After Joe Saunders was scratched from his start because he “couldn’t get loose,” Josh Collmenter and the rest of the bullpen stepped up in admirable fashion as they held the Cubs to one run for the 6-1 win on Friday night.
Collmenter, performing in a long-relief role not many teams utilize anymore, was impressive in the emergency start as he showed flashes of the dynamic starter he was for long stretches last year. He threw four innings and only allowed the one run on a solo shot by Geovany Soto in the fourth inning.
Brad Ziegler relieved Collmenter and threw two shutout innings for the win. It was Ziegler’s first two-inning outing since August 11 of last year. The parade of relief pitchers continued with Craig Breslow, Bryan Shaw and David Hernandez, who worked in unison to complete the final three innings of the game.
Jason Kubel provided the lead with a two-run blast to left center in fourth. Ziegler and Hernandez contributed their own offense as they each recorded their first career major league hits. Ziegler also came around to score on Aaron Hill’s single.
It was a good win considering Saunders was scratched so close to game time. With that in mind, the circumstances seemed a bit weird before the game. The broadcast crew showed video of Saunders walking off the field a bit distressed but I, for one, am not entirely convinced that is the real reason Saunders was scratched.
Many times, when a player is being considered for a trade, especially a starting pitcher, a team will hold him out of games fearing injury. With Trevor Bauer looming in the shadows, seemingly ready to dominate the major leagues, it would make sense that the D-backs brass would look to create a spot in the rotation while fortifying other needs on the roster (i.e. third base).
I’m not saying this is for sure the reason that Saunders was scratched. It’s entirely a guess. But it IS a possibility. Either way, if Saunders is getting shipped out, or needs a DL stint, Bauer may be getting called up over the weekend.
In other weird news preceding the game, D-backs play-by-play TV announcer Daron Sutton was reportedly “suspended indefinitely” by the team, according to Bob McManaman of azcentral.com here. However, Sutton rebutted that report, claiming it was a personal matter and he had asked the D-backs and the media to respect his privacy.
Both the Saunders and Sutton news are surrounded by strange circumstances. Will we see either of them again as part of the D-backs?