The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided the sweep against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, but may have lost a bench player in the process. Austin Barnes left the game in the ninth inning after taking a pitch off the wrist.
And it was something that very much could've been avoided. With two outs in the top of the ninth with the Dodgers up 6-0 and a runner on second, Reds manager David Bell opted to intentionally walk James Outman for whatever reason. Please explain, sir!
Barnes, the next batter, then got hit by Ian Gibaut and had to leave the game. Manager Dave Roberts spoke to reporters following the victory and said Barnes is headed for X-rays. He added that it "didn't sound good" from the dugout, which now has fans worrying about Kershaw's personal catcher.
Speaking of Kershaw, who usually keeps to himself, the left-hander called out Bell after the game for his decision to walk Outman since it eventually led to Barnes' injury. Even though Barnes has been having a terrible year, he's not somebody the Dodgers necessarily want to lose given his influence on Kershaw, the team's best starter at the moment.
And it was all because Bell wanted a righty-righty matchup down six runs in the ninth? Did he really think the Reds' magic from the last two nights was going to continue in the form of one of the most epic comebacks ever?
Clayton Kershaw calls out Reds for intentional walk move vs Dodgers
Bell was also ejected on Tuesday night for arguing balls and strikes. He was absolutely heated after home plate umpire Carlos Torres tossed him relatively quickly. Bell's ejections this year have been fairly animated and some might say unprofessional, which we can assume what Kershaw is referring to.
As Barnes' status hangs in the balance, it's hard not to point at Bell's unnecessary decision with the bottom half of his lineup coming to the plate in the ninth.
The lone silver lining here? Perhaps the Dodgers can call upon prospect catcher Hunter Feduccia, who's currently with Triple-A OKC and has a .773 OPS this season. That could at least help the Dodgers improve upon Barnes' .103 AVG and .321 OPS on the year.
But you never want these kinds of managerial decisions upending somebody's season, and Kershaw was right to make some noise about it in the postgame.