Beckett throws first no-hitter of career at age 34
Yes, that Josh Beckett. The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. The world series MVP in 2003 with the then Florida Marlins. World Series champion in 2007 with the Boston Red Sox. Yes, that Josh Beckett.
Needless to say, I was shocked myself to see the ticker on TV that there was a no-hitter in progress in Philadelphia. My phone was blowing up with alerts from all my sports apps I have. "Josh Beckett 6 outs away from first career no-hitter." Honestly, you can't help but chuckle a little bit. Being a lifelong New Englander, you just kind of sit back and laugh. You laugh at the fact that this is happening. How many starts the guy missed. How he probably could have been in better shape. How he could have tried a little harder. He could have been a legend in New England, but I honestly don't think he lived up to the hype of being in Boston. He handled it well though. I'm also not saying he wasn't a really good pitcher. Because he clearly was. I mean come on, he probably should have been the MVP of the playoffs in 2007 for the Red Sox if it hadn't have been for the fact that Mike Lowell was tearing the cover off the ball. Beckett was a very serviceable pitcher. A big game pitcher who shouldered a load for a team that needed it, good or bad. Didn't always come through but always battled. But still left a little to be desired so he was shipped to LA in a straight salary dump which would, in turn help both sides out with the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2013 and the Dodgers making a deep playoff run.
Beckett, who was expected to be the number 2 starter in Los Angeles would battle injuries in all of 2013, appearing in only 8 games as his body would not allow him to pitch the rest of the year. He would battle a rib and thumb injury, the thumb being the worst of it as he had a numbness sensation in his pitching had and at times could not feel the baseball in his hand. This series of injuries which would seemingly have him questioning whether or not he could continue his playing career, let alone be successful again. He spent the rest of the regular season and offseason rehabilitating his injuries as he tried to earn a starting rotation spot in spring training. Not all went well as he would continue to struggle to gain velocity on his fastball and sustain yet another injury, this time to his ankle. But before all this, he was granted the fifth and final spot in the Dodgers rotation. He would begin the season on the disabled list. What a difference a year makes. Essentially coming full circle. Entering Sunday, he had a sub 3.00 ERA and was pitching pretty well all year. And then Sunday arrived. The former all-star, World Series MVP, and World Series champion would toss his first career no-hitter against a Philadelphia offense that isn't necessarily a slouch. Beckett would go on to say that he didn't have nearly good stuff, but he was able to keep the hitters guessing in hitters counts and keeping them off balance all game long. He needed 128 pitches to complete the feat. You can't help but feel good for a guy who has battled injuries for his whole career. You can't help but feel good for a guy who was contemplating retirement at a fairly young age of 34 to accomplish such a feat. For a guy to come back the way he has, you have to be happy for him.
From World Series hero (twice) to "Chicken and Beer" to the forgotten man in Los Angeles, congrats to Josh Beckett on 2014's first no hitter.