The Tampa Bay Rays have had very few good surprises throughout the course of the 2014 season. There have been plenty of things that have come as a shock for the team so far, but almost all of them have been detrimental. Nobody expected Matt Moore to need Tommy John surgery. Nobody expected David Price, Evan Longoria, and Wil Myers to all seriously underperform. Nobody expected Grant Balfour to lose his job closing out games. And absolutely no one expected the Rays to be the worst team in the league at this point in the season. One of very few positive surprises for the Rays, however, has been the performance of Erik Bedard.
The 35-year-old lefty was assumed to have been far past his prime by most people at the start of this season. Since leaving the Baltimore Orioles in 2008, Bedard went from being one of the league’s top starting pitchers to putting up pretty mediocre numbers. His statistics slowly got worse from there, and really hit rock bottom in 2013 with the Houston Astros. Bedard went 4-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 26 starts. The veteran lefty was not able to win a starting job with the Rays during Spring Training, and was designated for assignment in Triple A. After the injuries to Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, however, the Rays were in desperate need of a starting pitcher.
Since joining the Rays at the big league level, Bedard has been a pretty reliable starting pitcher. He is 3-4 with a 3.83 ERA, which is far superior to what was expected out of the 35-year-old. Bedard’s ERA is the second best in the starting rotation, and opposing hitters have a lower batting average against him than they do against ace David Price. This has been an underrated boost to the deflated Rays’ pitching staff, which at the moment can use all of the help that it can get. Bedard’s veteran presence and solid numbers have no doubt been one of very few things that Joe Maddon can be happy about this season, and hopefully he can continue to find success as the season continues.
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