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D-backs’ Collmenter provides struggling team with second consecutive quality start

There’s nothing menacing about Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Josh Collmenter.

The 28-year-old is a gregarious character, who possesses a fastball that rarely touches over 90 miles per hour and an over-hand motion that resembles a Ferris wheel at the local state fair.

But what he lacks in a power pitch or traditional throwing motion, he makes up for with his versatility and reliability.

Friday night against a veteran-laden Philadelphia Phillies’ squad, Collmenter was exactly the mound leader the D-backs needed.

In just his third start since replacing Randall Delgado in the starting rotation, the Michigan native breezed through his six innings of work, allowing just four hits in the process.

“I’ve been able to locate all the way from spring training until now,” Collmenter said after Arizona’s 5-4 win. “So being able to pitch in and out, keep the ball down and just keep it away from the plate where they could really do any damage with it [were the keys to the outing]. Most of their hits came on pitches they couldn’t do a whole lot with more than they did.

“That’s the key for me, keep the ball out of the zone where you keep guys off of second base and third base. If you limit them to singles it keeps the double play in effect. My defense made a lot of plays behind me.”

With complete confidence in his fastball, change and curveball, the third-year pro effortlessly mowed down whatever Philadelphia threw at him, en route to his first win as a starter at home since July 2012.

“It’s great to be able to give the team a chance to win,” said Collmenter. “It’s something as a part of the starting rotation you take pride in, going out there and giving the team a chance to win and then hand the ball to the next guy.

“We’ve had some quality efforts the last few times out, so we’re hoping that continues.”

If the D-backs have any hopes of picking themselves up and out of the cellar in the National League, they’ll need just that.

Even with back-to-back quality starts from Collmenter and rookie Mike Bolsinger, Arizona starters are last in all of baseball in that category, as well as ERA (6.49) and opponent slugging percentage (.491).

They’re also second-worst in opponent batting average (.297) and WHIP (1.60).

“Just to get a few wins in a row and kind of get our feet back under us and have something to build off of is big, as well.”

In 16 innings of work as a starter, Collmenter is 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA and 14 strikeouts.