Diamondbacks News

Diamondbacks lack of a long reliever exposed already

By Joseph Jacquez
Jul 18, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Josh Collmenter (55) throws in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 18, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Josh Collmenter (55) throws in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Arizona Diamondbacks are already missing Josh Collmenter in the bullpen.


Thanks to the starting rotation averaging just 5.1 innings per start, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen was overtaxed more than any other group in the majors last season.  They tossed 579.1 innings total.

Josh Collmenter frequently went multiple innings last season to save the rest of the bullpen from working multiple days in a row. Having someone like this is so valuable to a team, and something the team has missed in its first series.

Collmenter struggled all spring to the tune of a 9.69 ERA, and eventually started the season on the DL with a shoulder injury. This has left a large void in the bullpen.

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His track record of keeping the ball down in the zone combined with his deceptive over-the-top release point has allowed him to pitch to a 35-33 record and a 3.49 ERA for five years with the D-backs mainly as a starter.

Last year he was one of the best relievers in baseball, logging 52.1 IP while recording a 1.89 ERA and a .229 batting average against. Of his 32 relief appearances last season, 14 of them were for multiple innings.

Without Collmenter, the Snakes simply don’t have that luxury, and it has been exposed already. In the Opening Day loss, Greinke was only able to go four innings and as a result, the D-backs had to use four different relievers.

Randall Delgado struggled to get the final out of his first inning of relief, Jake Barrett is a one inning/closer type, Andrew Chafin is not a long reliever by trade and he struggled to get through his inning of work. Those guys really don’t fit that role.

Hale tried Silvino Brancho in that role, and that experiment quickly went south. Bracho allowed a 3-run-homer to put the game out of reach. He ended up pitching another inning, but it was a struggle just to get him through one, and he was sent down the next day.

His replacement, Kyle Drabek could be a potential long-man option, but he walked six and struck out nobody in spring training. That isn’t exactly the profile for a multiple-inning guy. Drabek almost came in the game in a long-relief situation last night, but Shelby Miller was able to settle down and complete six innings.

The D-backs middle and late inning relievers are good enough to finish the game, but if the trend of having to take the starter out early continues, the D-backs don’t have another “Tomahawk” to hold down the fort.

Many have said that Rubby De La Rosa could be an option in that role, and think he would be better used as a reliever, but the D-backs want him to be in the rotation. Other options could include Zack Godley or Tyler Wagner, but at the moment if the starters don’t go at least six innings, single-inning relievers are going to be overtaxed like last year, and that is not a good thing especially early in the season.

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