It’s Been a Long Road Back for Josh Beckett

Yesterday I wrote about how the Dodgers needed a shakeup right about now, to provide the kick in the behind they received a year ago when Yasiel Puig was called up. Well, maybe the comeback of Josh Beckett that hit its apex today with his no-hitter against Philadelphia, was just that sort of thing.

Beckett came to the majors in 2001 at 21 with a can’t miss label, and though he did not develop any regular season consistency until 2005, his post season heroics and sheer dominance began in 2003, when he helped lead the Marlins to a stunning World Series title over the heavily favored Yankees.

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Josh Beckett LA Dodgers Framed Collage with Game-Used Baseball $79.95
He was a dominant pitcher from 2005 through 2009, going 80-41, and having an even more brilliant post season in 2007 (4-0, 1.20 ERA, 0.70 WHIP), helping lead the Red Sox to the title. But, he was ineffective the following season and missed two months, with a back injury. He came back with a good year in 2011 (13-7, 2.89, 1.03). 2012 was to be the worst year yet for Beckett (5-11, 5.23 ERA in Boston), with injuries and controversy. He seemed to be playing out his time in Boston, and in August he was part of
the blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers, also bringing Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto to LA, increasing the Dodgers payroll to never-before seen, but soon to be surpassed, heights.

The rest of the year was not much better for Beckett who finished 2-3 for LA. But 2013 was to be even worse, on all counts. He pitched only 43 innings, compiling a 0-5 record, due to a significant neurological problem on his right side, producing numbness in his pitching hand. There was a question as to whether his career was over, especially after

rehab failed to make a difference. He was eventually diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, and underwent surgery. A lengthy recovery time kept him off the major league diamond until almost mid-April of this season.

Once he returned to the Dodgers, he pitched pretty well in almost every start, and has been generally been getting better with each successive game, except for his last start against the Mets, who hit him pretty hard.

But then today, he took the mound against Philadelphia,

and not only pitched his first complete game since June 15, 2011, but he pitched the 21st no-hitter in Dodgers’ history. He threw 128 pitches and allowed only three base on balls, while striking out six, and lowering his season’s ERA to 2.43.

Despite the fact that the Dodgers’ have turmoil in the outfield and play awful defense, the starting pitching has been exceptional, and with a solid, dominant Beckett making it even stronger, there may yet be hope this season for the best team money can buy.

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