For D-backs, it’s all about the bullpen

Aug 18, 2011, 5:29 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

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.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jordan Lawlar #1 of the National League throws for the third out in the fourth inning during the Si...
Kellan Olson

ESPN’s Passan buying D-backs rise, eyeing Jordan Lawlar 2023 debut

Could the Arizona Diamondbacks be much more competitive a year earlier than expected? ESPN's Jeff Passan believes so.
23 hours ago
Catcher Carson Kelly #18 of the Arizona Diamondbacks prepares to take the field before the MLB game...
Tyler Drake

D-backs’ Carson Kelly dealing with forearm fracture, no timeline for return

The Arizona Diamondbacks will have to navigate the beginning of the regular season without starting catcher Carson Kelly.
2 days ago
Munetaka Murakami #55 of Team Japan celebrates after hitting a two-run double to defeat Team Mexico...
Associated Press

Japan walks off Mexico to set up World Baseball Classic final vs. USA

Shohei Ohtani sparked a ninth-inning rally as Japan walked off Mexico 6-5 to advance to the World Baseball Classic final against Team USA.
3 days ago
Tommy Henry #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning of the game against the...
Arizona Sports

LHP Henry optioned as D-backs key in on final starting candidates

The Diamondbacks optioned Tommy Henry to Triple-A on Monday, whittling down their options to cement the backend of their starting rotation.
3 days ago
Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of Team USA throws a warm-up pitch during the first inning of th...
Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Merrill Kelly set up to start World Baseball Classic final for Team USA

Team USA "looks like" it will turn to Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly in the World Baseball Classic final on Tuesday. 
3 days ago
Paul Goldschmidt #46 of Team USA celebrates with Moookie Betts #3 after hitting a two-run home run ...
Associated Press

Turner, Goldschmidt lead Team USA to WBC final with win vs. Cuba

Defending champion United States romped over Cuba 14-2 on Sunday night to reach its second straight World Baseball Classic final.
4 days ago
For D-backs, it’s all about the bullpen