If you were watching the game tonight all the way to the end, was there any concern about the ninth inning whatsoever when you saw Daniel Bard jogging in? The Sox were up 4-0, so it wasn’t a save situation and Jonathan Papelbon could take the night off. It also meant one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball, at the moment, would finish off the game.
Bard did not disappoint. Nolan Reimold grounded out, and Luke Scott and Melvin Mora both struck out. They looked like they didn’t have a chance. Against Bard lately, no one has, really.
Bard surrendered zero earned runs in July. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 14 straight innings. Over that span, the league is hitting .089 against him. He has struck out a preposterous 14.8 batters per nine innings and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is truly astonishing for anyone, let alone a pitcher who throws 99 mph regularly. It’s 23 TO 0.
“He’s definitely evolved, would be a good word,” starter Josh Beckett said. “He went from a guy who kind of threw whatever. Now he’s learned to pitch at this level. It’s pretty fun to watch.”
“We’re seeing a young man right in front of our eyes mature,” manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t care how old you are. What he’s done this last six weeks has been pretty special and fun to watch.”