After a seven-year MLB hiatus, Daniel Bard is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities with the Colorado Rockies.
Daniel Bard, a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, continues to write his script as one of the best stories of the 2020 MLB season. On July 25, Bard threw 1.1 scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers. This marked his first big league appearance since April 27, 2013.
A month later, on August 11, the story continues when Bard registered his first save since nine years prior on June 5, 2011.
Yes, this redemption story begins back in 2011 when Bard was a member of the Boston Red Sox. The right-hander made his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2009 and quickly rose as one of the premier set-up men in the game.
The game looked different back then. It was uncommon for relief pitchers to hit triple digits with their fastballs, yet Bard did just that. Bard was known as a flamethrower and dominated hitters during his early years in Boston.
Through his first three seasons, Bard pitched nearly 200 innings, averaging 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He gave up only 16 home runs en route to a staggering 2.89 ERA.
Fast forward to 2012. Then-Sox Manager Bobby Valentine forced Bard into a failed starting rotation audition. And the results were terrible. Bard went 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts and was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
A year later, in 2013, Bard was out of an MLB job. His downfall can be attributed to the inexplicable baseball phenomena dubbed “The Yips.” The colloquial term for baseball players suddenly losing their ability to accurately throw a baseball. We’ve seen this in infielders, such as Chuck Knoblauch with the New York Yankees, but naturally, this phenomenon is feared worse by pitchers.
For a pitcher, whose primary goal is to throw strikes, to inexplicably lose this ability? Yes, that ends careers. Just like Daniel Bard’s, until 2020.
Prior to 2020, Bard was set to return for a third-consecutive season in a coaching role with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yet, staying close to the game he loved and throwing routinely kept Bard in a groove. A pitching showcase and an invitation to the Rockies spring training followed. And after a successful training camp, Bard was invited to the Rockies’ 30-man Opening Day roster.
Rockies manager Bud Black continued to inject Bard with confidence and entering the final stretch of the 2020 regular season, Bard has completed this ultimate redemption story.
As is expected in baseball, the opportunities were there. The Rockies suffered an injury to closer Wade Davis and less than stellar performances from Carlos Estevez and Mychal Givens. Bard has stepped in and not looked back since.
The righty has pitched in 18 games this season and converted a perfect 6-for-6 save opportunities. His ERA sits at 3.50 while striking out 23 batters in 18 innings. Better yet, he’s only walked five batters and the 100 mph fastball has returned.
We’ll continue to follow Bard’s redemption story and wish him success for the remainder of the 2020 season.