Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Josh Beckett (Page 2 of 3)

Ooooh … fire

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Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 7.28.34 PMI’m playing like a star.

I go to the stadium.

I come up close.

You don’t even know.

You say you don’t like it.

Van Slyke I know you’re a liar.

Because when we win …

Oooh …


– Jon Weisman

Dodgers Top 40: The best plays of the first half

By Jon Weisman

How exciting a 2014 has it been for the Dodgers? I started out planning to pick out the top 10 plays of the first half of the season, then (after realizing that Dee Gordon could practically fill that quota by himself) saw that list balloon to 40.

So here, in all their glory (and in an unplanned tribute to Casey Kasem), are the biggest thrills of the first 81 games. Thanks to for the videos, as well as pieces of text here and there.

Now, prepare to lose yourself …

* * *

March 30 at San Diego: Hyun-Jin Ryu fields a sharp comebacker and throws to home to start a double play and escape a bases-loaded jam in the first.
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Nearly no-hit, Dodgers show grit

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By Jon Weisman

There was great defense and timely hitting and shutdown pitching (oh, was there shutdown pitching). There were contributions from superstars and reserves and guys fresh off the disabled list and guys who have struggled to find consistency. There was  a jacked-up crowd urging their team on against the National League All-Star team’s most likely starting pitcher, doing nothing less than threatening to throw the sport’s latest no-hitter.

And in a taut two hours and 32 minutes, the Dodgers came through with a 1-0 victory over St. Louis, their first 1-0 victory of 2014, their second-shortest nine-inning game and easily one of the best edge-of-your seat games of the season.

So little scoring, so many moments …

  • Dee Gordon walks, and then St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright sets down the next 15 batters.
  • Josh Beckett gives up a first-inning and third-inning hit, but otherwise matches Wainwright zero for zero.
  • Miguel Rojas, after making slick plays at shortstop all night, breaks up Wainwright’s no-hitter with a line single to left to start the bottom of the sixth.
  • In the seventh, Gordon ranges far to his right, adjusts to a last minute bounce off the bag to field a seventh-inning grounder, and throws Yadier Molina out at first.

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  • One batter later, after Allen Craig has doubled, John Jay singles to left and Matt Kemp shows what his arm can do in left field, nailing Craig at home. An exultant Beckett completes his seventh shutout inning of the night, lowering his 2014 ERA to a remarkable 2.11.
  • Brian Wilson pitches his most authoritative inning of the season, retiring the Cardinals in the eighth on 14 pitches, 12 for strikes.
  • Juan Uribe, in his first game in more than five weeks and looking rusty through two strikeouts, singles to start the bottom of the eighth.
  • Rojas, again. After a Drew Butera sacrifice, an infield single by the shortstop puts runners at the corner.
  • Justin Turner, sent to the bench by Uribe’s return, steps up as a pinch-hitter and lines an RBI single to left. Turner is now 6 for 15 (.400) as a pinch-hitter.
  • Matt Adams hits a bloop single in the ninth off Kenley Jansen, but pinch-runner Peter Bourjos is tagged out at second by an alert Rojas on a steal attempt.
  • Needing only seven pitches to finish his work, Jansen ends things on a Jhonny Peralta fly to center.

As much as you see Rojas’ name in these highlights, that’s how much of a presence off the bench he has become in only 20 days as a Dodger. What a treat to see someone seize the opportunity and challenge in front of him. No, he’s no big bat, but he’s doing everything you could ask.

So the Dodgers, who were 1-33 when tied or trailing after seven innings before Wednesday, have won two games in two nights that were tied in the eighth. And from the “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you” department: San Francisco lost to Cincinnati, 3-1. At the halfway point of the 2014 season, the Dodgers are within two games of first place in the NL West.

Josh Beckett: NL Comeback Player of the Year?

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By Jon Weisman

It’s the award no player dreams of winning, until they go through a nightmare first.

But having been through that nightmare, Josh Beckett might have every right to become the National League’s next Comeback Player of the Year.

No hitters seem to be in the race at this point, though a couple of pitchers definitely are.

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Josh Beckett no-hitter: Game-used ball up for bid, benefiting Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation

Beckett No-Hitter Ball Front

By Erin Edwards

It’s time to win a Dodger baseball. Dodger fans, this is your chance to own a piece of Dodger history and help the youth of L.A.

