The Arizona Diamondbacks' bullpen is not the worst in all of baseball.
It just seems that way.
Wednesday night's 9-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants, which saw David Hernandez cough up two-run lead in the eighth inning, was just another instance in a recent string of late-inning failures. It was the D-backs' MLB-leading 10th blown save of the season, and third loss suffered by the bullpen in the last three games. Lately hope not only does not spring eternal, but feels all but lost. Check out Twitter for proof:
I wonder which @dbacks is going to blow the game for us Friday... it feels like 3 years ago all over again. Come on guys, 10 blown already?— Anthony Green (@dadbackbygreen) May 2, 2013
So anyone want to weld the #Dbacks bullpen gate closed while they are on the road the next few days?— Charles Woodall-Pike (@CactusOnIce) May 2, 2013
Another blown save, Dbacks? I hate an unreliable bullpen. So frustrating.— Elizabeth (@donttakemybooks) May 2, 2013
Yet, the amazing thing is Arizona's bullpen -- at least by the numbers -- is not all that bad.
Their eight wins are the most of any bullpen in the entire league. Their ERA, which is 3.08, is 13th-best in all of baseball. Seven other teams have suffered more losses courtesy of their 'pen, and D-backs relievers have tallied the fourth-most strikeouts in the game.
But, those 10 blown saves are an issue.
Closer J.J. Putz leads the way with four, and he's followed by David Hernandez (three), Tony Sipp (two) and Heath Bell (one). Now, not all of these blown saves have occurred in the ninth inning, but the point remains: the D-backs have coughed up far too many late leads. Though for what it's worth, Arizona is 6-4 in the games where a save has been blown.
Anyway, the latest loss dropped the D-backs to 15-13, which is a mark good enough for third in the NL West behind the Colorado Rockies and Giants.
There's no doubt that better performances from the bullpen would be advantageous, but perhaps first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was right when he said much of the blame should fall on the team's offense for not scoring more runs.
The D-backs are posting 4.3 per game which ranks 15th in all of baseball. It's the league average, so it's not a total disaster.
But as we've all seen, a couple more here and there wouldn't hurt.