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:
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:
The Phillies previously hadn't been no-hit in 36 years, per Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan:
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:
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):
Beckett even won over the fans in Philadelphia, which is no small feat:
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:
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:
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.