Nation STATion: Nine to Know, Daniel Bard Edition

191542.jpg

Nation STATion: Nine to Know, Daniel Bard Edition

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Daniel Bard has been inconsistent on the mound this season and his stats reflect that.

Take a look:

1. He is 1-4 with a mediocre 3.65 ERA but an outstanding WHIP of 1.014.

2. In the first month of the season he pitched 12.1 innings, had a 3.65 ERA, and was 0-3. This month he has pitched 12.1 innings, has a 3.65 ERA, and is 1-1. The difference is that in April, batters hit .256 against him and in May, they have hit .159.

3. Batters are only hitting .207 against him overall, although in an eighth-inning world where there is little margin for error, that still may be too high. He's up from .176 last season, when he was pretty much lights out.

4. He has, in essence, blown two saves, but has nine holds, and the Buchholz run he allowed Monday night was just the first of nine inherited runners he as allowed to score.

5. He has been dominant in front of the Fenway faithful, where he is 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA and a batting average against of .113. But on the road, he is 0-4 with a 6.55 ERA and a 3.02 BAA.

6. Hes dominated right-handed batters, holding them to a .162 batting average and a .532 OPS. Lefties have fared better against him, hitting .240 with a .763 OPS.

7. If there is any number to notice this year it has been in his proclivity to allow extra-base hits; 9.3 of all plate appearances have resulted in an extra-base hit, practically double last season's 4.8.

8. Of the 18 hits he's surrendered this season, 50 have gone for extra-bases: five doubles, one triple and three homers.

9. The only other number of any consequence is that fact that he is falling behind batters at a slightly greater pace this season only recording a strike on the first pitch 51 of the time as opposed to 58 last season.

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

red_sox_pedroia_092416.jpg

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

pablo-sandoval-4-2015.jpg

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.