Arizona Diamondbacks Bullpen, A 2011 Strength, Has Been 2012 Weakness

The surprising success that the Arizona Diamondbacks had in 2011 was directly related to the stellar performance of the bullpen. That has not been the case in 2012. The bullpen has been part of the problem this year.

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The stats are not impressive. From the seventh to ninth inning, the team's ERA is 5.25 and they have allowed 13 HR. Now that is naturally skewed by a couple of absolutely atrocious appearances by Joe Paterson and one by Mike Zagurski, but it is still bad. Innings one through six, the staff has only allowed 14 homers.

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In 18 "late and close" games, six HR, 20 runs allowed. That's seventh inning on with score within a run. The ERA is better at 3.52.

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Now one of the keys is the play of Putz. Putz has an ERA now of 6.48 and has allowed three homers in nine appearances. He only allowed two homers all last season.

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It is too early to hit the panic button and say that the season is doomed, but the dial of concern should be turned up.

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If things don't get turned around, it will be difficult for the team to repeat in the NL West.

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Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.

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For the latest AZ sports, follow us on Twitter @SBNArizona and "Like" us on Facebook.

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