Erik Bedard baffles us. He went three innings without giving up a hit. He looked smooth, especially after giving up a leadoff walk and then snaring a groundball up the middle and stutter-stepping it into a 6-4-3 double play.
Sure, Gorkys Hernandez helped him with some stellar defense in left field. And, yes, Bedard walks too many batters, and has been hit very hard recently, but one damn inning and a couple of inches destroyed the left hander last night, as the Pirates fell to the San Francisco Giants 6-5 at PNC Park.
The Bucs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and looked like they were going to Zoltan their way to their fifth win in a row. Andrew McCutchen hit a ball into the notch and the best sight in the game was on. Neil Walker just missed hitting a bomb to left field, knocking it off the top of the wall for a double, and Barry Zito was on the ropes.
But silly shit was happening, like Casey McGehee trying to bunt, McGehee hitting into a killer double play, Pedro Alvarez taking a third strike on a baseball that appeared to be a ball screaming at Pedro to murder it.
And Bedard’s control was about to come back to bite him. Some shoddy defense, and the next thing you know Melky Cabrera was keeping his head down while in the tee box and blasted a two iron screamer into the left field bleachers.
The Pirates left hander had cruised through the first nine Giants batters in the first three innings, and then saw all nine Giants hitters in the fourth inning alone before being lifted for Chris Resop, who needed just one pitch to record the last out and end the threat.
But the Bucs were far from out of the game, despite being down 5-3 heading to the bottom of the fourth. Rod Barajas just missed crushing the left field foul pole. Casey McGehee would make up for it by crushing a bomb later in the game. Barajas would even throw out a runner in this game, for God sakes! We thought the Bucs were destined for a victory.
But no matter what the score lately, it always seems the Bucs find a way to scratch back into the game.
Exhibit A: Pedro Alvarez would absolutely crush a ball in the eighth inning to pull the Pirates to within one, but it wasn’t enough.
So, back to “How the hell did Melky hit that ball out of the park?” Shit, that sucks. It really looked like Bedard had started to get it figured out once again, but maybe the outing wasn’t as bad as it appeared. The All-Star break could do Bedard some good – maybe he can oil up those screws and come back tighter in the second half. Especially when considering that everyone’s savior, AAA lefty Rudy Owens, got knocked around to the tune of nine hits while getting just ten outs. Owens gave up six runs.
Justin Wilson, anyone? Jeff Locke? Or perhaps Bedard lives to throw again after the break?