For the most part, Daniel Bard has adjusted well to his new role as a starting pitcher. One thing he seems to be struggling with is ignoring baserunners. As a reliever, he didn't worry about them. He'd just focus on the batter, get the 3 outs he needed to get, and essentially ignore any baserunners he inherited or allowed.
Last night he became preoccupied with baserunners in the 2nd inning. And in that one inning he threw a wild pitch, balked twice, and surrendered 3 runs. And it could have been much worse.
He was able to get over it and move on. Which is one very promising thing I've noticed in his starts.
He kept his pitch count low, but started to struggle in the 7th. He got out of a jam thanks to some bunts, but walked two to lead off the 8th. And with no Daniel Bard in the bullpen, Valentine was forced to bring in Albers. Who gave up a 3 run homer.
Right now, especially with Cook and Matsuzaka on the DL and Buchholz struggling, the Sox need Bard in the rotation. But if these guys get healthy, I think you have to consider moving Bard back to the pen. While you get more innings from him in the rotation, what's the point of getting 7 good innings from him or any starter if the bullpen can't consistently give you 2 good innings to close the game.
Anyway, Will Middlebrooks left the game with tightness in his hamstring. Hopefully that's just a precautionary thing. He was 1 for 1 with a double, and is the first player since Enos Slaughter to start off his career with extra-base hits in each of his first 5 games.
Jon Lester faces Bruce Chen tonight. Chen is 0-4, with a few good starts and a few horrible starts.