Josh Beckett has remained modest during his career-reviving season.
Riding a 14-inning scoreless stretch, Beckett can keep the host Dodgers alone atop the NL West with a season-high fourth consecutive victory Tuesday night against a Cleveland Indians team that hopes to avoid being shut out in three straight games for the first time in 23 years.Starting with his no-hitter at Philadelphia on May 25, Beckett (5-4, 2.11 ERA) has a 1.34 ERA while going 3-3 in seven starts. The right-hander has not yielded a run in four of those outings, including the last two where he's given up four hits over seven innings in each. He outdueled Adam Wainwright during a 1-0 victory over St. Louis on Thursday."Obviously, Josh has been pretty amazing this year," manager Don Mattingly told MLB's official website. "He just kind of continues; he changes speeds, showing why he's been so good for so long."Beckett downplayed his own personal performance in that outing, opting rather to praise the overall play of his teammates"I don't think I deserve very much of the credit," said Beckett, who has shined during the last of his four-year contract with Los Angeles.He went 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA during a four-start stretch against the Indians (39-43) prior to yielding seven runs over 2 1/3 innings of an 8-3 loss with Boston in 2012.Trailing San Francisco by 9 1/2 games on June 8, the Dodgers (48-37) won for the 16th time in 22 games, 1-0 over Cleveland on Monday, to take over sole possession of the division lead by one-half game. The Giants, who were idle Monday, have dropped 15 of 19.Dan Haren held the Indians to their only hit over seven innings and pinch-hitter Clint Robinson delivered a two-out single in the seventh for his first career hit and RBI. The Dodgers have allowed eight runs while winning six of the last seven, and their starters have posted a 1.52 ERA during that span.Adrian Gonzalez recorded his second straight two-hit game, and is batting .366 in his last 11 versus Cleveland.Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Bourn recorded both hits for the Indians over consecutive 1-0 losses. Monday's loss was the seventh in nine games for Cleveland, which was last blanked in three straight contests June 12-14, 1991.The Indians are also the first team since the 1916 Boston Braves to be held to a one-hit shutout in back-to-back contests. Bourn was initially called out on his smash behind second base Monday that was fielded by Miguel Rojas in the third, but manager Terry Francona won the replay challenge."We usually work counts, get deep into counts, get hits and put pressure on guys," Chisenhall said. "But we haven't done that two days in a row."Cleveland's Justin Masterson (4-5, 5.03) posted a 1.42 ERA while winning his first two starts of June, but went 0-1 with a 7.62 ERA in the last three. He allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in four innings of a 9-8, 14-inning loss at Arizona on Tuesday.The right-hander is making his first appearance against the Dodgers.Cleveland's David Murphy is 1 for 41 in his last 13 games, but 6 for 15 (.400) with two doubles and a triple against Beckett.
Both Michael Brantley (.538) and David Murphy (.526) rank among the top 30 qualified players this season in slugging percentage in at-bats ending in a curveball. Josh Beckett has thrown the highest percentage of curveballs among qualified pitchers this season (32.5 percent).