Taylor Ward was optioned, giving the Angels 15 pitchers and 13 position players on the active roster.
Barria gives the Angels a long relief pitcher, after the bullpen pitched 14⅓ innings the last three days. The usual bulk reliever, Matt Andriese, needs more rest after throwing 46 pitches in 2⅔ innings on Sunday.
“If you look at the bullpen usage for the last couple days, it’s getting a little bit thick,” manager Joe Maddon said on a conference call. “So we needed to protect ourselves with some length today.”
Barria started in 39 of his 45 major league appearances in 2018-19, and his relief outings were of the bulk variety. It was a tale of two seasons for the right-hander, posting a 3.41 ERA and 4.58 FIP in 129⅓ innings in 2018, followed by a 6.42 ERA and 6.23 FIP in 82⅔ innings last year. The biggest difference was home runs, allowing more in fewer innings in 2019 (24) than the year before (17). In 2018, Barria allowed a home run every 31.6 plate appearances, compared to one every 15.2 PA last year.
“Right now we do have our starters set up, but you always keep an open mind,” Maddon said. “For right now, we’re going to use him in this manner, but stay ready, things happen.”
That opportunity could conceivably come as early as Thursday. The Angels are giving Andrew Heaney an extra day of rest after last Saturday’s start. He’ll now pitch Friday in Oakland, while Thursday’s starter in San Francisco is to be determined. Perhaps if Barria isn’t used in relief Tuesday or Wednesday, he could be an option for Thursday, in some capacity.
Angels starting pitchers have a 5.12 ERA this season, which ranks 22nd in MLB. Removing both extreme ends of the performance spectrum — Dylan Bundy and Shohei Ohtani — the rest have a 5.77 ERA in 17 starts, averaging 4.3 innings
Ward, who was on the Angels Opening Day roster, was just 5-for-34 (.147/.216/.206) with a triple in 14 games this season, including eight corner outfield starts.