10/04/08 2:50 AM ET
Beckett ready to take rock in Game 3
Red Sox considered having their ace start Game 2 in Anaheim
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
But the Red Sox wanted to be as careful as possible with easing Beckett back to the mound after he tweaked his right oblique.
They considered having him pitch in Friday's Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Angel Stadium before ultimately deciding he'll get the ball Sunday night, when the series shifts to Fenway Park and the Red Sox have a chance to pull of a three-game sweep in Game 3.
"He's ready to go," manager Terry Francona said. "We tried to be a little bit patient, which is not easy. He had a long toss and his side [session], and 67 pitches is a long side. But I think for his piece of mind and his ability to go out and try to be better than the team we're playing, this was the correct way to do it."
Beckett is often better than the team he's facing, particularly in the postseason.
Here's the rundown on the Red Sox's ace as he gets ready to make his October arrival:
Vs. Angels: Beckett is 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA in six career starts against the Angels in the regular season, including an 0-2 record and 7.43 ERA in two starts against them this season. When he faced them in the ALDS last year, he allowed just four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in a complete-game shutout.
|Ace Josh Beckett, who will start Game 3, is 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 10 career postseason outings.|
At Fenway Park: Beckett has made 46 starts at Fenway, going 21-16 with a 4.79 ERA.
Playoff experience: This is where Beckett is at his best. He is 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 10 appearances, including nine starts, and he's tossed three complete-game shutouts. He is 1-1 with a 0.56 ERA in two ALDS outings.
Loves to face: Mark Teixeira. The Angels' midseason acquisition is 1-for-9 lifetime against Beckett, with three strikeouts.
Hates to face: Garret Anderson. He is 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles, one homer, five RBIs and two walks against Beckett.
Why he'll win: Beckett's postseason portfolio speaks for itself. This guy is the quintessential big-game pitcher.
Pitcher beware: Then again, those numbers against the Angels this season are ugly. Beckett was tattooed for eight runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings in his last outing against them on July 30 at Fenway.
Did you know: The Red Sox lost seven times this season in the 16 games in which Beckett posted a quality start. They averaged 8.2 runs per game in his 12 wins and just 2.4 runs in his 15 other appearances.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.