Five things to know about the Red Sox reliever, originally from Bethel

With the final installment of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry set to unfold on Tuesday in the American League wildcard game at Fenway Park, here are five things to know about the Connecticut product and Red Sox reliever Matt. Barnes:

As a child, he wore a black and tan Rawlings Derek Jeter baseball glove and tried to emulate Jeter’s signature move.

“Probably the first time I saw him take the leap, me and all my friends were at the park trying to do the exact same thing,” Barnes told Hearst Connecticut Media in his 2014 rookie season.


Barnes, who also played basketball at Bethel High, was an All-State Class L selection in baseball as a senior before moving to the field at UConn.

HE HAD A RECORD CAREER AT UCONN

Barnes set a UConn record with 247 career strikeouts in his three seasons at Storrs. As a junior in 2011, he was named Big East Pitcher of the Year and won NCBWA First Team All-American and Louisville Slugger honors.

In June, he became the third player in the program selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, won by the Red Sox with the 19th overall pick – eight picks after his UConn teammate George Springer was selected by the Astros. from Houston.

BARNES, FRIENDS OF SPRINGER OFF-GROUND, RIVAUX ON THIS

Barnes remains a close friend of Springer, who was at Barnes ‘wedding party in January 2018. After a stint in rehab with Double-A Portland at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford a few weeks ago, Barnes revealed that he and Springer, who now plays for Toronto, text each other frequently – often while chatting. However, it would not reveal the nature of these texts.

“This joke stays between him and me,” Barnes said. “But it’s fun. He’s a good guy. I got him, he got me, and it probably won’t be the last for either.

Indeed, Springer is 2 for 7 all-time against Barnes. His two hits were home runs, including a grand slam. He also struck twice against Barnes.

2021 WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR … UNTIL COVID

Barnes was elevated to the Red Sox closer at the end of 2020 and secured the full-time job for that season. He pitched very well in the early months of 2021 and won his first All-Star selection, pitching a scoreless inning, with two hits and a walk to the Midsummer Classic at Coors Field. Ahead of the game, Barnes signed a two-year extension worth at least $ 18.75 million, with an option for 2024.

However, Barnes struggled mightily in August, climbing to a 13.50 ERA, then contracted COVID-19 in September (although he was fully vaccinated) and missed most of the month. He’s struggled a bit since his comeback and may not yet have earned manager Alex Cora’s confidence at the end of the round.

ONLY FOUR PITCHERS HAVE MADE MORE APPEARANCES IN RED SOX HISTORY

Barnes has already made 385 appearances for the Sox, recently overtaking Roger Clemens (383) and Derek Lowe (384) and behind only Mike Timlin (394), Jonathan Papelbon (396), Tim Wakefield (590) and Bob Stanley (637).

Not bad for a Bethel kid who grew up being a huge Yankees fan.

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About Ray Coulombe

Ray Coulombe

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