Daniel Bard will be back with the Red Sox soon

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When the Red Sox demoted Daniel Bard to Triple-A Pawtucket in June, the hope was that he would be able to straighten out his mechanics and get back on track against lesser competition. Things haven’t exactly worked out that way.

Bard has a 7.45 ERA and 30/29 K/BB ratio over 29 innings in 28 relief appearances with the PawSox. The 27-year-old right-hander allowed just an unearned run and two walks over five innings in his last five appearances in July, but has an awful 12.71 ERA and 6/12 K/BB ratio over 5 2/3 innings this month.

Despite his lack of progress and continued control issues, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald hears that Bard will be back with the Red Sox this season.

Bard clearly isn’t fixed and while we have no way of knowing what is going on inside of his head, bringing him back to the big leagues only to see him struggle again may not be beneficial to him in the long-run. Given how ugly the situation already is in Boston, this could be an unnecessary risk.

Bard, 27, posted a 5.24 ERA and 34/37 K/BB ratio over 55 innings in 10 starts and one relief appearance prior to being demoted to the minors.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.