Clearing the Bases: Lobs, Lawrie and losses

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
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First: You know first, it’s the base you’re supposed to go to initially, to get on base. Or to throw to when the opposition obligingly gives you an out on a sac bunt. It’s also sometimes a bit of a tricky target, as the Cubs’ Geovany Soto found out in the sixth inning against the Reds when, with Ryan Hanigan on first with nobody out and Cincinnati holding a 2-0 lead, pitcher Johnny Cueto stepped in. Automatic sac bunt, right? Sure, except Soto’s throw was wild, so now it’s two on, nobody out. So what does Dusty Baker order up from leadoff man Zack Cozart? A sac bunt … which Soto threw away to load the bases. For Soto’s sake, here’s hoping he doesn’t get an even worse case of the yips.

Second: Toronto’s Brett Lawrie stole home against the Royals, his first-ever steal of home, on his second recorded attempt. But he’s also tried to steal second just two times this season, and he’s be no more (or less) successful, going for 1-for-2 there. Which is another way of saying it’s early.

[+] EnlargeErik Bedard
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesErik Bedard can't catch a break, but what did he expect, going to Pittsburgh?
Third: Already 0-3 after three starts, Erik Bedard now has to live with four losses in four starts. Now sure, you can’t feel too sorry for the guy; that was sure to be his lot in life after surprising some this winter with a decision to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. With two quality starts and a pair of five-inning, two-run outings, he’s actually pitched well enough to go about 1-1 according to Baseball Prospectus’s Support-Neutral Won-Loss stats, but when you’re working with whatever run support the Bucs dredge up with the 16th-ranked offense in the league, it’s hard to expect Bedard to catch many, any or even one break.

Keep in mind, Bedard has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start, but because he’s gotten just three runs total in run support from a Pirates offense averaging two scores per contest, he’s the man getting the short straw from an already close-cropped selection.

After his 24-loss season with the original-edition Mets of 1962, it was Roger Craig who said, “I had to be pretty good for them to keep sending me out there enough to lose that many games.” I doubt Bedard will take much solace in that. Happily -- for him -- his won-loss record isn’t going to amount to much in July, when the Pirates start shopping him in earnest to contenders looking to shore up their rotations.

Home: Tweet of the Day goes to Baseball America for passing along some Bryce Harper video:
Christina Kahrl covers baseball for ESPN.com. You can follow her on Twitter.

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