Beckett, Wainwright named NL Players of Week
In this case, a no-hitter equals two shutouts. Josh Beckett and Adam Wainwright were named the National League Co-Players of the Week on Tuesday in recognition of their sterling efforts.
Beckett threw a no-hitter against the Phillies for the Dodgers on Sunday, while Wainwright earned two victories for the Cardinals and led the Major Leagues with 21 strikeouts last week. For throwing his first career no-hitter, Beckett was the first Dodgers pitcher to be named NL Player of the Week since Hideo Nomo in 1996.
Beckett, 34 years old, became the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter since 40-year-old Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against the Braves in 2004. The right-hander also joined an honor roll of six other players -- Johnson, Dave Stewart, Don Larsen, Lew Burdette and Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax -- who have won the World Series Most Valuable Player and thrown a no-hitter in their careers.
Beckett also won his other start last week, finishing the week with a 2-0 record and a 2.57 ERA. He previously won the American League Player of the Week Award in July 2009 when he was with Boston.
Wainwright, meanwhile, was simply unhittable last week. The veteran threw a complete-game one-hit shutout against Arizona last Wednesday, leading the Cards to a 5-0 victory. Wainwright allowed just two baserunners in that game, one on a walk and one on a fourth-inning double.
Wainwright, on Sunday, did it all again. The right-hander threw eight scoreless innings and matched a career high with 12 strikeouts in a 4-0 victory over the Reds. Wainwright became the first NL pitcher to reach eight victories, and he currently leads all Major League pitchers with a 1.67 ERA.
Beckett and Wainwright outdueled an impressive class of NL performances that included twin .500 batting averages from Milwaukee teammates Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy. Yasiel Puig hit .522 last week, and Miami's Marcell Ozuna hit three home runs. Atlanta's Justin Upton and the Mets' David Wright also earned consideration, as did pitchers Doug Fister of the Nationals and Julio Teheran of the Braves.
"What [Beckett] did was a rare feat, something that hasn't happened very many times in this game," Wainwright said. "I'm proud to share an award with him."
"[Wainwright has] had a terrific start, and I think it says a lot of him to be able to be a co-Pitcher of the Week when the other guy threw a no-hitter," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It means you're doing something pretty special. He had a couple of very, very impressive games. ... He's stepping up every time he gets the ball."