Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
Throughout July, Micah Owings has been one of the more consistent arms out of the D-backs’ bullpen. The right-hander has made six appearances this month for a total of six and 2/3 innings. During that time, he’s also allowed just a single earned run and four hits. Owings’ ERA in July is a sharp 1.35, while opponents are hitting just .182 against him. Overall this season, he owns a 3-0 record with a 2.76 ERA in 16 appearances, 14 of which have come as a reliever.
“Mainly my focus has really been to keep the team right where we’re at, whether it’s close or not,” Owings said. “I’m just doing my job to get our offense back in the dugout and get the sticks back going.”
His days in the bullpen may be over, at least on a short-term basis. Owings’ success has earned him an opportunity in the starting rotation. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson announced on Friday that he will start Sunday’s contest against the Rockies.
“We think he’s the best guy for the game,” Gibson said. “Based upon what he’s done, who we’re playing and just looking at the way our bullpen works out, etc.”
Prior to last season, Owings had been a starter for the majority of his career. In five seasons at the big league level, he’s made 66 starts. The 2010 season was the first in which Owings was primarily a relief pitcher. He appeared in 22 games last season as a member of the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen.
While he was accustomed to starting, Owings appreciates the chance to pitch in the Major Leagues.
“Anytime you’re given the ball and an opportunity, I’m grateful for it,” Owings said. “Last year, it was a learning experience being in the bullpen. But being down there, learning and kind of developing my type of routine, it’s kind of hard to have a routine in the bullpen, but you still develop one and get comfortable.”
After making two starts earlier this season, Owings is looking forward to starting again.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity,” Owings said. “We’ve got a great club. We’re in a good position. For me, it’s just a matter of continuing to focus on each pitch, competing each pitch and keeping this club in the game and realizing we’re going to score and just have fun with it.”
The right-hander will toe the rubber against a multi-talented Rockies lineup. Owings has pitched well against Colorado in the past including a 3-0 record and 1.12 ERA in three starts. He’s held Troy Tulowitzki to a .167 career average against him.
“The main thing is stick to my strengths and continue to trust and be convicted in whatever pitch I choose to make,” Owings said. “It’s just trusting in abilities, trusting in the defense behind me and realizing that we’re in this thing and we’ll continue to compete each and every day.”