Layoff impacts Bard's command vs. O's

Layoff impacts Bard's command vs. O's

BOSTON -- Daniel Bard has thrown 69 1/3 innings this season. It's not an exorbitant increase over the 65 1/3 innings he threw last season. But perhaps the grind of the season is beginning to show, as he has now allowed 14 of 43 inherited runners (32.6 percent) to score.

In eight September games spanning 7 1/3 innings, Bard has given up eight hits and five walks with six strikeouts. His 2.45 ERA this month is impressive, but well above his season ERA of 1.85.

Bard said he does not feel tired. The reasons for his performance in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Orioles could be that he had not pitched since Sept. 14, he said.

"No, I feel good, I really do," he said. "[I] physically felt great. If anything, I think I've had about a five-day layoff, just maybe not as sharp with the offspeed stuff as far as location. [I] just wasn't able to bury the breaking ball or the changeup for the strikeout. But that was the only difference. I felt great out there."

Ty Wigginton's eighth-inning sacrifice fly off Bard scored the first of those inherited runs, and the go-ahead run. Wigginton had a possible explanation for his success against Bard.

"He's definitely got one of the better arms in the game," Wigginton said. "I think the more times you see a guy, the more and more you get a better expectation of what you are going to get. And I think that could have played a major role in it."

Wigginton entered Monday's game 2-for-6 with a strikeout and a sacrifice against Bard. Only the Yankees' Mark Teixeira (4-for-11) has faced Bard more.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.