TORONTO -- Daniel Bard said following his first major league start that while he was disappointed with the final outcome, he believed the five-inning stint was a step in the right direction in his progression as a starter.
Facing the Blue Jays Tuesday at Rogers Centre, Bard ended up giving up five runs over the five innings, striking out six, walking one and throwing 96 pitches. He left in the sixth inning with his Red Sox trailing 3-1 and runners on first and third with nobody out.
"I feel I threw the ball better tonight than I did all spring, by far," Bard said. "My command was better.Everything. Just they hit it where we weren't. That's how the old saying goes – hit em where they ain't. That's what they did. So just kind of try to focus on how it felt and how the ball was coming out of my hand, which I felt was really good, and try to ignore the bad results."
Bard topped out at 98 mph and threw six changeups. He induced 18 swings and misses,
The righty told Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine that he believed he had "25 pitches left" at the time of his exit, but understood the philosophy to limit his outing.
"I know how every starter feels. You want to get out of your own jam, me especially," Bard said following the Red Sox' 7-3 loss. "I think that's whereI thrive, because I've done it so much. I felt like I conserved energy really well, and my arm felt really good. This was the first outing where I was able to take something off my fastball. I knew I didn't need it early in the count, throw it up there 91, 92, get strike one, then save the harder ones for later."
The pitcher later added, "I threw the slider for a strike whenever I needed it and incorporated the changeup the third time through the lineup a couple of times and set up a couple of batters and I think got one out on it. It was there when I needed it."
Bard suggested that while the final numbers might not be what he was looking for, he came away believing the start was a step in the right direction
"It's easy to look at results. I think if you can look past that. …. I'm just going through it in my head, I think they had six or seven ground ball hits. Say half of those get fielded, which is probably a normal night -- that's probably three runs and about 30 pitches," Bard surmised. "So I'm probably pitching into the seventh, giving up two runs. It's a totally different game. I'm looking at it that way. I feel good about how I threw it. The results obviously stunk. I recognize that and I'm frustrated with it. But I wouldn't change the way I threw."
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