Going into spring training it seemed like the Red Sox and Bobby Valentine would give Daniel Bard every opportunity to become a starter. The decision was made in the offseason when Bard proposed the idea of converting and the thought was the Sox were committed to giving him the fourth spot in the rotation, as long as things didn’t go terribly wrong. Things havent gone “terribly” wrong, yet you get the feeling that Bobby V isn’t so sure about Bard in the rotation. This is what the new Red Sox manager said after Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays..
“It’s real hard for me to figure, But that’s exactly what I’m looking at or wondering. I don’t think even with his good stuff I can handle his walks.
I agree the walks could be a problem but reading between the lines suggests that Bobby Valentine isn’t convinced that Daniel Bard should be in the rotation and one more bad outing could end the experiment before Bard even throws a regular season pitch. I don’t think that’s the right way to go.
When you take away Bard’s relief appearance earlier this month he has a 2.70 ERA in 10 IP with 5H, 3ER, 6BB, 5K. There’s no question the walks are high, but his WHIP is still just 1.10. If he can maintain that and lower the walks a bit it would be manageable. After all we are talking about a fourth starter that’s thrown a total of 12 2/3 innings this spring, 2 2/3 coming in relief.
He hasn’t had a problem going deep into games, he went five innings in his last start against the Blue Jays. In that start Bard gave up all 3ER in the second inning before settling in to retire 12 of the last 14 he faced. He did walk 3 in that game but in all it wasn’t a terrible start. So why do I get the feeling Bard’s on a VERY short leash?
Truth is I don’t think Bobby V was fond of the idea to begin with, making it that much easier for him to pull the plug. It doesn’t seem rational to give up on Bard after such a small sample size.
If you look at Bard’s career stats there is nothing to suggest that the walks wont go away. In 197 IP for his career, he has given up 76 walks and just 132 hits for a career WHIP of 1.06. His WHIP in ’11 was even better at 0.96. His WHIP of 1.10 in his starts this spring is right on par with those numbers and his 2.70 ERA in those starts is over .60 points lower than his ERA in 2011.
When you look at the numbers, the quotes and analyze the situation thoroughly, you have to wonder if Bobby V is committed to giving Bard “every opportunity to succeed”. I’m not convinced that he is.
What’s your take on this? Everyones opinion differs on the subject of Daniel Bard starting so share yours with us at BoSox Injection.