The date was July 7. We called Erik Bedard baffling.
Today is August 7. We called Erik Bedard baffling again.
“His first pitch strikes were in a good place. You can’t pitch much better than that.” Clint Hurdle
Yeah, Clint. He was damn near perfect against Arizona, who came into the Burgh having scored 106 runs since July 18, most in the majors in that span.
Back on July 7 Erik Bedard baffled 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.
We wrote this which everyone in this town was praying would be true after the “How the hell did Melky hit that ball out of the park?” ……..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.
Well, he’s certainly done that.
He came back to go 13.2 innings with 15 strikeouts at Colorado and at PNC against the Cubs. Bedard was back! But then, a trip to Chicago for a thumping where Bedard gave up eight runs. Shit. Bedard isn’t back, he’s struggling again.
Just when most everyone was writing off the Pirates opening day starter, the lefty fires a two hitter against an Arizona Diamondbacks team hungry to get into the Wild Card race. Bedard allowed only two hits, both to lefty killer Paul Goldschmidt, but even he was erased on one occasion by the Pirates excellent defense. This highlight was a hose from rookie Starling Marte that nailed Goldschmidt at second base by ten feet.
If it wasn’t for Goldschmidt, Bedard was perfect.
Yeah, perfect. Just what the Pirates rotation needed headed into a huge homestand.
Figure it out yet?