Milwaukee Brewers: Why is Jacob Barnes so unpredictable?

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 14: Jacob Barnes
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 14: Jacob Barnes /

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jacob Barnes brings a hard fastball out of the bullpen in the seventh and eighth inning. However, he has become rather unreliable as of late. Some days he looks very good, and others he looks extremely hittable.

Overall, Jacob Barnes has a 4.11 ERA. He’s given up 53 hits in 57 innings, and struck out 65 batters. Barnes currently leads the National League in holds with 24, which implies that he’s a solid setup man, but doesn’t tell the whole story.

Barnes has taken four losses this year, and two in the last few weeks. However, in between the two losses, there was a stretch of five scoreless outings from Barnes. His up and down results make it hard to determine which pitcher will show up.

Over his last 10 appearances Barnes has given up 13 total hits, five walks and five runs – three earned – in a total of 10 innings pitched. He also fanned 12 batters in that stretch. While that is positive, Barnes true game is striking hitters out with that hard fastball. When he’s right, he is getting multiple strikeouts every time he’s out there

It always seems like Barnes’ hiccups come at the worst times for the Milwaukee Brewers. The last time he struggled was in San Francisco, when he took the loss by giving up two runs. San Francisco is a team that the Brewers should be beating. Losing two out of three in that series, especially from the bullpen, was rough.

In the current series with the Dodgers Barnes is going to have to step his game against a very good team. Corey Knebel, Anthony Swarzak and Josh Hader have been the only reliable bullpen pitchers as of late. The Milwaukee Brewers need more from Barnes if they’re going to win this key series.

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Barnes needs to return to the reliable setup guy he was in April and May. With Barnes throwing well, the trio of Barnes, Swarzak and Knebel is very solid. However, Barnes needs to do his job to allow the other two to do theirs. With all three doing what they can, it allows the Milwaukee Brewers to be flexible with pitchers like Matt Garza, who haven’t been able to get extended innings in their starts this season.