For D-backs, it’s all about the bullpen
The individual seasons put together by both Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy may be grabbing the headlines, but they may not be the main reason for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ turn from worst to first.
According to ESPN, it’s the team’s bullpen that deserves a large share of the credit.
The team has reduced its bullpen ERA from 5.74 last season to 3.77 in 2011, which has led to leads being preserved more effectively and the team’s offense flourishing late in games.
Indeed, late-inning rallies don’t happen if the game gets away from the team, and the ability of Arizona’s bullpen to shut down opposing bats and give the offense a chance cannot be discounted.
While J.J. Putz and David Hernandez have done a great job and get a good deal of credit, but Joe Paterson, Bryan Shaw, Micah Owings and, lately, Zach Duke and Bryan Shaw have all done a great job when called upon.
Once the bane of the D-backs’ existence, the ‘pen has become a source of reliability and strength.