The Orioles start a three-game series in Seattle today, and while they mercifully miss Felix Hernandez again, they will face old friend Erik Bedard tomorrow.
Of course, there are only four Orioles on the current roster who played with Bedard, so any special interest in Bedard is mostly from the fans. And it's not just interest in how well he's playing and how he'll pitch against the Orioles; seeing Bedard also reminds the fans of how far the team as come since the trade that sent Bedard to Seattle in exchange for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and others.
I always liked Bedard when he was in Baltimore. I liked the trade as well, but I was sad to see Bedard go. Of course, he's been injured for a great deal of his time in Seattle, making only 15 starts each in 2008 and 2009, and missing 2010 entirely.
Bedard got off to a slow start this year, but of late he has looked very good, which of course is bad news for the Orioles. As if facing lefties isn't tough enough for them, facing a lefty of Bedard's caliber could be a nightmare.
The Orioles have faced Bedard twice since his move to Seattle, both times in 2009. In the first, he pitched into the seventh inning and struck out seven as the Mariners beat the Orioles 8-2. In the second, he was coming off of the disabled list and was on a pitch count, so he had to leave after four innings. In those four innings, Bedard struck out eight Orioles and looked like if he could have stayed in the game he would have continued to shut them down.
It's hard to believe that it's been more than three years since the trade was made that brought Jones to Baltimore in exchange for Bedard, and it seems likely that when he takes the mound against the Orioles tomorrow, we'll hear comparisons of the players involved in the trade. It was the first big move Andy MacPhail made as president of baseball operations, and it was the beginning of a hopeful time for the Orioles and their fans.
The Orioles have progressed since then, but they are still not a successful baseball team. They are better, but they're not good. MacPhail and the Orioles still have a lot of work to do, and you can bet the O's fans who are dedicated enough to stay up to watch a West Coast game tomorrow will be thinking about that when Bedard takes the mound.
Stacey Long blogs about the Orioles at Camden Chat. Read Long's Orioles observations as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.