Despite an outstanding track record that includes a dominant season for the White Sox last year J.J. Putz was available to the Diamondbacks at a relative discount this offseason because of his injury history.
Putz provided a great early return on Arizona’s two-year, $10 million investment, converting all 16 save chances with a 1.45 ERA through the end of May, but he blew four saves in June as his ERA doubled and now he’s been placed on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis.
David Hernandez has pitched well in a setup role and certainly has closer-caliber raw stuff, with a mid-90s fastball and 41 strikeouts in 37 innings, so the Diamondbacks should feel fairly confident turning to him as a ninth inning fill-in. The rest of the bullpen hasn’t been nearly as strong, however, and moving everyone else up one rung on the relief hierarchy could lead to some issues.
If you take out Putz and Hernandez, the rest of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen has a 4.32 ERA.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.