One after the other, the Boston Red Sox called up young arms to the Majors this season. It was thus just a matter of time before the Red Sox penciled Matt Barnes in the mix to get his opportunity.
The 24-year old tossed three scoreless innings in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore at Fenway Park Tuesday. Not only that, Barnes looked polished with poise and aggressiveness of a five-year veteran.
“I think once I actually got out to the mound and into the game, I wasn’t nervous,” Barnes said. “I think I was most nervous for my first three or four throws in the bullpen. And then when (the catcher) was down, instincts took over and I wasn’t really nervous at all.”
The UConn product came into the seventh inning already trailing 4-1 after a shaky 3 1/3 inning start from Anthony Ranuado earlier. Barnes proceeded to throw eight pitches to get three outs.
“I think once you get past the nerves and being in front of everybody and who you’re playing against, it’s the same game. I’ve been playing it for 20 years,” Barnes said. “Once you get out there, you kind of don’t really see anything else except for the glove and you just go out there and try to execute pitches.”
Barnes struck out Chris Davis for his first strikeout with a 94-MPH fastball, as he went on to throw 30 of 38 pitches for strikes. Over his three innings, Barnes stayed around 94-96MPH with his fastball and threw a few change ups and curves to keep the opposition off balance.
Barnes ran into some trouble in the ninth after giving up a single and double with one out before striking out two impressive major league hitters in Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. After all, what is a young pitcher without a little adversity.
“Impressive three innings of work. A high number of strikes. An outstanding changeup,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “In the ninth inning, with men at second and third with just one out, he didn’t panic. He used his secondary pitches, particularly in the strikeout of Jones. A very solid three innings from him tonight.”
Looks like the Sox have another bright star in the rotation, adding to an exciting off-season of possibilities.