Marlins take Barraclough out of closer's role

Club will mix and match with save situations in short term

August 7th, 2018

MIAMI -- Closing will become a group effort for the Marlins, at least for the short term. Manager Don Mattingly on Tuesday announced that , unable to convert his last four save chances, is being moved to a setup role.

Without a natural successor, the Marlins will mix and match their save situations until someone takes over the job on a more consistent basis.

Right-hander (two career saves) and left-hander (one career save) are the likely candidates to close, with rookie as another possibility.

"We'll just try to piece it together," Mattingly said. "Probably the other side of the off-day we'll have a better feel for some different combinations. It's not going to be one guy. It can be anybody. That's my early thinking on it."

After completing their series with the Cardinals on Wednesday, the Marlins are off on Thursday before opening a three-game set with the Mets on Friday at Marlins Park.

"We've got to get everybody rested," Mattingly said.

As for Barraclough, the right-hander will be used in lower-leverage situations to regain his form.

"We'll just work him back in, and hopefully the next inning he's in, he's not walking the tightrope and there is no room for error," Mattingly said. "Just get him back on track. He feels good."

Barraclough is healthy, but his performance has slumped since being named the National League Reliever of the Month in June. That month, he didn't allow a run in 12 appearances spanning 12 innings.

His struggles began in July, when he posted an 8.38 ERA in the month. Since the All-Star break, his ERA has ballooned to 23.14 in six games (4 2/3 innings). Before the break, the right-hander was one of the top relievers in the NL, sporting a 1.28 ERA in 42 1/3 innings.

"Claw has been through this, but it probably hasn't been seen this way because it hasn't been the ninth," Mattingly said. "He's had stretches in the three years since I've been here where he's had some struggles. But when it's in the seventh and the game is not as much on the line, it's not talked about, it's not noticed as much. You put that guy back out there without a net [in the ninth inning], and we talk about it when it doesn't go good."

Barraclough blew a save chance last Thursday against the Phillies, surrendering a walk-off homer to in a 5-2 loss.

In Monday night's 2-1 win over the Cardinals, Barraclough entered with a two-run lead, recording one out and allowing one run while loading the bases. The Marlins prevailed when Javy Guerra got to bounce into a game-ending double play.

Since the All-Star break, Barraclough hasn't gotten many breaks, either. His opponents' BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .500. In the first half, it was .158.

Even though he was demoted from the ninth-inning role, Barraclough could find himself closing again, if he can regain his form.

"It can be really quick," Mattingly said. "As much as anything, it's just giving him a breather so he is not walking the tightrope every time out, to where he can actually make a mistake and still get away with it and still be successful. Obviously, the command and where he feels confident he can throw his pitches for strikes is really where you want to get to."