Saturday, September 26, 2009

Migrating from 'Zona to Midwest

In 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks won 90 games. Nobody in the National League won more. Still, they really weren't that good — their runs scored/runs allowed ratio suggests they "should" have gone 79-83.

In 2008 the D'backs were 20-8 at the end of April and then faded slowly away. One of their problems was the bullpen. They opened with Brandon Lyon closing; he had 26 saves but a 4.70 ERA, and manager Bob Melvin switched late to Chad Qualls. Whoever wasn't closing split the primary set-up chores with Tony Pena. Juan Cruz put together impressive stats in low-leverage relief. And they made a midseason deal for Jon Rauch, who helped bury the D'backs — 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA.

A year later, only Qualls is still there (and establishing himself, quietly, as a reliable closer). The rest of them are in the AL Central.

*Cruz — who walked home a run Friday night — is pitching poorly for Kansas City; the Twins were indeed wise to pass on him in the free agent market.

*Lyon (above) is arguably the most effective piece in the Detroit bullpen.

*Pena is essentially doing for the White Sox what he did for the Snakes — eating middle innings with an ERA around 4.30; he remains more talent than results.

*Rauch, as you probably know, is helping the Twins in the late drive.

Makes me wonder how the Indians didn't wind up with Brandon Medders, who is having a pretty good season with the Giants.

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