Daniel Bard’s struggles at Triple-A continued yesterday, as he blew a two-run save by allowing two hits and uncorking two wild pitches in the ninth inning.
Bard and the Red Sox continue to insist that they haven’t given up on him returning as a starter, but since a demotion to the minors he’s made one start followed by four straight relief appearances. And overall Bard has a 7.36 ERA in 7.1 innings for Pawtucket, although that comes with a strong 10/2 K/BB ratio to suggest he’s perhaps not pitching all that horribly.
Either way, he’s seemingly not close to rejoining the Red Sox and definitely not close to doing so as a starter.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.