Jaime Barria looked like a completely different player when he was first reinstated into the Los Angeles Angels starting rotation. Barria fought with inconsistency his first three Major League seasons, but it finally looked like he had something in 2021.
Through three starts, he had finished 19.2 innings, posting an ERA of 2.29 with a total of five earned runs. Two of those starts came against the Oakland Athletics and L.A. Dodgers, who sit among the elite offenses in baseball.
However, things have slipped recently for Barria. In his last two starts — including Friday night against the Cleveland Indians — he has pitched a total of 5.0 innings, giving up eight runs in the process. He’s allowed 13 hits while striking out only four batters.
After the Angels’ 9-1 loss to the Indians, Barria gave his thoughts as to what has gone wrong for him during his last two outings and what he can do to fix it, according to Jack Harris of The L.A. Times:
“I feel like this start and my previous start was more about location,” Barria said. “I’ve been off on my location. The catcher sets up and I keep missing my spots. That’s what I should be focusing on.”
“Tomorrow, I want to sit down and watch some video,” Barria said through an interpreter. “I want to figure out the problem as fast as I can.”
Joe Maddon explained the quick trigger with Barria on Friday, pulling him after only two innings on the mound.
“He just didn’t have his normal stuff,” Maddon said. “Nothing was really crisp, nothing was finishing … It just wasn’t going to work out after two innings.”
Given the injuries to Patrick Sandoval and Alex Cobb, it’s unlikely that Barria is removed from the rotation. That being said, the remainder of the 2021 season is the perfect opportunity for him to work through his issues while he has a looser leash.
The Angels hope to contend in 2022, and if Barria can use the last six weeks of the season to get back to his top stuff, there’s a real chance he finds himself in next season’s rotation. If not, he could be replaced, as general manager Perry Minasian was not shy about his continued quest for pitching.
Sandoval could be out for season
The Angels young southpaw has already cemented his place in next year’s rotation after a breakout 2021 campaign. However, he may not get another chance to pitch before then, as there are question marks surrounding the severity of his current back injury.
Maddon did not want to commit to anything, but he said that missing the remainder of the year was a possibility.