Trevor Story has seen his share of late-inning meltdowns by Rockies pitchers at Coors Field. But when the Dodgers loaded the bases in the ninth inning Thursday against closer Daniel Bard, Story wasn’t sweating it.
“I have all of the confidence in ‘BarDo’,” the shortstop said after Colorado’s 8-5, opening day victory over the Dodgers. “He’s a special kind and that’s what it takes to be a closer.
“Just knowing the work he puts in, not just physically, but mentally, too. He’s a guy I just love playing behind.”
Things got dicey for Bard when Max Muncy tripled and Chris Taylor drew a walk to open the ninth. But Bard, his fastball whistling at 100 mph, struck out Edwin Rios looking before hitting Will Smith, loading the bases. But then Bard cooly struck out Matt Beaty looking and got the dangerous Mookie Betts to line out softly to second baseman Chris Owings to notch the save.
Dating back to last season, Bard is 7-for-7 in save opportunities for Colorado.
It was quite the day for the 35-year-old Bard, who was out of the majors for seven seasons because of the yips before making the Rockies last year. Thursday, his two sons, Davis and Sykes, and his infant daughter, Campbell, got to see him pitch for the first time in a big-league game.
“Daniel got one of the best players in the game (Betts) right there to end the game,” manager Bud Black said. “Our guy, I think, is going to be one of the best closers in the game.
“And what an opening-day duel there at the end. It was good to see Daniel get through that one. Because there’s going to be games like this here, where he has to wiggle out of it and not give up. But that was a good one. I mean, what a stressor on opening day. But he got it done, he made pitches.”
Chacin returns. The Rockies finalized their roster Thursday morning, officially signing right-hander Jhoulys Chacín to a major league contract and designating right-handed reliever Jairo Diaz for assignment.
Chacin, 33, began his career with the Rockies. He is the first major league free agent signed by the Rockies since now-retired first baseman Daniel Murphy signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the club in December 2018. He projects as a long reliever or possibly as Colorado’s fifth starter.
Diaz, 29, struggled in spring training, posting a 10.24 ERA.
“It was a hard decision,” Black said. “He didn’t have a great spring and somebody had to be the odd man out. We’ll see what happens with the waiver wire with Jairo in the next 48 hours, whether he’ll be claimed or whether he’ll remain in our system.”
As for picking up Chacin, who was recently cut by the Yankees, Black said: “We felt as though we needed some length in our bullpen in the early portion of the season. You’ll see (fifth starter) Chi Chi González out there this weekend. Bringing in (Chacín) gives us another reliable long man who would give us two or three innings of length, and also potential starter depth moving forward.”
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