Pirates Notebook: Bedard Makes First Start Since Injury

Bedard suffered back spasms during his outing on May 9 against the Nationals. Image Credit: Pittsburgh Pirates

Left-hander Erik Bedard made his first start on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals since his scheduled start was bumped back by two days due to back spasms.

The lefty allowed four runs on six hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out seven while throwing 92 pitches, 62 strikes. It marked Bedard’s first outing this season that he allowed more than two earned runs.

Three of the four runs that Bedard allowed came from the long ball. The lefty allowed one to Ian Desmond in the second frame. Bedard went on to retire 11 straight batters, which included seven whiffs, before giving up back-to-back homers in the sixth. Bedard allowed just one home run over his first seven starts of the season (35.0 innings). The first run scored on a RBI ground out by Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning. Bryce Harper scored the run after tripling off the right field wall with one out.


Barajas Showing Signs of Breaking Out of Slow Start

Both Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes are hitting below .200 on the season, but Barajas has shown signs at the plate of breaking out of the slump to start the season. The catcher went deep for the second time in five games Monday, and four of his last six hits have gone for extra bases. Barajas entered Wednesday’s game with an .821 OPS in May, after a .406 OPS in April.

“We didn’t bring those guys in here to hit 40 home runs and hit .320,” General Manager Neal Huntington said. “We brought those guys in here to be stabilizing veteran presences, guys in the middle of our field defensively.”

“There’s going to be recovery here. [Hitting Coach] Gregg [Ritchie] and [Pirates Manager] Clint [Hurdle] continue to work with these guys. There’s no question that we want more production than they have been offensively…Rod’s starting to get some hits. Clint is showing signs, but there’s no doubt that we need these guys to turn a corner. But again, we need them to be what we expected them to be. We knew what they were going to be offensively coming in, they weren’t signed to come in and be difference makers for us. They were signed to come in and stabilize the defensive diamond, to be positive clubhouse presences. Both have done that.”


Lincoln’s Change in Mentality

Right-hander Brad Lincoln allowed two runs on four hits over six innings during his spot start on Monday in Miami. And before that start, Lincoln posted just an 0.63 ERA out of the bullpen over 14.1 innings. The righty has spent parts of three seasons in the Majors, but right now is pitching the best he has in his professional career.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” Lincoln said of his mentality. “I think that when I first got up here the last couple years, I was kind of a little timid about finding the plate, maybe getting hit around a little bit. Now it’s just, let it go and I’m going to come right at you. If you beat me, you beat me. If not, good things will happen. So far, so good for me this year. Things have been working out.”

  • I was at game last night and I’m very worried that Barmes is close to being done at the plate. If pitchers are able to throw it low and outside he will swing and miss every time. The only pitches he can hit are mistakes. I don’t know if his bat speed or pitch recognition have decreased a lot in the past couple years but he seems to swing at everything and might be doing that just to catch up with the pitch.

    • He is in a hurry for sure, the game looks like it is too fast for him, he is not reading the pitch or taking the time to read the pitch, he is guessing also, many of his swings have him off balance, I guess you say he is all messed up, IMO, they need to find a way to slow him down and get him to start punching the ball the other way, much like what they are trying to do with Pedro, he does not have to try and hit every ball out of the park.

    • Kevin_Creagh
      May 17, 2012 1:07 pm

      Let me preface this by saying Barmes is tough to watch right now, so I’m not apologizing for his putrid performance. However….
      Here’s some of his swing percentages via Fangraphs:
      Outside zone Swing% 2011 — 36.7%, career O Swing % – 34.5%
      O Swing% 2012 – 50%
      Inside Zone Swing%2011 — 66.1%, career Z Swing % — 66.6%
      Z Swing% 2012 – 70.1%
      O Contact% 2011 — 69.4%, career O Contact % – 68.0%
      O Contact % 2012 – 62.9%
      Zone Contact % 2011 – 88.3%, Zone Contact career – 88.8%
      Zone Contact % 2012 — 82.4%
      Finally, his swinging strike percentage last year was 9.3% (career 8.9%) and is 15.2% in 2012.
      What does all this mean? Not to dumb this too much, but “he’s swinging too much”. His rates have all been fairly steady thru his career, so it’s hard for me to imagine he is falling off the cliff this badly in 1 year with no huge warning flags last year.
      My answer? He’s trying to hard to impress a new team after signing a “big money” multiple year deal for the first time in his career. He needs to relax and take a pitch.