By BRENDAN McGAIR
PAWTUCKET – It doesn’t get any lower if you’re Daniel Bard.
The embattled Pawtucket Red Sox reliever added to his misery Friday night, lasting all of one-third of an inning in the PawSox’ 5-2 loss to the Charlotte Knights, a defeat that lowered the curtain on a cover-your-eyes 1-7 homestand. Bard faced seven Charlotte batters and tossed 26 pitches, nine for strikes.
Bard’s main problem on this night was missing up in the zone, as catcher Ryan Lavarnway was forced to jump to his feet on more than one occasion. Two of his walks were of the back-to-back variety and forced in runs.
Bard declined to speak to reporters afterwards, thus leaving the explanation in the hands of manager Arnie Beyeler.
“He just can’t repeat with consistency, which is why he's here, and then you see the wheel start spinning and things kind of snowball. That's the whole deal – trying to get that feel and that consistency to try to repeat,” said Beyeler about Bard, who saw his ERA jump from 5.73 to 7.15 following his ninth appearance with Pawtucket. “When you don't see the (downward) plane, unless he makes a quick adjustment, he's going to be up,” Beyeler said. “That's kind of been his M.O. since I've ever seen him. If he's missing down, we're OK and we've got a shot. But when he starts missing up like that, he's got to find it. He's got to make that adjustment. He's trying.”
When a pitcher like Bard is in the predicament he’s in, it’s important to cut one’s losses before the damage becomes worse, which Beyeler acknowledged.
“When the adjustment isn’t made, you’re not getting anything out of that,” said Beyeler. “Instead of throwing salt in the wound, we get him out and try again in a couple of days.”
In nine appearances with the PawSox since being optioned on June 5, Bard has walked eight in 11 innings pitched. He’s managed just two scoreless appearances while Friday marked the fifth time he’s yielded at least two runs.
On the subject of Scott Podsednik, Beyeler mentioned that the outfielder is slated to play five innings in the outfield Saturday night in Lehigh Valley. The 36-year-old Podsednik began his rehab assignment with the PawSox Friday night, going hitless in three at-bats with a walk.
“We would have liked to have gotten him on base more from a running standpoint, but he got his work in,” said Beyeler about Podsednik, currently on the disabled list with a left groin strain.