Eric Bedard is a very good left-handed starting pitcher, but the 15 strikeouts he racked-up in yesterday's start must be viewed in the context of the line-up he faced. Desi Relaford, Sammy Sosa, Marlon Byrd, Victor Diaz, and Travis Metcalf struck out twice each, and Brad Wilkerson added three Ks. Michael Young and Gerald Laird whiffed once apiece, and Jerry Hairston Jr managed to put the ball in play in his three ABs.
New Rockies closer Manny Corpas notched his first save by striking out the side in last night's win over the Phillies. With the news that Brian Fuentes cannot make the All-Star game due to an injury, Corpas joins Gary Glover as the most recent free agent sources of saves.
Following Friday's save, Giants' reliever Randy Messenger set-up closer Brad Hennessey with a scoreless 8th inning of work. He looks to be the back-up closer at this point. Given the mediocrity (I'm feeling generous) of the Giants' bullpen, that doesn't say too much.
That is a perfect segue into the mess that is the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' bullpen. Handed a 6-4 lead in the 8th, Jay Witasick and Casey Fossum proceeded to walk five straight hitters. Maybe the Devil Rays should take a page out of Wayne Krivsky's book and deal one of their outfielders for a couple of bullpen arms. No starting pitcher on the Devil Rays should be counted on for more than a sloth's handful of wins.
Speaking of the Reds, Homer Bailey handed his bullpen a 4-1 lead in the 6th, and it blew his win by allowing the Diamondbacks to score three in the 8th. That is too bad, too, because Homer arguably had his best major league start when he allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out five. Some might say his June 19th start was better because he went seven innings, but I'm more impressed with the 5K and 2 BBs versus the 4BB and 3 Ks in the 19th one.
4A outfielder Jeff Salazar went 1-3 with a walk and a double for the Diamondbacks. Given that teams' struggles hitting the ball, Salazar needs only a couple more games like that to get regular playing time. Batting left-handed would assure that.
When I see a 4-3 17-inning game like the Mets and Astros played last night, I immediately think somebody just got stuck with a nasty hitting box score. The biggest winner was Mets catcher Paul LoDuca's 0-8. He was followed closely by Mark Loretta's 0-7 and Brad Ausmus' 0-6. Honorable mention goes to Hunter Pence at 1-8, and Carlos Beltran's 1-7.
The Cubs' $40MM man Ted Lilly rang up his 8th victory of the season, and he looks like he will provide the proof that moving to the NL from the AL is a wise career decision. With a 3.67 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, one would be hard pressed to argue. Most notable is the large drop in walks from 4.0 per nine innings in the AL East to paltry 2.2 in the NL Central. Surprisingly, his K/9 of 7.8 is slightly less than last season's 7.9. Could facing the pitcher every time through the line-up mean that much?
Braves' rookie starter Jo Jo Reyes proved that trying to play favorable match-ups is a fool's game in any one game. Facing a putrid Padres' line-up at Petco would seem to be in Reyes' favor for a positive major league debut. It was not. Not only did he fail to get out of the 4th inning, he gave-up two HRs in the process.