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Josh Beckett Makes Dodgers Debut, Against Memorable Foe

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Josh Beckett is 4-0 in five career starts at Coors Field, including the postseason, with a 3.09 ERA, nine walks, and 26 strikeouts in 32 innings.
Josh Beckett is 4-0 in five career starts at Coors Field, including the postseason, with a 3.09 ERA, nine walks, and 26 strikeouts in 32 innings.

The term "fresh start" comes to mind as Josh Beckett makes his Dodgers debut on Monday night as they open a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.

Beckett, happy to be out of Boston, gets a chance to rebound from his poor season with the Red Sox. Beckett was 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts in Boston, and his strikeout rate is the worst of his career. Beckett has struck out 17.2% of hitters faced this year, down from 22.8% last year and just the second year of his career under 20% (2006 was 18.2%).

But manager Don Mattingly has often said that he doesn't care about prior reputations, that each player gets a blank slate when joining the Dodgers. And Mattingly wasn't concerned with Beckett's down numbers.

"He can still put the ball wherever he wants. He can locate, and if you can locate you can win," Mattingly said. "This guy has won a lot of big games."

Monday's pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, when Beckett faced Jeff Francis at Fenway Park. Beckett got the win with seven strong innings, while Boston hammered Francis for six runs in four innings on their way to a 13-1 win and a series sweep.

The Dodgers got to Francis for three runs in four innings on August 8 at Dodger Stadium, with all three runs coming on a three-run home run by Matt Kemp in the first inning. Kemp has three lifetime home runs against Francis, and is hitting .367 (11-for-30) against him.

Kemp is hitting .417/.484/.786 with nine home runs in 11 walks in 95 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season, though he has just three hits in his last 17 at-bats against southpaws.

Starting Lineups

Dodgers
Rockies
LF Victorino (S) CF Colvin (L)
2B Ellis 1B Pacheco
CF Kemp LF Gonzalez (L)
1B Gonzalez (L) C Rosario
SS Ramirez RF Brown
RF Ethier (L) 3B Nelson
3B Cruz 2B LeMahieu
C Ellis SS Herrera (S)
P Beckett P Francis (L)

Game Time: 5:40 p.m.

TV: KCAL

MLB Gameday