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Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Daniel Bard?
“A guy,” Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, “who throws that hard with all that movement on his fastball.”
Indeed, Bard is known for his blazing heater, often clocked in triple digits when he was a reliever and still consistently in the upper-90s now that he’s a starting pitcher. So, it must have been rather disconcerting in the third inning yesterday when Bard told Saltalamacchia that he preferred to throw his offspeed pitches because he couldn’t command his fastball.
“No, that was huge,” Saltalamacchia said. “That saved his day right there.”
And it may have been the best sign yet that Bard is capable of being a solid starter.
Herald: Off the Bard Stuff
Yes, it's much easier to pitch when the offense puts up a four spot in the first, but the fact that Bard was able to work through six innings when he doesn't have his stuff is huge. This was one of the biggest questions with the Bard experiment, that his fastball was his bread & butter and without it, he wouldn't make it through a start without getting hit hard.
Now it wasn't pretty and Bard is still giving teams plenty of baserunners to keep teams in the game. He only had four walks but that is still a concern: he has 20 walks in 37 1/3 inning pitching and his strikeout to walk ratio is a measly 1.15. He's still a work in progress but after his effort yesterday, you can see why everyone in Yawkey Way thinks he can be a good starter.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Fenway lark | Bard still competes| Nava makes favorable impression | Herald: Nava proves right man for job | Instant offense: Add salt | Too soon to throw dice | CSNNE: New approach, new results | Bard doesn't dazzle but he'll take W | WEEI: Starting to get it | Henry: Believe we will contend | Caught between Bobby Valentine's rotation management | Beckett: Don't want to be part of a reality show