By Cuyler Meade
Things aren’t going quite as planned for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Four starts in, the D-Backs’ high-priced one-two punch at the front of the rotation is struggling. Shelby Miller’s ERA is a teetering 8.18, and it’s the better of the two –Zack Greinke’s at a robust 9.90. They’re a combined 0-3, with losses in each of their four starts.
Meanwhile, for anyone paying attention, Dansby Swanson’s hitting .400 in High A with five RBI and a steal in six games in the Braves minor league system.
What’s going on? This was supposed to be the pair that won Arizona the offseason and instead they’re doing nothing but losing.
Sure, it’s early, but ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez says a little concern might be warranted.
“When you look at the first two starts (for Greinke), it’s about elevating his pitches,” Gomez told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat. “He doesn’t have 96-97 mile-per-hour stuff. He’s not going to blow it by anybody. He’s more of a Greg Maddux-type pitcher, pinpoint location … but when you start elevating changeups, when your pitches are above the belt, I don’t care who you are, major-league hitters are going to hit that.”
But is it time to panic?
“If we’re sitting here on May 1 and they’ve each had four or five starts looking like this, without a doubt, it’s time to say something’s wrong,” Gomez said. “After two starts each, these guys are veterans. They’ve earned the right to have a little bit of leeway.
“The problem is they don’t have any built-in credit here in Arizona. And that’s always an issue when you bring someone in from another organization. Paul Goldschmidt could go 0 for his next 40 and would still be cheered when he comes to the plate. If you don’t build up credit, people are going to start panicking and saying ‘what’s going on? Why aren’t they doing what they’ve done in the past?’ If Greinke were 0-2 with the Dodgers, there wouldn’t be a problem, because he has credit with the organization. The problem is Greinke and Miller don’t have any credit with the organization.”
So what’s the perspective from someone who isn’t counting the $206.5 million their team paid Greinke or the valuable pieces they gave up for Miller as they’re trying to go to sleep at night?
“It’s a combined four starts,” Gomez said. “They’re going to combine for over sixty starts if they stay healthy. If you’re looking at a sample size it’s concerning because it’s the first week of the season. I would caution to have a bit of patience.”