Another Game and Another Blown Opportunity


Still think Daniel Bard is a viable replacement for Jonathan Papelbon?  He sure doesn’t look like the closer of the future to me.  We Boston fans sometimes get to fickle for our own good.  All off season all you heard was how Jonathan Papelbon should be traded.  Where do you think this team would be today without Papelbon as the closer?  Daniel Bard has not demonstrated that he can be a closer let alone deserve to be.  Last night was another let down from the tall flame thrower. 

Clay Buchholz was pitching a gem when he started the eighth inning.  Jack Hannahan lead off the bottom of the eighth with a ground ball single between second and first.  Unfortunately, at the top of that inning Dustin Pedroia had to leave the game after twisting his ankle rounding second.  Drew Sutton replaced the injured Pedroia at second.  Cleveland took advantage of the defensive replacement.  The ball Hannahan hit just skimmed under the diving Sutton.  It was a tough play, but a play we have seen Pedroia make time and time again this year.  Austin Kearns then hit a high chopper to Youkilis, whose only play was to first where pinch runner Adam Everette was able to reach second.  That’s when Bard came in and the game was ultimately lost.  Pinch Hitter Carlos Santana popped out to Youkilis for the second out.  Michael Brantley tied the game with a single to right.  Up stepped Asdrubal Cabrera to the plate.  Other than Adrian Gonzalez, Cabrera has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball.  Why would Terry Francona even pitch to Cabrera in this situation?  Cabrera drove a ball over Carl Crawford‘s head for a run scoring double.  The Indians now owned a 3-2 lead, Bard’s night was finished and so were the Sox.  Both Tampa bay and the Yankees have already lost their respective games before Cabrera came to the plate.  Another blown opportunity to take over first place in the AL East, thats twice in three days the bullpen blew a first place opportunity.

The main concern is Bard, who has been on and off all year.  It’s no secret that big league players can hit fastballs, even those that reach the 98-100 mph range.  After a banner year last year, Bard is finding that hitters are being more aggressive against him this year.  Although his fastball still over powers a batter at times, they are also making contact.  While striking out 24 batters in 24.2 inning this year, Bard has also allowed 18 hits and 10 earned runs.  Not exactly numbers you expect from your closer of the future.

If Bard isn’t ready come 2012 and Bobby Jenks continues to stink up the place, who is going to replace Papelbon?

I don’t know about you, but I think Theo Epstein is going to regret his lack of aggressiveness in not opening contract talks with Papelbon sooner.  Papelbon maybe a little flaky, but don’t think he doesn’t know who has the upper hand now.  I personally stand in Papelbon’s corner on this one.  You can’t just let “GREATNESS” walk out the door and right now Papelbon is “GREAT.

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