LOS ANGELES -- What can the Los Angeles Dodgers expect from Josh Beckett on Friday in his first start since pitching the first no-hitter of the 2014 season? On Monday, the day after throwing a career-high 128 pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies, Beckett, 34, said he felt about how he usually does after a start.
"Like I got hit by a truck," he said.
The Dodgers could have inserted Paul Maholm into the rotation or called someone up from the minor leagues to give Beckett an extra day of rest, but after checking in with him throughout the week, they decided to bring him back on the usual four days of rest.
Beckett even threw a between-starts bullpen session, something he doesn't always do.
"I expect him to be pretty much Josh at this point," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
But isn't it reasonable to expect some kind of hangover? The higher pitch count of a no-hitter combined with the heightened media scrutiny in its aftermath can make the next start tough sledding. Beckett declined a lot of media requests this week, doing a group interview in the dugout Monday and granting a few TV interviews, but making very few national appearances.
"Obviously, if he has a hiccup in his next start or two starts from now, we're going to say, 'Well, it's probably coming from that no-hitter.' We're not going to know that," Mattingly said. "He could just have a bad day somewhere in there. I don't expect it because he's been pitching pretty good pretty much every time out.
"If he doesn't, I'm sure we'll talk about it."
Beckett (3-1, 2.43 ERA) hasn't faced the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2004, when he was 24 and a member of the Florida Marlins. He's 1-1 with a 1.54 ERA against them in two starts.
The past five pitchers 34 years or older to throw no-hitters had so-so results in their next starts, averaging a 4.06 ERA. Four of those five pitchers (Dennis Martinez in 1991; Randy Johnson in 2004; David Wells in 1998; and David Cone in 1999) pitched perfect games.
When Nolan Ryan threw his final no-hitter, in 1991, he was 44. He gave up only two hits (and two runs) over six innings in his next start. The worst bounce-back start came from Cone, who lasted only four innings, giving up six hits and six runs.