Even in the most darkest of baseball seasons, a bright light can emerge. Such was the case in 2014 when the 98-loss Arizona Diamondbacks trotted out Josh Collmenter every fifth day. Pressed into the starting rotation because of injury and ineffectiveness, the right-handed Collmenter turned in the best season of his four-year career. He set personal bests in wins with 11 and innings pitched with 179 1/3. For his efforts, he was rewarded with the assignment of Opening Day starter in 2015. The euphoria did not last long as Tomahawk was sent back to the bullpen in the beginning of June after a series of disappointing starts.
The Diamondbacks had exactly one complete game by a starting pitcher in 2015. That belonged to the 29-year old Collmenter who tossed a four-hit shutout on April 17th at AT&T Park against the San Francisco Giants. Two starts later on April 29 at Chase Field vs. the Colorado Rockies, Collmenter hurled eight innings of one run (not earned) ball in a 9-1 Snakes’ victory. After being sent to the bullpen, he resumed his role as a super reliever, being called on in a long role, short role and sometimes being summoned for two innings after not working for over week.
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Collmenter finished April with a record of 2-3 and an ERA of 2.76. However, May was a complete disaster as he gave up 22 runs on 36 hits in only 24 1/3 innings in five starts. He also surrendered eight home runs. After his next two starts yielded eight runs on 15 hits in 11 2/3 innings, off to the bullpen Collmenter went where he did not pitch for the next 11 days.
Although Collmenter’s preference is to be in the starting rotation, it is the bullpen that is best suited for him. There aren’t many teams that have a weapon like him. His 2013 season was a thing of beauty. Collmenter appeared in 49 games and threw a total of 92 innings. How many times would he pitch three innings and then come back to pitch effectively again two days later? He finished that season with a career-low 3.13 ERA. That’s exactly how 2015 turned out from July through the end of the season. His ERA was 0.96 in July, 1.69 in August and 2.13 in September. Returning Josh Collmenter to his bullpen role at the beginning of Spring Training next year will be best for the Arizona Diamondbacks.