15 April 2010
In 2010, Juan Gutierrez has emerged as the best pitcher in the Diamondbacks' bullpen. In Wednesday's 9-7 extra inning win over the Dodgers, Gutierrez pitched the 8th inning with the D'backs ahead 7-6, and struck out Rafael Furcal, retired Matt Kemp on a ground out, and got Andre Ethier on a easy pop fly. In the 9th, closer Chad Qualls was brought in, and promptly blew the save chance by allowing doubles to Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake. In Gutierrez's two previous appearances this year, he had a scoreless 8th inning against the Padres (with the team up 5-3), and a perfect 9th inning against the Pirates when the team was down 6-3. Overall, his line for 2010 looks like this:
2010: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (ERA=0.00, WHIP = 0.33)
Looking at Gutierrez's performance in Spring Training, we see more outstanding pitching:
2010 Spring Training: 8.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7K (ERA = 0.00, WHIP = 0.35)
Going back to his last few appearances of 2009, Gutierrez concluded last season with 3.1 scoreless innings. Putting it all together, he has had 6.1 consecutive scoreless major league innings, with only 3 H, 1 BB, and 6 Ks. If we include the spring training stats, Gutierrez has now thrown 15 consecutive shutout innings, with only 4 H, 3 BB, and 13 K.
Meanwhile, Chad Qualls has been charged with earned runs in 2 of his 4 appearances, and has allowed 5 baserunners in 3.1 IP, including one HR. This follows a spring training where Qualls allowed 12 Hits and 8 ER in only 9.2 IP. It may not be long before the Diamondbacks turn to Gutierrez in save stuations.