The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 on Sunday afternoon, and starting pitcher Josh Beckett picked up his first career no-hitter in the process. The performance obviously left a game to remember for Beckett, but it also showed the baseball world that the 34-year-old has successfully changed the way he pitches and become a great starter again in the process.
Just over a year ago, Beckett had a 0-5 record with a 5.19 ERA, and he generally looked like a guy who was lost out on the mound. It was eventually brought to public attention that Beckett was suffering from numbness in his hand, and the starter was placed on the Disabled List in an effort to find out what exactly was wrong and if it could be fixed. After going to multiple doctors, Beckett finally had surgery to help fix a nerve disorder known as thoracic outlet syndrome in July, and there were many people questioning whether he would ever touch a MLB mound again.
Fast forward to the no-hitter, and Beckett has a 3-1 record with a 2.43 ERA, .189 BAA, 1.02 WHIP, 0.93 K/9 and a mojo that at one time looked to be forever lost. During his 128 pitch, six strikeout, three walk and no-hit performance on Sunday afternoon he looked like a guy who knew he was going to get each and every batter out — and for the most part he did. This confidence has been a staple during the 2014 season and has the former superstar maintaining a position as an outside contender for the National League Cy Young Award.
Beckett isn’t quite the flamethrower who dominated for the Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox once upon a time, but he has found a distinct comfort level sitting at 90-92 mph with his fastball and mixing in his curveball, cutter and change-up on an unprecedented 64.5 percent of his pitches. This arsenal was on full display Sunday afternoon, as was a new found command and the feeling that Beckett has once again become a force to be reckoned with on the mound.