Drake Britton Sharp Despite Struggles in AAA

Drake BrittonIn 2013, Drake Britton did something new — he pitched in relief. After being called up from AAA Pawtucket having just one start under his belt, Britton found himself thrown into a pennant race.

Considerably speaking he was effective allowing nine runs on 21 innings of work while walking seven and fanning 17.

He just missed out on a spot in the playoffs and was left off the team in favor of righty Brandon Workman. Nevertheless, expectations were high for Britton who was slated to begin 2014 in Pawtucket.
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Realistically, 2014 was a bit of a disappointment for Drake Britton. He had never pitched a full season in relief, and it showed. At first it started off well as he posted a 1.29 ERA in 10 April outings for the Paw Sox totaling 14 innings, but it was all down hill from there.

For the Paw Sox, Britton walked more than he struck out (38-37), allowed eight home runs and posted a 5.86 ERA in 45 appearances totaling 58.1 innings. His last 9.1 innings of the year were scoreless, meaning his ERA peaked at 6.98 on August 16th.

Against lefties, Britton was much more effected, but still not perfect. They hit .276 off of him while he struck out 19 and walked just 10. Righties on the other hand posed a bit of a threat hitting .350 off him while he walked 28 and fanned just 18.
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His struggles in Pawtucket seemed to have no valid explanation. Sure, his control may have not been his best, but his stuff is impressive. Topping out at 95 mph on his fastball, the stuff is there which makes the circumstances of his struggles even tougher to explain.

In 2011, Britton posted a Carolina League worst 6.91 ERA in 26 starts, losing 13 games.

Despite his struggles in AAA, Britton has pitched effectively so far in the big leagues. In seven outings totaling 6.2 innings, hitters went 5-for-23 off the southpaw while he struck out four men and walked a pair.

Command does appear to be a bit of an issue for the 25-year-old Texas native, but he  recorded twenty outs without a problem in the bigs this year so it is not too big of an issue.
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Two things are clear when it comes to Drake Britton—he has a future with the Boston Red Sox and it is in the bullpen. Next year should be significantly better for him as he may potentially win a bullpen spot with a strong campaign for the rest of this season.

Surely, Britton is slated to begin next season in Pawtucket, but he may find himself as a full-time member of the Boston Red Sox bullpen by the end of the season.

Matt Barnes a Reliever?

matt barnesOn Sunday June 15th, Matt Barnes was slated to make a start for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Instead, Felix Doubront got the start since he needed a rehab start in order to prepare himself to get back to the Major League team. Well, that start went great for Doubront who tossed five no hit innings for the Paw Sox totaling 93 pitches in which he fanned ten batters while walking four.
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In the sixth inning of the game, for the first time of his professional career, Matt Barnes came in as a reliever. Barnes tossed three scoreless innings allowing a pair of hits while fanning a batter. Although some people might see that as just an abbreviated appearance, there could be more to it. This could be a blessing in disguise for Barnes.

A top prospect in the Red Sox organization, Matt Barnes has not pitched great since about mid 2012. Since July of that year, minus the relief appearance, Barnes owns a 4.29 ERA in 203 2/3 innings. Although this is not great, Barnes does have great stuff. His fastball touches 98mph and he also throws a solid curve and change-up.  With 142 in 113 1/3 innings last year, Barnes has the swing-and-miss type stuff to make a good reliever. As his curve develops, he should be able to generate even more whiffs making him even more successful.
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Given that Boston already has plenty of starting pitchers lined up ahead of Barnes on the depth chart, the bullpen might just be his calling. In order to get to the big leagues quicker last year, both Brandon Workman and Drake Britton pitched in relief so it is possible that Matt Barnes could do the same thing this year. Realistically, Barnes could not do much to help Boston this year the way he has been starting, but as a reliever there is a chance that he could help this team out.

Overall, Matt Barnes is a talented pitcher, but he has not pitched like someone who deserves a chance in a Major League rotation in a long time. Fortunately for Barnes, he has stuff that transfers well over to the bullpen and that may just be his calling in his big league future. This is not to say that Barnes should never get a chance in the rotation, but the bullpen seems like his best bet for now.

Drunk Driving charges against Drake Britton

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Well, here we go- Red Sox pitcher Drake Britton was arrested on several charges this past weekend down in Fort Myers. Charges included DUI, DUI property damage and reckless driving. Oh, let’s also mention that he was going almost THREE times the speed limit of 45. He was clocked at 111 MPH!

The team released the following statement:

“This is a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously, and it is being addressed. The club will not make further comment on this matter.”

This just drives me INSANE!

First, let me say this: athletes are human, too. They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. They also make mistakes. They sometimes even make STUPID mistakes.

Okay, okay. What makes me mad is this- Drake Britton, you are 23 years old. You have worked your whole life to get to where you are right now. You are part of a professional ball team. Why would you risk the jail time, loss of contract, or even worse DEATH?

I’m not asking you to be the #1 role model out there. I’m not saying to not enjoy yourself. But Drake, if you’re going to party, be smart about it. You’ve got an entire team out there that would have driven you home.

And really- you’re a cutie. Let’s not wreck that face up, okay?

Don’t drink and drive, kids.