[Editor’s Note: Sportscolumn Blog welcomes Jackson Govatos as the lead baseball blogger. Jackson’s daily feature, The Full Count, will take you through the five baseball stories you need to know.]
Erik Bedard is red hot
1. Out of nowhere: Baltimore’s Erik Bedard isn’t exactly a household name. In fact, many serious baseball fans probably don’t know who he is. That’s likely because he only had 12 career wins coming into this season. But now he’s become the second 4-0 pitcher in the AL, joining Curt Shilling. He picked up his fourth win last night against offense juggernaut Cleveland, limiting the Indians to 3 runs in 6 innings. His ERA on the season is now 2.77, and he has recorded 18 strikeouts. The Orioles’ 9-4 victory gave them a 2-1 series win over the Indians, and they became only the 5th team to record 10 wins.
2. The Disabled List Blues…: Some star players have landed on the DL within the past few days. Derrek Lee, the Cubs’ power-hitting first baseman, will be out 8 to 10 weeks with a wrist injury. He broke two bones in his wrist after colliding with the Dodgers’ Rafael Furcal. Lee’s injury will obviously be a huge blow to the Cubs’ hopes of reaching the playoffs for their first time since 2003. Additionally, the Angels’ defending Cy Young winning pitcher Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list with a much less serious injury. Though affected by an inflammatory throwing shoulder, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he’ll only miss two starts. Colon has not been up to form so far, with an ERA above 7 and an 0-2 record.
3. Old man can play: At 47 years old, Julio Franco became the oldest player in major league history to hit a home run, breaking a 76-year-old record in the Mets’ comeback win over the Padres. Franco’s 2-run, pinch hit home run gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. It sparked a 6-run rally in the eighth inning that gave a Mets a 7-2 lead, which became the final score. “I hope I hit one when I’m 50,” Franco said in all honesty. The Mets win spoiled a great game for Padres ace Jake Peavy, who pitched 7 innings and only allowed 1 run. Scott Linebrink blew the save for San Diego. The Mets improved to an 11-4 record on the season, giving them the highest winning percentage in the majors.
4. Rocky relief from yesterday’s games: In three games on Thursday night, relief pitching either cost teams games or came very close to doing so. In the A’s loss to the Tigers, Oakland starter Barry Zito had his finest game of the year, with one run allowed in 7 innings pitched. But without usual closer Huston Street, who was out with an injury, the A’s bullpen was unable to hold on to a 3-1 lead. In the Giants-Diamondbacks game, San Francisco built a 6-1 lead through six innings, but usually excellent relievers Steve Kline and Tim Worrell combined to allow 5 runs. However, the Giants still won because of a three-run 9th inning. More bullpen antics occurred in Seattle’s loss to Texas. Mariners reliever Eddie Guardado, who has been awful so far this year, walked four Ranger batters in the ninth, including the game-winning run. Texas won 4-3.
5. Will Barry hit a homer in Coors Field?: The Giants open a three-game series tonight againt the Colorado Rockies in the friendly hitting park of Coors Field. If Barry is going to get his first home run of the season, this will likely be the place. Of course, most people are rooting against Bonds and his chase of the Babe Ruth/Hank Aaron records but we actually found someone rooting for him. Go figure.