8:41 p.m.: That’s seven solid innings by Erik Bedard so far. He’s allowed only two hits as we enter the seventh inning stretch, his M’s ahead 1-0. Tim Wakefield has given up four hits through six, but one of them is a home run by Yuniesky Betancourt that’s the difference so far. Where was all this starting pitching a couple of weeks ago. Seems like a shame to see it now. This was what the rotation was supposed to look like. At least, the stuff we’ve seen the past four nights now. Too little, too late, I’m afraid. But it raises some interesting questions when we start looking ahead at what needs to be changed and what doesn’t.
By the way, that call on Miguel Cairo at third, to end the sixth inning, did not look too great from here. Good thing the grounds crew came running right into the argument between hi mand third base umpire Eric Cooper. Likely saved someone from getting ejected.
8:19 p.m.: We’re starting the sixth inning here already, with the Mariners up 1-0 on a solo homer to left in the third by Yuniesky Betancourt. By the way, manager John McLaren had a word with Betancourt before the game about his little tirade last night when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth with a runner on second.
Betancourt was hitting .319 with runners in scoring position at the time. But McLaren saw that lefties were hitting .370 off reliever Mike Timlin and wanted Jeremy Reed’s bat in there.
“No one should be happy,” McLaren said of being pinch-hit for. “But being best friends is not my main concern around here. Getting a win is all I care about. If they’re mad, prove me wrong. Like I said, I don’t want to embarrass anybody. I’m not throwing anybody under the bus. But all we care about is wins and I thought that was the best scenario there was.”
McLaren said of the tantrum thrown by Betancourt: “I didn’t see all of it. I heard the bat. We had a discussion today. It’s just an in-house thing. I liked the emotion to be honest with you.”
So, we’re locked in a pitcher’s duel here tonight. Erik Bedard has allowed just two hits, Wakefield only three. Quite a game so far.
7:30 p.m.: Tim Wakefield needed only nine pitches to retire the Mariners in the bottom of the first, though Jose Vidro managed a two-out single off him. The inning ended with Raul Ibanez ripping a ball right into the glove of second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Erik Bedard gave up some hard hit balls in the second inning, but was saved by some nice defensive plays. Yuniesky Betancourt made a leaping catch of a line drive by Mike Lowell. Ibanez then made a running, two-out catch of a Coco Crisp blast to the left field warning track. The ball looked like a home run coming off Crisp’s bat, but the Safeco Field air likely spared Bedard another long ball against. Still scoreless.
7:19 p.m.: Erik Bedard throws the game’s first pitch to Oregon native Jacoby Ellsbury in the photo on the opposite page. Bedard struck out Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia — both on called strikes — then walked David Ortiz. With Manny Ramirez up, looking for home run No. 500, Bedard engaged him in a long at-bat, then induced him to swing at Ball Four of a full-count offering. Ramirez grounded out to third.
But a 25-pitch first inning by Bedard. You saw there how these Red Sox can make pitchers earn their outs.
RED SOX (32-23)
46 Jacoby Ellsbury RF
15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
34 David Ortiz DH
24 Manny Ramirez LF
25 Mike Lowell 3B
22 Sean Casey 1B
10 Coco Crisp CF
36 Kevin Cash C
23 Julio lugo SS
49 Tim Wakefield RHP
51 Ichiro CF
13 Miguel Cairo 1B
3 Jose Vidro DH
28 Raul Ibanez LF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
50 Wladimir Balentien RF
15 Jamie Burke C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
45 Erik Bedard LHP