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.”

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.