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Arizona Continues Pitching Success

Posted By Matthew Hesse On May 20 2011 @ 3:24 pm In Arizona Diamondbacks | No Comments

The Arizona Diamondbacks begin Interleague Play with 5 wins over their last 6 games - thanks largely to pitching. After the D’Backs got beat up on Monday by the Padres 8-4, Arizona surged ahead to get 3 straight wins all without any pitching from stud Ian Kennedy.

Armando Galarraga struggled again Monday allowing 8 earned runs.  The Diamondbacks have since designated him for assignment and will look elsewhere for another arm in the starting rotation.

On Tuesday, Daniel Hudson pitched 7 strong innings as the D’Backs routed San Diego 6-1.  Hudson allowed 8 hits but only 1 earned run and struck out 6 Padres en route.  Not to be outdone, the D’Backs bats came alive with 6 runs on 11 hits.

Joe Saunders recorded six strong innings Wednesday to keep the D'Backs in the game.

On Wednesday, the D’Backs surged in the bottom of the 11th inning to steal the win from the Braves 5-4.  Another strong start for the D’Backs Joe Saunders (potential ace?) who scattered 7 hits over 6 strong innings and only one unearned run.  The bullpen had some trouble as Esmerling Vasquez blew a potential save with two earned runs in the 7th.  However, the rest of the bullpen was stellar and the bats eventually came alive for the D’Backs late in the 11th inning to record their second straight win.

Thursday Arizona recorded a third win in a row with a quality start from Josh Collmenter.  This was just Collmenter’s second MLB start.  His first start consisted of 6 quality shutout innings (QS).  That debut was followed with another 6 shutout innings – making  Collmenter the first pitcher since 1900 to win his first two starts with 6.0 or more shutout innings in each start.  Collmenter got help from the bats in the 6th with a Chris Young HR and an RBI triple by Juan Miranda.  Miranda’s triple came within inches of being a 2 run HR bouncing off the center right field wall.

Josh Collmenter became the first pitcher since 1900 to have 6 shutout innings in his first two MLB starts

The D’Backs carried their 2-0 lead into the 9th until a fielding error by Justin Upton brought in a run for the Braves.  The run and error could have blown the lead for the D’Backs but J.J. Putz was able to shut the door with a strikeout to record his 10th save of the season.

With exception of the poor performance on Monday by Galarraga the Diamondbacks are on a roll especially with their pitching.  In the last seven days the D’Backs lead the National League with a 1.97 ERA and a 5-2 record.  This includes their loss Monday allowing 8 runs with Armando Galarraga.

With Galarraga out of the rotation the D’Backs look to continue their success off the starting rotation and the bullpen.  Just a year ago with Detroit, Galarraga had a perfect game taken away after a botched call by the First Base umpire – and has struggled a lot during this season with the D’Backs.  Every pitcher goes through rough spots, but the D’Backs made the right call trying to stockpile young arms with excellent potential. Now they need to minimize the damage while this talented group learns how to pitch at the major league level 

Micah Owings is expected to get the nod to start on Saturday

The question that arises from the Galarraga decision is who replaces him?  On Saturday the D’Backs will be giving Micah Owings a start, as he has been called up from AAA Reno.  Owings has gone 3-1 in 7 games with an ERA of 4.85 and 27 K’s for the Aces.  Whether or not he is the permanent replacement remains to be seen but Owings does show promise and has major league experience.

The D’Backs begin interleague play against the Minnesota Twins Friday night.  Ian Kennedy(4-1) will start for the D’Backs Friday going against Brian Duensing (2-3).  Interleague play will truly test these Diamondbacks and prove whether or not their pitching staff is for real.  The Diamondbacks have found new life but this test will show if that new life has legs.

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