The Red Sox were in need of a win on Monday against the Rangers to prevent falling any further in the playoff hunt, until Matt Barnes entered. Boston was coming off an embarrassing loss to the Rangers on Saturday where they had their doors blown off.
Nathan Eovaldi gave the bullpen a lift going seven innings. Over the course of his outing, he only allowed one unearned run, four hits while striking out seven.
Despite Eovaldi’s effort on the mound, the bullpen would cough up the lead for the All-Star right-hander.
Matt Barnes blows save in the ninth for the Red Sox
During the month of August, Barnes has a 15.19 ERA, allowing nine earned runs in 5 1/2 innings.
Barnes would blow a 3-1 lead in the ninth allowing two runs to score off of four hits by Texas.
Should Matt Barnes be removed from his role?
Matt Barnes shouldn’t be the closer anymore.
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) August 23, 2021
The fan sentiment around Barnes closing games in the ninth is beginning to wane. Barnes has been ineffective in his role during the month of July and August.
The Sox closer was incredibly effective for the first three months of the season. Barnes was rewarded by being selected to the All-Star game in Colorado.
If the Red Sox were to remove Barnes from the closer role, the question would be who replaces him? Adam Ottavino has experience closing games and he does have eight saves already this season.
Whitlock in ninth?
Fans have been asking for Garrett Whitlock as a possible ninth inning replacement. Whitlock was impressive for the Sox on Monday.
Whitlock entered the game with one out and runners on second and third after Barnes struggles in the ninth.
The rookie would retire the next two hitters of the three batters he faced. From there he went into cruise control.
“What he did out there, it was impressive. Very impressive,” outfielder Alex Verdugo said during a postgame press conference. “Playing behind him, he’s been doing this all year. I don’t think he gets talked about enough from MLB or people like that. He’s having an unbelievable season.”
“You can’t say enough about him. He’s been unbelievable for us all year,” said Eovaldi.
“He had a bad outing last time and he was able to turn the page real quick. That’s one of the toughest things to do especially as a young player and he did that tonight,” added Eovaldi.
It’s unlikely for manager Alex Cora to remove Barnes from the closer role. Cora has given his players a long leash this season.
If he is not able to correct his issues on the mound, Cora might not have a choice but to replace him. It’s not an ideal situation for Cora and his bullpen to be in, but Barnes is becoming a cardiac closer. Fans are looking for the first half Barnes versus becoming a present day Heathcliff Slocumb.
– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)
Feature image courtesy of The Boston Globe
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