The Boston Red Sox appear to be ruining Daniel Bard in the same way the New York Yankees have seemingly ruined Joba Chamberlain. By alternating a pitcher between a reliever to a starter to a temporary closer, it can not only mess with his psyche, but also his mechanics and confidence on the mound. You would think one team would learn from their rival’s mistake, but that does not appear to be the case.
The Red Sox are a desperate team right now. That is not in question. They have already pulled the trigger on a Marlon Byrd trade to add some stability to a depleted outfield, and the lineup has had more changes than the scoreboard, even considering how many crooked numbers the bullpen has put up this season.
Now, with the bullpen being absolutely atrocious, especially in Saturday’s loss to the Yankees, in which Boston held a 9-0 lead, only to witness the bullpen give up 14 runs in the span of two innings, the Red Sox are making another personnel move.
They are not trading for a pitcher or calling anyone up from the minors, but new manager Bobby Valentine is toying with the idea of skipping Bard in its’ rotation early in the week in order to insert him back into his more familiar role as eighth inning set-up man, and then possibly putting him back into the rotation for his next start toward the end of the week.
It’s true, as Valentine has confirmed that Bard will be used out of the bullpen, but only temporarily. That sounds strange, considering the closer the team acquired to replace Jonathan Papelbon – Andrew Bailey – is out until at least the All-Star break in July.
Also a bit confusing is why Bard will only return to his set-up role, instead of becoming the closer for now. Holding a game in the eighth inning will not solve any problem if Alfredo Aceves and company blows it in the ninth.
The bottom line is that this is generally difficult for any young pitcher, at least those not named Neftali Feliz. It took it’s toll on Chamberlain, and he will probably never be the same again. The Yankees have also jerked Phil Hughes around so often, he seems like he has never really rebounded entirely.
The Red Sox should operate under an old saying.
It takes a foolish man not to learn from his own mistakes. But it takes an absolute idiot not to learn from others’ mistakes.
Once again, best of luck in Boston. Everything is working out exactly how most of baseball world desires.
Kelley writes for The Pigskin Report as well as Hardball Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24 and Like The Rob Kelley Sports Network on Facebook. Kelley is a former sports reporter for various newspapers throughout the state of Florida, and had his first book published I'm Not a Quitter after moving back to Massachusetts.