The reliever-turned-starter had a similarly rough time in the early going in Pawtucket, compiling a 7.50 ERA over 11 1/3 innings in nine June appearances. He struck out 14 batters but also walked eight. The beginning of July wasn't much better, as he gave up seven runs in his first seven appearances.
But in Bard's four games since July 19, he has looked closer to the dominant reliever he was in 2011. He's still struck out only one more batter than he's walked — four to three — but he's only given up three hits and, most importantly, hasn't allowed a run.
He let the Red Sox know a month ago that he would prefer to relieve instead of start, so if the decision is made to promote him back to the big club, he likely would be heading back to the bullpen instead of the starting rotation.
But how will his re-entry into the fold affect the club? After all, Boston's bullpen is already fourth in the American League with a 3.21 ERA and third in WHIP at 1.18.