In the 10-0 win that the Arizona Diamondbacks had Tuesday night, there were quite a few highlights. Ian Kennedy pitched six scoreless innings and tied his career high with 12 strikeouts. Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel were a double short of hitting for the cycle. Kubel drove in five runs. Gerardo Parra had four hits, including a homer. But there was one that we did not quite get to see -- and that was a three-inning save by Josh Collmenter.
Coming in in relief of Kennedy in the seventh inning, he pitched two scoreless innings and had just over 30 pitches. Instead of sending him out for the ninth, Mike Zagurski came in to close the game out, retiring the side to finish off the combined shutout.
Collmenter, moved to the bullpen earlier this season, said the adjustment has "been good" from starting to relieving. "It's easier having had some experience there last year, so going back was easy knowing I had done it and could have success," he explained after the game.
My question for him, though, was whether or not he wanted to close the game and pick up that save.
"Yeah, I was hoping to get the chance to go out there," he said. "It just worked out in a game like that that Zagurski really needed to get in and throw." Manager Kirk Gibson also noted the same thing in his postgame press conference, saying that the game allowed guys to get work that needed it. Zagurski needed the work.
Had Collmenter picked up the save, a man's save, because he would have had to retire nine batters and not just three, I wondered if Collmenter would try and give closer J.J. Putz a hard time and suggest that he was after his job. "No. He's definitely got that under lock and key, which is good...Maybe a jab in the ribs or something," he said.
Putz would not comment on the subject after the game (but that was because never was asked about it and never knew the question needed to be asked).
I know that there was no need for Collmenter to go a third inning and that Zagurski probably really needed to throw. But to have Collmenter pick up a save and have the possibility of a non-existent closer controversy, at least for one night in jest, that would have been priceless.
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