On Bard's (maybe) big move


On Bard's (maybe) big move

With yesterday's Ankiel-like performance in Toronto, questions surrounding Daniel Bard's spot in the Red Sox rotation are spinning faster than Donnie Sadler around the base paths. In fact, according to Rob Bradford at WEEI.com, the Sox are more focused than ever on picking up another starter and sending No. 51 back to the pen.

On one hand, the idea of Bard in the bullpen especially in light of his mediocre (at best) stint in the rotation is as exciting as ever.

In this scenario, if all goes to plan, the Sox will get Andrew Bailey back around the All-Star break and eventually have some combination of him, Bard, Crazy Alfredo and Franklin Morales handling duties in the seventh, eighth and ninth, while Vincente Padilla and Scott Atchinson fill in gaps along the way.

Considering there were times this season when we feared the Sox might have one of the worst bullpens in baseball, I'd say the above arrangement at least on paper is pretty sweet. If Beckett and Lester can stay on point, Buchholz can build off this recent resurgence and Doubront can keep on keeping on, throwing Bard into the bullpen with those other arms could be the piece that takes this pitching staff to another level. Combine that with an offense that's scored the second most runs in baseball and should only get better as the season wears on and . . .

We'll see.

For now, let's get back to Bard and one important question:

At this point, are we even sure that merely moving Bard to the bullpen will solve his pitching woes? That a new role and a quick snap of the fingers will erase all the issues that contributed to literally one of the worst outings in more than 100 years of baseball history?

After all, it's not like Bard was exactly tearing it up in his last stint as a reliever. He was awful in September. He was the worst pitcher on the staff, and that's saying something. That's like being the dumbest guy in a New York Jets fan club.

As a result, despite all the on-paper optimism, I think we're at the point where moving Bard to the pen is as much about getting him out of the rotation as it is bolstering the bullpen. And that any hopes that he'll be a factor down the stretch should be put on hold until he proves otherwise.

And if all else fails, maybe Bobby V. should give Bard a whirl in center field.

It worked for Ankiel.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy


Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
Danny Duffy LHP

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
David Price LHP

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority


Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.


Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension


Report: Patriots sign LB Jonathan Freeny to two-year extension

The Patriots have signed backup linebacker and special teamer Jonathan Freeny to a two-year contract extension through 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported.

Freeney, 27, was originally signed by the Patriots to a one-year free-agent deal in March 2015 after spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. He then earned a one-year extension last September and played 13 games, seven starts, with 50 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. 

"Jonathan is a very dependable player," Bill Belichick said on a conference call Saturday. "He is able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside, outside, on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He has been a very valuable player for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size, a four-phase special teams player.

"He is one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training. He always does things right. He works hard, doesn't really say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think everybody in the organization looks up to him."