Stat-head setup man? Daniel Bard reads Fan Graphs

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In general pitchers seem much more willing to embrace sabermetrics than position players, as guys like Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister, and Max Scherzer have been vocal about their interest in and reliance on various new-school numbers.

Daniel Bard joined that club yesterday by admitting to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he visits Fan Graphs to check out their “shutdowns” and “meltdowns” stats, which are interesting new ways to evaluate relievers.

Bard is one of the best non-closer relievers in baseball, so it makes sense that he’d be interested in a stat that attempts to evaluate relievers based on something other than save totals. Last season Bard ranked fourth among all MLB relievers with 38 “shutdowns” compared to 10 “meltdowns.”

As he told Abraham: “People should Google it, it’s interesting. It’s just another way to look at things.”

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.