Josh Beckett may be in the twilight of his career, but he’s already demonstrated this season he can summon no hit-caliber stuff. He showcased a similar repertoire in his lone 2014 matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks before it was cut short.
He’ll try to shut them down again Sunday as the Los Angeles Dodgers look to wrap up a home sweep.
The 34-year-old Beckett (4-3, 2.35 ERA) has limited opponents to four earned runs over 17 innings in his three starts since his no-hitter at Philadelphia on May 25. He gave up two hits and struck out seven in six scoreless innings of a 6-1 win at Cincinnati on Tuesday.
"I felt like it was his cleanest game since the no-hitter," manager Don Mattingly said. "The ball was coming out better. He had a better change-up, and he kept the ball down."
Beckett is 2-2 with a 1.93 ERA in his last six starts versus Arizona. He was dominant in Los Angeles’ 4-1 home win on April 20, holding the Diamondbacks to one hit and fanning seven, though flu-like symptoms limited him to a season-low 83 pitches and he came out after five innings in a scoreless game.
The Dodgers (37-33) got a big offensive contribution in Saturday’s 6-4 victory from starter Dan Haren, who put them ahead in the fourth with a three-run double. Dee Gordon also drove in two runs in the third with his fourth career homer in his 874th at-bat.
Arizona (29-42) got a two-run homer from Paul Goldschmidt, who has five home runs and 16 RBIs over his last 16 contests. But besides that, the Diamondbacks haven’t been able to find much solace during a four-game slide, going 5 for 27 with runners in scoring position while their starters have posted a 6.95 ERA.
Los Angeles has won five of seven and has already clinched the season series with a 10-3 advantage.
"We thought we’d be doing a lot better against everybody, not just these guys," said Miguel Montero, who is 2 for 16 over his last five games after batting .385 in his previous 10 with 10 RBIs. "Unfortunately, we’re not doing good against anybody. So we’ve just got to pick it up and be a better team the rest of the way."
Bronson Arroyo (6-4, 4.22) looks to serve as the Diamondbacks’ stopper Sunday. He’s 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA over his last nine outings – though he had surrendered four or more runs three times in a span of four starts prior to a strong showing his last time out.
The right-hander went seven innings Tuesday, limiting Houston to one run in a 4-1 victory.
"He’s hitting his stride here, got on a pretty good roll," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He knows how to get guys out."
Arroyo had gone 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA over a six-start stretch against the Dodgers prior to losing his only matchup with them last season. He allowed three runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings of a 4-1 road loss with Cincinnati on July 27.
Matt Kemp, who is batting .400 over his last eight games with four RBIs in the last three, is 11 for 26 off Arroyo.
Aaron Hill is 15 for 40 against Beckett with seven doubles.
All three of Beckett’s losses have come in games in which the Dodgers failed to back him with a single run of support. He owns a 7.9 run-support average in his four victories.