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OC Register: Angels’ pitching switch works to perfection in victory over Red Sox

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ANAHEIM — The Angels made a switch in plans because they figured that Jaime Barría would be better as a starter and Chase Silseth would be better as a high-leverage reliever.

Both worked.

Mickey Moniak’s eighth-inning home run lifted the Angels’ to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox, a game that was started with five scoreless innings from Barria and ended with two from Silseth.

Moniak is off to a sizzling start since he was recalled just over a week ago, and he’s now taken over in left field while Taylor Ward tries to rediscover his swing.

Moniak drove in the tie-breaking runs in the seventh on Sunday and on Monday he drilled his third homer in nine games, snapping a 1-1 tie in the eighth.

It came too late to get a victory for Barria. Silseth picked up the victory and he also finished it off, demonstrating exactly the type of arm the Angels want to add to the late-inning mix with Matt Moore and Carlos Estévez.

Both pitchers were unavailable on Monday after pitching three of the previous four days.

Silseth worked a perfect eighth and then a scoreless ninth, locking up the Angels’ fourth victory in their last five games, all against teams with winning records.

Last week the Angels tried Silseth as their No. 6 starter, but he ran out of gas in the fourth inning and gave up four runs. The Angels liked him so much in his brief work as a late-inning reliever before that start, so they opted to return him to the bullpen.

That opened the door for Barria to go from multi-inning mop-up man to starter.

Barria had not thrown more than 58 pitches in any relief outing, so the Angels were just hoping he could make it through a few innings.

Barria needed just 64 pitches to work five scoreless innings. He gave up leadoff singles in the second and fourth, but nothing else. The Red Sox did not even get a runner into scoring position against him.

Barria certainly will remain in this role until the Angels need a sixth starter again, a week from Wednesday in Chicago. One of the things the Angels like about Barria is he’s flexible enough that he could go back to the bullpen between now and then.

Barria has bounced between the rotation and bullpen throughout his Angels career, starting with a 3.41 ERA in 26 starts in his age-21 season in 2018.

After that, though, the Angels bounced Barria from the majors to Triple-A, and from the rotation to the bullpen. They used him behind an opener regularly.

None of it really worked until he settled into a long relief role last season, posting a 2.61 ERA in 79-1/3 innings. He had a 1.96 ERA in his first 23 innings this season before the Angels finally decided to give him another crack at the rotation.

More to come on this story.

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