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D-backs assistant GM Porter gives pitching credit for impressive start

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws to the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 11, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LISTEN: Jared Porter, Diamondbacks assistant general manager

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ impressive offense, which leads the league with 5.2 runs scored per game, has deservedly gotten a lot of the credit for the team’s MLB-best 10-5 start.

However, Arizona assistant general manager Jared Porter credited the club’s pitching staff for the team’s best record through 15 games since 2008 when he joined Arizona Sports 98.7 FM‘s Doug and Wolf Wednesday.

“The pitching staff’s been really good so far,” he said. “It’s a long season, as we know. They’re gonna keep getting better every day.”

Even though the Diamondbacks’ 3.71 ERA is only good for 13th in the league, it’s a marked improvement over their major league-worst 5.09 mark from last season.

“So far, so good,” Porter said. “Our starting pitching – I think – has been great. It’s kept us in almost every game.”

Perhaps the Diamondbacks’ best starter thus far has been fourth-year major-leaguer Robbie Ray, who seems like he could make good on the promise that made him a potential breakout candidate entering the season. Ray has put up a 1.96 ERA in three starts while striking out 24, tied for fourth in the majors.

Fellow starting pitchers Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Shelby Miller have also improved their ERAs from last season, and only Greinke owns an ERA over four.

Not only have the starters performed well on their own, Porter thinks they have had a positive impact on the bullpen as well.

“They’ve done a good job getting relatively deep into games, especially early in the season,” he said. “I think we haven’t had many of those really short outings, and I do think that’s really good for a bullpen.”

In fact, the only Diamondbacks starting pitcher to pitch fewer than five innings in a game this season is Corbin, who went four innings in his first start but has logged six in each of his last two.

While Porter did praise the starters, he also made sure to credit the bullpen for their role in finishing games.

“The bullpen’s been great,” he said. “Archie [Bradley]’s obviously emerged and exciting. J.J. Hoover’s been really good. [Jorge] De La Rosa’s been really good. [Fernando] Rodney’s five-for-five in save opportunities.”

Starter-turned-reliever Bradley has been dominant in his new role, not allowing a run in 9.1 innings. His 11 strikeouts are tied for the second-most among pitchers who have yet to allow a run, behind Seattle Mariners starter James Paxton.

Bradley, De La Rosa and Hoover all have an ERA under 3.40 and are averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

Porter thinks the Diamondbacks’ combination of dominant offense and quality pitching can sustain their success from the first 15 games over to the next 15.

“I expect us to be in our next 15 games and have a chance to win them,” he said. “I really do.”

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