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Barria's encouraging start not enough in loss

@RhettBollinger
September 15, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Jaime Barria turned in an encouraging start against the Rays, but it unraveled when he faced the top of their order for a third time in the sixth inning. Barria went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts

ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Jaime Barria turned in an encouraging start against the Rays, but it unraveled when he faced the top of their order for a third time in the sixth inning.

Barria went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a 3-1 loss on Saturday night at Angel Stadium. Both runs Barria allowed were charged to him after he departed in the sixth. It was the fourth time in five starts that Barria gave up two or fewer runs, posting a 4.50 ERA over that span.

Box score

“It was a very good outing,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Maybe his best outing of the year. Everything seemed to be working. With all the lefties in the lineup, he used his changeup quite a bit. The slider is probably his go-to pitch, but really, his changeup was the difference-maker with the left-handed bats.”

The 23-year-old Barria cruised through the first five frames, giving up only two hits on a single by Travis d’Arnaud in the second and a single by Nate Lowe that was quickly erased by a double play in the fifth. As Ausmus noted, the righty leaned heavily on his slider, throwing it 48 times, but he also mixed in his changeup 13 times.

"All my pitches were working," Barria said through an interpreter. "My slider and my changeup, and I was able to locate my fastball. Definitely one of my better outings. My last couple were kind of shaky."

Barria came out for the sixth at 77 pitches, and he retired No. 9 hitter Willy Adames on a flyout to deep left. Barria remained in the game to face the top of the order and promptly gave up a single to Joey Wendle on a first-pitch fastball. He then faced a second straight lefty in Austin Meadows, who drew a walk on five pitches. Of the 12 pitches Barria threw that inning, nine were sliders.

"I feel like in the sixth inning, I started going to my slider more out of respect for the power the team has,” Barria said. “I got a little tired at the end."

Barria was then removed for a carousel of relievers, as the Angels made three pitching changes in the sixth, including bringing in Taylor Cole with two outs and the bases loaded. Cole fell behind d’Arnaud before serving up a three-run double to left on a 3-2 fastball over the heart of the plate. Two of those runs were charged to Barria.

“Taylor just fell behind d’Arnaud,” Ausmus said. “He was behind the entire at-bat. You don’t have a lot of room for error with the bases loaded and a 3-2 count, and d’Arnaud made us pay for it.”

Barria has had trouble facing hitters a third time this season, as he's allowed them to bat .379 (11-for-28) with three walks. The Angels have tried to avoid the third-time-through-the-order penalty this year, leaning heavily on their bullpen.

"I have to keep my focus and my confidence going the third time through the lineup,” Barria said. “I have to try to locate my pitches."

Barria fell to 4-9 with a 5.95 ERA in 17 games (11 starts) this year, as he hasn't replicated his solid 2018 rookie season in which he posted a 3.41 ERA in 26 starts. Barria was shuttled between Triple-A Salt Lake and the Majors most of the season, but he will remain in the rotation the rest of the way, getting a few more chances to show what he can do.

"I want to keep working hard and give the best I have,” Barria said. “I have two outings left, and I just want to give it my best."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.