Monday, April 09, 2012

Red Sox v. Blue Jays (April 9, 2012)

Boston Red Sox (0-3) at Toronto Blue Jays (2-1)

SP - Felix Doubront (0-0, 0.00) v. Henderson Alvarez (0-0, 0.00)

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Cody Ross, LF
7. Ryan Sweeney, RF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Mike Aviles, SS

Three Strikes:

1. WhileI usually agree with Chad Finn's perspective on the Red Sox, I can't help but think that Daniel Bard belongs in the closer's job.  I was in favor of Bard as a starter this spring but with Andrew Bailey lost for the first half of the season and no other option available, it is time to make him the closer.

Yes, Bard could be electric as a starter and that would be a major boost to the Red Sox but I think they need his presence at the back end of the bullpen more than they need him to take the ball every five days.  I'm not giving up on Alfredo Aceves or Mark Melancon - a few bad outings against a deadly Tigers lineup is not the sample size necessary to judge either hurler - but Bard has the stuff to be a dominant closer and with Bailey probably out until early August and a serious lack of hard throwers in the system, Bard is the guy to take the reigns for now.

The reason to push Bard into the closer's job now is that it would translate into wins and stabilize the relief pitching.  Remember that last year, just two more wins would have given the Red Sox the Wild Card and a trip to the playoffs.  Although it's just three games into the season, this is no time to be giving away wins.  Bard's presence as closer would allow Melancon to be slotted as the eighth inning guy and allowing him to know his role should translate to better results.  For the time being, Aceves could replace Bard in the rotation until Daisuke Matsuzaka makes a healthy return or until the Red Sox find a suitable replacement.

Having Bard in the bullpen for 2012 could give Bobby Valentine a deep relief corps.  Melancon, who will pitch better, Aceves (once Matsuzaka returns), Rich Hill (when he returns from his rehab assignment), Franklin Morales (who pitched well against Detroit), and Vicente Padilla (who also looked strong yesterday), and Bailey (come August) would be a nice crew to set-up Bard.

2.  0-3 is not the way to start a season but not all is lost ... the Yankees are winless too!  There's always a silver lining.

3. I don't think that Kevin Youkilis or Josh Beckett will finish the season as members of the Red Sox.

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