Monday, March 10, 2014
In 2008, Daniel Bard eventually got a promotion to the Portland Sea Dogs, as his pitching career seemed finally on track. He was in the majors the next season.
In 2008, Chris Martin quit baseball.
Five years later, Bard is back in Portland, his pitching out of control (literally).
Martin was recently promoted from Portland and continues his scoreless streak in Pawtucket.
A tale of two relievers. Bard, 27, 6-foot-4, born in Houston, was a first-round draft pick by Boston in 2006 and received a $1.5-million bonus. Wild as a starter, he moved to the bullpen and eventually became one of the American League's top set-up relievers.
Bard tried starting last year. It didn't work. We went back to the bullpen and the results seem to keep getting worse. But in his first five appearances with Portland this season, he walked only three batters. Bard looked ready to come back and, indeed, Boston called him up for a brief stay.
Since he's come back to Portland: 13 walks in five appearances.
Wednesday was a disaster: 30 pitches/8 strikes. Bard faced five batters in the sixth inning: walk, walk, single, double-play grounder, ground-out. He faced three batters in the seventh: walk, walk, walk. Bard also had two wild pitches.
In Pawtucket, Martin pitched two shutout innings (21 pitches/12 strikes). He gave up a hit and struck out one. He has not been scored upon in 24 innings this year.
Martin, 26, 6-7, born in Arlington, Texas, was signed out of the independent leagues before the 2011 season. Martin once retired when he did not think he could comeback from shoulder surgery and took a job in a warehouse. See the feature on Martin we wrote last year.
In Pawtucket's game Wednesday, Bryce Brentz (.284) recorded two more hits. The slugger has no extra base hits in his last five games, but he's 9-for-20 in that stretch.
Portland catcher Christian Vazquez (.256) also got two hits. His on-base percentage is .392.
Felix Doubront (3-1, 6.40 ERA) starts for Boston tonight, trying to get his command and velocity back. Tampa Bay goes with right-hander Alex Cobb (4-2, 3.09).
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
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