May 20, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Rubber Game in Philly- Cheesesteak or Humble Pie?

Josh Beckett (2-1, 2.89) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-3, 3.32)

Lineup: 

Gordon 2B

Crawford LF

Puig RF

Gonzalez 1B

Ethier CF

Turner 3B

Butera C

Arruebarrena SS

Beckett P

The Dodgers are second in the league in errors with 42 big ones. Saturday afternoon saw the Dodgers make two errors, one a costly bumble by A.J. Ellis which segued into a two-run homerun for Chase Utley. The Dodgers lost another infielder to injury when Hanley Ramirez was scratched from the lineup with a sore left calf. The Dodgers are without Uribe, and now their infield is comprised of 50% Adrian Gonzalez and Dee Gordon and the other 50% either Chone Figgins or Justin Turner at third base and the overmatched rookie Erisbel Arruebarrena at shortstop. The situation is far from ideal.

The infield is not the only area of drama. The five outfielder situation is getting ridiculous. After having an awful night in center field on Thursday

May 24, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd (3) backs into the fence and loses the ball off his glove in the sixth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd (3) backs into the fence and loses the ball off his glove in the sixth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

night in New York, Don Mattingly has benched Matt Kemp the past two games in favor of Andre Ethier in center. The pitching has been touch-and-go with bullpen implosions an every other day occurrence. The offense is inconsistent yet looking better with an incredible Yasiel Puig amongst the top hitters in the league. Adrian Gonzalez continues to be lukewarm in the series, and the loss of Hanley for any length of time ratchets down the Dodger lineup considerably.

The Dodgers will look to Josh Beckett in the rubber game Sunday morning, and it will be his ninth start this season having a good record and impressive 2.89 ERA. Beckett has reinvented himself, and I must say his hard work to come back can be truly applauded. Whether you still have memories of Beckett eating chicken and drinking beer in Boston, you tend to forget he is also a World Series M.V.P. Beckett has been going to his curveball this season more than ever, and he is confident to throw it for an out pitch. He’s exceeded my expectations this season, and I actually don’t dread Beckett starts any longer.

Beckett has won his last two games, and he now has 46 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings of work. He is 9-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) against the Phillies over his 14-year career. He is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 4 games pitched at Citizens Bank Park. Jimmy Rollins and Josh Beckett have faced each-other 59 times over the courses of their long careers. Rollins is hitting .250 against Beckett with 13 hits and 2 homeruns in 59 plate appearances against Josh. Chase Utley has 2 homeruns against Beckett as well. Ryan Howard hits Beckett well too.

A.J. Burnett will go up against fellow veteran Beckett in a veteran showdown of sorts. The Dodgers are no stranger to the 37-year old right-hander. He is 4-4 against the Dodgers in his career with a 3.63 ERA against them in 11 starts. Carl Crawford and Chone Figgins have both hit Burnett well in the past. Crawford has 19 hits against him with three doubles and a homerun in 66 at-bats. Ethier also hits Burnett well (.429) with 3 hits in 7 at-bats. Matt Kemp hasn’t been able to hit Burnett at all, and he is hitless in 8 at-bats with 6 strikeouts. Burnett pitched against the Dodgers back in April while allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, but his last three starts had him allow a dozen earned runs on 13 hits in that span.

The Dodgers and Comeback Player of the Year contender Josh Beckett must contain the usual culprits like Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Ben Revere has been an excellent lead-off hitter for Philadelphia. The outfielder collected four hits against the Dodgers on Saturday.

The Dodgers are looking more and more like the 2013 Dodgers at the beginning with the injuries piling up again. Losing your entire left half of the infield is pretty painful. It is unclear how long either Hanley or Uribe will be out. Hanley has not been DL’d, and the Dodgers say they do not know if it is just a cramp.

Prediction: Adrian Gonzalez breaks out of slump with a homerun.         

Grab your Puig coffee cup (oh am I the only one who has one?) and enjoy some early 10:35 a.m. PT Dodger baseball!

Go Blue!

Tags: A.J. Burnett Josh Beckett Los Angeles Dodgers

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