Angels News: Jaime Barria Puts Together Solid ‘Audition’ For 2022
Jaime Barria, 2021 Season
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels fell to the Texas Rangers on Monday night, 4-0. After winning the first two games of the series, the Angels lost back-to-back games and settled for the series split. However, the loss — while charged to starter Jaime Barria — does not reflect how he performed.

In total, Barria allowed three runs on eight hits. He walked zero batters and struck out three, and threw 88 pitches over seven innings of work. It was the first time since Aug. 7 that Barria went longer than 4.1 innings.

It wasn’t a perfect night from Barria, but manager Joe Maddon felt that he got relatively unlucky, and that his performance is far better on tape than it looks to be in the box score, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:

“He was really good,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He was a bit unlucky, actually. He had every opportunity to put up zeros. But they hit a lot of flares. They really didn’t hit him hard if you play back the tape. I thought he really threw the ball well, but, unfortunately, so did their guy [A.J. Alexy].”

A look at the Statcast numbers for the night actually confirm this evaluation from Maddon. Four of Barria’s eight hits allowed had an expected batting average below .300, and the first two hits he allowed had exit velocities of under 75 mph.

Barria saw this outing as a trial run for next season, as he is well aware the Angels are evaluating all of their pitching options for 2022.

“It does feel like an audition for next year,” Barria said through an interpreter. “I feel really good about myself right now. I just have to keep working hard and see how it goes.”

If it was an audition, then it’s safe to say that he did what he needed to do. It’s unclear exactly where Barria would fit on next year’s team, but performances like this would show that he is a capable Major League starter.

With the Angels pitching situation, there are almost never certainties. Going into next season, it feels like Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, and Jose Suarez are perhaps the only guys that have solidified a spot in the starting rotation. The other 2-3 spots are up for grabs, and maybe Barria has secured one.

Matt Wise adjusting to learning curve

It has been a difficult year for Angels pitching. Injuries, COVID, and inconsistency plagued this unit, and no one has felt it more than interim-turned-first year pitching coach Matt Wise.

He spoke about the bad luck that has surrounded the pitching staff this season, saying that there has been a gigantic learning curve for him.

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