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Daily Dodger in Review: Can Josh Beckett still be great?

November 01, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Josh Beckett pitches against the Washington Nationals in September.
Josh Beckett pitches against the Washington Nationals in September. (Greg Fiume / Getty Images )

JOSH BECKETT, 32, starting pitcher

Final 2012 stats: 7-14, 4.65 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 132 strikeouts and 52 walks in170 1/3 innings.

Contract status: Signed for the next two seasons at $17 million per year.

The good: He pitched a lot better as a Dodger (2-3, 2.95 ERA) than as a Red Sox (5-11, 5.23), though he had an identical WHIP (1.33). Once Chad Billingsley was lost to injury, he sort of assumed the mantle as the Dodgers’ No. 2 pitcher. Can be a sour personality but never seemed a clubhouse problem. Never truly had a terrible game as a Dodger.

The bad: Never truly had a great game as a Dodger, one that would hearken back to his 20-win form of 2007. Only the second time in his career his strikeouts per nine innings pitched (7.0) was below 8.2; also second-highest hits per nine innings (9.2). Turns 33 in May, so likely losing some power.

What’s next: Figures to be somewhere in the middle of the Dodgers’ rotation for the next two seasons. For whatever it means, probably lines up as No. 3 behind Clayton Kershaw and Billingsley.

The take: He may not be the dominant pitcher he once was, but he knows how to pitch and has enough stuff to be highly effective. His situation in Boston had degenerated so badly, he was in need of a fresh start.

We’ll see if he fully embraces that opportunity in 2013, but a motivated and engaged Beckett would figure to be a solid asset to the rotation. And if the Dodgers actually reach that aspired postseason, his playoff experience (7-3, 3.07 in 14 games) should prove a valuable asset.

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