The Arizona Diamondbacks have a 10-6 record, in large part due to their pitching.
A guest of with Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said he was pleased with how deep into games his starters are going.
“The thing about this pitching staff, granted we didn’t have a lot of guys going eight, now we’ve had two in a row that went into the eighth inning, so now you’re starting to see them stretch out,” Hall said. “They’re all going five, six innings constantly and keeping the runs off the board.”
On Wednesday, Zack Grienke pitched eight innings with just one earned run in a loss to the San Diego Padres and in the night before, also in San Diego, Shelby Miller gave up one earned run through 7.1 innings in a D-backs win.
Both Grienke and Miller struggled in 2016, with Grienke posting an ERA of 4.37, while Miller had a 6.15 ERA in a season that saw him spend time in triple-A Reno.
Through 16 games, the D-backs have a team ERA of 3.56, which is the ninth-best in baseball and vastly better than last season, when Arizona had a team ERA of 5.09. Not surprisingly, that number ranked 30th in the league.
But while some of the pitchers have bounced back this year, some of the team’s key hitters like Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta have started slowly.
Entering play Thursday, Goldschmidt is hitting .236 with two home runs. Peralta is posting similar numbers with two home runs and a .237 batting average. However, Hall is not concerned.
“You know what’s funny is I remember us having the same conversations last year at this time,” Hall said. “As well as we have played and the fact that we’re in first place without Goldy playing like he can, without Peralta playing like he can, Lamb showing a few flashes, but our guys have not really played well. It’s our starting pitching that’s held us and really our bullpen really of late. So once those guys start clicking, and we’re leading baseball in runs scored without those guys, so it’s going to turn around.”
Despite some of their better batters struggling, the D-backs still lead MLB with 78 runs scored with Jake Lamb leading the team with three home runs and 14 RBI and Chris Owings batting .308.
Another reason Hall isn’t worrying is because of the trust he has in new manager Torey Lovullo.
“He’s a great communicator, he’s a real positive guy and you don’t see any panic in the dugout. I love that,” Hall said. “You tend to have managers, young managers especially, who show their emotions constantly, and players see it and feel it and there’s tension in the dugout. We don’t have that.”