Varitek throws his support to Bard

After fielding a bunch of questions about Daniel Bard, Jason Varitek decided the subject was closed.

“I’ll put this to rest with Daniel,” the team captain said. “Daniel’s been the hugest part of this bullpen, he and Pap. He’s had a tough little stretch for the last few outings. We need Daniel. Daniel’s going to pitch well. Period.”

So there you go.

Said manager Terry Francona: “Right now, the fastball command is certainly an issue and it’s getting him in trouble. His fastball is kind of cutting on him a little bit. Probably when he’s not trying to. We’ve got to get him back to being the Bard we all have come to trust because he’s such an important part of what we’re doing. … That’s something we’re going to have to figure out in a hurry.

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As for Bard, he said it’s a mechanical issue.

“I can feel it on every pitch,” he said. “Feels a little different. I’ve been through it before. I think the effects of it are just magnified by how big these games are. Sometimes you go out there and your mechanics are a little off and they swing at a couple of pitches and you’re able to get through it. Unfortunately they really haven’t been doing it.

“You guys haven’t seen me do it much up here because it hasn’t happened much, but I’ve had it happen before and I’ve gotten through it. Like I said, it’s been magnified by the hitters’ approach to the location of the pitches. Something I’ve fixed before and I’ll fix it again. It’ll take the next couple of days to put in the work and get timing in my delivery again.”

Bard has allowed 3+ runs in three of his last 15 outings, a troubling sign. But unless he’s hurt (and everybody says he’s not), then he’s going to figure it out.

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