Bard gives up run in one inning out of PawSox pen

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Bard gives up run in one inning out of PawSox pen

PAWTUCKET, R.I. In his second outing with Triple-A Pawtucket since being demoted June 7, Daniel Bard pitched one inning Monday night against the Gwinnett Braves. He gave up one run on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.

He threw 22 pitches, 11 for strikes, with just one first-pitch strike, to his fifth and final batter. Bard has an ERA of 18.00 with Pawtucket.

The PawSox lost to Gwinnett, 11-8.

Entering in the sixth inning with the PawSox trailing by five runs, Bard gave up a lead-off single to Jose Constanza, the Braves lead-off hitter, and a four-pitch walk to Luis Durango. A passed ball on the third pitch to Durango had already sent Constanza to second base. On a 2-1 pitch to Tyler Pastornicky, Constanza and Durango completed a double steal. Pastornicky grounded out to Pedro Ciriaco at short, scoring Constanza.

Bard got out of the inning with consecutive strikeouts. He retired Ernesto Mejia, swinging at an 85-mph slider, and Stefan Gartrell looking at an 83-mph slider.

Bards fastball velocity was in the 92-94 mph range.

I thought there were some real positive steps tonight, said manager Arnie Beyeler. I thought he did a nice job. To start with he got guys out. He got two big hitters out in the middle of the order. I thought some real positive steps. Had some plane to his ball. Was around the zone better. And I know they put some good work in, him and pitching coach Rich Sauveur out there, and he felt good coming in tonight and felt positive. so even though he was around the zone, still wasnt as consistent as I know he needs to be at the next level, but definitely positive steps from the last time out.

Bard also was pleased with his outing.

It took me two batters I think to really get locked in to an arm slot, Bard said. I was a little bit low, lower than I would like on those first couple hitters and you saw some balls running away from me. And then I make the adjustment and I think pitched pretty well to those last three guys. So the nice thing is I can focus on that and say I wasnt perfect but it doesnt matter. I was locked in, I got something good to walk away with those last three hitters.

He looked like he was thinking too much, said one scout in attendance. He usually looks so fluid. But he wasnt finishing his pitches.

He looked awful on the first two batters, and much better for the last three, said another. I think they did the right thing letting him pitch one inning and get some confidence back. I still think hes a seventh or eighth inning pitcher, nothing more, nothing less.

Bard had originally been scheduled to start the game. Instead, he was taken out of the starters role, as CSNNE.com was the first to report earlier Monday, with right-hander Billy Buckner making the start, with Bard scheduled to pitch one inning.

Bard has not given up on starting.

I just told them after that last one Friday night, I said that starting with the intention of going one inning just felt really strange, Bard said. I mean, it felt like a very manufactured situation, didnt feel like I was really part of a baseball game. So I just told them, I said Im all good with the short stints closer together. I think thats a good way to get back on track but I dont see, if were trying to go with more of a bullpen feel, which is kind of what they talked to me about when we get through this and then translate to starting, I said why dont we just do it out of the bullpen? So, I told them lets just do that. And they were OK with it, with the intent of doing this a few times and like I said, translating back to starting.

The current situation for Bard is still a work in process, with the next steps not entirely known.

I dont know, Beyeler said. I would assume hes going to throw another inning or two, probably Thursday (the PawSox have an off-day Wednesday). I would assume that but that hasnt been verified or passed along. That was kind of the plan going along the last weve heard.

Buckner took the loss, falling to 0-1 with an ERA of 11.42. He went 4 23 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks with one strikeout and three home runs.

The PawSox outhit the Braves, 15-14. Every PawSox batter in the starting lineup had at least one hit except second baseman Tony Thomas.

Lars Anderson went 3-for-4 with three runs, scored, three RBI, one walk, a double, and a home run, falling a triple shy of the cycle. The solo shot in the eighth was his eighth home run of the season.

Alex Hassan went 3-for-5 with two RBI.

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.