Before Matt Barnes earned his 19th save of the season against the Oakland Athletics, he learned he’d been named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Alex Cora called a team meeting Sunday morning to let Barnes and his two teammates — Nathan Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez — know they’d be joining starters Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers in Denver next week. After the game, Cora said the celebration was among the coolest moments he has as a manager.
Boston’s lights-out closer used a different adjective to describe it.
“Just a wild moment, honestly,” Barnes told MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “I knew there was a chance I was going to make it but you’re never really certain. There’s so many good relievers in this game, especially in the American League. You’ve got guys having incredible years who are very deserving of being an All-Star as well.”
After serving as a reliable bullpen arm last season, Barnes knew entering this season that the closer job was his for the taking. Perhaps not everyone foresaw him doing just that.
In 2021, Barnes has been dominant with a 2.68 ERA over 37 innings pitched and 62 strikeouts. Essentially, he earned this.
“It’s incredible,” Barnes said. “This is one of those things that everybody wishes they get to take part in and wishes they get to be on the All-Star team. It’s super exciting, man. I’m really, really happy. Obviously, very fortunate, and looking forward to the few days out there.”
The 2021 Midsummer Classic is slated for July 13th.