The Washington Nationals bullpen took another hit on Friday afternoon when the team announced that Aaron Barrett (3-2, 5.06) would go on the 15-day disabled list due a strain in his right bicep. Barrett left the game last night in the bottom of the eighth inning after he gave up the game-winning hit to Scooter Gennett.
Even before Barrett’s injury, the 27-year old right-hander gave up five earned runs in his last ten appearances. Over his last 11 innings of work, he gave up a total of ten runs. He has shown flashes of his 2014 season at times with his fastball and slider, but he has been far from the pitcher that had a 2.66 ERA in 50 games a season ago.
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In 30 games this season, Barrett has given up as many runs as he did all of last season (12) in 20 fewer games. However, it has not been mainly Barrett’s fault as to why the bullpen is struggling. Right now, the Nats have a bullpen ERA of 3.66, which is tenth in the National League. As a team, opponents are hitting .250 against the Nats ‘pen.
In order to fill Barrett’s spot on the roster, the Nationals activated right-handed reliever David Carpenter. Carpenter was acquired from the Yankees yesterday in exchange for minor league second baseman Tony Renda. In 22 games with the Bronx Bombers, Carpenter was 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA before he was designated for assignment on June 3.
With Barrett out of the bullpen for the time being, Carpenter gives the Nationals another veteran arm that they could go to in high leverage situations. While he struggled in his time in New York, the 29-year-old is very familiar with the NL East from his time with the Braves. Plus, he is only two years removed from a season in which he had a 1.78 ERA in 56 games.
Matt Williams needs to find the answer as to how to get the ball to Casey Janssen and Drew Storen in the late innings. Over the last few days, Williams has tried to get his starters to go one more batter, but it seems to be one batter too late.
However, could Carpenter be the guy that Williams looks to in order to get out of some tough jams? Keep in mind that even when he was struggling with the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi was still looking to the former Brave to get out of some big spots before the team DFA’ed him.