Just a few weeks ago, Daniel Bard was unhittable.

Opponents hit .149 off the Red Sox setup man in May, .098 in June, .159 in July and .154 in August. He didn't give up an earned run in June or July. He was automatic, walking around three batters a month and striking out around a dozen.

As starters got hurt, Bard was always there, locking down a late inning or two.

That seems like a lifetime ago.


These days, it's getting hard to trust Bard in a key situation. He's given up at least one earned run in four of his last five outings, including three blown saves and three losses.

He imploded at Toronto last week, and coughed up three runs -- and the game -- today against that same Blue Jays team.

Red Sox fans: You officially have another worry.

What's going on with Bard? Is he wearing down near the end of his second 60-plus-appearance season in a row? Is he hurt? Is it mechanics, as he's saying?

Is he simply channeling the debacle what Boston's season has become?

It's impossible to say. But if things keep going the way they're going, it might be time to start thinking about Alfredo Aceves -- or another reliever -- before Bard in the big spots.

After all, with the Rays closing, every inning counts. And Bard hasn't given the Sox many good ones lately.

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