Heath Bell gave up a homer in his fifth consecutive game on Saturday and his ERA is at 5.02, but he’s still the Dbacks’ closer reports Tyler Emerick of MLB.com:
“Pretty much the way it is, he’s going to be our closer,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “We want to get him turned around … Is the right thing to do to put [Bell] in the fire again, or give him a day off? I’m a strong advocate of defeating the beast.”
Gibson may still use other guys in various situations depending on the matchups, he said, but Bell is still apparently covered in magic closer’s fairy dust. Because, one assume, once upon a time he had some success as a closer.
Diamondbacks closer Heath Bell surrendered a two-run home run to Jay Bruce in the top of the ninth inning that turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit. It marked the fifth consecutive game in which Bell has allowed a homerun:
- June 10 @ Dodgers: Juan Uribe walk-off solo home run
- June 12 @ Dodgers: Ramon Hernandez solo home run (note: Hernandez was designated for assignment today)
- June 17 vs. Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton go-ahead solo home run
- June 19 vs. Marlins: Justin Ruggiano go-ahead three-run home run
- June 22 vs. Reds: Jay Bruce go-ahead two-run home run
Bell’s ERA is now 5.02, a year after posting a 5.09 ERA in 63.2 innings. In fairness, aside from the home runs, his defense-independent stats (strikeouts and walks) are back at the same level when he was a dominant closer with the Padres. However, his fastball velocity is on a three-year decline and he no longer benefits from a pitcher-friendly home ballpark.
You have to wonder how much longer the Diamondbacks, nursing a 2.5-game lead in the NL West, will continue trotting Bell out in save situations.
The Diamondbacks bailed out Bell in the bottom of the ninth, however, as Jason Kubel helped walk off with a two-run, bases-loaded single to center against Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.
It turns out that Diamondbacks reliever Heath Bell made his return to Marlins Park on Thursday night, not for last night’s series opener. According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Bell said that he took in Thursday’s Reds-Marlins game from the stands.
The D-backs arrived in Miami in the wee hours Thursday morning and Bell took a cab to Marlins Park, bought a ticket at the window and sat and watched the Marlins battle the Reds. After struggling mightily with the Marlins last year, Bell was heavily booed when he would come in to pitch and he expects a similar reception this weekend, but Thursday he sat among the fans in peace.
Why go to a baseball game on your day off?
“Why not go to the game?” Bell said. “Just bought a ticket and stayed low key. I didn’t wear a hat. I think with a hat, people would have recognized me more. We always watch games, but it’s just different to watch the game in the stands. Watching a game from the stands is just completely different from what we usually do. It’s almost like you want to go play, but you can’t. You have to wait a day.”
In all fairness, Heath, it’s easy to go unrecognized when nobody is around you.
While Bell did put a few dollars in Jeffrey Loria’s pocket on Thursday, the Marlins are paying $4 million of his $8.5 million salary this season. That technically makes him the team’s second-highest paid player behind right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
Arizona’s Heath Bell escaped Skip Schumaker’s leadoff double to earn a save, his second in two nights, in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Dodgers. Afterwards, he had a little heart to heart with mom:
Well, of course not, because once you learn the secret to retiring Skip Schumaker, you’ve got it made.
Mom is right about one thing, though: Schumaker is now 5-for-9 with four doubles against Bell. The only other pitcher Schumaker has as many doubles against is Ryan Dempster, and he’s faced Dempster 56 times. His double tonight was just his second extra-base hit in 54 at-bats this season, and it raised his average from .135 to .151.
As expected, the Diamondbacks have placed right-hander J.J. Putz on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow. Putz suffered the injury Tuesday night during a relief appearance against the Dodgers and could sidelined for an extended period of time. In fact, ESPN’s Buster Olney says “all signs point” to the veteran needing a major elbow procedure.
Will Harris, a right-handed reliever, was recalled from Triple-A Reno to fill the vacant 25-man roster spot.
Heath Bell is going to take over at closer for the Diamondbacks despite owning a rough 4.73 ERA and 1.43 WHIP through 13 1/3 innings this season.
He had a 5.09 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 63 2/3 innings last year with Miami and blew eight saves.
If Bell falters — which seems kind of inevitable — David Hernandez will likely get the next crack.