(Sports Network) – Erik Bedard makes his Boston debut this evening when the Red Sox play the finale of their four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Bedard was acquired by the Red Sox right at the non-waiver trade deadline on Sunday after going 4-7 with the Seattle Mariners with a 3.45 earned run average. He was roughed up in his first start back from the disabled list and his final start in Seattle on Friday, as he gave up five runs to the Tampa Bay Rays in just 1 1/3 innings.
He had been 4-2 with a 1.77 ERA in his previous 11 starts, and has pitched well on the whole, allowing three earned runs or less in 13 of his 16 starts this season and two runs or less in eight of those games.
The oft-injured left-hander, though, is just returning from a DL stint because of a strained knee and missed all of last season recovering from shoulder surgery.
“[People have] got to remember that this is his second start [back],” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He probably should be almost still on rehab. He went a month without pitching. Whether the media, the fans, want to be patient, that’s your guys’ prerogative. We need to be [patient] because what we want to do is balance winning now, which is important, [with getting] this guy really locked in for what we want to do going forward.
“Pitching him 110 pitches tomorrow wouldn’t do that. … You look at his stats, his numbers are eerily similar to Buchholz’s this year. I mean, like, right there. It’s amazing.”
Bedard was hit hard by the Indians earlier in the year to the tune of six runs in four innings. However, he is 2-2 lifetime against them with a 4.44 ERA in 10 starts.
After losing the first game of this series on a late home run from Asdrubal Cabrera, the Red Sox have answered back in dramatic fashion the last two nights. Jacoby Ellsbury’s walk-off hit won Tuesday’s contest and he was at it again on Wednesday when his ninth-inning home run carried Boston to a 4-3 win.
Joe Smith (2-2) replaced Tony Sipp to begin the ninth for the visitors. After pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro both grounded out, Ellsbury crushed an 0-1 pitch to the seats above the center-field wall.
For Smith, it was the first home run surrendered by the right-hander in 46 appearances out of the bullpen this season.
Tim Wakefield, who turned 45 on Tuesday, had a chance to give himself a belated birthday gift, but the veteran knuckleballer failed in his second attempt for career win No. 200. He was lifted from the game in the seventh after Cleveland’s Ezequiel Carrera tied the game at three with a ground-rule double.
Ellsbury’s career-best 18th home run of the year made a winner out of Jonathan Papelbon (4-0), who tossed a perfect inning of relief.
Looking to avoid a sixth straight losing start, Indians hurler Carlos Carrasco picked up a no-decision after allowing three runs — two earned — on nine hits in seven-plus innings.
The lone bright spot for Cleveland was second baseman Jason Kipnis, who homered for the fourth straight game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t execute offensively, 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “When you’re playing against a team like that, you have to play close to perfect.”
Hoping to get the Indians back into the win column this evening will be former Red Sox prospect Justin Masterson, who is 8-7 with a 2.56 ERA on the year. Masterson pitched well against Kansas City on Saturday, but did not get a decision, as he allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings of his team’s 5-2 win.
Masterson also didn’t get a decision against his old team earlier in the year, but has handled them since being dealt for Victor Martinez in 2009, going 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three starts.
Cleveland has won five of its nine matchups with the Red Sox this season.