December 9, 2022

For Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong in the past six weeks


“The first four to five months, I mean, I knew I could go out there and put 98 where I wanted, when I wanted with a bullet that breaks,” Barnes said. “And then I go through a period where I launch a ton of games in a very short period of time, I kind of lose it, I try to find a way to make more – which is never the right one. answer, but it’s fair, it’s hard not to do that.

“So we start to try to figure out, ‘OK, how can I get back? “As soon as we get closer, I get COVID,” said Barnes, who suffered a positive infection at the end of August. “I have had COVID for three weeks and have not been completely corrected [on the mound]. So now when I come back it doesn’t just come back. I’m always working. And then all of a sudden I cut off part of my thumb.

Say again?

At the end of September, Barnes was cutting a pepper while making an omelet when he cut the tip of his left thumb. He wears a bandage on his finger, with a hard plastic casing inside his glove so he can catch the ball painlessly.

“Over the past six weeks, I feel like everything has been crazy,” Barnes said. “The first four months, five months, everything was perfect. In the past six weeks, everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong. It’s just a crazy year. It really is.

Barnes is less concerned with the thumb than with the struggles that resulted in his exclusion from the ALCS roster. He lost his job as a closer in late August, tested positive for COVID-19 soon after, and allowed two runs in five innings of six outings to end the regular season, mostly in low spots. leverage.

The Sox initially excluded him from the ALDS roster against Tampa Bay, but added it back when Garrett Richards landed on the injured roster with a hamstring injury. But for the ALCS against the Astros, the team left it out again.

The development is undoubtedly disappointing for a pitcher who was the Red Sox’s most reliable reliever in the 2018 playoffs (including in the ALCS against the Astros, when he pitched in all five games, allowing a run on a hit. in 4 â…“ sleeves). But Barnes acknowledges his performance left manager Alex Cora and the team with little to choose from.

“It’s really difficult [to be left off the roster]”Said Barnes.” You’ve been working for seven months with these guys. And obviously you want to keep doing your part. But it’s about putting in the best team that AC and the front office say gives us best chance to make it to the World Series No matter how frustrated or angry I am about it, right now he’s bigger than me.

After his omission – and subsequent addition – in the ALDS, Barnes understands that circumstances can change quickly and that he must remain vigilant in case the Red Sox need him, whether to move forward in the ALCS or potentially in the World Series.

“It’s tough, but like I said, it’s what it is right now. My job is to stay ready as best I can, cheer on these guys and hopefully move on, ”said Barnes, who watches the games from the unknown point of view of the dugout. “I have to stay ready. We never know. I wouldn’t be doing the guys on the pitch a favor if I didn’t stay ready.

Alex Speier can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.