Beckett pitched the Marlins to a 3-2 season-opening victory over Atlanta on Monday, allowing two hits over six strong innings as the Marlins cruised to a 9-0 win.
However, Florida has lost three of four since, including a 3-2 defeat in 10 innings to the Nationals on Saturday. Now, it’s Beckett’s turn to play stopper.
Expectations are nothing new for the right-hander. Beckett, Florida’s first-round pick in the 1999 amateur draft, won MVP honors while leading the Marlins to the 2003 World Series title. But he has yet to enjoy that type of success during the regular season. His victory on opening day gave him a career record 27-26.
“You can’t argue (with his won-loss record),” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said of Beckett. “That’s the great thing about this game. Everybody wants to say they’ve got so much potential, but sooner or later, you’ve got to step up and produce.”
Beckett, 24, has never won more than nine games or pitched as many as 157 innings in a season.
Washington, which took two of three from Philadelphia to begin the season, is in position to win its second straight series after Jose Guillen’s dramatic two-out home run in the 10th inning Saturday.
“This team never gives up. We’ve got a lot of heart,” said Nationals third baseman Vinny Castilla, who also homered in the win.