Pitcher who gets to Strut
One pitcher who hasn’t thrived in their bullpen role is setup man Matt Barnes, although he’s showing signs of turning things around.
Barnes tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings, handling the heaviest workload of any Red Sox reliever last week. He allowed only two hits to go along with six strikeouts. More importantly, he didn’t walk a batter after issuing 10 free passes over his previous 15 1/3 innings this season.
While his performance is promising, it must be noted that Barnes wasn’t used in high leverage situations. He was prepared to protect a four-run lead in the ninth inning on Sunday, only for Boston’s bats to score five more runs in the top of the inning to make his job significantly easier. Prior to that he was used to mop up the final two innings of an 8-3 loss. His only other appearance of the week did come in a tight game, although he only faced one batter and it was in the seventh inning.
With Boston’s primary eighth inning options sidelined all season by injury, manager John Farrell turned to Barnes to lock down that spot. He seems to have lost the setup role after his ERA inflated to 4.70 earlier this month, but a few solid appearances since then will go a long way toward Barnes gaining that trust back.