There’s no question the offense is struggling-mightily at times- scoring 3 runs or less in 16 of their 36 games. They are a woeful 1-15 in games where the offense was only able to plate 3 or less runs. Our number 3 hitter is in a season long slump and has barely been more productive than the putrid Pujols out in L.A.
May 14, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (31) reacts after giving up a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Image: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
There are stats upon stats proving these points but what the offense really needs is stability from the starting pitchers. As an offense struggling to plate runs on a daily basis- even worse with runners in scoring position- it creates quite the daunting task for the 1-9 hitters to dig themselves out of four, six or even seven run deficits early on.
May has proven to be tough ground for the Diamondback starters posting a 2-9 record lasting 7 complete innings only four of their 13 starts in the month. Their ERA for the year has jumped to 4.31 with only three National League teams fairing worse. N.L. teams are hitting .261 vs. the Diamondback starters and they’ve surrendered the fourth most homeruns at 24. These numbers are coming from an area that the organization felt pretty comfortable with heading into Opening Day just six weeks ago.
If the starting pitchers can do their job minimizing damage early on and provide a quality start hurling an average of six innings while throwing into the seventh (or eighth?!) to help save some of the bullpen arms, the offense can gain some confidence by just chipping away at a deficit of one or two runs rather than seeing 6-0 holes through three or four innings. While the bullpen had shown some vulnerability early on, it seems to have stabilized lately and can be counted on to relieve a starter in the final innings as needed.
We know the offense can get going, it’s just a matter of when and what exactly that spark will be. The starting pitchers can play a big role in that spark by just doing their job every fifth day and pitching effectively later into games on a more regular basis.