The 28-year-old lefty didn't last very long during the Arizona Diamondbacks' lopsided loss to the Saint Louis Cardinals last night, and after looking at his stat line for the game, it isn't surprising. D-Train provided a real stinker for the D-Backs that was like a catastrophic countdown of sorts, where he allowed seven hits, six runs, and five walks in only four innings pitched.
Three guesses as to why skipper A.J. Hinch seems a little hesitant to announce when Willis will be getting another starting slot for the team.
Dontrelle's chief antagonist during the game was Albert Pujols, as the all-star slugger lit him up with a pair of two-run homers in the third and fifth innings (tying a record set by Cardinals legend Stan Musial in the process). Willis also permitted multiple base hits by Felipe López and Matt Holliday, as well as beaning Nick Stavinoha with an errant pitch, and handing out a seemingly endless amount of free passes to Saint Louis' lineup.
What's most maddening about Dontrelle's performance was how wildly inconsistent it could be at times. Counterbalancing all of his gaffes were some on-target fastballs, which led to eight straight strikes during the first inning. It seems to be par for the course for the journeyman pitcher (2-3. 5.29 ERA), who's previous two outings were also of the short variety.
But while Willis was struggling, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (11-5, 2.34) was soaring, demonstrating to the 38,736 in attendance at Busch Stadium exactly why he's one of the top five hurlers in the National League. Precise pitches and excellent control helped the Cy Young contender rack up seven strike-outs and kept Arizona scoreless for the entire game.
Still, he got into a few jams that could've gotten the Snakes back into things after Pujols' first two-run bomb. They had a golden opportunity in the fifth inning after loading the bases and no outs on the scoreboard, but since this is the Diamondbacks we're talking about (who allow scoring opportunities to wilt like flowers in the Arizona summertime sun), it's a no brainer that they next three batters game up short (more specifically, Willis struck out, Kelly Johnson was forced out, and Tony Abreu lined out).
Instead of manufacturing runs or generating jacks, the D-Backs essentially watched on as bullpen bunglers like Sam Demel gave up two more runs to the Cardinals in the sixth inning after Pujols blasted an RBI double and came home on a wild pitch.
Arizona (30-48) has now lost 18 of their last 21 games on the road and will close out the three-game series with Saint Louis this afternoon. Barry Enright (who was called up from the minors earlier this week) will make his major league pitching debut against Jeff Suppan (0-1, 3.95). First pitch is at 11:15 a.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.