Besides being a three-time All Star and a 20 game winner, Josh Beckett wrote himself into baseball's record books once again on Saturday.
From the time he stepped upon the mound and threw his first pitch, Beckett dominated the Phillies all afternoon. Although he threw 24 pitches in the first inning, Beckett settled down, throwing on average 13 pitches per inning; 128 total. He struck out six, including Chase Utley with a full count in the bottom of the ninth to end the game, and walked three.
Beckett did not allow a single hit all afternoon. The Phillies seemed lifeless, although they did allow Beckett to throw a lot of pitches by getting deep into counts. This is the first time since Bob Forsch in 1978 that the Phillies have been no-hit and the first time since Bill Stoneman in 1969 that the Phillies have been no-hit in Philadelphia. They have been no-hit 14 times in team history.
Beckett has come a long way. After being drafted by the Florida Marlins with the second overall pick in the 1999 draft, Beckett shot his way through the minors, throwing a heater in the mid-90s. He struck out 13 hitters per nine innings in the minors in 2001. By 2012, his fastball velocity had declined to 91.2 mph (it was 94.4 mph in 2007), and Beckett had to become more of a pitcher than a thrower.
It took some time. He had to have surgery on his thumb last season and only started eight games. But this season, Beckett has returned to form (or so it has seemed), going 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, including some very fine performances. This is just the 12th complete game of his career and only the 6th shutout.
The Dodgers last pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Hideo Nomo back on September 17, 1996 against the Colorado Rockies. Beckett becomes the 18th pitcher in Dodgers history to throw a no-hitter. He becomes the 202nd pitcher in Major League history to throw a nine inning no-hitter. He was absolutely brilliant today from the get go to finish, retiring 27 hitters without allowing a single hit.