We all held our breath May 25 when Josh Beckett threw the 11th no-hitter in Los Angeles Dodgers history. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is auctioning a game-used ball from the no-hitter, autographed by Beckett — along with a special Dodger Stadium experience — at

The benefits from the auction will help fund programs such as Dodgers RBI, which gives underserved youth the opportunity to play baseball and softball, School Fuel, which provides breakfast to for Los Angeles Unified School District students, and much more.

Act now! You have the opportunity to bid on a one-of-a-kind experience to mark this amazing moment in Dodger history. The winning bidder will receive the following:

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Josh Beckett shares NL Player of the Week award

Ben Platt/

Ben Platt/

By Jon Weisman

For the second time in as many weeks, a Dodger shares in National League Player of the Week honors.

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Notebook: More Josh Beckett goodness


Reds at Dodgers, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Here’s a bunch of news, notes, links and quotes in the afterglow of the past 24 hours:

  • Beckett’s no-hitter, in case you didn’t notice, was the Dodgers’ first complete game of the season and first since Hyun-Jin Ryu threw an eight-inning complete game in a 2-1 loss to Colorado on September 16. The Dodgers hadn’t had an individual shutout since Zack Greinke’s two-hit masterpiece on July 13.
  • At age 34 and 10 days, Beckett is the third-oldest no-hit pitcher in Dodger history, behind Sal Maglie (39) and Dazzy Vance (34 and 193 days).

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The time-traveling joy of a no-hitter


I stopped caring about batting average as a be-all and end-all years ago, but I never stopped caring about no-hitters.

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Video: All 27 outs of Josh Beckett’s no-hitter

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See all of Josh Beckett’s triumph, from its humble beginnings through to its exciting finish.

— Jon Weisman

Josh Beckett no-hits Phillies!

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By Jon Weisman

It’s been nearly 18 years since Dodger fans could exult in a Dodger no-hitter. Thank you, Josh Beckett.

Beckett threw the first Dodger no-hitter in 17 years, eight months and eight days, since Hideo Nomo’s at Colorado on September 17, 1996. The 17 1/2-year gap between no-hitters was the longest in Dodger history, surpassing the 17 years and eight days between Nap Rucker on September 5, 1908 and Dazzy Vance on September 13, 1925.

photoThe right-hander, coming back from an injury-shortened 2013 season, threw 128 pitches. Beckett threw 100 pitches through seven innings, then needed only 16 to get the next five outs. But then we really got down to the nitty gritty.

He was within a strike of completing the no-hitter but lost Jimmy Rollins for a two-out walk in the ninth (Beckett’s third of the game) then fell behind Chase Utley in the count 3-1. But a beautiful 71-mph curveball at 3-1 dipped in for strike two, and then Utley took a strike three on the bottom line of the strike zone for the final out.

Beckett walked Utley in the first inning and Marlon Byrd to lead off the second, but then retired the next 23 batters he faced before the walk to Rollins. Domonic Brown had a hard-hit fly ball to left field in the sixth, but there were no diving plays or near-misses to jeopardize Beckett’s bid for history.

He lowered his ERA for the season to 2.43. Last year, he had a 5.19 ERA in eight starts.

“The surgery’s been a blessing for me,” Beckett said after the game, referring to the operation that ended his 2013 season 10 1/2 months ago.

Beckett surpassed his previous career high in pitches of 126; his high as a Dodger was 113 on May 2. In his most recent start, Tuesday in New York, Beckett threw 99 pitches, his lowest total of the the month.

Beckett’s previous low-hit complete game was a one-hitter for Boston at Tampa Bay on June 15, 2011. Beckett walked none in that game.

A.J. Ellis’ curveball to Josh Beckett is a strike

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Dodgers at Mets, 4:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Josh Beckett, P

By Jon Weisman

Josh Beckett’s resurgence is rightfully getting attention, and the best piece about it came from the Register’s Pedro Moura, who chronicled how Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis urged Beckett to use his curveball more.

… And on April 11 in the Chase Field visitors’ locker room, four hours before the Dodgers played the Diamondbacks and two days after Beckett had been lit up in his 2014 debut, the catcher approached the pitcher with an urgent message.

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Off-day reading: Defensive shifts and the Dodgers

Defensive shifts from May 2014 magazine

On this travel day for the Dodgers, here’s some topical reading from the May 2014 issue of Dodger Insider magazine. Chris Gigley contributed this piece on the nuances of the Dodgers’ approach toward defensive shifts. Don Mattingly, Tim Wallach, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett were interviewed for the story. (Click the image to enlarge.)

