Josh Beckett made his seventh start this season on Tuesday, pitching 6.1 innings, striking out six and allowing one run on four hits in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins.
The outing was at last a sense of vindication for Beckett, who not only earned his first win of the season, but also his first victory since 2012 and is now 1-1 in 2014 with a respectable 2.38 ERA. It’s been an arduous road back for the right-hander, who managed to make just eight starts in 2013 before being shut down for surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.
Since coming off the disabled list April 9, Beckett has been one of the more reliable pitchers in the rotation. The 34-year-old has gone at least six innings in each of his last four starts, including an eight-inning effort against the Colorado Rockies on April 25 in which he earned a no-decision.
The win may have gotten the proverbial monkey off Beckett’s back, but the right-hander doesn’t view it as a moment to pause and reflect, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
I think reflection’s for the end of the season,” Beckett said. “I’ll take this as a steppingstone and just keep pushing forward.”
To date, Beckett’s eight-inning start against the Rockies is the longest of any Dodger starter this season. Without many cases to compare Beckett’s case to, manager Don Mattingly wasn’t sure what Beckett would have to offer this season:
That surgery, there hasn’t been enough of those to have any true indication,” Mattingly said. “With this surgery, you don’t really know what’s coming.”
Mattingly attributed Beckett’s success to his willingness to throw multiple pitches:
It’s his growth,” Mattingly said. “He has three different pitches that he can throw for a strike and they all kind of work in unison with each other. He’s been more willing to use his other stuff a lot more.”
While Beckett has incorporated more variety of pitches in his starts, he also hasn’t shied away from rearing back when necessary. Throughout his starts, Beckett has at times found himself in jams and he’s relied on a fastball that’s averaging in the low 90s to get out of trouble.
Beckett’s and for that matter Dan Haren’s emergence this season has set the Dodgers’ up nicely once Hyun-Jin Ryu is reinstated from the DL, which may be forthcoming.
Dodgers Update: Clayton Kershaw’s Impressive Return, A.J. Ellis Improving