Positives from Bard's start
posted at 4/11/2012 3:37 AM EDT
I'm more worried about Buchholz. Bard had:
18 swing and misses
5, 2 strike hits
2 infield hits
7 singles and only one double which was a jam shot.
five innings, eight hits, five earned runs. He struck out six and generated 18 swing and misses; only once in 2011 did a Boston pitcher get more.
Of the eight hits Bard allowed, two stayed on the infield, two were grounders through holes, one an excuse-me double off the fists and one a jam shot to center.
The Jays scored one in the first off Bard, putting together three hits, including Edwin Encarnacion's infield single to the hole in short to drive in Yunel Escobar.
Two innings later, Toronto stacked four hits together, beginning with Escobar's bloop to center. Adam Lind smoked an 0-2 fastball out over the plate to score one run, and Brett Lawrie went the other way with an outside fastball to bring in a second.
The Jays' three-run fifth was sparked by a leadoff walk to Encarnacion -- Bard's lone base on balls of the night. Bard departed after Lawrie beat out another grounder to short; the reliever Thomas allowed a two-run single to J.P. Arencibia.
To be sure, Bard has to be better with runners on; strangely, that was one of his greatest strengths as a reliever. Toronto scored in each inning it had a baserunner against Bard. He retired the side in order in his three scoreless frames; Boston's first four starters had combined for one 1-2-3 inning.
He also struggled with two strikes. Five of the eight hits he surrendered came with two strikes, and three of them were on 0-2 pitches.
He displayed better command of his fastball than he did during his woes last September, and he worked in several terrific sliders -- including back-to-back sliders to strike out Jose Bautista in the fifth.
His velocity was sharp early, touching 98 in the first inning. He stuck around 95 before he tired in the sixth, dropping to around 92. He threw six changeups in his 96 pitches, and only two of them were in the strike zone. One was to a right-hander; he bounced it to Bautista in the fift