MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Start off May Better Than April
As we know, when the 2014 baseball season started for the AZ Diamondbacks the pitching staff was abysmal. The starting pitching ERA was by far the worst in baseball, and the bullpen ERA was just as bad. As April came to an end the bullpen was looking like it was back on track and even the starting pitching was getting into the act with quality starts.
So far for the month of May the Diamondbacks have an ERA of 3.74 in ten games. Much of the success can be attributed to Bronson Arroyo, who has yet to give up an earned run this month and to Josh Collmenter. Chase Anderson, who made his major league debut this past Sunday, went 5.1 innings, giving up just two hits and a run, to pick up a win over the Chicago White Sox. If he can continue to pitch anywhere near that level, he would give this pitching staff a huge boost in the back end of the rotation.
As for the bullpen, Brad Ziegler currently has not given up a run in 18 innings, a 19 game scoreless streak. He has only given up two earned runs all year. Even Joe Thatcher has worked out his early season issues and looks like the left-handed set-up man from previous years. With such a promising start to the month we will finally see how this Diamondbacks pitching staff can perform.
There are still some concerns to take a look at if the Diamondbacks are going to continue to get back to being a .500 team. They must win at home! Their current 3-16 home record is dreadful. And, their inability to get runners home from scoring position is a major concern. They are currently hitting .225 with runners in scoring position and with two outs and runners in scoring position they are hitting .187.
However, the biggest concern might be the closers spot. Yes, Addison Reed has saved 11 of 13 games, but if you look at his overall numbers there is concern. Reed had converted eight consecutive save opportunities before blowing his second save of the season Monday night, but his ERA is 6.35 in his last six outings. He has given up a run in five of his last seven save chances. He has given up six homeruns already this year. He gave up eight last year as a member of the White Sox and did end up blowing eight save chances. His ERA of 3.79 last year is high for a closer who is to be dominating.
When he came to the Diamondbacks he had three pitches; a fastball, a slider and a changeup, but lately he is becoming a one-dimensional pitcher. His fastball hits the mid-90s, but it has had no movement and no location. Hitters are sitting on his fast balls and that is leading to critical, late inning home runs. All of his homeruns have been on fastball pitches this year.
It also looks like he has stopped throwing his slider. When he was throwing it; he was using it is a true swing-and-miss pitch, because of his control with it. As far as his changeup it still needs more consistency to be considered a solid pitch. If Reed wants to be one of the top closers in the game he needs more than just his fastball to get a save and a win for this team. After last night’s game Manager Kirk Gibson said Reed is the closer, there is no discussion, but nothing is more demoralizing to a team than for your closer to lose a game your whole team was winning, until he stepped up to the mound.
Here is hoping that Addison Reed gets control of his pitches and we can be comfortable when he comes into a game it will be for a save and a win.
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