While Beckett’s last two starts have been difficult to watch, there are two others since his return from the back injury that might give him some confidence heading into this one.
Beckett picked up his first win since April when he threw seven strong innings in Anaheim on July 28. He gave up three runs on five hits in a 7-3 triumph that finished a 6-4 road trip.
In addition, his only home start since coming off the DL was an absolute gem vs. Cleveland on Aug. 3. In picking up his second straight victory, the 30-year-old yielded a run on three hits while striking out eight and walking none in eight innings.
Now he gets the Angels again and he gets them at home. Perhaps that will be enough to help him put the last two outings (0-1, 12.10 ERA) in the past.
Santana is 4-1 in his last five starts but owns a 5.52 ERA in that span, in large part due to a miserable outing in Baltimore earlier this month. He had a memorable duel with Jon Lester at Fenway on May 4, giving up a run in seven innings in a game Anaheim eventually lost 5-1.
Santana is 0-2 with a 5.08 ERA in five career starts in Boston.
Marco Scutaro, SS Jed Lowrie, 2B David Ortiz, DH Victor Martinez, C Adrian Beltre, 3B J.D. Drew, RF Mike Lowell, 1B Ryan Kalish, CF Daniel Nava, LF
Bobby Abreu, LF Maicer Izturis, 2B Alberto Callaspo, 3B Torii Hunter, RF Hideki Matsui, DH Howie Kendrick, 1B Erick Aybar, SS Jeff Mathis, C Peter Bourjos, CF
Closer Jonathan Papelbon on Wednesday became the first pitcher ever to record 30 saves in each of his first five full major league seasons.
Right-hander Daniel Bard has 26 holds, one shy of Hideki Okajima‘s club record, accomplished in 2007.
Designated hitter David Ortiz is batting .333 (13-for-39) during a nine-game hitting streak. With two hits Wednesday, he surpassed Mo Vaughn and moved into 20th place on the all-time franchise list with 1,166.
Anaheim is 5-for-36 (.139) with runners in scoring position over its last six games.
The Angels are 5-17 in their last 22 road games.
Outfielder Bobby Abreu is batting .421 (16-for-38) during a 10-game hitting streak.
BLACK AND BLUE
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has another broken rib near where he was hurt earlier in the year, the result of a collision at first base Friday in Texas. He is out four to six weeks at minimum and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
Center fielder Mike Cameron will have season-ending surgery to repair an abdominal tear.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery Friday to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
Catcher Jason Varitek (broken right foot) had another scan and an exam Tuesday. His foot still has not fully healed, although Varitek is just about running at full speed. The scan is being sent to a foot specialist in North Carolina.
Catcher Kevin Cash is on the DL with a left hamstring strain.
Left-hander Hideki Okajima is on the DL with a right hamstring strain. He threw a bullpen session with Varitek in Texas, threw again Tuesday and may do so again Thursday.
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
Right-hander Joel Pineiro is out until September with a left oblique strain.
Right-hander Rich Thompson is on the DL with right shoulder inflammation.
Right-hander Jason Bulger is expected to join the team soon as he recovers from a strained right shoulder.
Reliever Brian Stokes is on the DL with right shoulder fatigue. He began a minor league rehab assignment earlier this month.
First baseman Kendry Morales is out for the year with a broken leg.
Look for Beckett, who had a quality side session between starts, to perform better in this one. If not, getting to the promised land will be that much tougher for the Sox.