— Jon Weisman

No more waiting for Beckett

By Jon Weisman

Hi, I’m Josh Beckett. (Note: This isn’t really Josh Beckett.)  I had no wins and one rib lost last year. People didn’t expect much from me this year. And sure enough, in my first start of 2014, I only lasted four innings and gave up four earned runs.

Oh, but here’s what I’ve done in my six starts since, including tonight’s 7-1 victory over Miami: 37 2/3 innings, 39 baserunners, 36 strikeouts and a 1.67 ERA.

That’s right, suckers. Sure, it’s my first win since 2012, but that’s a dumb stat anyway. (Note: I don’t know if Josh Beckett really feels that way, but he should.) Time for the baseball world to stand up and notice. I’m kinda back.

Beckett a ray of sunshine for dampened Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

In general, rain is as welcome in Southern California as an eight-inning, two-run outing by Josh Beckett is welcome to the Dodgers.

The combination of the two certainly made for strange bedfellows Friday, punctuated by the Dodgers setting a modern franchise record by playing their sixth extra-inning game of April (according to my research at

Tonight, it was the Dodgers who ended up all wet, falling 5-4 in 11 innings, despite a two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th by Adrian Gonzalez, his team-leading seventh of the year.

In the past 17 days, Dodgers have lost their past five extra-inning games, their longest streak since they lost five overtime games in a similarly shocking short stretch, from August 7-25, 2009.

Don’t blame Beckett. The righthander, coming back from season-ending injuries nearly a year ago, gave up two solo home runs in the second inning but allowed only two other baserunners, a fourth-inning single by Justin Morneau and an eighth-inning single by DJ LeMahieu. In between those last two hits, he retired 11 in a row, and when he got Charlie Blackmon to ground out to second to end the eighth inning, he had lowered his ERA to 2.45.

This was Beckett’s longest outing since losing an 8 1/3-inning complete game on April 14, 2013 and the longest outing by a Dodger this year. And Beckett did it with only 99 pitches. In his past three starts, Beckett has gone 18 innings, allowing two runs (1.00 ERA) on seven hits and seven walks with 17 strikeouts.

But what could have been a tidy, sub-3:00 victory instead extended to extra innings, with the Dodgers scoring two runs in regulation themselves — both driven home by Yasiel Puig. Puig hit a solo homer in the first inning, and then, after Dee Gordon’s remarkable infield double — yes, that’s right — Puig hit an RBI single in the third.

Gordon doubleIt’s only April, and Dodger Stadium this year has seen rain, an earthquake and a giant sheet of ice (and just barely inside the time limit on this Friday Night Fireworks night, giant sparks of light shooting in the sky). What lies ahead, one can only wonder … although signs of an approaching Clayton Kershaw are getting brighter and brighter.

Looking back at Wednesday’s roller-coaster ride


See Jon SooHoo’s Wednesday photo gallery at LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

First, we’ll get the Kenley Jansen discussion out of the way. The Dodgers’ top reliever gave up a run for the second straight night (each one driven in by the Tigers’ Victor Martinez) and Wednesday, it cost the Dodgers with a 7-6 loss in the 10th, after Los Angeles had rousingly rallied for three runs in the ninth.

From Earl Bloom of, in his game recap:

“He’s just a really good hitter,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Today, it looked like they [Jansen and catcher Drew Butera] were trying to go in under his hands, and just didn’t get it there.”

Mattingly did not sound concerned about his closer giving up a lead and a tie on consecutive nights against the heart of the Tigers’ powerful lineup, citing Yankees great Mariano Rivera as an example.

“When guys struggle, it’s usually two in a row,” Mattingly said. “I’ve seen Mo do it many times. He [Jansen] is healthy — I’m not worried.”

“It’s tough, man,” Jansen told Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. “He’s a tough hitter and kept battling. I feel like I executed, and one pitch I go in there and he took me deep. He kept fouling me off away and I tried to go in there to back him off,” Jansen explained. “Nothing I can do about it. It’s a tough series, but I can’t worry about this. I just have to go now to Arizona and get it back together.”

One other statistical oddity about Jansen, however coincidental, is this: His career ERA before June 1 is 3.81. His career ERA from June 1 on … 1.32. There are a variety of factors that could be playing into this — his past health concerns for one — but early season stumbles have not previously meant anything perilous.

But as much as everyone’s focus will be on what happened late in Wednesday’s game, there was also a pretty big moment early on.

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