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An encouraging start for Erik Bedard

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 4, 2011 11:20 PM

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Erik Bedard went five innings tonight. He allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It was 3-3 when he left and the Sox went on to lose 7-3.

All in all, it was an encouraging outing, especially considering he was with a new team and making his second start since coming off the disabled list. One of the hits was in the infield. Another was a grounder through the hole at shortstop and a third was a broken-bat flare to right.

It was interesting to see Bedard pause a few times in the first inning and look around Fenway Park before he threw a pitch. It was almost like he wanted to soak up the atmosphere of his new home.

"I was a little nervous in the first, but I kept my composure and kept throwing strikes," Bedard said. "It was a feeling like when you have the first start of the season all over again."

Bedard's fastball averaged 92 mph and he threw 18 of his 23 curveballs for strikes. For a lefty, that kind of stuff will play just fine.

"I thought he really pitched pretty well," Terry Francona said. "I really thought it was a professionally pitched game. ... I don't want to say we're excited after a loss but I was actually pretty excited."

Bedard has a bad reputation in baseball. But every player deserves a clean slate when he changes teams, if only because every environment is different.

In 2006, when Bobby Abreu was traded to the Yankees in July, he arrived from Philadelphia with a reputation for being moody, bad with the media and kind of lazy on the field.

Abreu spent two and a half years with the Yankees, played all but a handful of games and was universally respected in the clubhouse. He also maintained good relations with the media from the day he arrived until the day he left.

Bedard deserves the same chance. Here is what can be reported so far: The players seem to like him, he has treated all the staff guys with respect and his interactions with the media have been cordial. It may sound silly, but when he got done with his post-game press conference tonight he said "Thank you" before leaving.

Bedard will not be in the spotlight in Boston. In a clubhouse of forceful personalities led by an established manager, he will largely come and go undisturbed. In Baltimore, he was the face of the future. In Seattle, he was a guy acquired in a big trade. Here? He's one the guys.

It's a lot easier to be a good guy when you're just one of the guys.

As to other stuff:

It was interesting that Francona did not commit to Andrew Miller starting on Tuesday in Minnesota, which was the original plan. Miller was rocked again tonight, putting seven runners on base in 2.2 innings and allowing two runs.

Miller has thrown 43 innings for the Sox. He has given up 55 hits, walked 27 and hit three. You can't average 1.98 runners per inning and keep starting games for a contender.

"I don't know what we're going to do. He threw a lot of pitches," Francona said. "We'll sit down tomorrow. We want to watch [Jon] Lester, see how hard he works [on Friday]. We can do a couple things. We'll see."

Miller would have to clear waivers if he is taken off the roster. But would somebody claim in at this point and if they do, does it really matter?

Miller is tall, lefthanded and throws an occasional pitch that looks just amazing. It's tantalizing. But at some point results trump promise and the Red Sox may be getting to that point. Once Jed Lowrie is ready to return, the Sox will probably drop a pitcher. Are they better off without Miller or Randy Williams? That's probably what it comes down to.

The Sox and Yankees are now tied for first at 68-42. The Yankees have won seven straight after sweeping four from the White Sox. Chicago somehow played 33 innings without drawing a walk in the series.

Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 14 games and is now 26 of his last 58.

During the game, the Red Sox posted a large red sign in the clubhouse that says, 'WHAT YOU SEE HERE, WHAT YOU HEAR HERE, STAYS HERE!" Apparently the Red Sox clubhouse is the secret headquarters of planning against terrorist networks in the Middle East.

In all seriousness, these are adult men. They really need signs with hackneyed slogans? The Red Sox should be more sophisticated than that.

Thanks to Celtics beat man Julian Benbow for helping out at Fenway this week. Julian likes hoops, has a Mac and enjoys talking music. Good guy.

Globe colleague Mike Vega made a one-hand stab of a David Ortiz foul ball that came into the press box. Mike got a round of applause from his fellow scribes and had a souvenir to take home to his kids.

Yanks-Sox tomorrow. Come back for more.

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