It Was Quite A Dodgers Debut For Austin Barnes
When catcher Yasmani Grandal was placed on the seven-day disabled list, the Dodgers promoted catcher Austin Barnes from triple-A Oklahoma City.
25 year-old Barnes made his major league debut this afternoon as the Dodgers attempted to take the final game and sweep their weekend series against the third place San Diego Padres. That sweep wasn’t in the cards, as the Dodgers had their heads handed to them in a 11- 3 loss. It was a lopsided game, but far from a throw-away sleeper for Barnes.
Young Barnes was one of three players who came over from Miami in the trade that sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins. The other two players the Dodgers acquired were Kike Hernandez and Chris Hatcher.
The Dodgers placed Barnes with their triple-A team where he batted .290 with three home runs and a .390 on-base percentage in 29 games. He only struck out once in his last 50 plate appearances before being called up.
Carlos Frias started the game for the Dodgers and got into immediate trouble, giving up a grand slam in the first inning. By the end of the third inning, the Dodgers were down by a score of 9-0. That should have alleviated a bit of the pressure on Barnes, who probably felt more than a few butterflies in making his first start. With the team losing by such a wide margin, whenever he came to bat, he was not going to have to worry about a pressure situation with the game on the line and all eyes on him. All he had to do was catch the ball and do his best at the plate.
It should have been an exercise in a blowout game, but Barnes would not get off that easy. He had a passed ball and a strike out – the worst things that can happen to a catcher and a batter. I’m sure Barnes felt the heat as those plays unfolded, but they were going to happen to him eventually, as they do to every ballplayer, and it really was best his first strike out and passed ball occurred in a game that nobody will really think about past tonight. Those terrible firsts have now passed, they had no effect on the outcome of the game, and Barnes can now continue his major league career with those behind him.
Call to the Pen
Barnes also had some great moments of game and personal excitement today. It might have been easy for a lot of the other Dodgers to go through the motions in today’s laugher, but Barnes had to catch for five different pitchers – all of them with different deliveries bringing different speeds and different “stuff”. That’s got to be tough enough for a veteran catcher to do with his regular pitching staff – it had to be almost overwhelming for a young catcher making his major league debut.
Barnes had the worst low of a passed ball, but he also experienced the high of the best play a catcher can make – a play at the plate. It was far from an easy play as he had to give the lane to the runner, catch the throw from Kike Hernandez in center field and make a rapid sweep tag to get the runner, Abraham Almonte at the plate.
Besides the strike out, Barnes also made solid contact at the plate, hitting a fly out, and in his third time at bat, he smacked a clean single to center field, bringing the Austin Barnes Marching and Chowder Society to their feet.
What a game for Austin Barnes, the kid from Riverside Poly High.