Daniel Bard has been a mess at Double-A this season and may have reached rock bottom last night, as the once-dominant Red Sox reliever walked five and uncorked two wild pitches in one inning of work.
Just eight of his 30 total pitches were strikes and Bard has now walked 17 batters in 12.2 innings at Double-A overall this season, including 13 walks in 3.2 innings since returning after a brief call-up to the Red Sox.
Bard was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2009-2011, throwing 197 innings with a 2.88 ERA, but his attempted transition to the rotation went horribly and he’s been a disaster ever since. At this point he’s basically in Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel/Mark Wohlers territory.
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.