Matthew Taylor: Before last night, Bedard had been at his best in interleague play

The Orioles tagged Erik Bedard for seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings Thursday night, hanging a rare interleague loss on the former O’s lefty. For his career, Bedard was 9-3 with a 1.86 ERA, 1.011 WHIP and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in interleague play prior to last night’s game. Some of his finest interleague outings came in Baltimore, including a dominating run through the senior circuit in 2006.

Bedard went 3-0 against the National League in 2006 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.714 WHIP, and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He stopped two teams’ extended winning streaks in consecutive June starts. Bedard ended the New York Mets’ eight-game run June 16 and then did one better by halting the Florida Marlins’ nine-game streak June 21. He became the first pitcher since 1918 to win consecutive starts against teams on winning streaks of eight games or more.

The win against the Marlins ranks among the finest starts of Bedard’s overall career. He went eight innings, struck out 12, walked none and allowed just two hits. Among Bedard’s repeat strikeout victims was All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who did so three times. Cabrera won the Silver Slugger award and finished fifth in MVP voting that year after batting .339 with a .430 on-base percentage, 26 home runs and 114 RBIs.

Much of Bedard’s success was attributed to a new changeup he added to his pitch selection during the 2006 season. Said Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone: “He had the courage to go to a new changeup in the middle of a major league championship season. This was his third time out with it, and tonight he really threw it exceptionally well.”

The National League was happy to be done with Bedard as June ended. Said then-Marlins manager Joe Girardi: “Let the rest of the American League face him.”

Bedard’s three interleague victories in June were a prelude to a fantastic July that saw him go 4-0 in five starts with a 1.54 ERA, 0.943 WHIP and 35 strikeouts against American League teams. He finished 2006 with a career-high 15 wins and a 3.76 ERA.

Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of’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 but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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