Arizona Diamondbacks: Bullpen adds another dimension to winning

Fernando Rodney picked up his 11th save Tuesday night. (Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY) Sports
Fernando Rodney picked up his 11th save Tuesday night. (Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY) Sports /

The bullpen of the Arizona Diamondbacks slammed the door on Tuesday night.

In the recent success enjoyed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, one missing segment has been closer Fernando Rodney. After blowing celebrated save opportunities in the opening weeks of the season, Rodney quietly took a seat in the bullpen and all but disappeared.

Prior to Tuesday night’s game, manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes the need for Rodney and others in the bullpen, these days, was limited. That’s because starters have, collectively, given strong efforts and pushed deep into games. Rodney has not made an appearance in the last week, but Lovullo called his name late in Tuesday’s game.

Coming in for his customary ninth inning and holding a one-run advantage, Rodney faced the top of the Chicago White Sox line-up, and retired the side in order.

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Rodney’s effort help secured a 5-4 victory over the Sox before 17,865 in Chase Field. The victory was the Diamondbacks’ seventh in the last eight and the club is now nine games over .500 for the first time in nearly four years.

If Rodney shut the door, the bullpen of Archie Bradley and J. J. Hoover highlighted the win. Hoover’s effort was especially strong. Coming in with a one-run lead and one out in the eighth inning, the Sox previously loaded the bases. Then, Hoover fanned Omar Naravaez and Yolmer Sanchez to a standing ovation to end the threat. Overall, the bullpen has been little used in recent games, but drew the praise of starter Patrick Corbin, who told Venom Strikes the effort of the bullpen was as timely as it was suitable.

"Great team win but, really, a great job from the bullpen. I know it’s been tough on the bullpen and a few of those guys have not picked in six, seven days. That’s a tribute to the starters who have pitched deeper into games. But, those guys were huge."

Especially important in the victory was the contribution of Chris Herrmann, who caught a strong game from Corbin and delivered a timely homer to lead off the second inning. Playing sporadically, Herrmann told Venom Strikes that when opportunity knocks, he’s there to open the door.

"feel confident and relaxed. I’m not trying to do too much because if you do, you can get into some bad habits. So, I stay relaxed and I’m seeing the ball well. I’m not looking to hit a homer but if you get the ball up in Chase Field, it will go."

The Diamondbacks now go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon. If that happens, that will be third sweep of the season. Previously, they broke out the brooms against the Indians and Mets.

In nine series so far at home, they lost only one and that was to the Rockies in late April. In the past 13 games, the Diamondbacks are 10-3 and their 20-8 mark in Chase Field matches the best home start in franchise history. That was set in 1999 and equaled in 2000.


The brief home stand concludes Wednesday afternoon. That’s when Randall Delgado, in a spot start, will open for the Diamondbacks. He draws Chicago White Sox lefty Jose Quintana (2-5, 3.92 ERA) for a 12:40 start. Delgado is making his first start since facing the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 22, 2015.

Then, the Diamondbacks embark on a 11-game trip. This features four with the Brewers in Milwaukee, three with the Pirates in Pittsburgh and four with the Marlins in Miami.

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The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field on Tuesday June 6 and face the San Diego Padres.