Every Diamondbacks pitcher who stepped on the mound last night wound up sucking -- even the usually mighty Dan Haren.
Though Haren struck out the first nine batters he faced through three innings, things eventually fell apart, and he wound up giving up four runs on 10 hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers through 6 1/3 innings.
Then, the Diamondbacks' pitching staff really started to blow.
Well, let's not be all-inclusive here, because Arizona's starters haven't been that bad this year. And ace Haren is one of the best pitchers in the Majors when he's not having an off night.
But the D-Backs' relief pitchers are another story. They're definitely that bad (ie: the guy above-left). Ladies and gentlemen, they're the worst in baseball, with a 7.55 ERA. That's a full two earned runs worse than the team with the next-worst bullpen, the Angels of Los Angeles.
Just to show you what lousy relief pitching can do: the D-backs are 14-20 and holding firm to last place in the National League West, and the Angels are 15-20 and in second-to-last place in the American League West.
Arizona had lousy relievers last year and wound up going nowhere under new manager A.J. Hinch, and the pattern is the same so far in 2010 under Hinch. The bullpen has dug such a deep hole for itself in this young season that the only smart thng for Hinch to do is cover it with dirt.
Let's start by blaming Juan Guiterrez (the guy who doesn't deserve his own baseball card). Every time he trots his lard-ass onto the mound, we fear doom. And it didn't take long for Chase Field to start looking like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre last night.
We'll spare you most of the gory details, but we first realized that the Snakes were going to get chopped into bloody pulp when Dodgers catcher Russell Martin ripped a towering home run off Guiterrez just inside the foul pole in left field to score three runs in the top of the eighth inning.
A half-inning before that, we'd gotten all hopeful that the D-Backs might overtake those four runs Haren had given up, when they crossed the plate three times on four hits -- including a long double from second baseman Kelly Johnson.
But then came Aaron Heilman, then Guiterrez, then Daniel Stange, then Blaine Boyer, then Diamondbacks ground chuck.
Who didn't get at least one hit in manager Joe Torre's starting lineup (first baseman James Loney got four)?!
We'll tell you who. Only second baseman Ronnie Belliard and rookie pitcher John Ely, who turned in a masterful performance (BTW), walking nobody and giving up only six hits in the win. Great! A star pitcher is born for the now-16-17 Dodgers. The D-Backs should be so lucky.
Instead, we get another lousy night at the ballpark. TV color commentator Mark Grace, the former Chicago Cubs and Diamondbacks great, put it best about the bullpen (namely Gutierrez) when the score was only 7-3 following Martin's blast (six more runs came in after that).
"Another sad, sad inning for a Diamondbacks reliever."
Here's another "sad, sad" detail: the Snakes' losing streak is now at five games.
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Front office, it's time to bring in some fresh bullpen meat. What you have is pulverized, spoiled, and stinking up the place. If we ever have to watch Gutierrez pitch again, we may lose our jumbo ballpark hotdog.
Yikes! The Snakes play the Dodgers again tonight at Chase Field. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. Scheduled on the mound are Arizona's Edwin Jackson (1-4, 7.32 ERA), who -- speaking of pitching putrefaction -- got bombed the last time we watched him, and L.A.'s Hiroki Kuroda (3-1, 2.70 ERA). TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620, KSUN. For more information, go to www.diamondbacks.com.