... Tigers 2

=== Chris Gimenez, 3b/1b/Bedard Scourge ===

First off:  Gimenez advances to 3-and-9 (.250) and his SP is not knocked out of the box.  The M's gave up only 2 runs to a lineup that was 15-and-4 vs LHP's.  There's our nod to equity in cyber-journo-shtick.


John and I played a game, guessing how many times Bedard was going to shake off Gimenez each pitch.  Typical was four times.  I did not notice a single pitch on which Bedard did not shake him off, including the first pitches of innings.

So about the 3rd inning I challenged John, "okay, let's see who can guess the number of shakeoffs," on the next pitch .... if I'm lyin' I'm dyin', it was 8 shakeoffs.  Maybe Geoffy can find out what is occurring when a two-pitch SP shakes the catcher off eight times.

I mean, one finger was FB in, two fingers was FB on the black, three fingers was hook, three against the left thigh was bury it on the heel, three fingers against the right thigh was backdoor, four fingers seemed to be changeup, a fist bump against the right thigh seemed to be FB outside also...  but 3-4 shakeoffs every single pitch, and up to 8-9 at a time?

You could see the whole thing in gory detail -- nobody was ever on base, so Gimenez was never using codes.  And it was GRUEsome.


On the two-run homer to Victor Martinez?  Bedard fell behind 2-0, and then Gimenez ran through exactly five (5) suggestions before Bedard got the one he wanted ... Bedard set, and then .... Martinez stepped out.

Bedard, chewing nails, re-set himself on the mound and threw the pitch previously decided on.  Martinez hit an off-field HR; if he hadn't, the game would have been a shutout.


Are any of you guys good at foul shots?  Like you can hit 10, 15 in a row on a good day?

It's one thing to shoot them when somebody's tossing the ball back to you, and you're shooting WHEN you want to, and you're in rhythm.

Can you hit 15 in a row, when the rebounder goofs off and changes the timing between shots?  Maybe throws one at your feet?  No, you can't.

Greg Maddux wanted the return throw from the catcher in the same spot gloveside each time, never mind in the same time interval.  Rhythm matters.  A lot!   When you're trying to hit 15 foul shots in a row.

Gimenez let Bedard hit 9 foul shots in a row, and then lost the ball, dribbled it twice, threw it back knee high... Bedard just missed the next pitch.  Home run.  

It is the game within a game.  I'll guarantee you.  GUARANTEE YOU!  That 50 people on both benches were agonizing over Bedard's sulking on the mound.  There isn't any question in my mind that Bedard was emphasizing, for both benches, that his catcher wasn't qualified to be there.  He was underlining the shakeoff problem so that everybody knew how unpleasant the game was for him.


This one's on Wedge.  IMHO, the backup catcher should be Josh Bard.  That game was like a root canal.

On the plus side:  Erikkk Bedard can carry Gimenez better than Vargas and Fister can.  So it was interesting to see Wedge cut Vargas and Fister a break this last time through.


In fairness, all three RP's were just fine with Gimenez.  Maybe you guys can tell me why the dichotomy.

Riddle me this:  if Chris Gimenez can't guess Erik Bedard's pitches, how is Miguel Cabrera going to do so?


=== HP Ump Mike Winters ===

In 2010, had the 8th-highest ERA among 85 umpires.  Bedard's displeasure with Winters, also, was obvious all game.  For example, when he's ripped off on a call, Bedard holds his glove up disgustedly and catches the return throw, holding pose for a second while he blankly stares out into space and recomposes himself.

In the fifth inning, two out, 2-2 on Austin Jackson, Bedard froze him with a fastball inside, and ran off the mound ... Winters called him back.

Bedard had thrown 86 pitches to finish the 5th, but now he stepped back on the mound, and walked Jackson on the next pitch.  

Pitching from the stretch, the runner going several times, Bedard then required 9 pitches to finish off Casper Wells.  As a result, Bedard had 96 pitches after five, and couldn't pitch the 6th -- else he'd have had a QS and W, since Peguero's HR came in the top of the 7th.  You think Bedard isn't aware of these facts as he goes to sleep tonight?

In fairness, it could be that Bedard was projecting his Gimenez frustration onto Winters behind the plate.  The zone plot looks fine.


Yet:  for all that, did Erikkk melt down?  No, he limited the scoring to 2 runs, and had a 6:3 CTL in 5 innings, which would have been 7:2 with the Austin Jackson call.

Erik Bedard is a gamer.  He can pitch my Game 7 any time.


