Tonight wasn't all downside. If you can look past the awful hitting and awfuler defense (when I talk about our bad defense I'm referring to range, so this was a whole new pile of suck), there was one big positive, and that was the pitching of Erik Bedard.
First things first: yes, Bedard's fastball seemed to be missing some miles today. With an average velocity of 88.5mph according to PITCHf/x, it was down two miles from last week and three miles from Opening Day. However, Wang was also down several miles from where he usually hangs out as well, suggesting that either it was too cold in New York for the starters to get comfortable, or there's something wonky with Yankee Stadium's PITCHf/x system. Whatever the case may be, Bedard certainly wasn't knocked off his game, so I'm not the least bit concerned.
Below are the four main graphs of Bedard's PITCHf/x data for his seven innings tonight, which are pretty self-explanatory:
Nothing groundbreaking in there, but again, you can get a pretty good sense of Bedard's game plan. Pitch on the outside corner against lefties and drop the curve down and away. Then spot the fastball all over the zone against righties while using the outside curve for surprise strikes and the low curve for misses. His actual strikeout pitches were pretty well mixed up, which I'd imagine is good for two reasons - (1) he didn't fall into any patterns, and (2) it shows he's capable of punching batters out with more than one pitch. But that's just hypothesizing.
This was a really good start. Granted, the Yankees weren't sending out the most intimidating lineup, but even if you skip over the PITCHf/x stuff and just go straight to the numbers, here's what you get:
17% swinging strikes
4 hits, only one of which was a line drive
1 walk, after walking four in each of his first three starts
By far the best performance of Bedard's brief Mariner career, as his only real mistake was leaving an 0-2 fastball up for Matsui to line into left field in the first. Other than that, he was great, and over his final five innings - during which he allowed all of "two" baserunners (up yours Giambi) - he was spectacular.
While I'm still a little concerned about his hip, it's clear that if it's bothering him, it's not taking any kind of toll on how he pitches. This was the ace we thought we were getting from Baltimore. Here's to seeing a whole hell of a lot more of him.