First of all I feel I owe some kind of explanation as to where I have been the last month, and no I was not hiding under a rock to avoid the Diamondbacks’ 7-13 month. I was working as Sports Information Director of the NJCAA Division I Softball National Tournament. Now I will be able to focus more attention on my Diamondbacks and their struggles.
Where does the team go from here? A very good question and in my point of view there are several key cogs in the Diamondbacks’ proverbial machine that need either a serious overhaul or complete replacement. Cog No. 1 is J.J. Putz and the bullpen. Putz’s season has been atrocious. It is very similar to the photo at the right, head-scratchingly awful. Putz is a dismal 0-3 on the year with a woeful 7.20 ERA with nine saves in 12 opportunities. Last season he only blew four saves total. Let that marinate for a minute, only four blown saves all year long.
We need to get one thing straight, last year was an aberration, not the normal from Putz. To expect that from him is clearly overly ambitious. He has struggled mightily and is past his prime as a closer so it is time to move on and figure out who will be our closer for the future.
That could be David Hernandez, who while he has a much better ERA at 2.25, is zero for three in save opportunities. It is time to put him in that role and allow him to flourish into the closer we all know he has the skills to become.
Another cog is first base with Paul Goldschmidt and Lyle Overbay. We need some consistency and that consistency is Overbay. He is hitting .370, .453 OBP, and a .593 slugging, compared to Goldschmidt’s .244, .304, and .366. Goldschmidt has a case of the sophomore slumps and needs to be sent down to Reno to gain some confidence at the plate, while Overbay clearly should have the everyday job at first base. Overbay is better right now and we need to ride the hot hand now more than ever.
The third cog is fixing the strikeout bug. It has again bitten the Diamondbacks and bitten them bad. Jason Kubel, Justin Upton, Goldschmidt, and Miguel Montero all lead the team with a whopping 39 strikeouts a piece. The team is sixth in the majors in strikeouts with 357, while it is 12th with a .252 batting average. Either the guys are not seeing the ball well and need to spend more time in the cage or something more serious is affecting the team.
There has been one bright spot on the team and that is Wade Miley. To think he was almost cut right before the season, now seems absurd. Miley is 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, he also sports a .375 batting average. He has done it all and will continue to do so.
As long as we can get these things fixed, the Diamondbacks can get back on track, if not it’s time to develop the young guns and give them some time.
Follow me on Twitter @roberts_843.