Daniel Bard is now committed to being a relief pitcher, but we may not see him back in the majors in the near future.
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal brings word that Bard issued three walks and hit a batter while recording just one out last night with Triple-A Pawtucket. He threw just nine out of his 26 pitches for strikes and two of the walks forced in runs with the bases loaded.
No surprise here, but PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler believes Bard’s inability to find the strike zone is rooted in mechanical issues.
“He just doesn’t feel it, I guess. 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.”
Bard began the season in the Red Sox starting rotation, but he was demoted last month after posting a 5.24 ERA and 34/37 K/BB ratio in 55 innings. Over nine appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket, the 27-year-old right-hander has a 7.15 ERA, eight walks, four hit batsman and three wild pitches in 11 1/3 innings pitched. Yikes.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.
A report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reveals that prospective Marlins’ owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman have already initiated several key firings within the organization. While the sale of the team is still pending final approval next month, Jeter reportedly pushed club president David Samson to remove four special assistants this week: Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine.
Hall of Fame infielder Dawson, outfielder Perez and Marlins’ legend Conine served as special assistants to the president. McKeon, who served as team manager from 2003-2005 (and briefly in 2011), was terminated from a 12-year post as special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria.
The move didn’t come as a big surprise to Dawson and McKeon, Jackson and Spencer noted. It’s part and parcel of dealing with new ownership. But it was disappointing news nonetheless, especially as the long-tenured McKeon might lose an opportunity to return next September to manage one game and cement his status as the oldest manager in MLB history.
Should the Marlins’ sale go through in October as expected, this figures to be the beginning of several cuts. Per Jackson and Spencer:
Jeter also is expected to fire some people on the baseball side of the operation, though it’s believed president/baseball operations Michael Hill will be retained, at least indefinitely if not permanently.
Any replacements for those already released from the team have yet to be announced.