When you’re mired with the worst record in the major leagues, there’s not much emotion, passion or zeal in your step.
The enthusiasm normally associated with the start of the season and related hype has all but disappeared from Chase Field. Instead, the Diamondbacks are limping their through a schedule with seeming indifference.
At the same time, the Diamondbacks are making things difficult on themselves and equally challenging for their fans. With a disappointing 7-3 defeat to the New York Mets Monday night before 18,099, the D-backs continued their bout with futility and have lost 12 of their first 16 games.
Manager Kirk Gibson appears at a loss for any explanation and looks like a man who is clearly beaten and frustrated.
“Things are not easy for us right now,” he said after the D-backs dropped their fourth in a row. “We’re not in sync and when you’re frustrated, the game doesn’t come as natural.”
Even a change in the pitching rotation did not help.
With the demotion of Randall Delgado to the bullpen and elevation of Josh Collmenter as Monday night’s starter, the switch in personnel indicated no beep or lifeline on the D-backs’ life support monitor.
On a prescribed pitch count, Collmenter was pulled after four innings and 73 pitches. In the first inning alone, he tossed 22 and threw 62 after three innings. The usual reliable Collmenter allowed three runs, all earned, five hits and left trailing 3-2.
“I felt good but inconsistent,” Collmenter said. “Threw too many pitches and couldn‘t get a command in any groove. I wanted to go out for the fifth but I guess they want to save me and build me up.”
Even with the potential tying run at the plate in the seventh, the fans sat on their hands and the D-backs went quietly into the night. With runners on second and third. two out and down 5-2, Gerardo Parra ended the threat with a soft fly to left field.
In the process, the Diamondbacks are allowing an enormous amount of runs. In their 16 games following Monday’s loss, the pitching staff has allowed three or less runs in only four times, and once was on Opening Night in a 3-1 defeat to the Dodgers.
“Everyone one wants to be the guy who puts his foot down and turns this thing around,” Collmenter added. “Look, there’s no quit. Guys are just frustrated because we’re not getting the results.”
On Monday, the Diamondbacks switched pitchers and sent an interesting message to struggling right-hander Trevor Cahill.
First, they demoted reliever Will Harris (0-1, 9.72 ERA, seven appearances) to Triple A Reno. In his place, they called up right-handed Mike Bolsinger, who made his major league debut Monday night.
In two starts with Reno, the McKinney, Tex. native was 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Drafted by Arizona on the 15th round in 2010, he had a career 25-18 mark with a 3.38 ERA in 58 starts.
A starter by trade, Bolsinger could be used as a starter later this month. That means Cahill and his 0-4 record and 9.17 ERA are headed to the bullpen.
Boslinger was called upon to follow starter Josh Collmenter Monday night and turned in three innings, allowed six hits, two runs, walked two and struck three in his major league debut.
“I knew I was going out there and, yeah, I was a little nervous,” he said afterward. “After you throw that first pitch, you settle down and I was fine. Warming up in the bullpen, I was nervous, excited but smiling the whole time. I had a good time out there.”
The anguish and frustration was evident on the face of D-backs’ manager Kirk Gibson when he spoke about Cahill after Sunday’s loss to the Dodgers. Cahill is attempting to recover from an 8-10 season last year and has been a major disappointment to the organization.
In a separate transaction, the Diamondbacks moved pitcher David Hernandez to the 60-day disabled list. Hernandez underwent Tommy John surgery to repair ulnar collateral ligament damage to his right elbow on March 28.