|(Hunter Martin / Getty Images)|
By throwing today's no-hitter Beckett has tossed the last chain off of his recovered shoulders and declared he is all the way back.
When the 2014 season began Beckett hadn't won a game since early 2012! Although he pitched pretty well from the get go this year, the mediocre Dodgers didn't give him much run support.
He only recently recorded his first win in two years and he continued to show improvement with his brilliant performance today. Beckett's is the first Dodger no-no since Hideo Nomo's in 1996.
Beckett's personal breakthrough was partly due to a ripple effect now being felt amongst the Dodgers. Manager Damn Mattingly first cracked the dam when he (finally!) made the wise decision to move Matt Kemp out of the lineup. Mattingly admitted Kemp's liabilities and sat him down, leading to firestorms and blizzards in the blogs, twittersphere, and corporate media.
His defensive shortcomings notwithstanding, and with the exception of a few highlight shots, Matt Kemp has mostly had a bat made of wet spaghetti this season. The WAR, WIP and WACK stat heads point to + or - numbers and insist Kemp has done well at the plate so far. Those cold stats however, tell very little about Kemp's numerous strike outs and double plays with RISP. Kemp needed to sit, or at least compete for a position as I called for two weeks ago.
That movement of Kemp broke through the oft-mentioned logjam of outfielders and allowed the Dodger Nation a fresh breath now that the elephant - read Bison - in the room has been put into a new place, improving both the offense and defense, and the team seems to be responding positively.
Want more breakthroughs to feel optimistic about?
A couple of other question marks in the Dodger batting order are starting to assert themselves. When Juan Uribe went on the DL, most Dodger fans bemoaned the loss of his bat. His replacement, Justin Turner has uncorked some power and given us a pair of key home runs.
The Dodger's latest Cuban player, Erisbel Arruebarruena was tagged as being great with the glove, but sorely lacking a bat. Now filling in for an injured Hanley Ramirez, he's quickly adjusting to major league pitching and is knocking out hits.
El Jaguar, Adrian Gonzalez is heating up at the plate again.
Even the Dodgers broadcasting booth is blowing up!
Radio broadcaster Rick Monday, whom I normally would place into the "snoozer" category of radio announcers, matched Beckett today pitch for pitch in his play-by-play. I tuned in during the fourth inning and Monday and Nomar Garciaparra called a great game on the radio. They both had excellent insight, and let the drama unfold like we were sitting there in Philadelphia with them.
Kudos also to the radio team for not uttering the jinx words. Yes, I believe in the "no-hitter" jinx.
It seems the Philadelphia announcers also believe in it as they couldn't utter the phrase enough. During the ninth inning it was almost comical the way they were straining to find new ways to insert the phrase "No hitter" into every sentence.
Returning to my premise; today Josh Beckett broke on through the Phillies announcer's voodoo. In doing so he released quite a bit of pent up steam that had been building up and down the Dodgers over the past couple of weeks.
The dam is now open. Let the Blue Wave begin!