The Daniel Bard experiment was nothing short of an epic fail, and one that you can bet has been noticed across the league.
John Farrell, formerly the Red Sox pitching coach during the time when Bard was in a reliever's role, is certainly no exception, and can actually attest to the fact Bard seemed more suited for a reliever's role.
"The only thing I can say knowing Daniel from a time that he converted to the bullpen, I think it allowed him to not pace himself and really attack the strike zone in short stints," Farrell said to CSNNE's Jessica Moran. "That's when we saw the velocity climb. The more frequent use I think allowed him to have a better feel for his delivery, and really to the point of becoming the best set-up man not only in the American League but potentially in the Major Leagues during the couple-year run here in Boston."
Being the best set-up man was not in the best interest of Bard going into the 2012 regular season, and Red Sox -- seemingly short on funds to bring in starting pitching over the offseason -- were content with converting him. But Bard didn't do anything to cement himself in the minds of anyone -- including himself -- as a legitimate starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. Without that confidence on the mound, his play suffered. That said, it shouldn't be an issue getting it back.
"Oh, I think anytime you're talking about a pitcher or position player, confidence has a huge effect on a players performance," Farrell said. "When he was right and confident, I know Tito Terry Francona had no problem calling on him in the most difficult spot in the game and coming in and shutting off a potential rally or threat in a given game. When a player isn't hurt it's a matter of time, I think, before they get back to the level of performance previous."