Above: Josh Collmenter/ Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
Starting pitching has been paramount to the D-backs’ success in 2011. In a division where talented pitching is abundant, the Arizona starters have matched up well.
David Hernandez – Photography: Jordan Megehardt
By Greg Salvatore
Ian Kennedy is making his second start of the Spring today against the San Diego Padres (this is the last time the D-backs will see their San Diego rivals until the regular season).
We haven’t given you a pitching update in a few days, so here’s a look at the pitchers who will be toeing the rubber over the next four days.
Friday vs Padres at Salt River Fields
Saturday vs. Rangers at Salt River Fields
Sunday vs Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium
Monday vs. Royals at Surprise Stadium
Monday vs. White Sox at Kino Stadium in Tucson
The highlight of this list, to me, appears to be J.J. Putz’s inning against the Royals on Monday. Putz has been throwing plenty of side sessions in Spring Training so far, but this will be his first game inning.
David Hernandez has looked excellent, throwing three scoreless innings in his first three outings, with two strikeouts. He’s one of the best options for the eighth inning this year, a guy who can throw strikes, miss bats and performed at a high level in the AL East, the most vicious division in the league.
Aaron Heilman has looked fantastic in both of his starts, giving up only one hit and no runs in five innings. When he signed as a free agent, he wanted an opportunity to start. He has taken that opportunity and run with it. While he has proven he’s a reliable bullpen arm in the past, any default thought that he’d go to the bullpen because of the starting depth on this team has now flown out the window. So far, he looks like he’s going to force the front office to make some tough decisions on the roster, which is exactly the kind of competition Kirk Gibson has been promoting this year.