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Diamondbacks reliever Jake Barrett ‘dragging’ as innings increase

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jake Barrett walks off the field after being replaced during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, in Phoenix. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Seven games remain on the August schedule, but Diamondbacks reliever Jake Barrett is only 3.2 innings and two appearances short of his busiest month during his rookie season.

The busiest came in May when he posted a 1.54 ERA. Now that numbers sits at 4.44 for the season after Tuesday. In a 7-4 loss against the Atlanta Braves, it was a blown save and second loss of the year for Barrett, who not long ago was vying for time at closer.

Now, he is simply trying to get things right as a set-up man.

The length this month is a sign of changes in Arizona’s bullpen. Gone are Josh Collmenter, Brad Ziegler and Tyler Clippard. That’s given Barrett more opportunity, yet the reliever admitted the innings piling up overall has affected him.

“I feel healthy. I’m just dragging a little bit, pitching a lot,” Barrett told the media at Chase Field. “You got to fight through it, basically.”

Barrett allowed three runs, two of which were earned, in Arizona’s loss to the Braves on Tuesday night. He oversaw a 4-3 lead turn into a 6-4 deficit and says he missed one key pitch, allowing a Matt Kemp double to score three runs when D-backs outfielder Mitch Haniger’s error didn’t help matters.

“I was trying to go fastball in. I missed away,” Barrett told the media after the game.

The location issues, related to fatigue or not, are apparent this month in the walks he handed out. Barrett had just one walk in eight innings in April, three in 11.2 innings in May, seven in nine innings of June and just two in 10 July frames.

This month? Barrett has walked 12 batters in eight innings of work. He’s given up nine earned runs in that time for an ERA of 12.38 during August.

“Barrett, the whole bullpen has been used pretty hard,” manager Chip Hale said. “But again, it’s opportunity. We’re very careful about how they feel each day and how they throw in pregame. It was all location with Jake tonight. He (is supposed to go) in here, the ball ends up out — out, in.

“Is it a wall? I hope not. It’s a major-league season,” Hale added. “We’ll make sure we don’t hurt anybody, that’s our job, but we want to give him an opportunity to pitch in those key situations.”

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