Barraclough laments plays leading up to wild pitch
Trusty slider gets away, leading to go-ahead run, but reliever let Chicago tie before that
By Patrick Pinak
MIAMI -- Kyle Barraclough's slider may have been too filthy for his own good in the biggest play of the Marlins' 8-7 loss to the White Sox on Saturday at Marlins Park. The result was a fluke play.
With the game tied at 7 in the eighth and runners on second and third, Barraclough buried a slider that Melky Cabrera chased for strike three for what should've been the third out. But the ball scooted far enough away from catcher J.T. Realmuto to allow Dioner Navarro to score from third.
"It was a weird play," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Unbelievable block by J.T., I thought. That's a short, short slider that he threw really hard. Obviously on the swing he keeps it from getting it back away from him. That's a tough, tough block. I thought he did a great job of trying to, you know if we can finish that, that would be just a tremendous play."
The Marlins had a chance to nab Navarro at the plate, as Realmuto's throw back to Barraclough was in time and on target. But Barraclough took his eyes off the ball and it caromed off his glove.
"Just bad luck," Barraclough said. "It was a tough block. I gotta catch the ball, too. But at the same time, if I don't put myself in that situation, then I don't have to worry about it."
The game-changing play wouldn't have occurred if Barraclough, who entered the inning with a 7-6 lead, hadn't let the first three batters reach base to tie the game up. Jason Coats singled and Navarro walked before Justin Morneau doubled off the right-field wall.
The two hits came off Barraclough's sharp slider, which has been his best pitch and a main reason for his 15.06 strikeouts per nine innings, tops among qualified National League relievers.
"Obviously, they hit 'Bear' a little bit tonight," Mattingly said. "The first guy hits that slider. You don't see a whole lot of people hitting that slider. Then Morneau hits the breaking ball, too."
Despite the hectic play that led to the go-ahead run, Barraclough took responsibility for the blown save and the loss.
"It's to come in and hold the lead and turn it over to [Fernando] Rodney or A.J. [Ramos] or whoever's coming in the next inning," Barraclough said of his job. "I didn't do my job tonight, and everyone else did theirs."
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.