The Washington Nationals may have had a little karma working for them in Tuesday night’s game. Aaron Barrett, the former Ole Miss standout who completed a courageous comeback this season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park before the National League Wild Card Game. Several hours later, the Nationals pulled off a dramatic comeback of their own to beat Milwaukee 4-3. According to reports – and the highlights on TBS – Barrett’s animated appearance on the mound stirred the crowd into a frenzy, a precursor to what happened during the Nats’ stunning eighth-inning rally. Barrett, who was not on the active roster for Tuesday’s game, made it back to the big leagues this season after missing most of the previous three years following Tommy John surgery and a career-threatening broken arm. Nationals owner Mark Lerner suggested having Barrett throw out the first pitch. “I’m pretty humbled by it. … There are so many people that are deserving to do this,” Barrett said in a story on nbcsports.com. P.S. In defeat, the Brewers certainly got what they hoped for from Mississippi State alum Brandon Woodruff (four innings, one run) and UM product Drew Pomeranz (two shutout innings). … Ex-Southern Miss standout Brian Dozier made a pinch-hit appearance for the Nationals and reached on an error.
The long road back for Aaron Barrett is almost complete. The former Ole Miss standout, who missed two full seasons with injuries, including a broken elbow, was added to Washington’s major league roster on Tuesday. His 2019 debut will be his first MLB appearance since Aug. 5, 2015. Barrett, 31, pitched at Double-A Harrisburg this season, earning Eastern League All-Star honors. His manager, Matt LeCroy, broke down in tears when he announced to the team that Barrett was returning to the big leagues. Barrett had a 3.47 ERA in 90 games for the Nationals in 2014-15. … Barrett was not in Washington for the Nationals’ insane 11-10 win against the New York Mets, who scored five runs in the top of the ninth and then allowed seven in the bottom half. Ex-UM pitcher Mickey Callaway, the Mets’ manager, tried to keep yet another gut-wrenching loss in perspective for his wild card-contending club. “We’ve had to digest several, and you’ve got to come out tomorrow and win the series,” he told northjersey.com. … Former Petal High star Anthony Alford, back with Toronto as a September call-up, struck out as a pinch hitter in the Blue Jays’ loss to Atlanta. Alford, once a highly touted prospect, has three hits in 31 MLB at-bats spread of three seasons. He batted .259 with seven homers at Triple-A Buffalo this season. … In 12 games since he joined the Braves as a waiver claim, Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton is 6-for-18 with three walks (.429 on-base percentage), four runs, two RBIs and three steals. He has also played flawlessly in center field. … Corey Dickerson, the Meridian Community College product from McComb, drove in another run in a Philadelphia victory on Tuesday, giving him 26 RBIs in 26 games since he was acquired in a deadline trade. … Former Mississippi State star Adam Frazier went 3-for-4 with his ninth homer for Pittsburgh and is hitting .362 over his last 15 games.
Aaron Barrett has been knocked down. Not once, but twice. In 2015, in the midst of his second big league season with Washington, the ex-Ole Miss star suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. About a year later, while throwing as part of his rehab program, he suffered a broken humerus, the bone in the upper arm. More surgery. More rehab. Two long years later, in June of this year, Barrett finally made it back to the mound in a professional game. Doctors have told him it’s a minor miracle that he can pitch at all. The Nationals, to their credit, have stayed with him. He has made four appearances over the last three weeks for Auburn in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League. It’s a long way from the big leagues, but the 30-year-old Barrett – who has a 3.47 ERA in 90 MLB games — says he is determined to get back. “I keep telling myself that when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be one hell of a comeback story,” he told milb.com.
Let’s see: There was a walk that loaded the bases. Then a wild pitch that scored the go-ahead run. That was followed by an intentional ball four that went over the catcher’s head. Runner races home from third. Pitcher covers. Play at the plate. Runner called out. Video review to confirm. It was a crazy few minutes there in the seventh inning Tuesday night for Ole Miss product Aaron Barrett. Ultimately, his Washington Nationals were eliminated from the postseason with the 3-2 loss to San Francisco. Barrett’s wild pitch plated the winning run. All told, Barrett faced three batters in the postseason — he also pitched in the Nats’ 18-inning Game 2 loss — and yielded a hit and two walks. That’s what many Washington fans will remember about Barrett. But they shouldn’t forget his work during the regular season. The rookie right-hander, a ninth-round pick in 2010, went 3-0 with eight holds and a 2.66 ERA in 40 2/3 innings over 50 games for the National League East champs. He struck out 49 batters, which is one of the reasons he was inserted into Tuesday’s game with runners at first and second and one out. Washington needed a punch out. Barrett also walked 20 batters during the season — and threw six wild pitches. Those things happen, and when they happen in October, they are magnified.
When former Picayune High star T.J. House made his big league debut last Saturday for Cleveland, he became the 23rd Mississippi-connected player to appear in the majors in 2014. House, a left-hander, pitched a scoreless inning in his only appearance to date. He was called up last season but didn’t get in a game. The only other Mississippian to debut this year is Aaron Barrett, the Ole Miss product who has been outstanding working out of Washington’s bullpen. Barrett, a righty, has a 0.53 ERA and a 2-0 record in 18 games for the Nationals, who are battling Atlanta for first place in the National League East.