Matt Barnes was chased from the game in the sixth inning after allowing a three-run homer. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Learning from mistakes: Matt Barnes will benefit long term following outing vs. Royals

Ryan Hannable
August 22, 2015 - 7:49 pm

As the Red Sox close out the 2015 season, it's more about the future and having their younger players play and learn from certain types of situations. After all, nothing is more valuable than actual game experience. That is what happened with Matt Barnes Saturday night against the Royals, as he was making just his second major league start following moving from the bullpen to a starter in Triple-A at the end of July after being a starter for the bulk of his minor league career. Barnes threw 96 pitches, a season-high between Triple-A and the majors, and it was the final one that was the most costly. In the sixth inning after walking Kendrys Morales and allowing a single to Mike Moustakas, Salvator Perez crushed a three-run home run into the Royals bullpen, which gave the Royals a 5-0 lead and chased Barnes from the game. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said the inning was part of the 25-year-old's growth in becoming a successful major league pitcher, as he didn't take him out and wanted him to pitch through it. "He had pitches left and we felt he didn't reach the number we were looking at," Lovullo said. "Any time you have a young pitcher that is working though lineups and having success, the last thing you want to do is pull the rug out from under them. You want to let them feel situations, you want to let them work through and have success in certain situations. In this case it works a little bit in the opposite way. I know this is going to sting a little bit and he's going to remember it and he's going to grow and learn, and that's the key for a young pitcher. "I don't think it has anything to do with where he's at pitch-count wise. I know he had something in the tank, I know he had a few extra moments there where he could have got some outs. He just made some mistakes at the wrong time." Barnes finished the game going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, while walking a batter and striking out two. Like his manager, Barnes knew situations like the sixth inning are going to come up again and he needs to learn from his mistakes. "Those are situations you have to work in," he said. "They are going to pop up hopefully not that much, but they are going to be there. [I'm] going to be in these situations again and those are situations you learn from. Even if the result isn't what you want, you almost learn from that than if you execute every single time. You're not going to succeed without some struggle first." Barnes is in the group of young Red Sox pitchers looking to make a good impression over the last 40 games to make a case for themselves for the 2016 season. While the jury is still out on what role Barnes is best suited for -- starting or relieving -- Saturday was a step in the right direction in getting better as a starter. "Overall, I thought Barnes threw the ball very, very well," Lovullo said. "He had a couple of innings that were responsible for what happened. It was that first inning he gave up a couple runs and then that big three-run home run, we couldn't overcome that."