Beckett's numbers vs. Yankees are ugly

April, 9, 2011

At 25, Josh Beckett was just entering his prime when the Boston Red Sox traded for him in the fall of 2005.

It was easy to envision the reaction in the New York Yankees front office.

Just two years prior, Beckett stood triumphant on the Yankee Stadium mound after the final out of the 2003 World Series. Pitching on three days’ rest, he blanked the Yankees with a five-hit shutout. That image was hard to ignore when he arrived in Boston.

But after the trade, Beckett downplayed this angle.

“We've got a lot of games against other [teams], too, that we've got to win," he said.

Indeed, if Beckett -- who faces the Bombers at Fenway on Sunday Night Baseball (8 p.m., ESPN) -- was brought to Boston just to dominate the Yankees, it’s hard to view his Red Sox career as a success.

Though he is 10-7 in 22 starts, Beckett has a 6.26 ERA against New York. The Red Sox are averaging 6.0 runs in support of him, a major factor in those 10 wins.

Compare those numbers to Beckett’s non-Yankees starts: 61-34, 3.77 ERA. That’s the pitcher Boston thought it was getting when it shipped away Hanley Ramirez.

In 2010, Beckett’s struggles against the Yankees reached epidemic status.

Beckett went 1-2 with a 10.04 ERA in five starts against New York. He allowed nine home runs and a .339 batting average.

Even struggling through injuries all season, the rest of Beckett’s numbers in 2010 are much closer to what was anticipated. In his non-Yankees starts, Beckett went 5-4 with a 3.92 ERA. He allowed just two more home runs (11), despite throwing 101 2/3 more innings.

His numbers against New York were historically bad.

Over the past 50 years, only four pitchers have had a higher ERA against the Yankees when making four or more starts.

Dennis Eckersley in 1979 was the last Red Sox pitcher to allow nine home runs in fewer than 30 innings to the Yankees.

His last start against New York is a bit of a microcosm for how he’s fared against them since 2006.

Beckett allowed four home runs in 6 2/3 innings on September 24. It was just the sixth time in the past 90 years that a Red Sox pitcher allowed that many to the Yankees in a single game.

But the Red Sox came to Beckett’s rescue, scoring 10 runs. Despite all those home runs, he picked up the win.

Never in the last 90 years had a Red Sox pitcher defeated the Yankees after allowing four home runs.

Amidst all of his struggles, the Red Sox are still 13-9 when he starts against the Yankees. Since 2006, when it’s anyone else, the Red Sox are just 31-40.

Jeremy Lundblad

ESPN Stats and Information



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