Lack of Efficiency
Diamondbacks’ starters have done a fair job keeping the team in games. On most days, the hitters will do the rest, as long as the score doesn’t get out of hand early.
However, throwing 90-plus pitches in less than six innings will only tax the bullpen. Getting quick outs was an issue last year for every starter, not just Robbie Ray. That trend has continued at the start of 2017.
The starters have thrown just two quality starts in eight games. A pitcher registers a quality start by going at least six innings and allowing three earned runs or less. Arizona starters are averaging 97 pitches per start, while only averaging 5.5 innings.
Taijuan Walker could not establish his rising fastball on Monday. As a result, he threw 98 pitches in just 5.0 innings. A 30-plus pitch fourth did him in; that has happened way too often in the early going.
It is pertinent for the starters to get quick outs early so they can go at least six innings. The Arizona pen threw the most innings in the MLB last season; they are already tied for the fifth most innings (27.1).