Missed Opportunities

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. His performance this season has become the poster child of inconsistency. During the first half of the season Petit could best be described as awful.

His pitch selection and location were very erratic and you never knew what to expect during one of his starts. He may come out and dominate through a rotation in the batting order then not be able to get out of an inning.

After the all-star game; Petit was placed in the starting rotation again. Many questioned this move by the Diamondbacks. The team continued to stand behind Petit and it began to look as though they knew what they were doing.

In a start against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field; Petit dominated the defending champions. The fans erupted in cheers for the right hander and everyone looked to the game as validation for sticking with Petit.

When the Diamondbacks received Petit in a trade with the Florida Marlins for journeyman Jorge Julio in March 2007 they had high hopes for the right hander. While not overpowering, Petit had a knack for getting batters out. His potential made him the top prospect in the New York Mets farm system during his minor league years.

Following up his performance against the Phillies; Petit took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Perhaps Petit was finally reaching his potential and would become a strong pitcher at the back end of the rotation.

Petit’s next start came against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Coming off two dominating performances and pitching against the worst team in the major leagues the stage was set for Petit to show his abilities.

Instead of dominating, Petit reverted back to his old ways allowing three runs on nine hits and lasted just four innings. The Diamondbacks would lose that game and the bullpen would be heavily worked due to Petit’s short stint on the mound.

Today Petit would go to the mound to face the divisional leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks had taken the first two games of this series and were looking for a sweep of their divisional rivals.

After the come from behind victory last night the Dodgers were on the ropes. Since the all-star break they had been struggling and their confidence was definitely shaken. This was the perfect opportunity for the Diamondbacks to seize the moment and take advantage of a team that was struggling.

Instead of slamming the door, Yusmeiro Petit opened it wide and welcomed the Dodgers in. He gave up a three-run home run in the first inning to spot the Dodgers to a three run lead. He followed this up by allowing a two-run home run to the opposing pitcher and another two-run home run to former Diamondback Orlando Hudson.

Petit lasted four innings before being taken out; it only seemed like he pitched the whole game. He had dug his team a deep hole putting them behind 7-0 at the midpoint of the game. The Diamondbacks offense would make a modest comeback scoring three runs but this game was never close.

This game was reminiscent of last season when the Dodgers were on the ropes and the Diamondbacks allowed them back into the game and the season. Los Angeles would then make a run culminating with them overtaking the Diamondbacks in September and winning the National League West.

While the Diamondbacks are far removed from the play-off picture they have been looking better as of late and gaining momentum and confidence. Hopefully this last game against the Dodgers will not lead to a loss of confidence and another downward spiral.

Perhaps the Yusmeiro Petit experiment should finally end and the Diamondbacks should give another pitcher an opportunity to stake a claim on that final starting pitcher spot. Clearly Petit is too inconsistent to be allowed to remain in the rotation.

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