Rays Spring Game 21: Erik Bedard Unimpressive as Blue Jays Win in 3-Hitter

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays gave veteran lefty Erik Bedard the opportunity to leave the final impressive in their fifth starter race. Bedard failed to take advantage, surrendering 4 runs in 5.2 innings of work as the Rays lost 5-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

In an occurrence a little too similar to Jake Odorizzi‘s game on Thursday, Bedard looked sharp to begin the game, allowing just a single in the first two frames while striking out 2. Bedard was missing up in the zone with the occasional fastball, but for the most part, he was locating it well and using it to set up his nasty curveball. In the third inning, however, Bedard came apart just like Odorizzi. With one out, Chris Getz, Anthony Gose, Brett Lawrie, and Colby Rasmus drilled four straight hard singles, with a Desmond Jennings throwing error on the Lawrie hit turning that into 3 runs instead of 2. Bedard got out of the inning without further damage, even retiring the next 6 batters he faced, but Lawrie got him one more time in the 5th, slamming a solo home run to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.

Bedard went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. All the runs were considered earned although one of them certainly could have been called unearned, but that is totally irrelevant at the end of the day. The bottom line was that Bedard’s command came and went just like it has the entire spring. He has allowed 3 runs or more in four of his five starts as his ERA stands at 6.88. A few slip-ups can be excused, but Bedard has gotten hit time after time. How can the Rays justify making Erik Bedard their fifth starter?

The star of the game was the starting pitcher on the other side, Aaron Sanchez. The Blue Jays’ top prospect went 5.1 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, striking out 2 while walking 3. He occasionally lost the strike zone, but he showed a mid-90’s fastball with devastating sink, forcing an 8-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He also threw several sharp curveballs, further elucidating how talented he is. Sanchez has plenty of work to do as he hopes to harness his potential for sustained stretches, but the Rays are not going to have a fun time facing Sanchez in the coming years.

James Loney was basically the entire Rays offense, going 2 for 2 with a pair of hard singles. Yunel Escobar had the other Rays hit. The Rays had the ignominy of making as many errors as they had hits, with Jennings, Jayson Nix, and Curt Casali all making throwing errors. Jennings’ error certainly hurt Bedard, while Nix and Casali’s errors combined to score a run that Joel Peralta had almost nothing to do giving up. Peralta struck out 2 in his inning of work while Santiago Garrido finished the game in solid fashion, allowing just a hit in the final 2 innings.

The Rays are now 14-5-2 on the spring season, still the best in the Grapefruit League though second to the Cleveland Indians overall. Tomorrow, the Rays will take on the Baltimore Orioles at 1:05 PM in Port Charlotte.