It happened again. The Diamondbacks held a lead into the eighth inning and an inept bullpen surrendered it without a second thought, wasting the previous seven innings of work by the starting pitcher and the offense. Blaine Boyer, Daniel Schlereth, and Esmerling Vasquez failed to do their jobs and retire three batters before giving up a three run lead.
The Diamondbacks, who had been somewhat consistent since the All Star break, are now on a six game slide and find themselves once again in the basement of the NL West. During those six games the bullpen has blown the lead twice. This has been an issue the entire season, and I would be willing to say that had the bullpen performed the team would be close to a .500 record.
Almost every facet of the team has gone through highs and lows this season, starting pitching, offense, and defense, but the least capable area of the 09 Dbacks has clearly been the bullpen. In a way it is a fortunate thing to have this slide at this point in the season. A late season collapse will be more easily remembered than if they had blown a game here and there during the final six weeks.
This should serve as notice that the bullpen is in need of real change, and without adjustment the Diamondbacks will not be competitive in 2010. With the exception of first base and an outfield spot the position players mostly in place for next season. This leaves the front office free to focus a large part of their off season activity around the bullpen.
I would like to thank Blaine Boyer and company for sending a firm reminder that they are not ready to handle their responsibilities.