Bard's struggles continue against Indians


Bard's struggles continue against Indians

By Maureen Mullen

CLEVELAND Daniel Bard calmly answered reporters questions after Mondays 3-2 loss to the Indians. But his frustration, if not spoken, was evident.

Bard entered the game with one out and the tying run on second base. He got his first batter, pinch-hitter Carlos Santana to pop up to Kevin Youkilis for the second out. But Michael Brantleys single to right field on a 2-and-2 pitch scored pinch-runner Adam Everett tying the game, with Brantley taking second on the throw home.

The next batter was Asdrubal Cabrera, currently one of if not the -- hottest hitters in baseball. He doubled off the wall in left-center, on a 1-and-0, 96-mph fastball, scoring Brantley with the go-ahead run, ending Bards outing.

Bard threw 11 pitches 10 fastballs at either 96 or 97 mph and one 84-mph slider.

He made some good pitches to get to two strikes and then left a ball too much out over the plate to Brantley, manager Terry Francona said. And then the same thing on the next hitter. The velocitys good, just out over the plate.

I would say the issue was location sometimes, because the balls coming out of his hand great. I thought early in the season he got under some breaking balls . . . Actually, hes done a pretty good job. No matter how hard you throw, some hitters, especially when theyre real hot, and you leave it out over the plate, they can get to it, and especially as they get deeper in the count they can put a good swing on it.

Cabrera is seeing the ball really well, Bard said. He's hitting just about everything. Pitch to Brantley . . . the count dictated everything the way we got to it. Everything dictated fastball in. I threw a fastball in and he hit it. Didn't hit it hard. Just enough to get through, but that's all he needed.

It may have been a bit of bad luck, Bard said.

"Yeah, maybe, he said. You just come to expect it as a reliever you're going to have a little bit of bad luck. It can look really bad. Same thing the other way. It will even out. I'm confident it well. I'll stick to my plan and do what I'm doing. I'm really happy the way ball is coming out of my hand. When they hit the pitches you're trying to throw, theres not much you can do about it."

It was more about location and pitch selection, said one scout in attendance Monday night.

I thought he went about it wrong, the scout said. If you dont locate, it doesnt matter if you throw 100. It was poor location. He did not hit the mitt.

"The ball on Brantley, he didnt get it in far enough and it ran back over the plate. And all he threw was fastballs. Cabreras the hottest guy in baseball right now. Bards not going to blow it by him. He just didnt make quality pitches. Quality pitches would have gotten him out of the inning. His fastball is not unhittable. This is a fastball-hitting team and Asdrubals a fastball hitter. Show him some off-speed stuff and it might make his fastball look a little bit better.

The inherited runner Bard allowed to score was the first in nine such situations. However, he has allowed runs in 7 of his 24 appearances this season, including four of his last seven.

He has posted a record of 1-4, with an ERA of 3.65 and two blown saves. In his blown saves and losses, he has allowed a combined eight earned runs (nine runs total) on 11 hits and two walks with three strikeouts and two home runs over four innings for an 18.00 ERA.

In his 19 other outings, including a win on May 18 over the Tigers and eight holds, he has allowed just two runs on seven hits and five walks with 21 strikeouts and a home run over 19 23 innings for an ERA of 0.92.

Bard has appeared in 24 of the Sox' 47 games this season. He said he feels fine physically but felt some fatigue a few days ago.

"Little bit a few days ago, he said. But last two outings I've felt really good."

Francona has no intention of staying away from Bard.

I still love going to him, Francona said. Obviously, we do and we will.

"May not always be successful, but we believe in him a lot.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched


Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."