Bard gets knocked around in one inning of work

Bard gets knocked around in one inning of work
March 19, 2013, 7:30 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Daniel Bard’s inning of work – in the seventh inning of the Red Sox 8-7 loss to the Orioles Tuesday afternoon – had a little bit of everything. Three runs, two hits, a walk, a hit batter, a balk on a pick-off attempt to advance two runners and score a run. And a cut on his right thumb.
 
It wasn’t pretty, but, for Bard, it wasn’t as bad as those kinds of innings had become for him last season.
 
“I could have been out of the inning with a little bit better luck,” he said. “But, no, I think mechanics were just a tick off. Misses were all pretty much in the same spot, if you go back and look. I was just kind of up on arm side with a lot of my pitches and didn’t make a  good adjustment until probably the last three pitches of the inning.”
 
The Red Sox kept him out of games for 11 days earlier this spring to allow him to work on his mechanics. Being able to make in-game adjustments when he realizes things are off is key.
 
“You’re just trying to make that little tweak of an adjustment, but still stay aggressive and stay focused on getting the hitter out, not get too consumed with what you’re doing mechanically,” he said. “So I think I made the adjustment just a little bit too late. If things played out a little different, if I don’t balk that guy over, that pick to third that we’ve been working on in practice in the mornings, the communication just wasn’t right. So I ended up balking and the next pitch is a double play ball. Or two pitches later I think it was right at the shortstop. So that’s just how it goes sometimes.”
 
Manny Machado led off Bard’s inning with a double to center. After Trayvon Robinson’s ground out moved Machado to third, Bard hit Taylor Teagarden with a pitch, putting runners at the corners, with Teagarden replaced by pinch-runner Buck Britton. With Jason Pridie batting, Bard attempted a pick-off, resulting in a balk to score Machado and move Britton to second.  Pridie grounded out to Jose Iglesias at shortstop before Bard walked Brian Roberts, who stole second (his second steal of the game). Ryan Flaherty’s double down the right field line scored Britton and Roberts before Nate McLouth flied out, ending the inning.
 
“The one thing that we have seen, that first hitter takes him two or three pitches to kind of get in the flow of the inning,” said manager John Farrell. “Today he fell behind 2-and-0 prior to the double to Machado. The one thing on the balk, with the removal of that fake pick to third-first move -- we’ve worked on some things during camp and there was a little miscommunication on that. So I’m not putting that one on him.”
 
Bard said the small nick on his thumb did not affect his pitching. It’s a common occurrence for him. The grip on his fastball causes his index finger to flick the skin on the base of his thumb.
 
“It’s happened before,” he said. “I'd rather it didn’t happen. It doesn’t help. No, I don’t feel it or anything. I just have to keep wiping it off. It’s kind of a pain.”
 
 
But the results are on Bard, who now has an ERA of 4.50 ERA. The three runs he allowed on Tuesday were the first he has given up in six innings of work over six games this spring.
 
Still, compared to where he was last season, being able to control a messy inning with just three runs represents some degree of progress.
 
“That’s always a good sign when maybe things don’t start out great but they get better and not worse,” he said. “So I think I did that today, just a little too late and not as often as I would have liked.”