Josh Beckett has defied expectations so far in 2014, but nobody could've seen this coming: The 34-year-old threw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon in Citizens Bank Park.
He struck out six and walked three on 128 pitches in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 6-0 win. For his efforts, Beckett's reward was a Powerade shower, per the Dodgers' Twitter account:
The best shower of Josh Beckett's life: pic.twitter.com/ebj9ebB7pZ— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 25, 2014
This is the first no-hitter by a Dodgers pitcher since Hideo Nomo blanked the Colorado Rockies in 1996. As Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register noted, Hiroki Kuroda took a no-no into the eighth inning against, coincidentally, the Phillies in 2008:
According to ESPN Stats and Info, no other franchise has more no-hitters than the Dodgers' 21:
Dodgers have the most no-hitters all-time with 21— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2014
The Phillies previously hadn't been no-hit in 36 years, per Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan:
In his 321st career start, Josh Beckett throws the first no-hitter of the 2014 season against Phillies, who haven't been no-hit in 36 years.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 25, 2014
Less than a year ago, Beckett was getting shut down for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Now, he's thrown a no-hitter.
The significance of Sunday was not lost on Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll:
Josh Beckett is a story few are paying attention to. That shoulder injury is tough to come back from.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) May 25, 2014
The former Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox pitcher needed 128 pitches to get the job done, and Beckett says that exiting the game wasn't on the table at any point (via the Dodgers' Twitter account):
"Donnie and I talked about it, I wasn't coming out of the game." -Josh Beckett. #Dodgers— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 25, 2014
Beckett even won over the fans in Philadelphia, which is no small feat:
Charley Steiner: "even the Philly fans are rooting on Beckett" -- Philly fans, I am disappoint.— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) May 25, 2014
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times opined that the trade between the Dodgers and Red Sox is working out pretty well for L.A. after all:
Beckett throws no-hitter, with A-Gon and Crawford behind him, and #RedSox are 6 outs from 10th straight loss. Chicken and beer for all.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 25, 2014
The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke noted that Beckett’s historic performance was bittersweet for fans, considering that most people in Los Angeles are unable to watch Dodgers games due to an ongoing TV rights dispute:
Beckett no-hitter is both highlight and lowlight of Dodger season..don't underestimate anger of 70 percent of LA who couldn't see it.— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) May 25, 2014
That doesn't dampen the moment, though. Beckett has had quite an up-and-down career. He's won two World Series rings and been named to three All-Star teams, yet most fans will characterize his career as that of unfulfilled promise.
Now, Beckett continues a dream season after all of his struggles as the Dodgers look to continue to fight their way up the standings, moving to three games over .500 with the victory today.
It's only fitting that in such a strong comeback campaign, Beckett would find a way to confound fans once more and add another accolade to what has been a rather impressive career.