The experiment of Bard in the rotation has proven unsuccessful. He simply isn't a starter. And the culprit is the same thing that prevented him from being a starter when he was first drafted: bases on balls.
In 55 innings, he's walked 37 batters. He's struck out 34. Yesterday he threw 55 pitches. 24 were strikes. A good pitcher will throw twice as many strikes as balls (or better). But not Bard. When he's a starter, the walks pile up. And because he isn't throwing many strikes, so does the pitch count. It's the same problem that plagued him in 2007 in A ball. He's also hit 6 batters this year.
When Daisuke is ready to return, Bard needs to go to the bullpen. It simply is not working out for him in the rotation. At best, he's a #5 pitcher, giving you 180 mediocre innings. I'd rather have 80 quality innings from him out of the pen.
Apart from Bard's struggles, the Sox have been thriving. They've only lost 1 of their last 7 series. They're 16-7 since David Ortiz called a players only meeting after Beckett was shelled by the Indians on May 10th. They're still last in the AL East, but they're only 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot.
On Saturday, Felix Doubront had yet another Quality Start. He's now 6-2 and deservedly so. You really can't ask more from a 4/5 pitcher than that. Not to mention his ERA is 3.75.
And Clay Buchholz seems to have settled down. He went 8 innings Friday night, only allowing 2 runs. He struck out 7. That's two straight Quality Starts for Buchholz. He only has three on the season. He has a 2.40 ERA in his last two starts. 15 innings, 4 earned runs, not bad at all.
The Sox need to keep this momentum going. They can take advantage of a Baltimore team that's been struggling lately. They have today off. Then Lester faces 6-2 Jason Hammel on Tuesday.