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Boston Red Sox: Healthy Daisuke Matsuzaka Should Make Daniel Bard Decision Easy

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIJune 4, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3: Daniel Bard #51 of the Boston Red Sox walks to the dugout after getting pulled after hitting Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at The Rogers Centre June 3, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

It's finally time to say, "We tried and it just didn't work out." Obviously, I’m talking about the transition of changing Daniel Bard from a reliever into a starter.

Today’s outing for Bard against the Toronto Blue Jays was just another reason to think he just can’t do it. His line of 1.2 innings, one hit, five earned runs, six walks and two strikeouts is about as bad as it gets. He’s also the first pitcher since 1918 to walk six and hit two batters in less than two innings. That’s how bad he was today.

In 11 starts this season, he’s only gone seven innings twice. The only appearance that he didn’t allow a run was the one time manager Bobby Valentine used him out of the bullpen.

The “tell-all” statistic for Bard has to be that he’s walked 37 batters and only struck out 34. He’s walked at least four batters in six of his starts. That’s completely unacceptable.

After today’s outing he spoke about his transition and the troubles that he had today, according to the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson.

Maybe we tried to turn me into a starter rather than just taking the same pitcher I was out of the ‘pen and moving that guy to the rotation. That’s probably what should have been done. It’s partially my fault. It’s all my fault.

If you miss with a pitch and you’re feeling good, you say, ‘Screw it’ and repeat it and do everything the exact same. When you’re searching for it, you try to tweak something, change something a little different, like, ‘Maybe that wasn’t good enough.’

The decision to move Bard back to the bullpen should come even easier since Daisuke Matsuzaka is about ready to return to the majors after rehabbing with Triple-A Pawtucket for the last several weeks.

The story behind Daisuke’s starts is that he’s pitched in five and two haven’t been good. The latest two, however, have been relatively good. On May 26, he pitched five innings of one-hit ball. Last Thursday, he went 5.1 innings while allowing one earned run on two hits while striking out four.

His 3.33 ERA is respectable, and he’s struck out 18 batters while only walking five. If he can transition those types of numbers into the Boston rotation, there’s no doubt he should replace Bard.

The issue with Daisuke at the moment is that he’s had pain in his right trapezius muscle, according to the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. He’s pitched since receiving a cortisone shot, and despite being recently transferred to the 60-day DL, we could be seeing Matsuzaka relatively soon.

As long as he’s healthy, which is somewhat in question, there’s really no reason manager Bobby Valentine should lose sleep over deciding who should be in the starting rotation. It’s easily Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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