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ASU Baseball: Austin Barnes Check-Up

After a very intense Wild Card week of baseball and the weekend to recharge, the Divisional Round is here! If you were too busy with nothing, here’s a Sun Devil recount: It was heartbreak in Chicago as Jason Kipnis and the Cubs were shocked by the Miami Marlins and Eric Sogard and the Brewers could not pull off the upset in Los Angeles, leaving only one Sun Devil, Austin Barnes. The 2011 ASU Baseball product now must carry the pitchfork alone.

First, let’s take a look back at Barnes’ series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Barnes played the final game in the series and had a third of the total Dodger hits and tied for the most with two at the nine spot of the lineup. Barnes' first hit came in the bottom of the third and was the first overall hit for the Dodgers in the game. The single was a 96 mph four-seam fastball in the upper left part of the plate, which is normally a spot where Barnes rarely ever missed in 2020. The second hit changed the game. In the bottom of the fifth, the game was still tied with no score. Brewers starter Bradon Woodruff was playing masterfully with nine strikeouts before the Dodgers began to rally. Bellinger knocked a single into right, Chris Taylor matched that with one of his own. Pollock almost ended the moment with a grounder to third that ended in a fielder's choice because first baseman Jedd Gyorko was unable to field a one-hopper. No error was given, but it was a close call. Barnes was now up. He needed to take advantage of the situation; it was no guarantee runners would be in a scoring situation again. The count was 2-2, and Woodruff made the same mistake again, this time there was a runner on second to score. Barnes came around to score in the next at-bat when Mookie Betts hit a double to seal an eventual 3-0 win. Defensively Barnes was catching for renowned playoff choker and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. It was a great night for Kershaw, and therefore Barnes, who had 13 strikeouts and allowed only 3 hits in eight innings.

...And yes, the sample size is small, but so is the postseason….

Barnes probably smiled on Friday when the Padres pulled off the win over the Cardinals. Barnes batted .357 with 4 RBIs and a home run in what was arguably his best matchup of the season. As a team, the Dodgers took six of 10 from the up and coming Padres, but those four losses to count for almost 25% of their total losses throughout the season. The first game of the five-game series is set to begin with Walker Buehler on the mound for game one, and Will Smith caught Buehler, so unless Barnes DH’s expect him and Kershaw to team up again in game two on Wednesday.