Don't Get Too Excited About D'backs' Bullpen Yet

Jess RootCorrespondent IMay 5, 2010

PHOENIX - APRIL 19:  Relief pitcher Chad Qualls #50 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on April 19, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 4-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The past two games for the Arizona bullpen? 6 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball. Yes, I know. It is an amazing feat. One might actually think that a corner has been turned, that things will improve.

This is, indeed, possible, but before there are parties and wagers about how the season is turning around (I doubt people are doing that yet, but still relax), take a deep breath and look at the reality. The bullpen just did that against the Astros, a pathetic excuse for a major league team at the moment.

How bad are the 'Stros? Offensively, they are terrible. In 26 games, the team has scored a total of only 73 runs, an average of less than three per game. They have hit only nine home runs as a team (remember that BOTH Mark Reynolds and Kelly Johnson have hit as many individually).

They only mustered one run against D'backs' starter Cesar Valdez in five innings, a pitcher that, previous to Saturday when it was announced that he would start, I had never even heard of.

I was encouraged by the quality of pitches that I saw both Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez throw, but Gutierrez was also aided by a generous strike zone that caused both Hunter Pence and Lance Berkman to argue with the umpire after being punched out by Gutierrez.

Basically, I am happy that the bullpen had success, but I am also a long way from declaring that the problems are over. As fans, we should expect the bullpen to do its job (regardless of how bad things are, that is still the expectation we have), but based on what we have seen so far this season we shouldn't expect to actually see it.

I hope I am wrong, but I just can't see it happening. What do you think? Were you encouraged? Do you think it is the start of a new trend? Leave your comments.

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