Red Sox Leave Matt Barnes Off ALDS Roster: How We Got To This Point

Barnes struggled mightily in the second half of the season


Oct 7, 2021

The Boston Red Sox on Thursday released their roster for the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and one All-Star did not make the cut.

Matt Barnes was left off the roster after being with the team for the A.L. Wild Card Game. Alex Cora elected not to use the right-hander in the 6-2 win against the New York Yankees on Monday, which probably could have been seen as an early sign that Barnes’ postseason future was in danger.

Sure, having Garrett Whitlock close out the game against his former team was poetic, but not using Barnes showed a clear lack of trust even with a four-run lead in the ninth inning.

Barnes fell from grace during the second half of the Major League Baseball season after looking like a completely different pitcher to begin the campaign. He became a reliable closer and looked unhittable at times. He even was named an All-Star to represent the Red Sox in the Midsummer Classic.

That’s when things began to fall apart for Barnes.

He signed a contract extension with the Red Sox on July 11. At that time he was 4-2 with 19 saves, a 2.61 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. After that Barnes went 2-3 with just five saves. His ERA ballooned to 6.48 while his WHIP moved to 1.62.

It’s also worth noting that Barnes’ ERA against the Rays this season is 8.31, so the odds never favored him to begin with.

Martín Pérez, who replaced Barnes on the roster, gives the Red Sox an option to use in long relief should they need it. It also might be good to have another left-handed option out of the bullpen against left-handed hitters.

All in all, though, it certainly is shocking to see just how far Matt Barnes has fallen.

Game 1 of the ALDS is set for 8:07 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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