This is a point that I’ve been belaboring through the Twittermachines but with Bailey out ’til at least the All-Star break (I worry that it’ll be most of the year), why is Valentine even considering starting Bard?
Bard was lined up to be a closer behind Papelbon, who mercifully left to be criminally overpaid by the Phillies. I’ve never been a fan of trying to convert Bard into a starter. First off, I’m nervous about him trying to work up the arm strength without hurting himself. Beyond that, he throws two pitches, unless he’s developed another one while I’ve been paying attention to other stuff. Yes, they’re both excellent pitches, when they work. And as good as Bard can be, he’ll throw a few very flat sliders here and there. That happens to all pitchers, of course, but the more pitches he throws, the more likely that is to happen. And c’mon. We’re talking about converting into a starter a guy who throws two pitches. That won’t sustain seven quality innings. I’d be surprised to see it sustain five.
Anyhow, this is all stuff that I thought before news of the Bailey injury. Aceves, who has more variety in his pitches, was a rock last year, first in relief and then starting. Maybe he isn’t as good this year. Maybe his arm falls off, given that the most innings he’s ever thrown in a year is 114. But he’s the best option. If he didn’t prove that last year in those spot starts, he certainly proved that he deserves a shot to back it up this year.
I’m not happy abut Doubront in the rotation either, because despite occasional good signs from him, he hasn’t shown anywhere near the consistency required to pitch in the best division in the MLB. The rotation I wanted was Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Aceves, Bard. Now, with Bailey hurt, I’d set it Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Aceves, Doubront and slide Bard into the closer role.
Opening Day isn’t even here yet and I’m already steeling myself for a rough year. Bobby V had better know what the hell he’s doing. And yes, I still can’t wait for tomorrow.