Trouble at the Top?
Spring training is spring training. A time for fans to slather on the sun screen, throw a towel down on the outfield lawn, and try to suck down a cold beverage before it becomes a lukewarm cup of swill.
Along with the relaxing atmosphere in the stands comes a relaxed attitude at the players’ performance. It’s just spring training after all. But after witnessing bad outing after bad outing from the Diamondbacks' pitching staff, when does that laid back feeling turn to worry?
The Diamondbacks enter the season without an ace, and will be relying on the trio of Joe Saunders, Daniel Hudson, and Ian Kennedy to turn in quality outings if they have any hope whatsoever of competing this season. So far, the only member of the top three that has looked reliable is Daniel Hudson—a pitcher with only 14 MLB starts last season.
Of the other two, Ian Kennedy has pitched eight innings and registered a 7.88 ERA, and Joe Saunders has been even worse with 5.2 innings and a king size 15.88 ERA. More alarming is that Saunders hasn’t really been good since joining the Diamondbacks. At least Ian Kennedy had a successful season in 2010.
While I’m not too quick to judge pitchers in spring training—especially ones who know they will be on the roster and working on honing specific pitches—it does, at least, raise an eyebrow that in the three games they’ve each started, they have both struggled to get outs.
Spring training has a few more weeks to go, so there is a lot of time for improvement. But with this kind of start, the bandwagon of hoping for a successful season has blown a tire.