Dodgers like what Beckett brings to rotation

Dodgers like what Beckett brings to rotation

LOS ANGELES -- A look at the recent numbers and it's hard to get excited about the newest Dodgers starting pitcher, Josh Beckett.

Look at his body of work over his entire career and it's a different story.

Beckett, 32, who will make his team debut on Monday in Colorado, is far from the pitcher he once was.

He comes to the Dodgers with a 5-11 record and a 5.23 ERA thanks to a rough August (0-2, 9.92 ERA in three starts). But he's one year removed from going 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and he has a career record of 130-92 with a 3.93 ERA and a reputation as one of the game's best big-game pitchers. He is 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA in the playoffs and 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA in three World Series starts, with an MVP award to his credit.

The righty is well aware he's not the pitcher he once was, but he is confident his numbers this year will only improve.

"I don't think anyone has the same stuff at 21 and 32," he said. "You just learn how to make different adjustments. I think you learn how to do that when you are younger, as well. Even when you do throw hard, you have to throw more strikes, locate and be down in the zone. It's an ongoing thing."

He said even if you still throw 97 mph, there is always a need to make those adjustments with the rest of the league always adjusting, too.

The veteran righty isn't the only one confident he'll turn things around. Dodgers management, from the front office to Don Mattingly, is convinced he can deliver in Los Angeles and that there is nothing wrong with his mechanics.

"Josh has thrown a lot of innings," Mattingly said. "He's going to have some issues going on. The stuff is probably not going to be like what it was when he was 23 or 24. When you look at Josh, he has always been able to throw the ball where he wants. When you can locate, you can get people out.

"Is he the same guy? No, and we know that. But we're getting a pretty good pitcher."