Torey Lovullo ‘very concerned’ about D-backs leading MLB in bullpen appearances
PHOENIX — No team in Major League Baseball has made more appearances out of the bullpen this season than the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The D-backs have yet to have a starter throw a complete game 45 contests into the 2022 campaign, meaning that a reliever has had to come in for each and every ballgame.
Three of the most used arms by manager Torey Lovullo have been right-handers Ian Kennedy and Noe Ramirez, as well as lefty Joe Mantiply.
The trio was tied with 21 appearances apiece coming into Wednesday, which had each reliever ranked tops in the National League and tied with Clay Holmes, Domingo Acevedo and Hector Neris for the most in MLB.
“Very concerned. I don’t want any of our guys to have 80 appearances this year,” Lovullo said Monday of the bullpen’s usage. “That’s way too many.
“We have played close games, we embrace close games. We need our horses to go out there and protect those types of games when we’re ahead, so we’ll be mindful of it.”
At 21 appearances apiece through the first 45 games, Kennedy, Ramirez and Mantiply are on pace to make 75 outings this season.
Perhaps the biggest “horse” of the trio this year has been Mantiply. The 6-foot-4 lefty specialist has only allowed one run (0.51 ERA) in his 17.2 innings pitched while giving up 14 hits and one walk (0.849 WHIP) and striking out 15 en route to five holds and two saves.
In 19.2 innings pitched, Ramirez has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 13 hits and seven walks (1.017 WHIP) while striking out 19. However, the 32-year-old hasn’t given up a run and has only allowed four baserunners (two hits and two walks) in his last eight appearances (8.1 innings pitched), which has him tied for third in the NL and fourth in MLB with nine holds.
Kennedy, the D-backs eighth-inning setup man for closer Mark Melancon, has thrown a total of 19.1 innings this season and has allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 21 hits and nine walks (1.552 WHIP) while striking out 15 en route to seven holds and three saves.
“We’re going to make some adjustments along the way, I’m sure as we always do,” Lovullo said. “But I got to make sure I don’t get anybody hurt and that’s my main concern.”