012, the Dodgers will have one of the most formidable rotations in baseball.

The Texas native, known for his prickly personality, seemed to enjoy the change of scenery and even endeared himself to the L.A. media, after having been vilified in Boston.

Beckett has spent his share of time on the disabled list. However, he’s never had any serious arm trouble. Most of his DL stints have been a result of blisters or upper body strains.

If Beckett is healthy and as rejuvenated as he appeared to be in Dodger Blue, expect a return to the all-star form of 2009-2011 for Beckett, or at least something pretty close to it.

Staff Writer

Staff Writer features content written by our site editors along with our staff of contributing writers. Thank you for your readership.

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