The Los Angeles Angels made some changes to their pitching staff prior to the series opener against the Boston Red Sox. Chase Silseth was bumped from the rotation and moved back to the bullpen. Jaime Barria took Silseth's spot and started Monday's game.
Expectations were low for yesterday's game. Barria wasn't close to fully stretched out, and the Angels two best relievers, Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore, were both unavailable. Holding Boston's elite offense down for nine innings felt improbable.
The Angels, led by Barria and Silseth, had other ideas.
LA Angels moving Jaime Barria to the rotation and Chase Silseth to the bullpen worked better than anyone could've imagined in victory over Red Sox
I felt this Barria/Silseth swap was a no-brainer. After watching Silseth in the bullpen and then seeing him start a game, the differences were glaring. He was way more effective as a reliever. Barria on the other hand had been really good out of the bullpen in a long relief role but had earned a chance to start.
While Barria had been pitching well, limiting Boston's potent offense was seen as a challenge. The Sox are third in the American League in runs scored, and are fourth in all of baseball in that category. They're also fourth in batting and fifth in OPS.
Barria, in his first start of the season, delivered five scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out six. The six strikeouts matched the most he's had in an outing since September of 2021 when he struck out six Astros in four innings of work.
Barria was extremely economical, requiring only 64 pitches to get through five. For reference, Patrick Sandoval threw 104 pitches on Saturday night and only got through 4.2 innings. The 64 pitches were a season-high for Barria, and that mark will only get higher as he prepares to make another start for the Angels whenever a sixth man is needed.
Aaron Loup allowed Boston to tie the game at one in the sixth, but Chris Devenski recorded five huge outs to keep it a tied score. Once Devenski was done, the Angels turned to Chase Silseth for the eighth. His first appearance back in the bullpen, in a 1-1 game against an elite offense late. Quite the test given by Phil Nevin, and Silseth passed with flying colors.
Silseth retired the side in order in the eighth including a pair of strikeouts. He needed just 13 pitches to keep this game tied. Of course, Mickey Moniak came through with the home run to give the Angels the lead, but Silseth's job still wasn't finished. With Moore and Estevez unavailable, and the rest of the bullpen being extremely unreliable, Nevin opted to run Silseth back out there for the ninth to try and secure the victory.
Silseth had to face the top of the Red Sox batting order with Rafael Devers looming as the fourth man due up in the inning. Silseth avoided Devers by retiring the side in order once again on just 14 more pitches to secure a huge win.
Silseth and Barria combined for seven of the nine innings in the win. They allowed no runs on two hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. Pretty unbelievable stuff.
No, this kind of production should not be the expectation, but the move worked out just about as well as one could've possibly hoped on Monday night.