Pop quiz, hot shot: you have a pitcher who can’t throw strikes and a bullpen that is, by far, the team’s weakest link. What do you do?
If you’re the Arizona Diamondbacks you put that pitcher in that bullpen and hope one of the fundamental laws of the universe (i.e. relief pitchers must throw strikes) is suspended in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
Look, Dontrelle Willis was a great pitcher for a while. He has sadly lost his mojo, however, and despite being given multiple chances, he does not look like he’s going to get it back. This is Major League Baseball. Not a charity ward. If Willis is to be pitching anywhere, he needs to be pitching someplace where he won’t be impacting games that matter.
And yes, even though the Dbacks are out of it, many of their opponents are not, and this grand experiment is simply bad for baseball. DFA him or waive him or do something to him, but by no means should he be pitching in the majors at this moment in time.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.
Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.
Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.