Daniel Bard wants to be a starter. And I can't blame him. But by doing such a good job as a reliever last night, he might have eliminated himself from the rotation.
He inherited a tough situation: a runner on third with 1 out in a 5-5 game. And he worked out of it. Cody Ross homered in the next half inning, and Bard got the win.
I was a little puzzled with Valentine's decision to take Bard out and put Aceves in to pitch the 9th. I know Aceves is the temporary closer, but Bard only threw 11 pitches in the 8th (4 were part of an intentional walk), and he's clearly the best option to pitch the 9th. Taking Bard out and putting Aceves in was tempting fate.
With the Sox struggling, Cody Ross has been somewhat overlooked. He hit homeruns number 4 and 5 of the year. And knocked in 3 runs, giving him a total of 13 RBI. He leads the Sox in both categories. He's also hitting .283. I don't know if this production will last, but the Sox desperately need it at the moment.
Jon Lester looked off, especially going through the Twins' lineup a second time. He allowed 5 runs in 7 innings. And if not for the 3 double plays the Twins grounded into, things might have gotten really messy. I'm not worried, though. He had bad Aprils in 2009 and 2010. And a bad May last year. Give him a few starts to warm up and he'll revert to his usual self.
The Sox needed the win. But there's still lots to work on. Morales looks awful. Aceves is unnerving. The Sox still make inexcusable little mistakes like screwing up a relay from right-field.
Those problems seem more manageable after a win, though.
Beckett faces Nick Blackburn tonight, who struggled in his first start, did well in his second, but hasn't pitched since the 14th.