Red Sox

Ex-Red Sox Daniel Bard has a shot to make Rockies, complete amazing comeback

Ex-Red Sox Daniel Bard has a shot to make Rockies, complete amazing comeback

When last we saw Daniel Bard, he was walking two batters on nine pitches in April of 2013 against the Astros. That was his last big league appearance, and though it was enough to earn him a World Series ring, for a long time it looked like it would be his disheartening swan song.

But seven years later, Bard hasn't given up on his dream, and at age 35, he is making a case to the do the improbable.

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On Monday, Bard retired all three batters he faced at Coors Field as part of an intrasquad scrimmage with the Rockies, prompting this observation from Nick Groke of the Athletic: "Bard looks good. Rockies are very pleased. Seems to be pitching his way to opening day."

If he makes it, it would be the ultimate triumph of perseverance. Bard's story is well-known to Red Sox fans, but a brief recap: He reached the majors in 2009 as a flame-throwing setup man, and he looked like Jonathan Papelbon's successor after posting a 1.93 ERA in 73 appearances as a setup man in 2010.

He threw 100 mph, he showed no fear in big situations, and it appeared he'd be a fixture for at least five or six years.

He went 2-9 and was disturbingly ineffective down the stretch in 2011, but no one noticed because the team was collapsing around him. Then came the disastrous decision to move to the starting rotation under Bobby Valentine in 2012. Bard developed the yips and couldn't find the plate, his nadir coming on June 3 in Toronto when he walked six, hit two, and sent multiple pitches to the backstop.

That started an odyssey through the minors that included an ERA of 175.50 at Single A with the Rangers in 2014 (0.2 IP, 13 R, 0 H, 9 BB, 7 HBP), a year off for surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, and failed minor league stints with the Cardinals and Mets.

He once again struggled to find the plate at spring training in February and March with the Rockies, allowing seven runs in 2.1 innings while walking three, but manager Bud Black has been impressed with the way the ball has left his hand, which means there's a chance he makes the opening day roster and completes a comeback seven years in the making.

WATCH: Alex Verdugo notches first home run with Red Sox

WATCH: Alex Verdugo notches first home run with Red Sox

Alex Verdugo tallied his first home run with the Boston Red Sox during Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Verdugo's homer was a two-run shot in the fourth inning off of Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough that gave Boston the lead.

Watch below:


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Verdugo was, of course, acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 24-year-old hit .294 with 12 homers in 106 games with L.A. last year.

With home run No. 1 out of the way, Red Sox fans will hope to see many more where that came from during Verdugo's tenure in Boston.

Incredible stat shows how historically awful Red Sox starting pitching has been

Incredible stat shows how historically awful Red Sox starting pitching has been

When the 2019 MLB season started, the defending World Series champion Red Sox boasted an impressive rotation.

Perennial Cy Young contender Chris Sale. Former Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello. World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi. Eduardo Rodriguez, who would go on to win 19 games.

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But the 2020 Sox rotation is a far cry from that collection of talent. 

Instead, with Sale sidelined with Tommy John surgery, Price and Porcello on different teams, and Rodriguez out for the season with myocarditis, the Sox have been forced to rely on a flotsam and jetsam rotation that has been exposed as not MLB-worthy.

Through 11 games, the Red Sox have already used seven starting pitchers, and they've combined to allow a whopping 32 earned runs in 42.2 innings pitched, often putting the Sox in early deficits they've been unable to overcome. It all adds up to a 6.75 ERA, which isn't just bad; it's actually on pace to be the worst starting rotation in the last 120 years, according to Boston Sports Info.

Only Nathan Eovaldi with a 3.94 ERA in three starts and Austin Brice, who pitched one scoreless inning in his only start of the season as an opener, have ERAs below 5.00, while Josh Osich, Ryan Weber, Matt Hall and Zack Godley all have ERAs of 9-plus.

Pitcher ERA as starter
Austin Brice 0.00
Nathan Eovaldi 3.94
Martin Perez 5.06
Josh Osich 9.00
Matt Hall 10.13
Ryan Weber 11.57
Zack Godley 13.50

And with the supposedly strong Boston offense underachieving through 11 games, it's no wonder the team is off to a horrific 3-8 start, the 28th best record out of 30 MLB teams. If that starting pitching doesn't turn around — and turn around quickly — the Red Sox are in danger of digging a hole that will be too deep to climb out of in a shortened 60-game season.