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Beckett not bragging after five-hit shutout


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Nice article by D'Angelo:


Beckett not bragging after five-hit shutout

By Tom D'Angelo


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Monday, April 11, 2005


MIAMI GARDENS ? Don't expect Josh Beckett to be celebrating shutouts in April, even if he now has thrown two in the regular season.


The more mature Beckett walked off the mound after the Marlins' 8-0 victory Sunday against the Washington Nationals, quickly slapped five with teammates and coaches and headed for the weight room, where he lifted for more than 30 minutes while thinking about the New York Mets, whom he'll face Saturday.


"You have to be thinking about your next one,'' Beckett said after allowing five hits and one walk and striking out 11. "If not, you go out and get shellacked, then I'm back to a.500 pitcher again. That's all everyone wants to talk about.''


Beckett has not resembled the pitcher who was 26-26 entering the season. He's 2-0 and has not allowed a run in 15 innings. He has had some help, especially from Juan Encarnacion, who hit his second grand slam of the season Sunday. Both of Encarnacion's slams came during Beckett's starts.


Paul Lo Duca's pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh inning snapped a scoreless tie and gave Beckett all the support he needed.


The Marlins are 3-3, and all three victories were shutouts. The team ERA is 1.07, and now that Beckett and Dontrelle Willis have thrown complete games, that's just four fewer than the staff had all of last season.


"Our pitchers have been phenomenal,'' Carlos Delgado said. "They've been going out there and throwing zeros.''


And none better than Beckett.


Beckett, who retired the leadoff man in every inning, complemented his fastball with a changeup, splitter and curveball. A typical sequence was reflected by his final strikeout, in which he blew a 95 mph fastball past Jose Guillen for strike two and froze him with a 75 mph curveball for strike three.


"He's not so dependent on his fastball anymore,'' said catcher Matt Treanor, who started the game. "He knows he can throw any pitch on any count.


"When he's spotting his fastball and he can come in two or three inches off the plate consistently, that opens up all his other pitches.''


Beckett admitted he would keep the ball, which represents his fourth career shutout ? two of which came in the post-season, including the World Series clincher at Yankee Stadium in 2003. He's proud of Sunday's accomplishment but not reveling in it, and for that he credits veteran Al Leiter.


"Al's totally helped me out with that, with focusing, right after the last pitch of your last game, to start thinking about your next one,'' Beckett said.


Manager Jack McKeon noticed this change at the start of spring training.


"He has all that potential and he wants to bring it to the front and he has been pitching like that,'' McKeon said. "He's got to keep on that same even keel now. Don't get too high, don't get too low, just stay on that same plane you've been pitching.''


Even an inning of running the bases could not distract Beckett, although it did help sap his strength.


Beckett led off the Marlins' six-run eighth inning with a single and went base to base before scoring on Miguel Cabrera's single to make the score 3-0. Later in the inning, Encarnacion's grand slam concluded the scoring.


Jose Vidro's double in the ninth snapped a streak of 14 consecutive batters retired by Beckett.


"That ninth inning, it was all I could do to dive for that ball,'' Beckett said of the final out, a Ryan Church grounder that he tried for but missed before Alex Gonzalez made the play. "That was every bit of energy I had left. I pitched that last inning on adrenaline.''





From his comments it's apparent Al Leiter is having a positive influence on Josh. I saw Dontrelle hanging out with Al in the dugout today. Does Al have any desire to be a pitching coach? We could open up a spot for him if broadcasting doesn't workout.


Josh has really been focused this year. He showed up to ST ready to go, and has taken his game to the next level. :thumbup

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

I smiled the whole time while reading this article. The thought of Beckett living up to his potential has me positively giddy. Man I love this team.

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It's official: Leeann was holding him back. :whistle



Probably true. Women have been the biggest distractions in men's lives since the beginning of time. They're just so fun you forget about everything else. lol





I think this woman was a little too much fun. :whistle

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great article.



josh is finally growing up and realizing that you have to consantly prepare for your next start. thats something nolan ryan always did, and as we all know, josh is 'supposed' to be in that same lineage.




the sky is the absolute limit. we are witnessing the fruits of his dedication. josh knows he has immense talent. now that he has finally learned that he doesnt have to rely entirely on his fastball, he becomes that much more lethal. I said last year that the change was the most important pitch for josh.


As long as he continues to use everything, he dominates.

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I think that the addition of Al Leiter is not only helping our pitching staff to become better and our pitching to improve, but hes also having an impact on our young pitchers, such as Beckett. Beckett is learning from a guy whos been there, done that. Plus, hes maturing as well. Beckett is finally learning that theres room for improvement and his attitude has changed also from last year. Nice article! :thumbup

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