Valentine: Bard still making adjustments to delivery

770810.jpg

Valentine: Bard still making adjustments to delivery

BOSTON In his last outing on May 23 in Baltimore, Daniel Bard earned the win despite saying later he didnt quite feel right on the mound. Bard went just 5 13 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and four walks with two strikeouts and a home run.

He left with a three-run lead in the Sox eventual 6-5 win, after 90 pitches (49 strikes) improving his record to 4-5, lowering his ERA to 4.69.

Manager Bobby Valentine is confident Bard made the necessary adjustments in his side work to be more comfortable.

He said after his last bullpen he felt like himself on the mound so Im hoping that there was that little something that he needed and hope he found it, said Valentine. My only comment has been that he always seems like hes a half a beat off in his delivery and if he found that half beat it might be a real good thing.

Valentine knew there would be adjustments for Bard, as the right-hander continues his conversion from reliever to starter.

But, I didn't think it would be a throwing thing, Valentine said. I thought it would be a process, a game situation adjustment that he would have to make but its been a little bit more of a throwing thing.

Bard has been using a modified delivery, almost a hybrid between a wind-up and the stretch. Its part of the adjustment process.

Just advancing it forward with him feeling right, on time about advancing it forward, Valentine said. It seems like thats the thing he always did effortlessly.

Although it is still early in the season, some of Bards numbers are off significantly from last year. His walks-and-this-per innings pitched ratio is up from 0.959 to 1.563, hits per nine innings ratio is up from 5.7 to 8.6, strikeouts per nine are down from 9.1 to 5.3, walks per nine are up from 3.0 to 5.4, and strikeouts to walks are down from 3.08 to 0.97. Meanwhile, the velocity on all his pitches is down, including fastball velocity, from 97.3 mph to 93.2.

Some of those changes are not unexpected, though.

He can pitch effectively, but, again, is it him? Valentine said. You want someone to feel good about themselves and I think he feels good about himself when he can throw the ball fast when he wants to. Otherwise hes something other than what he might be thinking of himself. Im not speaking for Daniel now. I am speaking as an observer and a coach, manager and I think thats the one key that he needs. He needs to say, OK, Ive figured this stuff out. I can hold runners and field bunts and I can get through the sixth inning and la di da di da di da. Not, Ive got to be me and part of that me is throwing the ball by people at times.

Bard is scheduled to make his first career start against the Tigers on Tuesday. He has faced them six times in his career, the last on May 27, 2011, when he pitched a perfect inning. Overall, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, giving up five runs, two earned in 6.0 innings against the Tigers. He has held them to a .174 team average (4-for-23), giving up two home runs with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

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

baseballshowpod_pedro.png

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. 

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

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.