Sweeping the A’s and Bedard’s Dominance
by Mike Salk
Good news. After a full week of baseball, we find the M’s at 5-2. That puts them in first place in the AL West – 1.5 games up on the Angels and Rangers. The most amazing part of it is that they could easily be 6-1 or even 7-0.
Why has it happened? The pitching has been awesome so far. A team ERA of 2.92 ranks 3rd in baseball. And the hitting hasn’t been bad either. 32 runs scored ranks 12th in the league. That’s not bad considering Ichiro has yet to see a pitch!
So, only a couple of words of caution as we head towards the Home Opener on Tuesday. First, the Twins and A’s might not be very good – especially offensively. They currently rank 22nd and 26th respectively in terms of runs scored.
Second, the Mariners are scoring runs but in an odd way. They are getting on base at just a .308 clip (25th in baseball) but coming up with clutch hits with men on base. In fact, they are tops in the league in batting average with runners in scoring position. So right now everything is working and they are making the most out of their chances. But I’d like to see more runners on to give them more chances to score.
Finally, it’s a long season with plenty of peaks and valleys. Let’s see how this plays out. But wow, what a great start!
Now onto Erik Bedard…
I know I’ve painted myself into Bedard’s corner early this year, but Sunday should show you why I was so willing to go there.
- Command of the fastball? Check.
It was only 90-91 all day but the placement and control was awesome. He was spotting that pitch wherever he wanted all day long…And the proof is in the numbers. He threw first pitch strikes to 19 of the 29 batter he faced. If he casn work from ahead, he canbe almost unhittble.
- Sharp bite on the curve? Check.
I think the seven K’s speak to that.
- Ability to make big pitches to get out of trouble? Check.
Big pitch to strike out Eric Chavez with two on in the 4th. I wish I had more examples, but he allowed baserunners in only three innings!
- Even showing some emotion after escaping trouble? Check.
How about the fist pump after the big strikeout to get out of a jam in the 4th?
- Long conversation with the media explaining his life story? Check.
Whoops. That last one isn’t true (I don’t think). But so what? I’ll take 8 1/3 shutout innings and a nice win over a cuddly teddy bear who can’t pitch!
What did you think of Bedard on Sunday? Has he done enough to make you forget about last year? And how excited are you by the M’s hot start? Comment here, email us at [email protected], or call the show on Monday at 866-979-ESPN. Talk to you at 11:00!