This year Daniel Bard is the spokesplayer for the Jimmy Fund’s Rally Against Cancer. Past representatives have all been starting pitchers and position players, so Bard’s insertion into rotation has given him the profile needed to be the frontman for such a significant charity. But does he have the stuff to start?
In his first major league start Bard lasted 5 innings. He tried to get through the sixth but allowed Edwin Encarnacion to walk on six pitches and Brett Lawrie followed up with an infield single to short. Two of the five earned runs scored off Bard were due to Justin Thomas, who took over after Bard couldn’t get an out in the frame.
But before the sixth Bard was better than your typical fifth starter: 3 earned runs, 8 hits (just one extra base hit, a double by Adam Lind), 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. Can he stretch himself to hand the ball off to his replacement at set-up man, Mark Melancon? And if he could, would he want to? He might have to transform himself into the former Blue Jay, Roy Halladay, to secure a win. Or, setting a more realistic goal, a C.J. Wilson or Alexi Ogando. If only Mike Maddux could give Bob McClure some tips.
Off the field, Terry Francona turned down the invitation to participate in the celebration surrounding Fenway’s 100th anniversary. Said Francona, “I just don’t feel comfortable coming back because of what happened and that’s a shame because I do feel awfully strong ties to so many people there.”
It is incredible to think that one of the key figures in the Red Sox’s return to World Series glory wouldn’t take part in this centennial. Years from now people will look at photos and clips from the ceremony and wonder why Francona didn’t attend. We can only hope the rift between the Red Sox and Francona doesn’t last as long as Yogi Berra’s feud with George Steinbrenner.
|Game 5: April 10, 2012|
|Boston Red Sox
||L: Daniel Bard (0-1)|
|2B: Kevin Youkilis (1), Cody Ross (1), Dustin Pedroia (3), Ryan Sweeney (2), Adrian Gonzalez (1)|
HR: Pedroia (1)
|Toronto Blue Jays
||W: Kyle Drabek (1-0)|
H: Jason Frasor (1)
|2B: Adam Lind (2)|
HR: Edwin Encarnacion (1)