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OC Register: Angels turn to Jaime Barria hoping for more consistency

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MINNEAPOLIS — Jaime Barria is about to get another opportunity in what has been a roller-coaster career.

Barria will pitch for the Angels on Sunday – perhaps after an opener – because they needed to insert an extra starter to give Shohei Ohtani an extra day off.

Barria has a 4.41 ERA in 10 games this season at Triple-A. He has pitched just twice in the majors this season, both times in relief. He pitched four scoreless innings in one game and he allowed seven earned runs in two innings in the other game.

Those two games are a good microcosm of his career.

In 2018, Barria posted a 3.41 ERA in 21 starts in his age-21 season, a performance that suggested the Angels might have discovered the kind of young starting pitching they so desperately needed.

But the next season, when he was bounced from the majors to Triple-A, and used after an opener, he had a 6.42 ERA. In 2020, he had a 3.62 ERA in seven games, including five starts.

It’s still fair to wonder just who he is now, a week past his 25th birthday, and who he could be in the long run.

“This guy’s got really good pitchability,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s very confident right now. He looks better. I think he’s lost a couple pounds. He looks more angular. He’s definitely capable of being on a big-league staff. It’s just a matter of opportunity.”

Maddon said they have not discussed if this outing for Barria could open the door for him to stick in the rotation. The Angels have just one off day between now and Aug. 23, and they also have a doubleheader Aug. 10, so there is ample opportunity for a sixth starter.

Also, they aren’t sure what will happen with Alex Cobb, who came out of his start Friday night because of a blister. Cobb said he might need his start delayed by a day or two.

It’s also possible that Cobb could be traded before the July 30 deadline, which would open a rotation spot.


The Angels have been burned throughout the season by poor defense, particularly in the outfield. It’s been a particular issue over the past month, when injuries to Mike Trout and Justin Upton have forced converted infielders like Phil Gosselin, Luis Rengifo and Kean Wong into the outfield. Taylor Ward is also a converted infielder, but he was permanently moved to the outfield in 2020 because it’s his best position.

In the past couple weeks, though, the Angels brought up center fielder Brandon Marsh and acquired right fielder Adam Eaton. Maddon also chose to have Juan Lagares take over for Upton late in Thursday’s game, and start in left when Upton was the DH on Friday.

Eaton made two plays late in Thursday’s game that were critical to the Angels holding a one-run lead in a victory. Lagares made two bad throws Friday that were critical in them losing a one-run lead.

“That really highlights the significance of really good defense and how when you play really good outfield defense to the difference that it can make,” Maddon said of Eaton’s plays. “That’s as good as I’ve seen with us all year.”

The emphasis on outfield defense also factors into the Angels’ decisions on when to bring up Jo Adell, whose struggles in the field in 2020 and this spring were obvious.

“When you talk about Angels baseball in the future, you can hear pitching and defense first, and not just big batting average numbers,” Maddon said. “So that’s something we’re really trying to get better at.”


Maddon said there was nothing new on Trout’s rehab from a strained calf. Trout has been fully participating in baseball workouts, but the Angels haven’t decided when he will be ready for a rehab assignment.


Angels (TBD) at Twins (RHP Bailey Ober, 1-1, 5.45), 11:10 a.m. Sunday, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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