(Photo by Associated Press)
Erik Bedard is back in town for the three-game series with the Red Sox that begins tonight at Safeco Field — the only Seattle appearance of the season for the Bosox. But Bedard won’t be facing the Mariners.
Instead, the Mariners will see right-hander John Lackey (10-8, 6.14 ERA), who opposes Blake Beavan (3-2, 2.83) tonight. On Satuday, Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17) goes against Felix Hernandez . Hernandez had one of his worst outings of the year against the Red Sox on July 22, giving up 11 hits and six runs in 6 1/3 innings at Fenway Park in a 7-4 Mariners loss. Beckett, on the other hand, limited the Mariners to one run in seven innings the next night in a 9-3 Red Sox win.
In the series finale on Sunday, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (6-4, 4.92) takes on rookie lefty Charlie Furbush (2-4, 4.46). Wakefield will be going for his 200th career win — just five of them against the Mariners, against 10 losses.
In two starts since joining the Red Sox, Bedard has no decision in either, working five innings each time. He gave up seven hits and three runs in a game Boston lost 7-3 to Cleveland, with no walks and five strikeouts. In his most recent start, Bedard allowed three hits and two runs in a 4-3 Red Sox win over Minnesota, walking four and striking out six. He left the game with a 3-2 lead. Bedard threw 37 pitches in the first inning against the Twins, so making it through five was an achievement. All his walks came in that inning, in which the Red Sox thought they were getting squeezed by the home-plate umpire, Tim McClellan.
“The pitches could have went both ways. Just lack of control in the first,” Bedard told reporters afterward.. “I tried to battle and tried to limit the damage . . . It could have been real worse. Tried to get a little satisfaction of it. You have to bear down in those situations. If you let it get out of hand the score could have been 6-0.”
In the final four innings, Bedard allowed just two singles, and retired the final seven batters he faced, striking out three of them. His pitch count was up to 90 in his third start since coming off the DL for a knee injury.
“Physically, I feel fine,” Bedard said after the game. “I’ll probably be on a regular pitch count now.”
Meanwhile, one of the two players acquired in the Bedard trade — outfielder Trayvon Robinson, via the Dodgers — is likely to be on display this weekend. Robinson, in his first six major-league games, is 3-for-19 (.158) with a homer and double and just one walk — plus a home-run-robbing catch in his debut that won’t soon be forgotten.
The other player acquired from the Red Sox was minor-league outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, who had been tearing up the Eastern League (Double-A) with the Portland Sea Dogs (.340/.402/.648 for a 1.050 OPS, 18 homers, 76 RBIs). It hasn’t been quite the rampage with Jackson, the Mariner farm team in the Double-A Southern League. In nine games so far, Chiang is hitting .293 with a .302 on-base percentage and .341 slugging percentage (.644 OPS) with no homers and four RBIs.