Francona confident Bard will revert to form

Francona confident Bard will revert to form

Francona confident Bard will revert to form
BOSTON -- Daniel Bard was the first to admit he hasn't been on top of his game lately, but manager Terry Francona said the Red Sox will stick with their eighth-inning setup man through thick and thin.

"I think we'd be kidding ourselves," Francona said. "I don't think we can win without Bard being Bard. I remember last year, it was this time that everybody wanted Bard to be the closer. We stuck with [Jonathan Papelbon], and he's done OK. There's certain players that we'd better figure it out as opposed to running from guys."

Bard has picked up the loss in three straight appearances, his most recent coming Wednesday night when he turned a two-run lead into a 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays after an eighth-inning meltdown.

Afterward, Francona called Mike Cather, a former pitching coach with Double-A Portland and now an advanced scout with the Red Sox, to come to Boston and take a look. Cather helped Bard out of a similar funk with his mechanics back in 2008 and was back at Fenway Park on Thursday to watch Bard work out in Boston's bullpen.

"There are some things they'd like to try to get a little more consistent in his arm swing, which I think will be helpful," Francona said.

"The timing with my delivery is just not there," the reliever said Wednesday night. "I can feel it on every pitch. Something feels a little bit different. ... It's something I've fixed before and I'll fix it again. I'll do what it takes the next couple of days to put in the work and find my delivery again."

Bard's ERA has jumped from 2.10 to 3.10 over his last three outings.

"We believe in Daniel so much," Francona said.