The Diamondbacks bullpen, a rock earlier in the season, has faltered as of late.
After blowing a lead Sunday in Detroit, manager Kirk Gibson talked about how the team can’t keep relying on David Hernandez and J.J. Putz. Putz, especially, was unavailable to pitch Sunday.
“It’s important that everybody can play in August and September,” Gibson said before Monday’s game with Cleveland. “I know, and I watch him and I watch him throw.”
Hernandez did contribute to Sunday’s meltdown, however, and that’s why Gibson said it’s important for the team to have more reliable options in the ‘pen.
“We have to develop a bullpen,” he said. “It can’t just be J.J. and David eight/nine all the time.
“It won’t happen at this point in the season.”
The problem for Gibson, at least right now, is that even some of his veterans have struggled.
Aaron Heilman, for instance, has a 6.99 ERA on the season, while Esmerling Vasquez, another player called on often, is sporting a 4.15 ERA of his own. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
However, it’s up to Gibson to make it work, and it would really be unfair to criticize the way he’s handled the bullpen. Even with Sunday’s issues the group, as a whole, has fared much better this year than the last couple of seasons, and that in itself is no minor miracle.
Sports 620 KTAR’s Craig Grialou contributed to this report