Bullish bullpen leads the way for the Arizona Diamondbacks

Jul 7, 2018, 6:30 PM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

With inconsistent performances by the offense and the starting rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks continue to rely on their bullpen as a stalwart piece of their success this season.

The D-backs’ bullpen currently leads the National League with a 2.51 ERA, which is important considering the team whose bullpen lead the NL in ERA by July 4 has made the playoffs the last three seasons.

T.J. McFarland has quietly been excellent, leading all NL relievers with 54.1 innings pitched. Over his last nine games, the 29-year-old has posted a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings.

McFarland also has three outings this season where he pitched 4.0+ innings, which is tied with Zeke Spruill for the second-most by a reliever in club history.

Yoshi Hirano set the franchise mark for most scoreless games at 26, which was also the second-most ever by a Japanese-born pitcher.

He has a 1.10 ERA in his last 32.1 innings pitched, and his 20 Holds is a team record in the first half by a rookie.

Hirano is tied with teammate Archie Bradley for the most game appearances in the NL at 43, and ranks sixth in ERA at 1.40.

Meanwhile, Bradley has not allowed a run in 18 of his last 19 appearances, sporting a 0.53 ERA over that span. He is first in the NL with 23 Holds, which is the second-most for a D-back before the All-Star break behind only Brad Ziegler with 24.

Bradley has also not allowed an earned run in nine consecutive games.

On Friday, the D-backs got another vital piece to this bullpen back off the 60-day DL in right-hander Randall Delgado.

In 11 rehab appearances with Single-A Visalia and Triple-A Reno, Delgado was 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched. The last time he appeared in a MLB game was July 15, 2017.

Delgado’s abilities as a long reliever out of the pen will be a sight for sore eyes to an overworked relief corps. As mentioned, Hirano, Bradley and Andrew Chafin are all ranked in the top five for relief pitching appearances this season, while McFarland is first overall in innings pitched.

It also remains to be seen how the starting rotation decisions by manager Torey Lovullo impacts the bullpen, with a possible addition of Shelby Miler or Clay Buchholz when he returns from injury.

Either pitcher could be an equally big addition to this taxed pen with the second half of the season looming.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Ryne Nelson (Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner)...
Wills Rice

Report: Ryne Nelson wins D-backs’ No. 5 starting rotation spot, Jameson to bullpen

The D-backs will be moving forward with RHP Ryne Nelson as the team's No. 5 starter in the rotation,'s Steve Gilbert reported Sunday.
11 hours ago
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Pavin Smith throws during an MLB spring training baseball practi...
Wills Rice

D-backs OF Pavin Smith, INF Emmanuel Rivera optioned to Triple-A Reno

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Sunday that outfielder Pavin Smith and infielder Emmanuel Rivera were optioned to Triple-A Reno.
11 hours ago
Catcher Jose Herrera #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks to the dugout during the second inning o...
Alex Weiner

D-backs opt for familiarity with backup catcher Jose Herrera

Jose Herrera and P.J. Higgins were the two prime competitors for the Diamondbacks' backup catcher role after Carson Kelly's injury.
11 hours ago
Fans fill Camelback Ranch during the MLB Spring Training baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and...
Wills Rice

Dog makes fantastic home run snag during Cactus League game

A dog made the play of the day in the outfield grass on Saturday following a home run during the Dodgers-Royals Cactus League game.
1 day ago
Gabriel Moreno #14 of the Arizona Diamondbacks works out at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on F...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Diamondbacks believe Gabriel Moreno is ready for bigger role

Gabriel Moreno will be the Arizona Diamondbacks' everyday catcher soon enough but it might happen even sooner than expected.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo speaks with reporters after a 7-4 spring training loss t...
Jake Anderson

Diamondbacks still have major roster questions as Opening Day looms

With only six days until Opening Day, D-backs skipper Torey Lovullo still has to get the active roster down from 36 to 26.
2 days ago
Bullish bullpen leads the way for the Arizona Diamondbacks