There is no easy answer, no quick fix. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen is abysmal with an astonishing 10 blown saves in just a month of baseball. The best news for the Diamondbacks is they can’t blow a save Thursday because they don’t play.
Everyone wants answers. They want changes. They want demotions, call-ups, whatever it takes to fix this mess. But the truth is the Diamondbacks have no choice but to ride this out and hope their three struggling relievers that are being counted on to close the door on opponents late in games will work this out.
Time will tell, but all three guys — J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Heath Bell — are proven in this league. This isn’t like the D-backs’ bullpen of 2010 which had a 5.74 ERA, the seventh-worst ever, with clowns like Chad Qualls, Esmerling Vasquez, Blaine Boyer and Juan Gutierrez among others. I know the stats may seem similar, but the talent level is not. The current Diamondback trio has 359 saves. Putz has a career ERA of 3.07, Bell 3.35 and Hernandez 4.07. The way they are pitching now is not indicative of the way they have pitched in their careers.
Putz is better than a 4.26 ERA with four blown saves. Hernandez is better than a 4.61 ERA and three blown saves. And Bell, despite his struggles last year in Miami, is better than a 5.91 ERA and one blown save. The hard part about all of this is that all three relievers are struggling at the same time. That usually doesn’t happen. None of these guys are able to pick the other one up. And it hasn’t helped that the starters can’t finish a game to give the bullpen a blow.
So no, you can’t send any of these guys down. Matt Reynolds is not going to be the closer and they are not trading for anyone in May. They will hand the ball to these guys, show trust in them and believe they will get the job done. It’s not the answer everyone wants right now but patience is their only option. They have too much time and money invested in those three players and aren’t about to kick them to the curb just yet.