Daniel Bard allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Opening Day.
Since then he’s allowed a grand total of seven runs in 47 innings, including a Red Sox-record 21 straight scoreless appearances dating all the way back to May 23.
Or as Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com put it: “The last time Daniel Bard allowed a run, the Bruins were playing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals and Dustin Pedroia was batting .246.”
That stretch includes 22.2 scoreless innings, during which time opponents have batted just .108 with one extra-base hit against Bard and he’s lowered his ERA from 3.65 to 1.90.
Bard told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal that “there’s definitely some luck involved when it comes to something like this” and “nothing’s really changed about me as a pitcher or anything,” which isn’t surprising coming from an admitted stat-head.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.