Game 52: Erik Bedard Has Disaster Start in Rays’ Slugfest Loss

By Robbie Knopf

The Tampa Bay Rays had a feeling that this game would turn out something like this. When Brandon Guyer hit the disabled list, the Rays elected to call up not Kevin Kiermaier, not a Durham reliever like Jeff Beliveau, but a starting pitcher capable of providing length, Alex Colome. This game turned out horrifically for the Rays, but their decision to call up Colome will ensure that their bullpen will be fine for the coming days.

Erik Bedard has been great for the Rays, but he was an extreme flyball pitcher heading to a home run-friendly ballpark, and this was going to be a difficult start for him. Sure enough, he allowed more runs in this game than he had allowed in his previous five outings.

After allowing two runs in the first inning, Bedard rebounded to keep the Toronto Blue Jays off the board in the second and third. In the fourth, however, he allowed back-to-back homers to Dioner Navarro and Steve Tolleson, and he was taken out amid what became a four-run fifth. Bedard went 4+ innings allowing 8 runs, 7 earned, on 12 hits. It was certainly an outing to forget, but it was a matter of Bedard being in the wrong ballpark and failing to execute his pitches, not some incredible adjustment by Toronto. Erik Bedard may stop being reliable for the Rays, but don’t be too confident that this game is the beginning of that.

The Rays were able to tie this game up at three and five runs apiece thanks to home runs by David DeJesus, Desmond Jennings, and James Loney. They delivered five runs- you can’t blame them for this loss. Eventually, the runs got out of hand and the Rays could not continue to keep up.

The good news about the 10 runs Toronto scored was that they came off just two pitchers. Bedard has five days before starting again and Alex Colome will be back at Triple-A. Colome made two big mistakes in the fifth inning, walking in a run and not covering first base quickly enough on a Anthony Gose groundball. Then in the following frame, he allowed Edwin Encarnacion to tee off for a solo home run. There was never a point where you could say that Colome’s outing was pretty. However, he battled and managed to finish the game, tossing the final 4 innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 3 without striking out a batter.

Colome was understandably rusty- he still hasn’t pitched in a Triple-A game since his drug suspension. But it’s a testament to his stuff that he got through this game and he could be an interesting pitcher for the Rays later in the year. Colome was sent down after the game, but credit him for doing exactly what the Rays hoped he would do: save the bullpen if they received a short start from Bedard.

The Rays are hoping to allow quite a few less runs tomorrow as Alex Cobb takes the mound against Mark Buehrle. With Cobb on the mound, a well-rested bullpen, and the offense playing well, there is every reason to expect the Rays to rebound in a big way from this tough loss.