Arizona Diamondbacks Pitching Is Off To A Disastrous Start
The word terrible really isn’t strong enough to truly capture just how bad the pitching has been for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. In 18 games the starters have a combined 7.63 ERA thus far yielding 78 earned runs in only 92 innings pitched.
Arizona has given up runs at an alarming rate of over six per game with five or more in 13 of the 18 total games. They are on pace to give up five or more in 117 games which would beat the record of 114 set by the 1930 Philidelphia Phillies.
The worst pitching staff that baseball has seen in the last 70 plus years is the 1996 Detroit Tigers who had a starting rotation with a 6.64 ERA. The Tigers gave up seven or more earned runs a grand total of 71 times in 1996 and Arizona has started down that path achieving that feat seven times in the team’s 18 games.
The hopes for Arizona pitching took a big hit in the Spring when it was announced that 24-year-old Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez, one of their most reliable arms in the pen, would need Tommy John surgery.
The snakes now have to rely on the 37-year-old Bronson Arroyo to anchor a staff that is full of back-end of the rotation arms.
Brandon McCarthy has never made more than 25 starts in a season and can almost certainly be counted on to miss time at some point in the season. Since coming to Arizona as a free agent in December of 2012, McCarthy has nearly a 5.00 ERA.
Trevor Cahill was recently moved out of the rotation and into the pen after a disastrous start to his season with a 9.17 ERA in four winless starts. Cahill has only completed six innings in four starts dating back to June 3 of last season with a combined 5-9 record and 5.85 ERA during that span.
The most troubling part of the rough start is the amount of innings the bullpen is throwing. Consistently asking relievers to pitch half the game will eventually take it’s toll. Arizona’s pen has already racked up 68 innings and lost their best long man in Josh Collmenter to the rotation as he takes Cahill’s spot. This move appears to be temporary as Collmenter could move back to the pen with the addition of Michael Bolsinger who starts Saturday.
The team currently sits at an MLB worst 4-14 and appear headed for a long losing season. However, the starting rotation cannot possibly be this bad for the duration of the season. Although, they might be forced to bring up top pitching prospect Archie Bradley before too long. Yes it starts the clock on Bradley’s service time but it also prepares him against major league hitting for next year.
The more likely option is that Arizona will promote veteran left-hander Randy Wolf from Triple-A at some point soon. After missing the entire 2013 season due to Tommy John surgery, Wolf made the Seattle Mariners out of Spring training. However, he asked for his release when the Mariners asked him to sign a waiver that would allow the team to release him within 45 days without having to pay the remainder of his salary.
Wolf won’t be much of an upgrade from what Arizona is getting now and it remains to be seen if he can be an innings eater at the end of the rotation. The 37-year-old has made one start at Triple-A Reno giving up four runs in six innings.