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Too late for ‘progress’ — time for Collmenter to get results

(The above headline is brought to you by Captain Obvious

Josh Collmenter has gotten as much attention as any
Diamondback since mid-Spring Training. Everyone wants to
know — Is he in danger of losing his spot in the
rotation? How many more sub-par starts will he be allowed?
Have hitters adjusted to his delivery? And, speaking of
his delivery, is that what he’s depending on?

But Manager Kirk Gibson hasn’t really wanted to talk about
Collmenter’s lackluster performances. Until Wednesday,
that is.

“The results aren’t there and that means something,”
Gibson said prior to Wednesday’s game against the
Phillies. After pausing, he reiterated, “That means

Collmenter, who is third in the D-backs’ starting rotation
this season, is 0-2 with a 9.84 ERA in four starts. Prior
to Tuesday’s six-inning effort, his starts lasted three,
four, and five-and-a-third innings.

The big, 26-year-old 15th round draft pick has a plethora
of issues facing him in his second season. Among them,
home runs — no pitcher in the National League has given
up more home runs, which Gibson acknowledged as a problem.

“He’s given up six home runs. And that’s troubling,”
Gibson said Wednesday.

An NL-worst six home runs in four starts, yes — that’s
troubling. What’s more troubling? It’s not just the long
ball that’s plaguing Collmenter — no NL pitcher has given
up more earned runs than the 20 he’s given up in 18 1/3

Just how bad has Collmenter been? Tuesday night’s outing
— when Collmenter gave up nine hits, six earned runs, and
two home runs — was seen as progress.

“He threw the ball as best as he’s thrown it all year,”
Gibson said after the game.

Collmenter may have looked better than he has all
year, from a mechanics or pitch-execution standpoint but,
ultimately, he was knocked around by a banged-up, Howard-
less, Utley-less Phillies team.

Big, snowball-like innings seem to be one of the main
issues for the pitcher. He’s allowed three runs or more in
at least one inning of every outing so far. On Tuesday,
four of the six runs Collmenter gave up came on two two-
run homers in the fourth inning.

Gibson talked about that inning, and Collmenter’s other
disastrous innings, on Wednesday morning. “He had the
fourth inning where he gave up four hits in a row — that
part’s troubling.”

Next came the most fatalistic line Gibson’s given on
Collmenter all year: “We’re not going to be able to
continue to tolerate four runs in an inning.”

Now, for an interpretation.

Let’s face it, while Tuesday was considered an
improvement, Collmenter gave up nine hits and six earned
runs. It won’t be too difficult to “improve” on that
start. That won’t be the issue after Collmenter’s next

It’s Thursday night as I write this and Sunday and
Monday’s starters have yet to be announced, but I think
Collmenter will get the ball on Monday. If he doesn’t come
away with a win, I’m confident he’ll lose his spot in the
rotation, based on the aforementioned Gibson quotes, which
were a total change of tune from a guy who has
persistently backed Collmenter since Spring Training.

If Monday comes and goes and Collmenter’s still winless,
look for the D-backs to make some kind of move. Pitcher
Wade Miley, who was dominant in his first start of the
year Monday night, and Collmenter may swap roles —
officially moving Miley to the rotation and Collmenter to
the bullpen to fill the long relief role. This would
require the D-backs to bring up another starting pitcher
— Trevor Bauer, presumably — while Daniel Hudson is on
the disabled list. Or, in a worst case scenario for
Collmenter, we may see a demotion to AAA.

It’s no longer about “improvement” or “progress.” It’s no
longer about locating pitches, keeping the ball down in
the zone, or not giving up home runs. For Collmenter, it’s
about winning his next start. It’s about results.

*Expect the D-backs to announce Sunday and Monday’s
starters sometime Friday morning or early afternoon.