KC Royals reliever Scott Barlow has had a rocky start to the 2023 season, to say the least. Barlow entered his age-30 season with many possibilities in mind. However, he has struggled to find his footing on the mound, giving up multiple runs in several appearances. Barlow will need to make some adjustments if he hopes to turn his season around and help the Royals compete.
KC Royals reliever Scott Barlow has hit a brick wall to start the 2023 season, costing the team multiple games in only six appearances.
Barlow is coming off a career year with Kansas City, making him the team's prime trade candidate ahead of this season's trade deadline. In 2022, Barlow posted a 2.18 ERA across 69 games, with career-bests in WHIP, ERA, and wins. His 24 saves were also a career-high, and he joined 13 other pitchers with more than 20 saves in 2022. No surer thing existed on the Royals roster heading into the 2023 season than Barlow. That lasted until, well, he wasn't.
Trying to analyze these Royals amid their 4-12 start can get repetitious and tiresome. So, let's play a game together called 2 Truths and 1 Lie. I will make a claim about Barlow in 2023 and then tell you if that is, in fact, true or a lie. Let's go!
Claim #1: This is Scott Barlow's worst start to a season.
Barlow's start to this season has been an unequivocal dud. He started off strong enough, as fans expected him to. Through his first three appearances, Barlow only allowed one hit, no runs, and a save on April 7. But, two games against the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves made Barlow's stats soar.
On April 11, four days after his last appearance, Barlow gave up three earned runs on two hits and a walk against the Rangers. The vaunted reliever did not even last an inning, as the Royals' extra-inning hopes were dashed by Barlow's performance. It was a deflating moment for the Royals fanbase, seeing the team last with the Rangers, then having the game slip away in dominating fashion. Then, five days later, it was like deja vu for Barlow.
But, that is just two bad losses for Barlow, right? It is really too soon to tell if Barlow is, as the kids say, washed or not. But this start to the season being the worst of his career is an undeniable fact.
His 6.35 ERA, six strikeouts, two losses, and one blown save are all career worsts for Barlow through the first six games. His walk/strikeout ratio is tied for the worst in that span as well, which is especially frustrating after the new pitching principles adopted by the Royals.