Depending on who you read today regarding Daniel Bard's first start of the season you will get a mixed review.
Sure, it took Bard over 50 pitches to finally dust off his curveball and actually use it.
Yes, looking at the box score from last night's game against the Blue Jays it would appear that Bard struggled. He only went five innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits.
His season WHIP thus far is 1.800 with a season ERA of 9.00.
In other words, the numbers make him look awful.
However, what you won't see in the box score is the fact that he posted a BABIP of .471.
You also won't see that Bard threw 18 swing and misses. As pointed out by the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham today, only Josh Beckett had thrown more swing and misses last season out of any Red Sox pitcher (20 against Baltimore in September.)
What that tells me is that Bard suffered one of the unluckiest debuts in all of Red Sox history.
His fastball and changeup were working for him and, as stated, he overmatched batters on 18 of his 96 pitches thrown. It is worth noting that 65 of Bard's pitches were for strikes.
The fact that Blue Jay hitters were able to post a BABIP of .471 is remarkable considering an average BABIP is somewhere in the .300 range.
The hits Bard did allow were peppered in just the right spots to give the Jays the win over the Sox.
In Bard's own words:
“Let’s say half of those get fielded, which is a probably a normal night. If we catch three or four of those and get outs on them, that’s probably three runs and about 30 pitches and I’m pitching into the seventh and giving up two runs.”
It's hard to argue against that logic. Now we'll just have to strap in and see how his next start goes.