As we all saw, the Diamondbacks did not have a hot start to 2022. After winning the first game in the season opener at Chase Field, the D-Backs lost three straight to the Padres.
Despite a decent starting five rotation, Torey Lovullo now has more questions than answers regarding his pitching staff. Sunday's game, in particular, was brutal. The starter for the rubber match, Caleb Smith, pitched for only one inning, allowed two home runs (including a Grand Slam by Jurikson Profar), struck out two batters and walked three. His ERA now is a horrible 36.00 with a WHIP of 5.000. He was also given the loss since he handed the most runs.
Smith showed some promises in Spring Training. He started one game but pitched 14 innings in the Spring. He allowed five runs total, two home runs, walked eight, and struck out 13 batters. Caleb Smith finished the campaign with a 3.21 with a 1.214 WHIP, and a 1-0 record. Pretty good for a pitcher that has never succeeded well in the starting role.
With this last outing, Smith again looked like the starter spotlight was too big for him. The only season he was a complete starter was in 2019 with the Marlins. Smith pitched 153.1 innings with a 10-11 record in that season. His ERA was 4.52 with a 1.226 WHIP allowing 33 home runs and striking out 168 batters. However, he did show some spark last season coming out of the bullpen. In 113.2 innings pitched, he struck out 124 batters, walked 64, and allowed 20 home runs and 64 earned runs total. Smith ended up with a 4.83 ERA and a WHIP of 1.372 in 2021.
The 5-year veteran has been moving around the league in big trades. First, the Yankees sent him to Miami in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Later, he got delt to the D-Backs in the Starlin Marte trade.
Smith did not pan out, leaving a hole in Lovullo's rotation. While Corbin Martin looked better after the second inning, he is still a question mark. Martin went four innings on Sunday, striking out five batters and allowing three runs with one earned.
Caleb Smith had his last chance to prove he was staring material. On Friday, he was called out from the bullpen, an arduous task against the New York Mets, one of the better teams in the National League. The Mets were hitting great (before Friday's home opener), slashing as a team, .277/.375/.387, with an OPS of .762 in 173 at-bats. However, with New York's recent additions, Caleb Smith had his work cut off with this team.
Torey Lovullo could only hope Smith went more than an inning this time. Well, he did pitch three innings this time. He allowed five hits, earned five runs of the ten the Mets scored, walked three batters, struck out 2, and allowed two home runs. His ERA is now a horrible 20.25.
Regardless of Smith's desire to be a starter, his numbers show that he is an ok to good reliever. The starter spot may be too big for Smith. But, as the Diamondbacks struggle both offensively and defensively, Arizona may need to adjust until Luke Weaver and Zac Gallen are back from injury.