D-backs Southpaw Strategy

December 20, 2008 by  

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Whether or not the recent roster moves by the Arizona Diamondbacks will prove to be beneficial is yet to be seen. This winter has brought Schoeneweis and Blackley to the Arizona roster in an effort to strengthen their pitching staff. The duo comes from the Mets and the Phillies organizations respectively.

The D-backs have seemed to struggle a bit in the pitching relief category in the 2008 season. Fans voiced major frustration after seeing excellent outings by Dan Haren and Brandon Webb go down the drain. There simply was no to, little support from the bullpen. The all-to-often unraveling of decent leads became a common occurrence when it mattered the most.

Schoeneweis pitched solid for the first half of the 2008 season and ended with a good 3.34 earned run average. As primarily a middle reliever, Scott only allowed 55 hits in 56.2 innings pitched with one save in five opportunities. This should prove to be part of the strategy that the Diamondbacks are looking to make with their pitching.

The second portion of the strategic pitching moves is the acquisition of the Australian southpaw Travis Blackley. Travis was signed from the Phillies organization on Friday, December, 19th adding yet another lefty to the pitching staff. What the D-Backs do with him is to be determined but he may bode well in a relief capacity as well. Blackley last pitched in the majors for the San Francisco Giants in the 2007 season, pitching a little over 8 innings in two games with seven earned runs before being shipped to Triple-A.

After having a less than spectacular visit to the minors, Arizona dealt for him anyhow. There is no indication that Blackley will indeed be used in the bullpen and D-Backs sources have been using “pitching mix” lightly, the pen might be the pest place for him. Long games of pitching have been typified by several runs towards the outing. The 6’3″ 200lb from Australia can pitch, we believe that they Diamondbacks agree that the starting position might not be right for him.

In all two very smart moves by the D-Backs. When things were looking bleak for the 2008 season, the organization has made some pretty intelligent moves as of late. Recall Andre Ethier, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, James Loney and Todd Helton among others dismantling D-backs pitching? Both Schoeneweis and Blackley do pitch well to lefties.

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