Josh Beckett Can Solidify Cy Young Status With Win Tonight vs. Yankees

Forrest Kobayashi@forrestkobaSenior Analyst IAugust 23, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 05:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees on May 5, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Red Sox defeated the Yankees 7-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

If Josh Beckett's surface statistics are any indication, he is firmly in the running for the American League Cy Young award in 2009.

On the season, Beckett has registered an impressive 14-4 record. He holds a 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and a 149/43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Opponents are batting a mere .233 against him.

Beckett is going to face one of his fellow Cy Young Award candidates tonight, when the Red Sox take on the Yankees at Fenway Park. He will be facing CC Sabathia, the Cy Young Award Winner in 2007.

The Red Sox offense has been chugging along the past two games, scoring 11 and 14 runs. The bats will need to be present if Beckett wants a chance to beat the tough-as-nails Sabathia.

From a pure individual perspective, tonight's game is a must-win for Beckett. Beckett is in a position to become a favorite in the Cy Young race, and a win over the rival Yankees (and CC) would solidify his already-lofty status.

Boston, currently 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East, would also benefit greatly from a solid start from Beckett tonight.

First, it would help their cause in the tough American League Wild Card race, which is shaping up to be a three-horse race (Texas and Tampa Bay being the other two).

The Red Sox are somewhat of a long shot to catch the Yankees and win the Division, but crazier things certainly have happened.

The Boston bullpen will also get a big breather if Beckett can reach a solid pitch total for the evening. Let's face it: the Sox bullpen is tired.

Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard are the Sox relievers who are likely to be used if they are in a winning position near the end of the game.

What impact do you believe a win for Beckett would have on his AL Cy Young candidacy?