If you were tooling around Twitter Wednesday night when San Francisco’s Brandon Belt clubbed a three-run homer off of D-backs reliever David Hernandez (or really any time in the last week or so), you’d think the world was coming to an end for Arizona baseball fans.
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) May 2, 2013
if ever there was a bullpen that needed a day off its the D’backs.#groundhogday
— Mark McClune (@MarkMcClune) May 2, 2013
The D-Backs have a really good bullpen! #not
— Dallin Ashcroft (@dash_mvtf) May 1, 2013
The D-Backs bullpen is up to its usual D-Backs bullpen tricks. That means they’re terrible.
— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) April 28, 2013
— Danny Shapiro (@Danny__Shapiro) May 2, 2013
Okay, okay, it’s been bad. The Diamondbacks’ relief corps has blown 10 save opportunities in the first 28 games.
I’ve heard people say things “this is the worst bullpen ever.” Step away from the hyperbole, people.
How quickly we forget what a true relief pitching dumpster fire looks like. Does anybody remember 2010? I know we’ve all tried to suppress the painful memories of that season, but let’s be strong and revisit things. Let’s compare the two bullpens to the same point in the season, shall we?
|2010- Boyer, Gutierrez,
Heilman, Howry, Mulvey,
Norberto, Qualls, Rosales,
|82.1||89||62||60||44||64||17||4-7||6.56||6 of 12
|2013 – Collmenter, Hernandez,
Putz, Reynolds, Sipp, Ziegler
|90.2||76||31||31||31||92||12||8-5||3.08||8 of 18
I know what you’re thinking — “thanks for conjuring up memories about Leo Rosales and Kevin Mulvey that I’ve had buried in the far reaches of my mind for three years, Vince.”
Sorry. I had to do it to make my point.
Even though the ’13 D-backs have blown 10 saves, they’re still 6-4 in those games. I guess there is something to this whole ‘grit’ mantra, huh?
In comparison, the 2010 bullpen blew saves in five of Arizona’s first 28 games (one game featured two blown opportunities) and went 1-4 in those contests. Yeah, that team wasn’t gritty. Or good.
The point is, the results can’t be much worse than they’ve been for J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Heath Bell.
But I still feel good about that trio moving forward — their combined 3.01 ERA in Sedona Red is pushing me in that direction.
I’m not proclaiming that the Diamondbacks will win the National League West.
But I also don’t believe a bad stretch by proven big league relievers in April will prevent them from being in the thick of the race in August and September.