Erik Bedard, LH John Lackey, RH (5-3, 2.32) (8-4, 3.70)
Game time is 10:05 on CSN, ESPN2 and FSN West.
You may remember Lackey from game seven of the 2002 World Series. He's a hoss: 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, with a live fastball. For the first time in his major league career, he's pitching like it. Lackey's K/9 before this season: 5.74, 6.66, 6.54. This year: 9.20. That's a big jump, and one that's promising for the Angels as Lackey is still just 26 (he turns 27 in October). He's a homegrown guy, and he might be sticking around for the long haul. This has been his best big league season thus far. He does look something like a bloated Gary Gaetti.
But today, we have Bedard. Erik has not picked up a win since May 21 against the Phillies, but that's cheating, as he's pitched only thrice since then. He's lost his last two outings, though neither were truly bad performances or anything. The last one, at Chicago, was the worse of the two, as he clearly didn't have his best stuff. He did battle and kept the team in a position to win. At this point, that's all we can ask of anyone.
I had my doubts Bedard would return at the same level he left, but he's done quite well, and I really think that along with Cabrera, he's going to be part of a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the Baltimore rotation for years to come, unless they do something stupid like trade one of the two of them, which, you know, WHY NOT? If they waived Bedard tomorrow, it would seem almost fitting.
Every day I do one of these posts, I start feeling more and more like Harry Doyle early in Major League.