LOS ANGELES -- Josh Beckett is one of several Dodgers dealing with a flu bug going through the clubhouse over the last week. Sunday was his third straight day receiving intravenous fluids, but he was able to overcome the sickness to pitch his best game of the season.
"That was the hardest five innings I've ever pitched," said Beckett, who has pitched five innings or more 279 times in his career.
Beckett allowed just two walks and struck out seven. The one hit he allowed was to Miguel Montero in the first inning, a ball hit into the right field corner, but Montero was immediately erased at second base by a great throw from Yasiel Puig. Beckett was lifted after 83 pitches and five scoreless innings.
"It obviously would have been nice to stay in the game, especially to save the bullpen," Beckett said. "But it was for the best that I came out then."
"He was basically out of gas there.," said manager Don Mattingly. "I thought Josh was really good today. That's two in a row for him, hopefully we can keep building."
Beckett has pitched five scoreless innings in each of his last two starts, though he walked more of a tightrope with five walks on Tuesday in San Francisco. Beckett said his hard stuff was working more against the Giants, but on Sunday relied more on his breaking pitches.
"We're seeing him adapt to who he is right now. Using the breaking ball more, which adds to his fastball. He's using the changeup some, I'm not sure if he's calling it a change or split," Mattingly said. "He's putting doubt in guys' minds. He's throwing enough of them that you have to respect it."
Five of Beckett's seven strikeouts were finished off by a curveball. He praised catcher Tim Federowicz for his work behind the plate.
"I don't think my thought process was too sharp today. I thought Fed did a great job making sure I threw the right pitches and getting in the right counts," Beckett said. "It was his game."
"He commanded the ball," Beckett said. "He was able to make adjustments when he needed to."
Those adjustments have Beckett with a 2.57 ERA through three starts, with 16 strikeouts in 14 innings. But he was more impressed with his starting center fielder on Sunday, also under the weather.
"Andre Ethier's my f---ing hero," Beckett said. "He's played the last three days with the same [stuff]."
Fed-Goldy, Part II
In the fourth inning on Sunday, Federowicz was called for catcher's interference with Paul Goldschmidt at the plate for the second time in three days. This time, Goldschmidt's bat hit Federowicz a little higher on the wrist than on Friday night. Federowicz, whose wrist and hand were heavily wrapped after Friday's game, had only a bandage on his Sunday wound, and said he felt fine.
"That ball was pretty much in my glove and he swung trying to take it out," Federowicz explained. Those things catch me off guard so much, I went back and looked to see if I was too close. I may have been, but still, I've caught with him hitting for a while and never anything close, for it to happen two times in a row I don't know if he's just trying to let the ball get too deep because things aren't going his way, you know."
Goldschmidt is hitting .313/.370/.518 on the season, but is just 8-for-35 (.229) with two doubles in eight games against the Dodgers this season. Amazingly, when Goldschmidt batted in the seventh Federowicz was close to a third catcher's interference call.
"He almost got it again the next time up, it seemed like. He hit one really late. Obviously Goldschmidt is waiting a long time and getting the ball deep. Fed might want to get a little deeper there," Mattingly said with a laugh.
With the Phillies visiting the Dodgers for the next four nights, Dodger Stadium will sell a Philly Dog, a super Dodger Dog with cheesesteak meat, carmelized onions and melted cheese added. It will be available at all Extreme Loaded Dog concession stands on the field, loge and reserve levels.