They’d probably prefer not to see him at all.
Bedard, who dominated the Yankees toward the end of his tenure in Baltimore, will be on the mound in the Bronx on Friday for the first time as a member of the Seattle Mariners as he tries to hand New York its fourth straight loss.
Bedard (2-0, 2.04 ERA) was dealt from the rebuilding Orioles to Seattle (13-16) in February, the prize of the Mariners’ offseason that was supposed to push a team that finished 14 games over .500 - yet out of the playoffs - into contention.
He didn’t pitch for a contender in his five healthy years in Baltimore, but as he began to emerge as an ace over the past two seasons, he certainly stifled the perennially contending Yankees (14-16).
In his last five starts against New York, Bedard is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA. He’s pitched seven scoreless innings in each of his last two starts versus the Yankees, and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 20 innings against them.
“He knows what he’s doing,” shortstop Derek Jeter said after Bedard struck out eight Yankees in a 6-3 Orioles’ win on Aug. 15. “He mixes his fastball in and out, he’s got a great off-speed pitch and gets ahead. You don’t know what he’s going to throw, but he’s pretty much been doing that to the whole league.”
Jeter is a career .231 hitter (6-for-26) against Bedard with 10 strikeouts. The only Yankee to have significant success off Bedard is Alex Rodriguez (.417, two homers), but he’s on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.
Bedard made his first start since coming off the disabled list on Saturday, and it was his best performance of the season. He pitched 6 2-3 shutout innings, allowing only two hits in a 5-3 win over Oakland after being sidelined by hip inflammation.
“That was a pretty spectacular return for Mr. Bedard,” Mariners manager John McLaren told the team’s official Web site. “He really looked great. He had everything working.”
Bedard isn’t the only Seattle starter who’s pitched well lately. Miguel Batista allowed one run in seven innings on Thursday, but the Mariners dropped the finale of their three-game series in Cleveland, 3-2 in 11 innings, after closer J.J. Putz blew his second save.
“Walks will kill you,” Putz said after walking three batters in the 10th. “My job is to come in and get ahead. I just didn’t throw strikes.”
With a sixth victory in 2008, Wang can move to 7-0 in his career against Seattle. He has a 2.51 ERA in six lifetime starts against the Mariners.
Like Bedard, Wang is also coming off his best outing. He allowed four hits and struck out nine in seven innings on Sunday in a 1-0 win at Cleveland.
“Chien-Ming Wang has been huge for us all year long,” manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees’ official Web site. “He has pitched great.”
The Yankees could use another strong performance from Wang, as they’ve fallen victim to three shaky starts in a row. After receiving news earlier in the day that starter Phil Hughes could miss up to two months with a stress fracture in one of his ribs, Ian Kennedy allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings on Thursday in an 8-4 loss to Detroit.
“Right now it just seems like we have to be perfect out there and that’s tough to do sometimes,” center fielder Johnny Damon said.