Experiment Over

Daniel Bard was optioned to AAA today, ending, I hope, his run as a starter.

I’ve said since day 1 that I didn’t like this idea. You can read about it here, here and here. Not to pat myself on the back, as this had disaster written all over it. Bard was a failed starter in the minors and in spring training. Why did anyone think this outcome would be different?

I’m not sure what they have in store for Bard at AAA, but let’s hope it is to get his confidence back and to put him back in the pen where he can dominate. That’s where he’ll make his money.

As for the Red Sox, not bad of late. They aren’t in last place alone anymore. Tied with the Blue Jays in last at 2 games over .500, the Red Sox are only 3.0 games out of first. Either the AL East is really tough, or it really stinks.

What is great is that things have settled down quite a bit and Bobby Valentine has been left to manage his team. Gone, for now anyway, are the distractions and I think the players are just playing baseball. Will Middlebrooks has added some excitement and Felix Doubront is the best starter on the team at the moment. A youth movement of sorts. Speaking of the rotation:

ERA in 2012
3.75 – Doubront
4.26 – Beckett
4.79 – Lester
5.24 – Bard
6.58 – Buchholz
4.06 – AL Average

Yikes. Overall, a mess, but much, much better since May 1. The team ERA for March/April was 5.54, 3.93 for May and 3.12 thus far in June. Things are headed in the right direction.

If Bard is done as a starter, expect either Daisuke Matsuzaka or Aaron Cook to assume starting duties. I’d put Matsuzaka in the mix first as he’s pitched in Boston before and presumably has more to his fastball than does Cook. Not sure it is a big deal either way.

Looking ahead, we should start to see the injured troops getting back to good health. Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are probably candidates for an early to mid July return while Cody Ross might be sooner. Andrew Bailey is likely an August return and Bobby Jenks might not return at all.

Orioles at Red Sox this week.