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

Price struggles in third inning, but otherwise shines in first start

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Price struggles in third inning, but otherwise shines in first start

CHICAGO -- Everything was going smoothly until the No. 9 hitter.

Protecting a 1-0 lead in the third inning Monday in his first start of 2017, David Price walked two straight batters with none on and one out in the third inning. Ninth-place hitter Adam Engel walked, as did leadoff man Tim Anderson -- who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the game.

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Price, whose command was in question coming off just two rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, immediately paid for the consecutive free passes.

Melky Cabrera jumped on Price's first pitch, a middle-in fastball, for a three-run homer and a 3-1 lead.

The Sox got Price two runs back in the top of the fourth inning, giving him something of a fresh slate with a tie game at 3-3. He took advantage of the second chance, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the bottom of the inning and keeping the game tied, and was rewarded when Mookie Betts homered to lead off the fifth and put the Red Sox back on top, 4-3.

He immediately put himself back in hot water by hitting the first two batters in the bottom of the fifth. But two groundballs to the left side -- the second of which, hit by Cabrera, was turned into an inning-ending double play -- got Price and the Sox out of the inning with their lead intact.

Back from an elbow injury, Price was impressive out of the gate in his first major league game since last year's playoffs. He struck out Anderson to begin his season and needed just 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning.

The lefty touched 96 mph on the final pitch of the first inning, which produced an easy groundout to shortstop from first baseman Jose Abreu.

Price was staked to a 1-0 lead before he threw a pitch.

Betts' leadoff double against Chicago's David Holmberg gave way to a run thanks to some great Betts base running. He took third base on Dustin Pedroia's ground out and then scored on a foul pop up that Abreu, the first baseman, snagged in foul territory with a basket catch — a rare sacrifice fly to the first baseman.

Home runs were a big problem for Price last year. So too was the third inning, when he had a 6.03 ERA.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.