Throughout spring training Bobby Valentine has been shuffling up his pitchers, evaluating each one and waiting for somebody to step up as the fifth starter. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz were virtually guaranteed spots, with Daniel Bard the favorite for fourth slot… And then came Thursdays game against the Cardinals.
In the day game against the Cardinals, Daniel Bard’s line looked like this: 2 2/3 IP, 6H, 7R, 4BB and 1K. Its ugly I know, but that wasnt the problem. The problem I had was with Bobby Valentine. To this point in spring training every indication has been that Bard will be a starter. So why would you throw him into the sixth inning of a game during that transition? Here are some comments Bard made recently..
“It’s a little different being out there before the first inning,” said Bard. “It felt good, though I’m still trying to get my routine down. I found myself in the training room, all done with what I needed to do stretching-wise with about 20 minutes to spare before I went outside, so I’m going to have to work that pregame schedule out. That will come with time.”
If you’re Bobby Valentine and you know that he’s still trying to get used to a routine, why would you switch him up and schedule him to come into the fifth inning? And to make things worse Bobby V then made Bard wait until the sixth to come in because he wanted to see lefty Justin Thomas. None of this makes any sense, and I know the new manager of the Red Sox is said to be unconventional but this was just plain foolish.
There is only one explanation that I can come up with for the whole situation. Maybe Bobby isnt sold on Daniel Bard as his fourth starter? Which is fine but the question I have, if thats the case is what happened? Why all of a sudden would Valentine lose confidence in Bard’s transition? It’s not like he was visibly struggling, he seemed fine in his previous outings.
The bottom line here is Bard struggled Thursday. Whether it was due to the shake up or not I can’t say, but if Bobby Valentine does consider him a starter then he needs to let him do just that. Switching roles from game to game will only put a roadblock in the way of his transition.
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