Josh Beckett threw the first no-hitter of his career in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win in Philadelphia. The 34-year-old right-hander threw 128 pitches — a career high — walked three batters and struck out six.
The last Dodgers pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Hideo Nomo in September 1996. Beckett became the 21st Dodger to throw a no-hitter and the 11th since the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Beckett walked Jimmy Rollins and fell behind Chase Utley 3-1. He came back to strike out Utley to seal the victory with two called strikes, sending the Dodgers pouring out of the dugout to celebrate.
Beckett was slotted in as the Dodgers’ fifth starter when the season began, almost an afterthought in a rotation headlined by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers signed Paul Maholm as insurance in case Beckett failed to rebound from thoracic outlet surgery in July 2013.
Even prior to Sunday, Beckett had done plenty to show that he was back. He was 2-1 for the season with a 2.89 earned-run average, allowing baserunners at an exceptionally low rate. His 1.157 WHIP rate is lower than all but two full seasons in his career.
The three batters to reach base against Beckett: Utley, on a walk in the first inning; Marlon Byrd, on a walk in the second inning; Jimmy Rollins, on a walk in the ninth inning. Beckett retired 23 batters in a row between the walks to Byrd and Rollins.
How did he do it? According to data provided MLB.com, Beckett threw 40 curveballs, 36 two-seam fastballs, 31 four-seam fastballs, 20 changeups and one cut fastball. Other than the one cutter he threw, Beckett’s changeup resulted in the highest swing-and-miss rate (5 of 20, 25 percent). He threw 80 strikes and 48 balls.
After needing 24 pitches to get through the first inning, Beckett never threw more than 18 pitches in a single frame. The last pitch he threw was his fastest, a 94 mph fastball. The slowest was a 68-mph curveball to Dominic Brown in the eighth inning.
Some more notes about the accomplishment:
- Beckett had only thrown one one-hitter in 320 career starts prior to today, on June 15, 2011 as a member of the Boston Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays.
- The last pitcher to no-hit the Phillies was Bob Forsch for the St. Louis Cardinals on April 16, 1978.
- The losing pitcher, A.J. Burnett, was Beckett’s teammate from 2001-05 in Florida.