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Arizona Diamondbacks

Updated May 3, 2012 - 5:37 pm

Diamondbacks bullpen having its share of struggles

Once upon a time, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen was
one of
the best in baseball, able to lock games down when the
team
had a lead and keep them in the game long enough for the
offense to rally late.

Oh, what a difference one season makes.

The Diamondbacks are carrying a bullpen ERA of 4.65 —
good
enough for sixth-worst in baseball — and have already
been
credited for six losses in this young season.

And while lefties Joe Paterson (11 earned runs in 2.2
innings
of work) and Mike Zagurski (4 earned runs in 2.1 innings
of
work) have received much of the blame for the struggles,
the
team is also having to work through issues with closer
J.J.
Putz.

The 35-year-old right-hander given up a run in four of his
nine appearances, while blowing two of his seven save
opportunities.

Including a walk-off homer surrendered to the Nationals’
Ian
Desmond Wednesday, Putz has allowed three long balls on
the
season — one short of the four he gave up in 2011. His
ERA
stands at a disappointing 6.48, which is a far cry from
the
2.17 mark he finished 2011 with.

At the same time, Putz has struck out 10 batters and
failed to
issue a walk so far in 8.1 innings of work, so it’s not as
if
he’s totally lost on the mound.

The good news for the D-backs, though, is that there are
some
relievers putting together fine seasons.

Setup man David Hernandez has struck out 19 batters in
12.1
innings of work, Bryan Shaw has been effective out of the
pen
with a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings, and veterans Brad Ziegler
and
Craig Breslow have been solid, too.

What does it all mean for the Diamondbacks? Well, other
than
the fact that it’s early and there is time to improve, not
much.

Unless, of course, they don’t improve.

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