Originally posted on Fenway West  |  Last updated 4/9/12

After Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon both suffered their second meltdown in as many appearances, the clamoring began for Bard to take over the role of closer.  It was not just one voice in the wilderness, it was a from huge amount of fans on twitter and most members of the Boston Media. (See stories here, here, and here).

However, moving Bard to the bullpen might create as many problems as it solves.  The Red Sox simply do not have many options for good starting pitching at the end of the rotation and Bard could become a good starter.  To add to the pitching woes, Beckett looked like something was off even though he denies his thumb is bothering him.  Beckett has a history of downplaying injuries (remember 2008?) and Buchholz looked bad coming off of an injury of his own.  Who would replace Bard in the rotation?  Aceves was hit or miss in spring training as was Padilla and neither are really pitchers that belong in a big market team's rotation.  Bard certainly has the stuff to be successful in the rotation and he could be a real asset to the Red Sox in that role for years to come.  Andrew Bailey will be back at some point so making Bard the closer may only be a temporary fix that will set the Red Sox back in the long term.

One thing for certain is Bard's start is going to be a major factor in figuring out this mess.  If he pitches well he will likely remain in the rotation leaving Ben Cherington and Bobby V. to look elsewhere to figure out the closer situation.  If he struggles there will be immense pressure to send him back to the pen.

Hopefully Felix Doubront can have a good start today and calm some of the early season pitching woes.  Otherwise Cherington may have to find Wakefield's number.

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