Boston (64-49) at Kansas City (53-60)

Cloudy Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 37° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Tue Aug 5, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Josh Beckett has never lost four consecutive starts. With the way the Kansas City Royals are playing these days, that streak could be in serious jeopardy Tuesday night.

Beckett takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox as they continue their three-game series against the surging Royals, winners of seven of their last eight.

Beckett (9-8, 4.15 ERA) is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts versus Kansas City, but the Royals (53-60) are currently playing their best ball in several years. In fourth place in the AL Central, they’re in position to end a string of four consecutive last-place finishes.

After totaling 23 runs and 38 hits to win their final two games of a weekend set against the Central-leading Chicago White Sox, Kansas City defeated the Red Sox 4-3 in Monday’s series opener. Mark Teahen went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and Alex Gordon added a home run to help the Royals earn their first win in five meetings with Boston (64-49) this season.

Beckett is trying to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time in his career. He lost four consecutive decisions while pitching for Florida from May 25-Aug 4, 2004, but those came over a span of six starts.

The current losing streak hasn’t been entirely Beckett’s fault. The Red Sox have scored only four total runs for him in the three outings, including a 1-0 loss to Joba Chamberlain and the New York Yankees on July 25.

The right-hander had himself to blame last Wednesday, though, when he surrendered a season-high eight runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

“We’re a better team than we played,” Beckett said after that outing. “I’m a better pitcher than I pitched.”

Monday’s defeat snapped a modest three-game winning streak for Boston, which failed to trim its three-game deficit to AL East-leading Tampa Bay.

On a positive note, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had a double and two singles to extend his road hitting streak to 25 games—the most by a Boston player since a 29-game road hitting streak by Tris Speaker in 1913. It’s also the longest such run in the majors since Luis Castillo’s 27-game road streak for Florida in 2002.

“He’s really a tough out,” said the Royals’ Gil Meche, who had nine strikeouts in six innings Monday to earn the win.

Like Beckett, Kansas City starter Brian Bannister (7-9, 5.33) has dropped three consecutive decisions. He is 0-3 with an 8.19 ERA and .346 opponent batting average over his last six starts while pitching through the sixth inning just once in that span.

The right-hander lasted five innings Wednesday, when he gave up two runs, eight hits and seven walks at Oakland in a game the Royals won 4-3 in 10 innings.

Bannister is 0-2 with an 8.74 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox, including an 11-8 loss at Boston on May 22, when he was tagged for seven runs and 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Beckett LAD vs. B. Bannister KC
12-10 Record 9-16
4.03 ERA 5.76
172 K 113
34 BB 58
1.19 WHIP 1.49

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Aug 5