Is Miami Marlins Closer Kyle Barraclough Injured?
For the months of May and June, Kyle Barraclough was just plain unhittable for the Miami Marlins. As I noted in mid-June, Barraclough had surrendered just nine hits against him while whiffing 35 in his first 33 1/3 innings of 2018. That Gravy Train seems to have come to a full stop.
"Opponents aren’t used to much success against him, with a .192 batting average against coming into this season. Now it’s dropped to .084. It doesn’t even really seem to matter if he’s facing right-handers or left-handers. He’s held rightys to a .075 and leftys to a .098. – Me, in late-June"
Barraclough’s performance over those two months had Miami Marlins fans falling over themselves to get him into the closers role. Brad Ziegler had pitched to a 7.88 ERA at the time, and Marlins fans got their wish.
Since then, the outlook surrounding Barraclough has changed. When all-star rosters were announced, I thought that omitting Barraclough was a slight based on Miami’s status. Based on his first-half performance, I still believe so, but he is no longer the same pitcher. At least not right now.
Only one of Barraclough’s last six outings was scoreless, and he hasn’t had a perfect inning since July 9th. Since then, his ERA has climbed from 1.34 to 3.45. In his last 6 2/3 innings, he’s walked eight, allowed 14 hits, including three round-trippers, hit a batter, thrown a couple of wild pitches, and put up a .412/.535/.706 opposing slashline. He’s also blown three saves over that time, and lost two of those games.
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Is it possible that Barraclough is pitching through something? Could the problem be mechanical? Wells Dusenbury at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel noted that Barraclough faced five batters on Monday, and issued first-pitch balls to each of them. Eight of Barraclough’s 21 pitches last night were strikes.
For what it’s worth, Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly doesn’t think that Barraclough is nursing an injury:
"I think he’s healthy. If he’s not healthy, he’s not telling us, which I don’t think is the case."
As of this moment, no announcements have been made in regards to Barraclough’s continued role as closer, although the writing’s on the wall. Could Barraclough benefit from a trip to the minor leagues, as Marcell Ozuna has in the recent past? Time will tell. In the meantime, bets are even that Barraclough will appear in the next Marlins save situation. Drew Steckenrider appears ready if needed, as does Javy Guerra and Adam Conley.
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