The Arizona Diamondbacks have had plenty of issues this season, leading to their disappointing start. However, one of the things they were counting on coming into this season has been one of their bigger disappointments, and that is the quality of pitching at the front of the rotation.
A season ago, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson were a combined 37-16 with a 3.18 ERA in 444 innings. Kennedy was automatic. Hudson, if he wasn't in the first inning, was completely dominant. That, combined with a stellar bullpen and an offense that had a flair for the dramatic, essentially was the catalyst for the D-backs' magical 94-win season.
This season, the expectation was more of the same, while improving some things, adding Jason Kubel's bat, arms in the bullpen and Trevor Cahill to the starting rotation.
However, that awful word regression has reared its ugly head. It is a statistical term that is used to refer to performances above the norm for a player.
The aces from a year ago have not been aces so far.
Hudson only managed three starts before being shelved with a shoulder injury. His statline? 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA.
Not ace stuff.
Ian Kennedy? After 21-4 and sub-3.00 ERA in 2011, he is 3-4 with an ERA of 4.47. He has lost as many games as he did all last season.
The team has had to rely on youngster Wade Miley as their "ace," as he is now 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA. Miley wasn't even supposed to be on this year's squad. Trevor Cahill and Joe Saunders started well, but as middle and back end starters, they should be shown up by the big names.
No one really could expect Kennedy to duplicate his 2011 success, but his pitching so far has been anything but ace-like.
The return of Daniel Hudson should help push him, but unless those two guys start pitching like the aces they were, there will be no way the D-backs can make it to the postseason.
No ace = no postseason. It's pretty simple.
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