To say the back-end of the Arizona Diamondbacks starting rotation has been a disappointment this season would be an understatement. It doesn’t seem to matter who they use in the number four or five spots, the result is always the same – inconsistency.
Rookie Josh Collmenter continues to be sent out to the mound. His unique delivery coming directly over the top seems to baffle hitters at least for the first time through the order. The Milwaukee Brewers were the latest team to try to figure out the youngster.
Collmenter had one of his better outings holding the Brewers to just three hits over eight innings of work. This was by far his most dominating outing not only in holding the opposition to no runs but to work this deeply into the game.
Normally Collmenter’s games are plagued with high pitch counts forcing Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson to go to his bullpen early and often. This problem is worsened when the Diamondbacks fifth starter follows with a short outing leaving the bullpen taxed and tired.
The fifth starter for the Diamondbacks has seen a multitude of different pitchers trying to win a spot and bring consistency. So far this year we have seen a cast of characters including Zach Duke, Micah Owings, Zach Kroenke, and Barry Enright.
Tonight Enright returned from Triple-A Reno to get a second chance to try and nail down a spot in the rotation. Duke who had previously been a starter was assigned to the bullpen to become a long reliever.
Out of Spring Training Enright was one of the starters but after a series of ineffective games he was sent to Triple-A to work on throwing strikes and getting better location with his pitches. The Brewers would be the first test of how successful Enright was.
The game began with Corey Hart belting a home run as the leadoff hitter. This was followed by a single by Nyjer Morgan followed by a home run by Ryan Braun. This was just the beginning of trouble for Enright who ended up throwing to nine batters in the first inning giving up five runs in the process.
Enright lasted just three innings allowing seven hits and six runs including four home runs which matched the franchise mark set by Casey Daigle of most home runs given up in a game by a pitcher.
The Diamondbacks were never able to come back from this disastrous start and fell to the Brewers 11-3. The Diamondbacks coaching staff and front office had obviously seen enough. Shortly after the game Enright was sent back to Triple-A Reno making what amounted to a day trip in the major leagues.
Arizona now finds itself once again looking for a fifth starter. When Enright struggled the Diamondbacks brought in former starter Zach Duke who pitched two innings and gave up three runs on three hits and walking two. Granted it didn’t help that reliever Yhency Brazoban came in and implode letting inherited runners score at will.
For his efforts Brazoban was released after the game opening up two roster spots for pitchers. So far the Diamondbacks have not identified who the fifth starter will be and likely won’t make that decision until they absolutely have to.
Personally I think the pitcher showing the most promise is Micah Owings who was once again effective coming out of the bullpen throwing two innings allowing only one hit. The question mark on Owings is how deep can he go in a game and can the Diamondbacks afford a fifth starter who can only give them five or six innings per start?