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Friday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Daniel Bard vs. John Danks

04.27.12 at 6:41 am ET

Daniel Bard entered the 2012 season eager to become a starting pitcher, and he got his wish through his first two starts of the year. But then the Red Sox bullpen imploded in an 15-9 loss to the Yankees last Saturday, and with the Boston relief staff ranking last in MLB as well as a rainout scratching Bard’s scheduled start Sunday, the Red Sox used Bard out of the bullpen earlier this week.

Bard is scheduled to return to the rotation on Friday when he starts in Chicago against the White Sox.

Bard is 0-2 in starts this season but holds a 1-2 record thanks to a win in his only relief appearance of the season, two-thirds of an inning in the eighth inning Monday against the Twins. Bard entered the game with the score knotted at 5 and the go-ahead run on third, and he forced a lineout to third, intentionally walked Justin Morneau, and induced a pop fly to help the Red Sox escape the inning damage-free.

Bard pitched well in his most recent start, a 1-0 loss to the Rays on Marathon Monday, scattering four hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings. Bard tossed a career-high 111 pitches, however, and he stayed in one batter too late, as he walked the final batter he faced to walk in the winning run.

The White Sox are a somewhat unfamiliar team for Bard, who has appeared in eight games against them, the third-fewest appearances for Bard against an American League opponent. Bard has a 1-0 record with a 2.08 ERA against Chicago. Bard’s most recent appearance against the White Sox was on July 31 of last season at U.S. Cellular Field. He entered the game in the seventh inning and held the White Sox to one hit over 1 1/3 innings while striking out one to help the Red Sox to a 5-3 win.

The White Sox will counter Bard with left-hander John Danks, who is 2-2 in four starts this season. The record is a tremendous improvement over last season, when Danks went 0-8 through his first 11 starts before earning his first win in June. Danks has yet to win in back-to-back starts this season, and he will be looking to do so when he takes the mound Friday.

In his last outing, a 7-4 win over the Mariners, Danks allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings of work while striking out six and walking four. The six strikeouts matched his season high.

The 27-year-old has made seven career starts against the Red Sox and has a 3-4 record with a 4.14 ERA against Boston. Only one of those three wins came at home. That one win was in his most recent start against Boston, an 8-2 decision on Sept. 30, 2010. Danks lasted six innings in that game, allowing two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out six. None of the Red Sox who had hits in that game still play for Boston.

Most of the current Red Sox have struggled in their careers against Danks. Nick Punto has the most experience of any Boston batter against Danks, as he faced the lefty often when Punto played for the Twins. Punto is 4-for-24 against Danks with an RBI, two walks and a strikeout. Mike Aviles is the only Red Sox batter with an average over .300 against Danks. He is 3-for-9 against Danks with a double, an RBI and a strikeout.

Red Sox vs. Danks (LHP)

Nick Punto (26 plate appearances): .167 BA/.231 OBP/.167 SLG, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Kelly Shoppach (20): .176 BA/.263 OBP/.353 SLG, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 7 strikeouts

Marlon Byrd (15): .133 BA/.133 OBP/.200 SLG, 1 double, 5 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (14): .167 BA/.231 OBP/.167 SLG, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Kevin Youkilis (14): .250 BA/.357 OBP/.250 SLG, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

David Ortiz (11): .182 BA/.182 OBP/.455 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Mike Aviles (9): .333 BA/.333 OBP/.444 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (8): .250 BA/.250 OBP/.375 SLG, 2 strikeouts

Darnell McDonald (6): .000 BA/.200 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk

Lars Anderson (2): .000 BA/.500 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 walk

White Sox vs. Bard (RHP)

Paul Konerko (5 plate appearances): .250 BA/.400 OBP/.500 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Gordon Beckham (3): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 3 strikeouts

A.J. Pierzynski (3): .333 BA/.333 OBP/.667 SLG, 1 double

Alexei Ramirez (3): 1.000 BA/1.000 OBP/1.500 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk

Alex Rios (3): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout

Adam Dunn (1): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG

Kosuke Fukudome (1): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout

Brent Lillibridge (1): .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout

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