Saunders will need more support versus Marlins


The struggling Arizona Diamondbacks (9-10) will look to bounce back on the road, starting with a four-game series against the Miami Marlins (7-11), a four-game series against the Washington Nationals (14-4), and finishing with a three-game series against the New York Mets (11-8).

The Diamondbacks look to Joe Saunders to continue pitching well to snap a two-game losing streak while the Marlins will send out Carlos Zambrano.  Saunders is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP, giving up 16 hits while striking out 14 opposing batters.  Zambrano is 0-1 on the season with a 2.84 ERA and a .95 WHIP, giving up 16 hits while striking out 19.

Both pitchers have been victims of poor run support.  The Marlins have scored five, four, and zero runs in Zambrano’s three starts, two of which were because of blown saves by new closer Heath Bell.  Meanwhile in Saunders’ three starts the D-backs have scored one, five, and two runs and one loss was a blown save by reliever David Hernandez.

This is the time for the offense to step it up and support Saunders.  He has pitched well enough in every start to have begun the season undefeated.  It is time for the young players to step it up with Chris Young and Daniel Hudson on the DL and Justin Upton still feeling the effects of a thumb injury.  The Diamondbacks as a team are hitting .234 as a team and the pitching staff has a 4.43 ERA.

Things are definitely not going their way, but this is the time when you find out what your team is really made of.  It is going to go a long way to have some of these players already have experience in big league situations for the stretch run to the playoffs.  There is still plenty of time and plenty of season left and these experiences are building the team’s character faster than success could ever build.  There is also the pitching depth with three stars in the making in Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, and Patrick Corbin will also set the team for the future.

Players like Cody Ransom, Wade Miley, and A.J. Pollock are getting valuable innings with the big club.  The team will be far better off having passed through this to start the season than if it were to happen towards the end.  We now know which of the young guys will step up and in my eyes, Miley has been the MVP of this team to this point.  This guy has been something special, to come into camp with no promise of a job with the big club and then to make it because Takashi Saito starts the season on the DL.  It is crazy and he has been crazy good to this point.  Here is his stat line: 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA in four games, one of which he started, a .95 WHIP and while holding opposing hitters to a .167 batting average.

If Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers can find a few more guys to hold down the fort while they wait for their stars to get healthy the Diamondbacks will be set this season and could possibly become much better than advertised, but also be set for the foreseeable future.

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