Matt Barnes Likely Next Man Up If Starter Goes Down

matt  barnes

This winter the Red Sox made some moves to their pitching staff that signaled they were moving onto the next wave of pitching prospects. Besides not being able to retain Jon Lester, gone are Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, and Anthony Ranaudo. De La Rosa and Webster were sent to Arizona in the Wade Milley trade, while Ranaudo was sent to Texas for Robbie Ross.

Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and Eduardo Rodriguez are the next wave of pitching Matt Barnesprospects the Red Sox have, and are all left handed, highly valued in today’s game. We are not going to argue about who has the most potential as the Red Sox hope all three lefties pan out. The one holdover from the Pawtucket Red Sox rotation from last season is Matt Barnes.

Barnes, 6’4 210 pounds out of the University of Connecticut throws hard and has been a starter since the Red Sox drafted him in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. There has been talk of Barnes converting to a reliever this season and even cracking the opening day roster out of the ‘pen. However with Alexei Ogando and Robbie Ross Jr. likely ahead of Barnes of the depth chart, he may start the season in AAA Pawtucket and be ready for the call if a starter should go down.

Not many teams have all five starters make 30 starts in a season. The Rangers are already experiencing problems with Yu Darvish likely missing the year because of the Tommy John Surgery. The Blue Jays will be without Marcus Stroman for the season after he torn his MCL during fielding drills. And just yesterday the against the Red Sox, Yankees starter Chris Capuano strained his quad running to cover first base. Rotation depth is something you need in baseball to make it to October.

Barnes made his major league debut last season after the minor league season ended. He appeared in 5 games for the Sox tossing 9 innings, while giving up 4 runs. So far this spring Barnes has appeared in 2 games, striking out 6 in 4 innings of work with only 2 hits allowed. The Sox could have used Barnes as a trade chip like they used Webster, De La Rosa, and Ranaudo, but they kept him– signaling he is still a part of the future.

A lot can happen in the three weeks left of spring training, but don’t be surprised if Matt Barnes does not make the team out of spring training. The value he has as a depth starter is huge and flip flopping him from starter to reliever might have an impact on him, like it did on Brandon Workman last season.

Ortiz Wins Appeal, Credited With Two Hits Against Darvish

david ortiz wins appeal

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball credited David Ortiz with a hit in the seventh inning from the May 9 game between the Red Sox and Rangers. The controversial play ended Yu Darvish’s perfect game. 

Ortiz came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. At that point, Darvish had retired 20 straight hitters.

Ortiz hit a pop fly to right field. Rangers outfielder Alex Rios came in, but allowed second baseman Rougned Odor to make the catch. Odor, however, lost the ball in the lights, and ended up letting it fall to the ground. The official scorer, Steve Weller, ruled an error on Rios.

The play ended Darvish’s perfect-game in the seventh, but kept the pitcher’s no-hitter intact. Darvish carried the no-hitter through 8 2/3 innings, until Ortiz singled to end the bid in the ninth.

The Rangers defeated the Red Sox 8-0. After the game, Weller explained to the Dallas Morning News his decision to rule the play an error.

“In my judgment, when the ball goes up in the air, I felt like the second baseman or right fielder under normal effort could have caught the ball,” Weller said. “Under the rule, 10.12a1, it clearly states that a fly ball that lands — that’s allowed to hit the ground, that in the judgment of the official scorer under normal effort could be caught — you’re to award an error on the play.”

Following the game, Ortiz officially appealed the scoring decision on the error because he wanted the hit. After the game, Ortiz told ESPN Boston that he would not have appealed the error had Darvish completed the no-hitter.

The only reason why this play was not ruled a hit was because Darvish had a no-hitter going. If the Red Sox had gotten five hits off of Darvish, this wouldn’t have even been a discussion. Weller felt pressure to give Odor an error because the Rangers were at home and their fans wanted to see a no-hitter.

I’m glad to see MLB reverse the original ruling by the official scorer. The ball didn’t even touch Odor’s glove. He clearly lost it in the lights and Ortiz should have been credited with a hit.

MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds called it the “worst ruling in Major League Baseball history.” Now I’m not ready to go that far, but it was a terrible call.