As a separate issue, Bedard has the #1 ERA in baseball, since April 27 (which edits out his first 4 starts).  Another way to say that is:  Bedard has been the best pitcher in baseball since he grooved in.

Eight GS, and:

  • 49.1 innings
  • 33 hits (!!)
  • 2 homers
  • 48 strikeouts
  • 12 walks
  • 12 earned runs

50% more strikeouts than hits - that's not real good odds for the batter, amigo.  He's even got more K's than baserunners allowed.  Here, let's chart this:

  • 48 K vs 45 H+BB = Bedard, since start #5
  • 97 K vs 113 H+BB = Felix, 2011
  • 77 K vs 76 H+BB = Pineda, 2011

Bedard also has a career HR/9 of 0.84, with 1.1 being average.

You got Felix, and you got Pineda, and ... you got a guy better than them.*  Supposing I told you that a team had had Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and a third guy better than them.


=== STUFF ===

Oddly, Erikkk had a mushy curveball by his own standards, only a 5x8 break vs vacuum when 6x11 is more his usual.

Also, his FB's were not sinking like usual ... he was missing exactly 3 inches' vertical drop on both the 2-seamer and 4-seamer.

I think it was wet in Detroit.  


As far as stamina:  Erikkk threw 111 pitches last time, but came back very strong this time.  Here is his velocity chart.  Check the velo late in the game.  Dab your sweaty brow with a hanky:  all appears to be hunky-dory with our lefty ace.


=== Brandon League ===

With a 3-2 lead, faced Miguel Cabrera leading off.... we swallowed as hard as the little blond punk on the MLB Felix commercial.  Most of League's impressive saves have been against the bottom of the order.

League started Cabrera with .... a splitfinger!  Cabrera swung out of his shoes, and the count went to 0-1, and the game was in the bag right then and there.  League fanned the AL's best hitter on three pitches, 1-2-3.

League started Victor Martinez with a split.

And he started Jhonny Peralta with a split.


He's not out of the woods yet -- Ramon Santiago on an 0-2 count (!) sat splitfinger, sunk his weight, and almost hit a predictable splitfinger out to RF.

But still.  If League will even begin thinking a LITTLE bit, just show them a different look now and then.... there is our championship-level closer.  

Brandon League's pitch sequences are MILES better now, and have been for two weeks.  The thinking version of Brandon League, he and David Pauley are plenty 'nuff for now.


SSI exists, as a phoenix out of the ashes of the D-O-V retirement, because the Klat amigos rock, and because the MC/SSI community is a good group of guys that I enjoy talking baseball with.  If either of those two elements were not present, you'd be spared our moronic shtick.

SSI isn't written to influence the Mariners.  Nor do we sit here and type, to provide work samples, so that a tired 48-year-old schmuck can fantasize about giving his work for minimum wage to some recent-college-grad supervisor for the Oakland A's.  Am 15 years, and several IRL heartbreaks, too old for that bilgewater.  

But if Brandon League pitches well in the 2011 postseason, SSI (and LL) will have chipped in on the closer's success.  That's cool.



* on SSI = I know, Egbert, I know :- )





wufners's picture

Agree with you that of our hand full of aces, Bedard is the ace-iest.  If we trade him this season, I'll understand, but be bummed.
And if a side effect of drafting Hultzen is not re-signing Bedard, that'll make the pick extra difficult to keep swallow.  Though I appreciate SSI's management for showing us the happy side of this pick.  :)
If the pitch sequences are really responsible for elevating this pitching staff, then it appears to me that only Bedard and Olivo are aware of it.  And that includes the coaching staff. 
If Vargas and Fister new their success was coming from pitch sequence, then they'd be shaking Gimenez off.  It's not like he's Ivan Rodriguez or someone they'd be afraid of disrespecting.  And even if they did find the idea of constant shake offs unseemly, I'd think they'd talk to him between innings and get him on the same page.  Or have a gameplan before the game started that he could follow.
Same deal if it was Carrol coming up with this stuff.  If he unlocked the secrets to making these guys better, he'd be making darn sure the both pitcher and catcher knew what to do before the game and would remind them during the game if they were failing to follow through.
That this doesn't happen suggests to me that only Bedard and Olivio have this little nugget figured out.  Which is a bit maddening and saddening.

glmuskie's picture

Many have been speculating that Bedard gets traded this year, especially if Hultzen gets signed in to the fold.  But I think not.  If anything, Zduriencik has shown how much he values top-tier LH pitching.  Jumping on the Cliff Lee opportunity shows that, too.
Only way he moves Bedard is if another team offers up a really ridiculous package, which I don't think will happen.  So I think Bedard is here for the rest of the year, and I think Z makes a solid effort to re-sign him.  Maybe even in-season?  I wouldn't put that past him either.


