It was another rough night for J.J. Putz in the bullpen Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals in a 5-4 loss. Putz gave up a double to rookie Bryce Harper and then retired the next two batters before giving up a walk-off, two-run homer to Ian Desmond.
Starter Joe Saunders had another solid start going 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs, two of which were earned, walking two, and striking out six. He however did not factor in the decision as Putz could not shut the door.
Putz has already blown two saves in the young season after only blowing four saves total all last year. As a team, the Diamondbacks have five blown saves during this young season after only blowing 13 saves total all of last year. I think it is safe to say the bullpen has become a problem. They are obviously not as solid as they were last year and have been struggling to get outs in key situations in the game. Putz had two outs when he gave up the walk-off homer.
It has been the story of the Diamondbacks young season to this point. It is also one of the things I predicted would be a strong point for the Diamondbacks back in February. I also pointed out the closer role could go one of two directions and unfortunately the bad one is coming true. Putz’s ERA has skyrocketed to over 4.00, in fact it is at 6.48 after Wednesday’s blown save, his record is 0-2, he has given up 10 hits, three of which have been home runs.
The good news is that guys who have been stuck in early season funks seem to be coming around. Paul Goldschmidt went two for four with a run scored and an RBI, raising his batting average to .246 on the young season. Justin Upton seems to have recovered from the thumb injury that seemed to hamper him early in the season, going one for three with two runs scored an RBI, a walk, and a stolen base.
It remains to be seen what will happen with the bullpen, but one thing is for sure, if things do not improve, manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers will need to make the necessary changes to shore up that facet of the D-backs game.
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