Sox Management Failed “The Pen Bard” by Miscasting his Role

You’re Daniel Bard and the Cheap Bastard Owners screwed you to “save” a few bucks.

You were great in the set-up role, but management [Lucchino and Henry] set you up by refusing to pay for another starter, they set you up to fail.

You’re Daniel Bard and you feel “relieved” to be heading to Pawtucket; it feels like the darkness before the dawn; you can start to wake up from the nightmare; maybe hitting bottom will make the Scrooge McDuck owners finally buy a real starter and let you go back to the pen and excel again as the set-up guy for Bailey when he returns.

You are a one-inning artist, who can let it all out and blow a few batters away; not a house painter who has to hold back to make sure you can go six innings. You are a world class sprinter and they made you run the mile.

You’re Daniel Bard and everyone is trying to explain why you failed as a starter and, as you drive to Pawtucket your mind wanders back to your first start of the season; you went 5 innings and allowed 5 runs. The next start you walked 7 and struck out 7 in 6 2/3.

Last Sunday you faced thirteen Blue Jays; you got four outs, walked six, hit two more, and gave up alone hit—a home run; you gave up 5 runs. It feels like you have either walked or beaned every other the batter.

Some people say you have just completely lost you command; you can no longer put the ball where you want it.

Other people say the problem is that you have lost 4-5 miles off your heater.

Some people are even saying that you are injured and won’t admit it.

A caller in a sports radio show said you are “done.”

Before you left for Pawtucket, you read the FanGraphs’ article, “The Problem With Daniel Bard;” it said:
…you have lost 4.2 MPH off your fastball.
…you have already gotten into 27 3-0 counts this year after just getting into 10 last season.
…your performance on pitches in 1-2 counts has been dramatically worse.
1-2 counts, 2011: 56 PA, 6 H, 1 HR, 40 K, .289 OPS
1-2 counts, 2012: 29 PA, 8 H, 1 HR, 7 K, .863 OPS
…when you were behind in the count, opposing batters have hit .253/.286/.430 against you this year. Last year, when they were behind in the count, they hit                           .110/.118/.156.

But the part that got your attention, that made the most sense, is when Daniel Cameron wrote:

“Daniel Bard The Reliever would throw strike one, then punish hitters with untouchable fastballs and a power slider. Daniel Bard The Starter throws strike one, then throws a mediocre fastball or a slider that opposing batters easily recognize as a pitch they don’t need to chase. The at-bat continues and a potential walk that never would have materialized comes to fruition. Indeed, many of Bard’s walks are simply the result of at-bats lasting longer this year than they did last year.” [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-problem-with-daniel-bard/]

You’re Daniel Bard and even during this management-created Dark Night of the Soul, you are hopeful that things will work out: the Sox will spend the money for that extra starter, or make a trade for Blanton or Saunders, or some other reliable #4 guy. Maybe Dice-K will come back and start rolling sevens and elevens on his first toss.

Bailey will come back off the DL and become the closer he once was and you can find redemption as his set-up man.

You’re Daniel Bard and you recall an old baseball truism: The job of the manager is to determine his players’ strengths and put them in a position to succeed.

You’re Daniel Bard and you get it: the management failed to understand your strength and put you in a position to fail.

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Topics: Andrew Bailey, Ben Cherington, Daniel Bard, Dice-K, Dice-K Matsuzaka, Joe Blanton, Joe Saunders, John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Relief Pitchers, Relievers, Set-up, Setup, Starters, Starting Pitchers, Starting Rotation

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