Daniel Bard staking claim as Rockies’ best closer for a single season


Daniel Bard has blown way past being just a feel-good story. The right-hander is carving out one of the best seasons by a closer in Rockies history.

“He’s been very good all year and we’ve talked about his consistency,” manager Bud Black told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday after Bard struck out the side to nail down another save in the Rockies’ 3-0 shutout of the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Entering Friday afternoon’s game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Bard has converted 30 of 33 save opportunities for a 90.9 save percentage that ranks as fourth-best in the majors. Bard’s .162 opponent batting average is the ninth-lowest among major league relievers and the third-lowest by a reliever in a single season in Rockies franchise history.

He converted 16 consecutive saves from May 18-Aug. 19, the longest single-season stretch for a Rockies pitcher since Greg Holland converted 23 straight in 2017.

“Daniel has pitched really well and I love the fact that he wanted to stay (with Colorado) and we signed him to that (contract) extension,” Black continued. “And he’s carried on. He’s had a really strong season and now the key for Daniel — and all of us — is to finish strong as a team and individually.”

Bard, who knew teams were interested in acquiring him at the trade deadline, signed a two-year, $19 million contract to stay with Colorado through 2024 just days before the deadline.

“The Rockies took a chance on me 2 1/2 years ago and probably looked crazy when they signed me,” Bard said at the time. “But they had faith in me and they helped me figure out how to pitch again. I had my ability back, but I still had to learn how to get big-league hitters out again. The Rockies were instrumental in that.”

Although he’s 37, Bard can still throw a fastball that consistently travels 98 mph and he has a biting slider that he throws anywhere from 88-92 mph.

Bard, as any reasonably astute Rockies fan knows, was out of the major leagues for more than seven seasons before hooking up with the Rockies for the 2020 season. This season, he’s been brilliant. But how brilliant in the landscape of Rockies history?

In terms of saves, he’s nowhere near the franchise record of 43 by right-hander Wade Davis in 2018 when the Rockies came up one game shy of winning their only National League West title. Davis appeared in 69 games that season, while Bard’s appeared in 52, with 19 games remaining on the Rockies’ schedule.


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