Why Tonight Is More Important Than Last Night
Having the team win the first game of the season, with Felix pitching well and Junior going yard, was certainly a good thing. Not just for the win column, but also because it helps beat back the pre-written narrative that this team is in for a bad year. But, as nice as it was to start off 1-0, I’d suggest that tonight’s game is more important for the M’s. Why?
Erik Bedard is pitching.
Honestly, no one has a great feel for what Bedard’s 2009 season is going to look like. Two years ago, he was as good a pitcher as anyone in baseball. Last year, he was mediocre and injured (the former likely due to the latter), and while he says he’s healthy, actions speak louder than words. You could construct realistic scenarios where Bedard is worth anything between one and five wins to the Mariners this year, and that four win spread is larger than with any other player on the roster.
If Bedard is healthy and goes back to being something like the Baltimore version that the team thought they were trading for, we should see some signs of it tonight. The Twins line-up vs lefties is even more lackluster than what they threw at Felix last night, so a 100% healthy Erik Bedard should be able to cruise through the Twins without too many problems. If he’s popping 93 on the radar gun and getting swings and misses with his curve, there will be legitimate reasons to get excited. Bedard is the biggest variable on the roster, and tonight, we get our first look at which way that pendulum might swing.