Washington Nationals: Clock Ticking on Kyle Barraclough

After another rough outing, the Washington Nationals cannot afford to keep throwing relief pitcher Kyle Barraclough into more games.

The Washington Nationals were already down against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but relief pitcher Kyle Barraclough delivered the knockout punch: a nasty right hook to his own team’s dome.

Barraclough entered yesterday’s game in the eighth inning with his team down by four runs.  His job was to keep the game within grand slam range.  However, he managed to record only one out while surrendering three runs, all of which scored on a home run from rookie Kevin Cron.

This outing only added to Barraclough’s recent struggles.  In his last five appearances, he has allowed two or more earned runs in three of them.

This stretch of bad play, culminating in yesterday afternoon’s debacle, raises his earned run average to 6.39 and his FIP to 6.04, which shows that Barraclough is deserving of each run he is allowing.

In case you’d like more stats on Barraclough’s season, here are some highlights:

  • 2.49 HR/9 (his previous career-high was 1.29 set last season with Miami)
  • 4.26 walks per nine innings (lower than his career mark by approximately one walk, actually, but it is still above the MLB reliever average of 3.50 BB/9)
  • A hard hit rate of 39.2% (a “hard hit ball” is defined as a base hit with an exit velocity of greater than or equal to 95 miles per hour)

In the words of Pete Campbell from Mad Men: “Not Great, Bob!”

If Barraclough can’t turn it around, the Nats may send him down to the minors.

Former District on Deck Site Expert Blake Finney noted that Barraclough still has three minor league options remaining.  The Nats have been working with a four-person bench for a while, and they could use an extra player in the dugout rather than in the bullpen.

With Tanner Rainey’s emergence and Wander Suero getting back on track over the last three weeks, finding replacements for the seventh and eighth innings should not be difficult.

With the Phillies and Braves coming to town next week, the Nats might need to make the tough decision after tonight’s game in preparation for a potentially season-altering stretch of games.