Red Sox banking on Beckett's October brilliance in Game 3

Updated: October 4, 2008

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Will Josh Beckett recapture his postseason magic? He hasn't pitched since Sept. 22.

BREWERS, RED SOX RELYING ON PITCHERS' POSTSEASON PROWESS

A look ahead to Sunday's games:

Phillies at Brewers, 1:07 p.m. ET

Suppan

Brewers right-hander Jeff Suppan might not be Josh Beckett, but he takes an impressive postseason résumé into his Game 4 start against the Phillies. Suppan isn't the first name you think of when it comes to dependability (he had an 8.44 ERA in his last five starts of the season), but October has been his time to shine. One worry for the Brewers is that these Phillies tend to hit Suppan pretty well (Chase Utley and Pat Burrell have combined for a .450 batting average), so Suppan will need to defy the numbers to a point if he is to be successful.

Jeff Suppan: Notable Postseason Starts (all for Cardinals)
2004 NLDS Game 4 Beat Dodgers to clinch series (7 IP, 2 R)
2004 NLCS Game 7 Beat Roger Clemens, Astros to clinch series (6 IP, 2 R)
2006 NLCS Game 3 Homered, pitched 8 shutout innings in win vs. Mets
2006 NLCS Game 7 No-decision vs. Mets in win (7 IP, 1 R)

Rays at White Sox, 4:07 p.m. ET

Danks

White Sox left-hander John Danks will again try to save the White Sox's season as Chicago faces elimination against the Rays on Sunday. Danks was fantastic in the one-game playoff for the AL Central title against the Twins, when he pitched the best game of his career. He has come up big a number of times in this stretch drive for the White Sox, who return to the comforts of U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox looked very uncomfortable playing at Tropicana Field, but a return to their ballpark, and to Danks, could turn their postseason hopes around.

Danks You Very Much: His Past 5 Starts
W-L 2-1
ERA 2.67
BA against .200
IP 30.1
K-BB 22-6
Note: Includes three starts of 6-plus innings pitched without allowing a run

Angels at Red Sox, 7:17 p.m. ET

Josh Beckett will try to close out the Angels at Fenway Park on Sunday to further solidify his reputation as one of baseball's best postseason pitchers. Looking at the Red Sox right-hander from a historical perspective, he ranks among the best, and he's still in the prime of his career. Beckett has been the difference-maker in two different postseasons and won a title in each instance. That might explain why the Red Sox are willing to risk pitching him while he recovers from an injury, because they know that even 75 percent of Beckett is still better than anyone else in the game.

Comparing the Greats:
Career as Starter in Postseason
Josh
Beckett
John
Smoltz
Bob
Gibson
Sandy
Koufax
Curt
Schilling
W-L 6-2 13-4 7-2 4-3 11-2
ERA 1.70 2.55 1.89 0.98 2.23
*League ERA 4.16 4.03 3.17 3.18 4.03
Starts 9 27 9 7 19
Quality Starts 8 22 6 7 15
Team W-L 7-2 17-10 7-2 4-3 14-5
WS Titles 2 1 2 3 3
* -- >> League ERA in postseason during pitchers career, according to Elias Sports Bureau, according to Elias Sports Bureau

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Oct. 3 | Oct. 2 | Oct. 1 l Sept. 28 | Sept. 25 | Sept. 24


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BBTN ON THE AIR: SUNDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
6:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk, Eduardo Perez

BBTN MINUTE: PREVIEWING SUNDAY'S GAMES

WHITE SOX NOT DEAD YET

Editor's note: This is excerpted from Neyer's blog, which can be found here Insider:

I don't believe the White Sox are dead. Not quite yet.

Are the Rays fundamentally better than the White Sox? Yeah, they probably are. The Rays outscored their opponents this season by 103 runs; the White Sox outscored theirs by 82 runs. Although their respective hitting and pitching/defense stats are roughly equivalent, the Rays certainly played in the tougher division.

You have to like the Rays in a best-of-five series, straight up. So you have to really like them now, when they need to win just one of three. But the White Sox have a shot because they're heading home, where they have thrived. Tampa Bay's 57-24 record at home was the best in the American League; Chicago's 54-28 was third-best. The White Sox finished second in the American League in home scoring, and their 143 home runs at home were easily the most in the majors.

In Game 3, the White Sox will turn to John Danks, their best pitcher. If they win that one, manager Ozzie Guillen will have a tough decision in Game 4: Start Javier Vazquez again, or turn instead to Gavin Floyd?

Whatever he decides, the White Sox will need a bit of luck to win both games in Chicago. But they have a puncher's chance. And if they can extend the affair to a fifth game, anything can happen.

MANNY, TORRE CELEBRATE IN L.A.

THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY (OCT. 5)

1997: Beating Mariano
It's the 11th anniversary of Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS when, with the Yankees on the verge of clinching the series, Sandy Alomar Jr. hit an eighth-inning, game-tying home run off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Omar Vizquel won the game with a hit in the ninth that evened the series at two. The Indians won Game 5 the next day to take the series.

1967: Almost perfect
Red Sox starter Jim Lonborg retired the first 19 batters of the game. Lonborg ended up with 6 1/3 perfect innings and 7 2/3 no-hit innings. He pitched a one-hit shutout as the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series.

1947: Oh, Doctor!
One of the best Web gems in postseason history took place 61 years ago in the World Series when Brooklyn outfielder Al Gionfriddo made a running, reaching one-hand catch against the bullpen to rob Joe DiMaggio of an extra-base hit and quite possibly a home run.