Matt Barnes has one thing on his mind when he steps on the mound: outs.
The Boston Red Sox pitcher explained to WEEI’s Nick Friar on Wednesday he approaches non-closing situations similarly to those in which he’s expected to close games. Barnes on March 29 earned his first save since 2017, but he has assumed setup or score-holding responsibilities in his last three appearances.
Nevertheless, he maintains a consistent mindset amid an ever-shifting role.
“Nah, you’re still trying to go out there and put up a zero,” Barnes said. “One-run game is still one swing away, so still trying to go out and put up a zero.
“We can score some runs with the best of them, so it’s all the same. Try to keep it where it is and either win the game on the man or give them the chance to win it at the plate.”
Barnes is among the relief pitchers on whom Red Sox manager Alex Cora will depend to fill the void Craig Kimbrel’s departure created. Barnes isn’t a like-for-like replacement for Kimbrel, and he has shown in the early days of the season Cora’s usage of his bullpen suits him just fine.
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