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Lasting just 12⁄3 innings and 55 pitches, Bard had issues coming anywhere near the strike zone, throwing balls to the backstop and hitting two batters. The last one, Edwin Encarnacion, had “inconclusive’’ X-rays on his right hand but the conclusive evidence mounted at a furious pace that Bard is having an extremely difficult time improving from start to start and regaining the dominance he had as a set-up man.
Bard conceded that he may have overthought the transition.
“If anything, it’s that I allowed something to happen when I switched roles, it’s that maybe we tried to turn me into a starter rather than just taking the same pitcher I was out of the ’pen and moving that guy to the rotation — that’s probably what should have been done,” said Bard, who allowed just one hit to go with five runs, six walks and two strikeouts. “It’s partially my fault — it’s all my fault. It’s a matter of getting back to what I had success doing in the past.”
Herald: Bard's not a relief
Bard has been struggling with his control all season but yesterday was at his worst as he was all over the place early with two early walks and then an absolute BOMB to Jose Bautista to make it 3-0 before he recorded an out. Then the second he was hitting batters to bring in runs. Thankfully, Franklin Morales came through big with 4 1/3 innings to keep the game close but this can't keep happening with Bard.
This doesn't mean he's going back to the bullpen. Not when you have a pitcher who is in his own head and can't figure out why he's been all over the place. Besides after it's struggle early in the year, the bullpen has been playing solid and the roles are finally established. Do you just implode all of that just to try & fit a struggling Bard back to his original role? That isn't the ultimate fix and will probably hurt the team even more since he has to re-adjust to his role as a reliever.
So send him back down to AAA. He has all three of his options remaining and if you're going to continue with this experiment, might as well do it where it won't affect the big league club any more. Let him get a few starts in Pawtucket and let him work out his issues there. Let him take as long as he wants down there. That's the only option they have left as the team continues to mishandle this situation.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Bard out of control | Bard's conversion wildly unsuccessful | Morales saves bullpen | Herald: Sitting down Bard not a wild idea | Save goes to Morales | CSNNE:Can't find it |Bard implodes | WEEI:Bard walks, hits Jays as Sox lose | Why are the Sox are still looking for starting pitching