Bedard Focuses on Pitching Inside In Loss to Yankees

Image Credit: Pittsburgh Pirates

TAMPA, Fla. —  Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed four runs on five hits over 3.2 innings in his third Grapefruit League start this spring. He walked three and struck out three in the Pirates 10-3 loss to the New York Yankees in Tampa on Tuesday night.

Bedard said he was shooting for 65-70 pitches for his outing, and finished with 68 on the night. 44 of them were strikes.

“Middle of spring. Just try to get the pitch count up. When you’re not at 100 yet, it’s hard to say,” Bedard said of how he’s feeling at this point in the spring. The lefty said his goal before leaving camp is to get his pitch count up to 90-100.

In the first, Bedard walked two and allowed a double, but was able to get out of the inning unscathed. Bedard was sharp in his second frame, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

“It’s been one of his focus points this spring, getting the ball glove side to right-handers,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “I thought tonight some very clean sequences. The ability to hold the running game…Throwing secondary pitches behind in counts still for strikes. His curveball is shaping up real nice. Had some good bite.”

Bedard was unable to work himself out of a jam in the 3rd inning. Brett Gardner reached on a leadoff bunt single and Curtis Granderson hit a hard liner up the right side to put runners on the corners. The next batter, Nick Swisher, hit a high chopper to third baseman Pedro Alvarez. The ball reflected off his glove for an error, allowing Gardner to score. With two outs, Alex Rodriguez hit a RBI single into center field to tie the game at 2.

“You want to put outs away wherever you’re playing,” Hurdle said. “Whatever’s going on. We’ve got to be more efficient with the baseball. It’s a tough lineup. Arguably one of the toughest lineups we’ve seen to date so far in spring training. You can’t give them extra outs.”

“Threw all my pitches. Just trying to get the pitch count up,“ Bedard said. “I just try to mix it up. You got to work on everything in and out, change speeds. That’s all I was trying to do…Try to stay away from the middle of the plate and get them off-balance. They got some hits here and there, but I tried to minimize the damage.”

Bedard was pulled with two outs in the 4th inning. After giving up a double to Russell Martin, Bedard issued a two out walk and was replaced by fellow southpaw Jo-Jo Reyes.

Five batters came to the plate, but Reyes unable to record an out to end the inning. After walking back-to-back batters, Reyes gave up three straight RBI hits before Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle called upon the bullpen for the third arm of the inning. Shairon Martis took the mound and got Martin, in his second at-bat of the inning, to ground out in the five run frame.

The Pirates were able to get to right-handed starter Michael Pineda early, tacking two runs off the young arm in the 1st inning. With one out, Jose Tabata hit a single into shallow right field. Tabata quickly stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Russell Martin. All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen took a 3-2 pitch hung over the plate for a two-run shot to left field. It marked his second home run on the spring and his second in as many games.

“The long line drives play,” Hurdle said. “He was able to come back his next at-bat and barrel that ball to right center field as well. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s swinging very compact, very short to the ball. He’s managing the strike zone very well. And there’s impact when he’s squaring it up. He’s got bad intentions.”

From there, Pineda retired the Pirates in a row in his next two innings, including striking out five of the six batters he faced.

Tabata scored his second run in the game in the 6th inning after Neil Walker connected for a one-out RBI single.

Game Notes:

  • Relief: Jo-Jo Reyes: 0.0 IP, 3H, 3R, 2BB; Shairon Martis: 0.1 IP; Ryota Igarashi: IP, 2H, 2R, BB, 2K; Daniel McCutchen: IP, K; Daniel Moskos: IP, K; Jared Hughes: IP, 2H, R
  • Jose Tabata went 2-for-3 with two runs; Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run; Matt Hague went 1-for-1; Neil Walker went 2-for-3 with a RBI

Wednesday Game Info:

  • The Pirates will face the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 at McKechnie Field. It’s the first of four straight home games. Right-hander Kevin Correia will face lefty Jon Lester. Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan and Juan Cruz are scheduled to follow in relief.