Beckett or Zambrano? You'd be surprised

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Beckett or Zambrano? You'd be surprised

A friend e-mailed me last week with the following question:

Who do you think has had the better career, Josh Beckett or Carlos Zambrano?

Now, when someone asks you a question like that, you always know the answer. In this case, Zambrano, because if it was Beckett, there'd be no reason to ask.

But while my answer was based on lazy logic, his explanation was far more thorough, and I thought, interesting enough to share:

Here's the breakdown:

Zambrano has more top 10 CY Young finishes (3-2) In Zambranos worst season (last year), he posted a 81 ERA. This was by far the worst of his career, with his second-worst coming in 2007 (117 ERA). Beckett has had seasons of 99, 95 and 75 (for the Sox in 2010) Zambranos best season? 2004 -- when he went 16-8 with a 2.75 ERA and an ERA of 160. Becketts best season? Statistically it was last year 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and an ERA of 147. (Side note: After Becketts September 5 start, his ERA stood at 2.49. Over his last three starts, 2 losses and 1 no-decision, his ERA increased 0.4 runs per game -- resulting from 12 ER in 13.1 IP -- in his last two starts against Baltimore.) Zambrano has been much more consistent and has had many fewer bad seasons than Beckett. Zambrano's career ERA is 122. Beckett's is 115.

So there it is. Pretty compelling argument, right? Obviously, this doesn't include Beckett's two World Series rings, and more importantly, the legendary individual performances that earned him both. (For his career, Beckett is 7-3 in in 13 career playoff starts, with a 3.07 ERA. On the other hand, Zambrano is 0-2 in five career playoff starts with a 4.34 ERA.)

Also, if you had to choose one of these guys -- in their primes -- to start one game, you'd have definitely chosen Beckett. Not to mention, that while Beckett hasn't always been the best clubhouse influence, he looks like Ghandi (huge glue guy on India's gold medal winning team at the 1918 Far Eastern Games) compared to Zambrano.

But the numbers don't lie. These two are a lot closer than you probably ever imagined -- at least April through September.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Pomeranz scratched from last start, could pitch out of bullpen in playoffs

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Pomeranz scratched from last start, could pitch out of bullpen in playoffs

NEW YORK -- With the postseason just over a week away, it didn't appear that Drew Pomeranz was going to be part of the Red Sox' starting rotation.

On Tuesday, that became official.

Pomeranz was scratched from his last scheduled start of the regular season Thursday with some soreness in his forearm. Henry Owens will take his turn against the Yankees.

"He's come out of this last start (in Tampa Bay) a little bit more sore,'' said John Farrell. "There's been a need for additinal recovery time (and there's also) the total number of innings pitched. There's a number of factors.

"The forearm area is where he's experiencing some discomfort. He needs a few extra days. So combined with his career high in innings pitched (169.1), we're backing him out of his last start.''

Farrell emphasized that Pomeranz hadn't been shut down for the season, but did say that if the lefty pitched again, it would be out of the bullpen.

"We need to get him back on a mound,'' Farrell said, "hopefully by the end of the week to determine what role he'll have in the bullpen going forward.''

The fact that the Red Sox were a win -- or a Toronto loss -- away from clinching the division and have the luxury of being careful didn't have an impact on the decision to hold him out.

"You always put the player's health at the forefront,'' said Farrell. "Is this increased risk with the higher number of innings, or additional needed recovery time? You factor those in. This is independent of the standings.''

Pomeranz appeared to have been squeezed out of playoff rotation, with the four spots going to Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz.

In 13 starts, Pomeranz was 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA with the Red Sox after being obtained in a July trade with San Diego.

Two weeks ago, the Padres were disciplined for not fully disclosing all the necessary medical information with the Red Sox leading up to the deal, with GM A.J. Preller suspended for 30 days without pay.

It's unclear whether this injury is at all related to info the Padres withheld from the Red Sox.

"I can't really comment on that,'' Farrell said. "I do know what the player needs is some additional time. What's attached to that previously, I really don't have the specifics.''