Here's our pitching contract situation: 
Felix - through 2014
Pineda - through 2016
Vargas - through 2013
Fister - through 2015
Bedard - through 2011
 Vargas and Felix are both about to get more expensive.  Maybe we do use the majority of our FA funds on Bedard. But we also have the following arms in system: 
Hultzen (assuming a signing), lefty who could be ready in a couple of months to a year.
Erasmo Ramirez, RH who can come in with ridiculous control and be a #5 pitcher shortly.
Andy Carraway, another RH control pitcher but one who is taking easy laps around AA
Mauricio Robles, lefty who strikes out 10+ per game through AAA and is coming off an injury - might move to the pen.
James Paxton, lefty who is currently striking out 12+ with bad control but should be at A+ or AA by the end of the year.
 A couple years away they also have Maurer, Wilhelmsen, Walker...
That's a decent selection of potential #3-#5 guys for a team that only needs one in the next 3 years - or none if Bedard is back.
If we sign Bedard, and expect Hultzen to come up before 2014 (which, uh, yeah...) then we've got to trade Fister or Vargas.
And since Bedard has status as an ace that neither Vargas nor Fister has, he can probably get more in trade.  If we wanted to re-sign him in the offseason that's certainly one way to go, but it doesn't prevent us from trading Bedard in July.
If we'd drafted Rendon, then you could make the argument that signing Bedard to lock down the rotation is a better option.
Once Ackley gets here, though, there aren't a lot of potentially-plus hitters left in the upper minors that you could expect to help us soon.  We have other role-players that could come through, but it'd be a great boon to get another plus hitter in here.
If we can't re-sign Bedard then we lose him for nothing after the season.  No draftpicks, nothing.  If we're trying to win this year, I get that, but then somebody else (like Walker) is going out the door to improve the offense.  We NEED offensive help, this year and in future years.  And some arm is leaving us to make that happen.  
I still expect it to be Bedard, assuming success and healthy follow him into July. ~G


are two of the best trade commodities out there right now.  I'm not advocating either to be traded, especially while we are still in it, but come July teams are going to be making calls to Jackie Z.  As he showed last year with the Lee trade he is more than happy to take a premier hitter off a teams hands. 
There are plenty of teams that would be interested in both of the pitchers, namely the Cardinals, Yankees, Boston, Detroit, Rangers, White Sox, Tigers and the Reds.  Jack can either package the two or trade them seperately and come up with quite a haul.


Which, IFF Bedard has NOT begun movement towards a contract extension, is one whale of a tough call for me.
Still view Montero as a good shot at Frank Thomas II, and perhaps even with part-time catching abilities into the bargain.
But that other catcher of the Yankees', the one now blocked, would be tempting too.  Gotta have a catcher.


But Devin Mesoraco, C for the Reds and Jesus Montero, C/1B/DH for the Yankees, are both reeeeeally high on my list.  Plus bats at positions of need are welcome.  But both are shots at a Jeff Clement type that works out, and still have risk.
I'm okay with that kind of risk.


And I agree, I'd be interested in trading League as well.  I wish Aardsma had been healthy so we wouldn't be searching for a closer, but he (League) is a FA after next year as well.  Pay him, trade him, or try to get prospects by offering arb are our 3 options shortly.  If we decide to trade him now we might get a nice haul - we just need to then find someone for the back end of the bullpen.  Pauley can't do it all. ;)  And ready bullpen arms are not currently a position of strength for us.  If Lueke was healthy and ready...but he's not.  Might have to hold on to our League bullet.

Taro's picture

Mesoraco is the dream scenario. Unlike Montero, we know he can stick at C and hes killing the ball in AAA.
Montero's stock has to be down.. His plate discipline is horrid in AAA right now. I questioned Smoak over Montero, but I'd absolutely rather have Smoak in hindsight.
Smoak looks like hes going to become an above-average player, Montero hasn't been able to continue his 2nd half '10 plate patience and is really fizzling. Its wierd.


We might remember our nerves failing over Shin-Soo Choo's ups and downs...
Am sure that Montero's spirit is broken, at the moment, over his apparent shunning by the Yankee power brokers.
But yeah.  A catcher who could rake, wouldn't that be something ....

Taro's picture

I'd still be interested in Montero too. Would prefer Mesoraco just because there are less question marks, but if he weren't an option would definetly take a stab at Montero.

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