Before taking on the Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on Friday night, the Red Sox made a slight change to the composition of their bullpen.
After requesting and receiving approval from Major League Baseball to make a substitution, the Sox replaced right-hander Garrett Richards on their ALDS roster with fellow righty Matt Barnes, the club announced earlier Friday evening.
Richards, who was used in relief of Eduardo Rodriguez in Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay, needed all of three pitches to get Randy Arozarena to ground out to retire the side in the second inning.
Since he was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain, though, Richards had to be removed from Boston’s roster. Per Major League Baseball’s postseason rules, the 33-year-old would not be eligible to participate in the American League Championship Series. He would, however, be available for the World Series if the Sox were to make it that far.
Barnes, on the other hand, was initially left off the Red Sox’ ALDS roster as a healthy scratch so that three left-handers (Austin Davis, Martin Perez, Josh Taylor) could be available out of the bullpen.
Despite not being named to the roster, Barnes still traveled with the Sox to St. Petersburg in the event that he would be needed due to an injury elsewhere, which turns out to be the case.
For how impressive of a start Barnes got his season off to — in which he netted himself a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension while being named to his first career All-Star team — the latter half of his year was full of struggles.
Over the final two-plus months of the regular season, the 31-year-old fireballer posted a dismal 9.26 ERA and 7.11 FIP in 17 appearances (11 2/3 innings pitched) out of the Boston bullpen. He also missed a significant amount of time during that stretch after testing positive for COVID-19 in late August.
As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Barnes is available out of the bullpen for Friday’s contest against the Rays.
(Picture of Matt Barnes: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)