Quick - do you know who leads the majors in strikeouts? You can probably guess, based on the topic of this entry. Erik Bedard, like Mike Maroth, is just one of my guys. I don't know why, I just think he's a very good pitcher, on a not-so-good team, and I always try to get him on my fantasy team. Unlike other players, Bedard turns out to be a move that I could have made with my head instead of my heart....he is quickly becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The past couple of seasons, Bedard has gotten off to slow starts...this year, for instance, after his first 5 starts, he was 3-2, but had a 6.11 ERA. We'll throw his sixth start, a no-decision, into the "rocky" category, though the 4 runs he gave up in six innings lowered his ERA to 6.09. Over his next five starts, Bedard began a string of absolute dominance that continues straight through to today...and he went 0-1 in those five starts, giving up 2, 0, 3, 1 and 2 earned runs. He was just getting no support from his teammates.
Bedard won his next outing, shutting out the Royals over eight innings, and then his June went like this:
at SEA: 6 IP, 3 ER, 7 K (no decision)
vs. COL: 5 IP, 2 ER, 8 K (loss)
vs. ARI: 7 IP, 2 ER, 9 K (no decision)
at SD: 6 IP, 2 ER, 9 K (win)
Last night vs. NYY: 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, 8 K (win)
The only flaw in Bedard's game is that he gets so many strikeouts, which forces him to throw a lot of pitches, and ends up leaving a lot of games early...not sticking around to the late innings. He'll go 6 or 7, 8 innings, rarely. And with the Baltimore bullpen, that gives them a few innings to blow leads, and that leaves Bedard with a lot of no decisions. He also has given up 11 homers on the season - that seems like a high total to me.
Bedard's numbers on the year right now, after Wednesday night's win against New York:
17 Games Started
107 Innings Pitched
129 Strikeouts (Leads Majors)
Part of this entry is to make a case that Bedard deserves a spot on the American League All Star team. But it's also to draw attention to someone who is mired away on a team that hasn't done well, and has an awful bullpen, which affects his win total.
Bedard is 6-4 right now. He could easily be 12-4. That would have gotten him some attention.