Daniel Bard to the bullpen?
As Daniel Bard's struggles mount, are the Red Sox on the verge of moving him to the pen? They certainly should be.
The grim particulars of Daniel Bard's disastrous Sunday outing have already been recounted in this space, and there's no need to revist them. But, hey, let's revisit them anyway!
Here's the strike zone plot from Bard's core-reactor meltdown against Toronto ...
That is a pitcher who has no idea where the ball is going. That is a pitcher sustained by the vague hope that he'll accidentally find the mitt.
On the season, Bard has issued 36 unintentional walks in 55.0 innings. He leads the majors in hit batsmen. He has more four-pitch walks than Colby Lewis has total walks. Opposing hitters have an OPB of .391 against him this season. We could go on.
When Bard is allowed to succeed -- i.e., when he's deployed in a role befitting his skills -- then he boasts one of the best fastballs around. He's a potential shutdown reliever (he was just that in 2011), and, presumably, he could be that again. There's nothing, however, to indicate he can be even a passable starting pitcher at the highest level. It's past time for the Red Sox to realize that.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is working his way toward a return, as is Aaron Cook. WEEI's Rob Bradford reports that the Boston front office is already eyeballing the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The upshot is that Bard likely isn't long for the rotation. The hope now is that his command hasn't been permanently compromised.
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