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How much worse can the Diamondbacks' Bullpen get? | May
Amazingly, the Diamondbacks bullpen, which started the week with a 6.95 ERA, has now managed to increase their ERA to 7.09 after Monday's game, and all the way up to 7.55 after Tuesday's 13-3 drubbing by the Dodgers. On Tuesday, the pen allowed 9 runs (7 earned) in just 2.2 IP. Aaron Heilman, who has now strung together 8 consecutive scoreless appearances, was the only reliever who managed to look competent on Tuesday. But Juan Gutierrez allowed 4 runs, Daniel Stange allowed 3 without retiring a batter, and Blaine Boyer was charged with 2 unearned runs. The ERAs for the bullpen now look like this: Aaron Heilman: 4.23 Esmerling Vasquez: 6.10 Chad Qualls: 6.94 Bob Howry: 8.16 Blaine Boyer: 8.49 Juan Gutierrez: 9.00 Daniel Stange: 13.50 Obviously, it is not practical for the entire bullpen to be replaced. But I think there will be some changes. It is almost certain that Daniel Stange will be sent back to AAA Reno soon. Stange had been the organization's best pitcher in AAA in April, but he was completely ineffective in the Majors. After starting the year with 4 scoreless outings, Juan Gutierrez has now allowed 14 runs in his last 10 innings. He might be the next to go. Howry has been consistently awful, but was signed to a $2.25M contract in the offseason, so he might avoid the minors for now. Blaine Boyer has allowed 11 runs in his last 6.2 IP, and also could be sent down. As discussed in previous articles, potential replacements for the bullpen are Carlos Rosa, Jason Urquidez, Billy Buckner, and Roque Mercedes. Rosa, acquired from the Royals for Reynaldo Navarro, now has a 2.76 ERA in AAA, with 14K/9BB in 16.1 IP. Urquidez has a 2.37 ERA, with 20K/4BB in 19 IP. Buckner has been a starter in AAA, and has lowered his ERA to 4.25. He should be considered for a bullpen slot. T.J. Beam was pitching well in AAA early, but has seen his ERA rise to 5.06. In AA, Mercedes now has 20K in just 15.1 IP, and a 2.35 ERA, but has walked 8. My guess is that Rosa and Urquidez will be the next pitchers to get an opportunity, in place of Stange and Gutierrez. At this point, I think the team has to make some changes, even if the replacements are also question marks.