Forget that Josh Collmenter had a 3.59 ERA in his 24 starts as a rookie last season. If many Diamondbacks fans had their way, he would have been demoted to the pen before 2012 even opened.
Those calls will only get louder now. Collmenter followed up a Cactus League season in which he went 0-4 with a 9.95 ERA by giving up six runs — five earned — in three innings Sunday against the Giants.
The case against Collmenter wasn’t personal, but Diamondbacks fans are undoubtedly excited to see what pitching prospects Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and, especially, Trevor Bauer can do. Much of Collmenter’s rookie success was credited to his deceptive windup, something that hitters figure to get more accustomed to this year. Collmenter throws just 86-89 mph and lacks a plus breaking ball to go along with his fine changeup, so if hitters start seeing the ball better against him, they’ll likely knock him around pretty good. The Giants certainly had his number today, with Buster Posey taking him deep and light-weights Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford picking up doubles.
It seems like only a matter of time before Collmenter is shifted to the pen. But the Diamondbacks will face an interesting decision when that happens. Corbin, Skaggs and Bauer are all in Double-A right now, and the team would likely prefer not to have to turn to any of them before June. Wade Miley might get the spot on a temporary basis. He relieved Collmenter today and pitched four hitless innings to get the Diamondbacks back into the game.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.