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.