Aceves, Bard struggle in loss to Rays

Aceves, Bard struggle in loss to Rays
September 20, 2012, 3:47 am
Share This Post

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A year ago, the late-inning relief tandem of Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard was a source of bullpen strength for the Red Sox.
This year, it's been anything but. And Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, the duo may have bottomed out in the Red Sox' 13-3 drubbing by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Aceves, who had seemingly been in manager Bobby Valentine's doghouse since refusing to hand him the ball on the mound last week against the New York Yankees, was called upon in the fourth inning.
He retired the first three hitters he faced and six of the first seven, but imploded in the sixth. After issuing a leadoff walk in the sixth, he threw wildly on a bunt attempt, setting up baserunners at second and third with no out.
Desmond Jennings then tripled home two runs and scored on an error by Pedro Ciriaco before B.J. Upton followed with a double.
Four hitters faced, four hitters reached, and eventually, scored. Since losing the closer's role to Andrew Bailey in late August, Aceves has appeared in nine games and posted a 9.19 ERA, allowing 19 hits in his last 16 innings.
For the season, his ERA has ballooned to 5.00, almost double that of his 2.66 ERA from 2011.
But if Aceves was bad, Bard, who followed him to the mound in the sixth, was worse.
Showing the almost total lack of command that he battled after being demoted to Pawtucket in early June, Bard faced five hitters, walking three while allowing a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single.
Since being promoted to the big leagues in Anaheim in late August, Bard has allowed hitters to go 8-for-16 off him with three homers and five walks.
"Daniel's kind of in a Catch-22,'' said Bobby Valentine. "It looks like he needs to pitch more, but we'd him to pitch better for him to pitch more. He waits a long time to get in there and it looks like he's trying too hard.''