Apr 18, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Joe Thatcher (54) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the tenth inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Early in the season, the Diamondbacks bullpen was looking exactly like last year’s pen. The Dbacks pen last season was the worst in baseball, blowing 50 saves, and there was a constant revolving door in the closer’s role. General Manager Kevin Towers has made the pen his highest priority since becoming the G.M of the Diamondbacks and the last few years haven’t been the best for the men in the pen. During this horrid April, the bullpen started out looking like last year’s version, blowing a couple of saves during the Giants series at Chase Field to open the year.
However, in recent weeks things have settled down, with some of the best performances coming out of the pen for this team recently. Despite blowing a save, Addison Reed has done a good job stabilizing the closer’s role, and as long as he stays healthy, this will be his job. Keep in mind, Reed hasn’t gotten very many opportunities to save a game, with most of his appearances coming in non-save situations when the team is losing just to get some work in.
Quite possibly the biggest bright spots for this team in the pen has been the performances of J.J Putz and supposed lefty specialist Joe Thatcher. After the July deal, Thatcher compiled a 6.75 ERA, and by the end of the season, the left-handed specialist was struggling against lefties and righties. This year Thatcher feels more relaxed with his team and as a result is attacking hitters more often in speaking to MLB.com: “Just attacking the strike zone,” Thatcher said. “Making pitches, going after guys.” Thatcher is becoming more than just a lefty specialist throwing more than an inning in multiple occasions and getting lefties and rightist out. Putz meanwhile was the team’s closer in 2011 and 2012 saving a lot of games before getting injured in 2013, he had an inconsistent season. So far in 2014, he has appeared in 8 games and he has allowed just one earned run.
Meanwhile, after moving to the pen because of struggles in the rotation, Trevor Cahill and Randall Delgado have done well in the pen both pitching in Saturday nights victory with Cahill getting his first career save. Both Cahill and Delgado looked more comfortable in the pen and their velocity is consistently in the mid 90’s. These are great signs for the Snakes. Maybe Cahill and Delgado fit better in the pen. In a season that has been filled with negativity the bullpen has been a bright spot.
Note: The Diamondbacks lost yesterday 8-6 in game 2 against the Dodgers. Mike Bolsinger made his first start in the majors. After 3 scoreless innings he hit a road block in the 4th and ended up leaving in that inning. Martin Prado and Paul Goldschmidt both drove in two. The Dbacks will try to win the series today in the rubber game. Josh Collmetner goes against Josh Beckett. As I write its scoreless heading to the late innings.