Adrian Houser had another impressive showing in mop-up duty out of the bullpen for the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, tossing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts during the 17-6 romp over the Mets. Predictably, his reward for that solid effort was to get sent down to the minors in favor of another fresh arm and familiar face:
Jacob Barnes makes his return to the team a little more than two weeks after surprisingly getting optioned down to AAA Colorado Springs. Barnes had been a fixture in the team’s bullpen since debuting in the summer of 2016, and was actually in the midst of a solid overall performance at the time of his demotion - in 17 appearances and 19.0 innings this season, Barnes owns a 2.84 ERA and a FIP- of 78 while fanning 19 batters. He did issue nine free passes, however, and has always battled some consistency issues; he had been scored upon in three of his last four outings before getting sent down.
Barnes didn’t exactly light the world on fire while pitching out of the Sky Sox bullpen, allowing two earned runs in 4.1 innings across four appearances with four walks and four punchouts. But he’ll now return to a role with Milwaukee’s relief corps and hopefully stay there, likely sliding into the mix somewhere in the middle innings and perhaps working his way back into higher-leverage situations.
As for Houser, this will be his first stint with Colorado Springs. In addition to his time in the big leagues this year, Houser has made eight starts for AA Biloxi, compiling a 4.73 ERA but a much better 3.54 FIP across 26.2 innings. He’s struck out 30 batters against just seven walks in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll join the Sky Sox rotation or continue to stay stretched out in a multi-inning bullpen role. Regardless, it seems likely we’ll see him again with the big league club as the regular season continues.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs