Bard baffles Blue Jays
A footnote of an otherwise ordinary 6-3 loss by the Red Sox was a display of overpowering heat by Daniel Bard. Boston’s top relief prospect struck out five batters in succession in the sixth and seventh innings.
PR guru Henry Mahegan is searching feverishly to find the last Boston rookie reliever who struck out five in a row. The last Sox rookie pitcher to do so was Casey Fossum. More on this later.
It was interesting to hear Bard speak after the game about his breakthrough performance. It seems that a new grip on his slider was a big catalyst.
“It just got a little loopey, the curvebal, breaking ball, slider, whatever you want to call it.Iit was more of a slider tonight. It just got a little loopey and it wasn’t the putaway pitch that it used to be. John [Farrell] and I talked about it. I just slightly rotated the ball with my hands. A little bit later, a little bit more downward action. I just won’t leave many of them up like I did in previous outings.”
Also, it is clear Bard is suddenly feeling comfortable in his new surroundings. He compared it to his adjustment to Double-A last year.
“I think there’s an adjustment period when you’re moving up at any time. Last year, I went through it at Double-A. I was good, but wasn’t getting guys out as good as it could be. It took me about a month. It’s kind of when you get that feeling, ‘I belong here’. Then you start pitching with more and more confidence. You start worrying about what people are thinking of you and it’s more a focus of getting outs and winning ballgames.”