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Dodgers need Beckett to turn back the clock

The SportsXchange

With the looming possibility of Clayton Kershaw joining fellow starters Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly on the done-for-2012 pile, the Los Angeles Dodgers will rely more heavily on Josh Beckett, who was acquired from the Red Sox on Aug. 25.

"For the most part, you've got to look at Josh (as the No. 1 starter with Kershaw out). I think we have to. He's the guy that has pitched the most big games," manager Don Mattingly said.

Beckett is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts for the Dodgers with 24 strikeouts and nine walks in 24 innings. But no matter who leads the pitching staff, they will need run support, which has been in short supply of late.

Adrian Gonzalez, acquired with Beckett in the blockbuster nine-player trade with Boston, has 16 RBI in 21 games as a Dodger but is hitting just .233 with one home run and a .372 slugging percentage in 21 games for Los Angeles. Shane Victorino, acquired from the Phillies on July 31, is hitting just .234 with a .303 on-base percentage since coming west. But they are not alone.

Last week, the Dodgers' eight regular position players made 46 of a possible 48 starts but hit a combined .188/.219/.388 in six games. The team has averaged just 2.63 runs per game in its last 16 games and has scored three runs or fewer in 12 of those games.

The Dodgers will rely heavily on the newcomers to improve those numbers over the season's final two weeks. If they don't come through, the Dodgers will find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.
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