When the Red Sox announced their roster for the ALDS Thursday morning, one of the big surprise omissions — perhaps the biggest — was Matt Barnes. The reliever was an All-Star this summer, but his second half has been rough, to the point where the team kept Martín Pérez on the roster over him. (There were other factors in play for that decision as well, of course.) But after just one game, Barnes is indeed joining the roster after all. Garrett Richards, who recorded one out on Thursday, has been taken off the roster with a left hamstring strain.
Major League Baseball has approved a roster substitution for the #RedSox due to an injury sustained by RHP Garrett Richards.— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 8, 2021
Richards, who has been diagnosed with a left hamstring strain, will be replaced on the Division Series roster by RHP Matt Barnes.
For Richards, they don’t make this move lightly, as this now means he would not be eligible for the ALCS roster if they were to make it that far. Richards has been very up and down since being converted to relief in July, but the upside he’s shown periodically in that span along with his ability to go multiple innings makes him an intriguing bottom-of-the-depth-chart option.
Meanwhile, as we said above it’s been a rough go for Barnes of late. Since the All-Star break, the first half closer has pitched to a 6.48 ERA as his strikeout rate fell from 44 percent to 26 percent while his walk rate jumped from eight percent to 11 percent. I wouldn’t expect Barnes to be involved in any high leverage situations unless it’s an extra inning affair or some other circumstances make it unavoidable.