Boston's starting rotation has been all but mediocre over the first six games of the season, barring a pair of solid outings by Opening Day starter Jon Lester. If the Red Sox expect to compete for a spot in the playoffs come Septemeber, then their pitching will need a major turnaround and fast.
Josh Beckett's ability to go deep into games and return to his early-2011 form will be a huge determinent for how successful the Red Sox are in 2012. If Beckett's first start — allowing seven runs over four and 2/3 innings — was any indication of the type of year he's going to have, then Boston could be in for a very long season. But the former World Series MVP has started slow in the past, including a rough outing to kickoff the 2011 season, but has quickly returned to his ace-like form each time.
Beckett has won 15 games or more in four of his 10 major-league seasons, including 20 wins during his second season in Boston in 2007. But the fiery righty has been up and down during his career in Boston, only surpassing the 15-win mark once in the past four seasons and posting a sub-4.00 ERA in three of his six years in Boston.
The Red Sox will open up Fenway Park for the 2012 season on Friday, with Beckett taking the hill in the against the Tampa Bay Rays. He'll be expected to rebound from last weekend's rough outing and help the Red Sox turn the page on a 1-5 start to the season.
If by season's end Beckett has racked up close to 15 wins then the Red Sox should be in good position to make a postseason run. But the big question is if.