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Beckett Maturing


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He has been pitching so good lately! He has really Matured.


Notes: Beckett maturing

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

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ATLANTA -- If not for Russ Ortiz turning in his best start of the season, the story Friday night at Turner Field would have been Josh Beckett.



The Marlins' 23-year-old continues to come of age, showing more than flashes of the brilliance projected on him when he was the second overall draft pick in 1999.


Beckett had a dominating outing Friday against the best-hitting club in the National League.


The hard-throwing Beckett gave up one run on six hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings, but the Marlins fell 1-0 to the Braves.


"The sky is unlimited with him," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "I'm so proud of him. He's out there early running [saturday]. He's maturing."


Beckett has been the Marlins' best pitcher in the second half of the season. At least, in terms of ERA, the Spring, Texas, native is.


Since the break, Beckett is 5-4 with a 2.32 ERA.


The Marlins are 7-5 in his starts over that span. In his 81 1/3 innings, he has given up 69 hits and 21 runs with 86 strikeouts and to 27 walks.


Compare that to the first half, where he was 3-4 (3.86) with 59 strikeouts, 57 hits allowed and 26 walks in 53 2/3 innings.


Health was an issue the first half.


Beckett went on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain on May 9. He was activated on July 1 and has been impressive since.


Being in the thick of the Wild Card race, Beckett and the rest of the Marlins' young pitchers are being forced to come of age early in their careers.


"These games are getting bigger and bigger," Beckett said. "It's like we've been in a battle for a while. I think we've all done pretty good under pressure. These have been big games all through September."


Finishing strong: Six more wins may be enough, McKeon said, for the Marlins to win the Wild Card.


McKeon feels 90 victories could be the magic number to get into the postseason.


If the Marlins finish up 6-3, they would reach the 90-win plateau.


"You figure we can lose three [more] the rest of the year," McKeon said before Saturday's game.


The Marlins are in a nail-biter battle with the Phillies, who will be at Pro Player Stadium for the first of three games beginning on Tuesday.


By the Marlins' calculations, if they win twice at Atlanta and then take two of three against the Phillies, they will control their destiny in the final three games when the Mets come to town.


Playoff tickets on sale soon: The Marlins announced Saturday that individual postseason game tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET over the Internet.


Fans can purchase tickets to the first round at www.floridamarlins.com or through Ticketmaster.


Tickets start at $9 for Upper Deck, Fish Tank and Upper Reserve and go as high as $55 for Founders Club.


Should the Marlins win the Wild Card, they would open the Divisional Series on the road at San Francisco on Sept. 30. In the best-of-five series, Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) would be played at Pro Player Stadium on Oct. 3-4.


The regular season ends Sept. 28 at home against the Mets.


Group ticket sales (15 or more) also go on sale Tuesday by calling the Marlins' sales office at 1-877-MARLINS.



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