Pirates 2012 Opening Day: Roy Halladay Outduels Erik Bedard

Tim MorelandContributor IIApril 6, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 05:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the Opening Day game on April 5, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Erik Bedard was masterful.  Roy Halladay was slightly better.  The Pirates and Phillies opened up their seasons with a 1-0 pitchers' duel between two of the best pitchers in the National League.

At this point, Halladay has become a household name.  Two Cy Youngs and eight All Star selections will make a pitcher famous.  His opponent, Bedard, lacks the name recognition, but has had a strong career of his own.  Injuries have limited Bedard; however, when healthy he has been dominant.  In eight years pitching for Baltimore and Seattle, he posted a 56-50 record with a 3.70 ERA and a fantastic 8.8 strikeouts per 9 IP.

The Pirates are hoping for a year like 2007 for Erik Bedard, his last completely healthy season.  In it, he threw 182 innings, ranking fourth in the AL in ERA (3.16), second in WHIP (1.09), first in hits per 9 IP (6.97) and first in strikeouts per 9 IP (10.9).  His rates since that year have been just as stellar.  However, he has failed to toss more than 130 innings in a season. 

Fortunately for the Pirates, Opening Day showed that Bedard still has the stuff of an ace when healthy.  His one-run, seven-inning start was spoiled by eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball by Doc Halladay and a perfect inning from closer Jonathan Papelbon for the save. 

The Pirates began the game with back-to-back singles by Alex Presley and Jose Tabata.  Andrew McCutchen grounded into a double play to ruin what turned out to be the only chance of scoring against Halladay.  The Pirates were hitless the rest of the game.  Other than a deep flyout to left field by Pirates SS Clint Barmes that would have been a home run in most other parks, the Pirates did not threaten to score.

The only blemish on the day for Bedard was a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz in the seventh, following a single by Ty Wigginton and a double by John Mayberry.  The Pirates bullpen, Chris Resop and Juan Cruz on this day, held the Phillies scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings.  The Pirates' offense was not able to capitalize, as the Pirates fell to the Phillies 1-0 on Opening Day.