Search Archives
Follow Us

Featured Sponsors

Mailing List
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Twitter Feeds

This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Entries in Daniel Bard (5)


Right now, it's hard to be Bard

Slumping ballplayers are uncomfortable to watch. For example, all season long, it has made you squirm to watch the White Sox slugger Adam Dunn at the plate. Pitchers and pitches have simply baffled him this season. There are times when the Red Sox' Carl Crawford has looked that way as well. During stretches like that you wonder how they became the stars that they are.

When batter slumps you usually have to wait a few innings before you can see if he can correct his error and look better, but when a pitcher slumps it feels relentless. That is what it has been like recently for Boston's Daniel Bard, the model for the great 8th inning pitcher. Pitch after pitch you can see a guy totally out of sync and that is something that he and Boston can ill afford at any time, but especially with the postseason around the corner.

Let's take a look at Bard going into the slump.

June and July Bard was near perfect

From May 27 to the end of July, Bard did not allow a run

Daniel Bard May 27 to July 31, 25 appearancesDuring this stretch, Bard faced 96 batters who went 11-for-88 against him. He allowed nine singles, two doubles and nothing else. Not only did batters hit just .125 against him, they struck out 25 times. Batters hit .141 against the 234 fastballs he threw, .200 against the 22 changeups he tossed, and an amazing .053 against his 53 sliders. The slider was so effective that batters swung and missed 53.8% of the time.

Then the calendar rolled into August 

Bard made 10 August appearances with a 3.27 ERAIn Bard's first two August appearances, he allowed four runs in just an inning an a third. He faced nine batters, walking one and gave up four hits to the remaining eight batters with two homering. Batters went 3-for-4 against the fastball with a homer and 1-for-3 against the slider with a homer. Location in the strike zone was the issue as the fastball still came in at over 98 MPH and the slider around 84.

But Bard and associates made a correction and from August 7 to August 31, Bard was back being Bard. He held batters to a .065 batting average and struck out 13 in 9.2 innings without allowing a run.

Then the calendar rolled into September

Bard has made five appearances in September, only one has been scorelessThe heat map shows a totally different pitcher than our picture of June July. Sox manager Terry Francona said yesterday following Bard's latest meltdown, "Right now the fastball command is certainly an issue and getting him in trouble. His fastball is kind of cutting on him a little bit."

This is what Francona is referring to, Bard's fastball cutting too muchThis month batters are 6-for-15 (.400) against Bard's fastball while striking out only twice. The key to this slump is the five walks he's issued in the 4.2 innings. Location this time is not the issue only in the strike zone, it's that he has no idea where that fastball is going. It's not so much that he is getting shelled, he is out there throwing, not pitching.

One thing is for certain, when you have a starting pitching staff that is as suspect as Boston's if you have an 8th inning thrower and not a pitcher, you have a major pain in the backside with a capital "B" and that stands for "Bard."


The Bard of Boston

William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, may have been a terrific wordsmith but I doubt he could hold his own coming out of the bullpen like the Bard of Boston, the Red Sox' Daniel Bard. For Sox manager, Terry Francona, Bard has been pitching like a midsummer's night dream. Since May 27, Bard has held opponents scoreless in 20 appearances covering 21.2 innings over his last 20 games. According to Elias, Bard’s 20 straight scoreless outings match the all-time club record, previously accomplished by Ugueth Urbina from 4/26-6/26/2002.

Let's take a look under the hood....

Bard's scoreless streak since 5/27

Bard has faced 77 batters and thrown 278 pitchesOverall, batters in this streak are hitting .113 (8-for-71), .132 against his fastball and .063 against his slider.

Placement of Bard's fastball

His fastball is his pitch-to-contact pitch. While he has recorded 10 whiffs in 58 plate appearances against the fastball, batters have swung and missed 19.6% of the time.

71.1% of his fastballs are for strikes

Placement of slider

His slider is his strikeout pitch. He has recorded 12 whiffs in 17 plate appearances using the slider. Batters have swung and missed 54.2% of the time.

Coming out of Bard's hand, the slider looks like a fastball, but the difference in its break is significant.

Batters are 1-for-16 with 12 whiffs

These two pitches, mixed with an occasional changeup, are the reasons why Bard has the longest active scoreless streak in the majors and longest by a Boston pitcher this season. Bard’s is the longest for a Sox reliever in a single season since Jonathan Papelbon’s 22.0-inning streak, 5/4-6/26/06 and the quality of Bard's pitching is why Papelbon may already be expendable for GM Theo Epstein because we all know that a closer by any other name may still smell as sweet...maybe even sweeter.


Page 1 2