Josh Beckett has pitched very well this season, whether at Fenway Park or on the road. His performance away from home, however, may be the best indicator of just how good he has been.
Beckett (15-5, 3.15), tied for the league lead in wins, is 8-1 with a AL-best 1.65 ERA in nine road starts, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each outing. He has conceded only three home runs in 65 1-3 road innings while walking 10 and striking out 56.
Asked to explain his success on the road, Beckett shrugged and said, “I’m just executing pitches. That’s what it is.”
The Boston ace was denied his 16th victory Friday at home against the Los Angeles Angels despite limiting them to two runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
Beckett gave up three runs and four hits in six innings of a 10-3 home win over the White Sox on July 20. He is 2-0 with a 4.60 ERA in three career starts against them.
The Red Sox (76-51) try to rebound after they failed to complete a three-game sweep with a 2-1 loss Wednesday at Tampa Bay.
Mike Lowell drove in the lone run with a third-inning sacrifice fly for Boston, which batted 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14.
“We just didn’t score any runs,” said Jason Varitek, who was 0-for-5. “Those missed opportunities I’ll take on my shoulders, because I left a lot of guys on base.”
The Red Sox, who haven’t won three straight since July 26-28, are 23-17 since the All-Star break.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia left Wednesday’s game with a bruised left elbow after he was hit by a pitch from Edwin Jackson leading off the third inning. Pedroia leads AL rookies with a .323 batting average.
“It just hit me in the right spot,” said Pedroia, who is day-to-day. “I really couldn’t bend my arm much. Basically, my whole arm went numb, so we took some X-rays to be safe. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit that hard before.”
While Boston is likely headed to the playoffs, Chicago (56-70) is just trying to avoid last place in the Central.
The White Sox also failed to sweep their last series after winning the first two games, falling 7-6 Wednesday to Kansas City.
Rookie Josh Fields hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning for Chicago, which dropped into a last-place tie with the Royals. Chicago hasn’t finished last since 1989.
The White Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games, and seven of those defeats have been by one or two runs.
John Danks (6-11, 5.30) hopes to end a personal four-start losing streak. The rookie left-hander has had a dismal August, losing all four starts this month with a 7.91 ERA. He has allowed 27 hits, including six home runs, over 19 1-3 innings during that span. Danks gave up four runs and a season high-tying nine hits in five-plus innings Saturday in a 7-5 loss at Seattle.
Danks lost his only start against the Red Sox 11-2 at Boston on July 21, giving up four runs and seven hits in six innings.