Since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Josh Beckett a 2-8 record and has seemingly been hampered by one injury after another. The 33-year-old right hander made just five starts last season before being shut down due to numbness in the fingers of his right hand. Beckett underwent surgery in the off-season, having a rib removed to alleviate pressure that was being placed on a nerve, which caused the numbness. Beckett made a full recovery by spring, but suffered a setback when a clubhouse door slammed shut on his thumb, causing what the team described as a contusion, which forced Beckett to miss a scheduled start.
As a result, the right-hander was left off the travel roster for the Opening Series in Australia. Beckett’s unfortunate luck with injuries reared its head again during a rehab start in which he exited early after fielding a bunt. Fortunately for the Dodgers and Beckett, the situation wouldn’t be serious and he made his season debut five days later. Beckett’s first outing was a four-inning effort where he allowed five runs to the Detroit Tigers, some of which came on a bit of bad luck for Beckett. It was an inauspicious start to the season, but since that point, Beckett has been one of the better pitchers on the staff.
In his third start on Sunday, Beckett allowed one hit and struck out seven in five shutout innings. It was the second consecutive strong outing for the right-hander, who hasn’t allowed a run in 10 innings. Following the Dodgers’ 4-1 win, Beckett discussed his approach and what he’s still capable of, via Anthony Witrado on ESPN LA:
I still got [good] stuff. It’s not like I’m out there throwing 84 mph. I still have the stuff to overpower when I need to, but I have to pick my spots.
No longer a young power right-hander, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly praised his pitcher for adjusting his style, according to Witrado:
You’re seeing him adapt to who he is right now, manager Don Mattingly said. He’s putting doubt in hitters’ minds. It’s two [good starts] in a row, so hopefully he’s just building.
All three of Beckett’s starts have resulted in no-decisions and though the Dodgers are 1-2 when he’s taken the mound, the right-hander has more than kept them in the game in his last two outings. As Mattingly noted, Beckett has altered the kind of pitcher he is, which isn’t a knock on the one-time 20 game winner. If Beckett is able to remain healthy and serve as a reliable back-of-the-rotation pitcher, the Dodgers should have themselves one of the more formidable staffs once Clayton Kershaw is able to return from the disabled list.
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