It's no secret the Diamondbacks have had some massive starting pitching problems this season. They lost ace Patrick Corbin to Tommy John surgery in spring training, and that was after they tried but failed to sign Masahiro Tanaka over the winter. They instead settled for Bronson Arroyo, who did this against the Mets on Tuesday night:
Egads. It would have been even worse had reliever Randall Delgado not stranded one of the two runners he inherited from Arroyo. That dud of an outing gives the team's starting rotation a 7.81 ERA in 86 1/3 innings so far this season.
Mid-carnage, esteemed D-Backs' beat writer Nick Piecoro (Arizona Republic) received this valid question:
Fair question, actually. RT @Tyy2 is the worst rotation in the history of the mlb?— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 16, 2014
It's a little too early in the season to start talking about "worst in the history of MLB" stuff, but we can take a quick look at where this current Arizona rotation ranks all-time. With some help from the indispensable Baseball-Reference.com Play Index, here are the highest rotation ERAs since 1914:
B-Ref has not yet updated to include Tuesday's game, which is why the D-Backs are still at a 7.16 ERA in the table. Otherwise that is every rotation in baseball history with a 6.00+ ERA. The current D-Backs' staff has a comfortable lead over the 1996 Tigers with another 145 games to go.
Let's do a little math. Five teams in the table played a 162-game season, and they averaged 884 2/3 innings from their rotation. If Arizona gets exactly that many innings out of their staff this year, they would need to pitch to a 6.49 ERA the rest of the way to get finish below the Tigers. They would need a 5.78 ERA the rest of the way to finish with sub-6.00 ERA (5.99, to be exact). Is it doable for this team? Sure, but they would need to turn it around in a hurry. This staff as the potential to be historically bad.