After getting a win in relief Monday night against the Twins, Daniel Bard delivered the strongest start of his major league career in a 10-3 win over the White Sox last night.
Bard allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits over a career-high seven innings while striking out six and walking just one. After surrendering a fifth inning solo homer to Paul Konerko, he responded by retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. Bard’s command and control won’t be this precise every time out, as we have already seen this season, but an outing like this functions as a reminder that he has a chance to be much more valuable as a starting pitcher than a reliever.
As for the Red Sox, they have now won five in a row to move to 9-10 on the season. Funny what some games against some lesser competition will do. They’ll go for their sixth straight this evening when Jon Lester takes on the undefeated Jake Peavy.
Your Friday box scores:
Athletics 5, Orioles 2
Cubs 5, Phillies 1
Astros 6, Reds 4
Angels 2, Indians 3
Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 0
Tigers 6, Yankees 7
Pirates 1, Braves 6
Mariners 9, Blue Jays 5 (10 innings)
Brewers 1, Cardinals 13
Rays 8, Rangers 4
Mets 9, Rockies 18
Nationals 2, Dodgers 3
Royals 7, Twins 6
Padres 5, Giants 3
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.