Up is down. Left is right. Daniel Bard got his first win of the season out of the bullpen. Wait, what?
Yup, that's how things are going for the Boston Red Sox this season. Nothing is as what it appears to be, at least for now.
With Sunday's rainout, Bard was available in the bullpen for last night's game versus the Minnesota Twins and it turned out he was needed.
With the game tied at five in the 8th, Franklin Morales allowed a single to Jamey Carroll who ended up at third after a throwing error by Ryan Sweeney. Morales would then get Joe Mauer to ground out to first with Carroll holding at third. Bobby Valentine then went to Bard to get the final two outs of the inning.
Not having pitched in his type of situation (out of the bullpen in a close game), you weren't sure what to expect from Bard. But he ended up looking like he has been in the past out of the bullpen, pretty darn good. He got Josh Willingham to line out to third and after an intentional walk to Justin Morneau, he got Ryan Doumit to pop out to short.
After Cody Ross hit his second home run of the game, the first one tied the game at 5, Alfredo Aceves came in. And while he made things a little interesting, he was able to preserve the win for Bard and pick up his third save in the process.
Jon Lester started this one for the Red Sox and for the second straight start, he couldn't hold a lead that was given to him. He shut down the Twins for the first three innings only to see them get five runs over the next two innings. The damage was done to Lester because of his inability to finish off hitters when he had two strikes on them.
It seems as though Lester loses his focus when he starts to get hit. If he were true "ace", little things like that shouldn't rattle him at all. And until he can overcome that, he'll just be another good lefty pitcher.
Obviously, Ross was the hero offensively for the Red Sox as he had the two home runs on the night. David Ortiz and Sweeney continue to rake at the plate as both added two hits. Even Jarrod Saltalamacchia has picked up things at the plate as he had two more hits last night, including a two-run homer. The two hits last night raised his average to .237 after being under .100 last week.
Only Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez didn't have hits for the Red Sox last night. Gonzalez did have an RBI though as it was his sac fly, his AL-leading third of the season, that got the game's first run.
The Red Sox will have a real decision to make now. With Aaron Cook dominating again last night in Triple-A and his opt-out date coming up in seven days, they'll need to decide whether or not to bring him up. Obviously, the likely candidate to head to the bullpen would be Bard, who is scheduled to start on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.
Given what Bard did last night out of the bullpen, it's hard to overlook it. Yes he wants to be a starter, but right now he might be "best" for the Red Sox in the bullpen.
This will be something interesting to watch over the next few days.
We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Save situation [Boston Globe]
Bard’s view hasn’t changed [Boston Globe]
Valentine, Aviles deny report of incident [Boston Globe]
Red Sox get relief in Bard, beat Twins [Boston Herald]
Bobby Valentine can't rescue ship going down [Boston Herald]
Opposite attracts Cody Ross [Boston Herald]
Valentine lightens mood [Boston Herald]
No relief in Daniel Bard move [Boston Herald]
Ross homers twice, Sox come back to beat Twins, 6-5 [CSN New England]
Bard comes through out of bullpen in big way for Sox [CSN New England]
Ross carries Sox offense to a win with two homers [CSN New England]
Lester's strong finish helps set up Red Sox victory [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 6, Twins 5 [ESPN Boston]
Bobby V to Aceves: 'You trying to kill me?' [ESPN Boston]
Bard gives Sox desperately needed relief [ESPN Boston]
Ross home runs the difference makers [ESPN Boston]
Decision time is closing in on Aaron Cook, Red Sox [Full Count]
Punto enjoys return trip to Minneapolis [RedSox.com]
Dice-K allows three runs in first rehab outing [RedSox.com]
For Cody Ross, game-winning homer was a blast from the past [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]
photo credit: Getty Images