Josh Collmenter gives the D-Backs Hopes of a Series Comeback
Written by Brett Roberts
The Diamondbacks got a good chance to see just how good their pitching prospect Josh Collmenter could be this season. Collmenter finished with a 10-10 ERA, though as I have written before on here on The Diamond’s Edge, team records are often deceiving. Collmenter recorded a 3.38 ERA. Even though 3.38 is a good ERA, the real value can be seen in the youngster’s WHIP (Walks+Hits/IP) which is right at 1.00, a mark that is considered elite for both starting and relieving pitchers.
The real test for Collmenter will be tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers scored 13 runs in games one and two combined, and Collmenter’s ERA should half that figure, if he pitches to his capabilities. In his two games against the Brewers this season, the Diamondbacks split the games, but the second outing was very impressive, a game in which Collmenter shut out the potent Brew Crew, giving up only 3 hits in 8 innings, and frustrating both Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder, who combined to go 1 for 6, with Fielder acquiring the lone hit. Needless to say, if Collmenter can find that kind of success in the post season, it could get the Diamondbacks back on track.
Collmenter’s initial success can be partly attributed to his awkward pitching release. It kept batters off guard, but as more and more faced Collmenter, and watched videos of his release too of course, they found his pitches easier and easier to hit. Collmenter, however, has adapted by varying his pitches more and not relying on his fastball so much, which tops out in the mid to high 90s. While power pitching has its place, for a pitcher to have long lasting success, they have to work the off speed pitches to a high degree to keep batters guessing. Collmenter has been doing so and said he has been “trying to establish his fastball…work a changeup, (and) keep them uncomfortable.” Certainly, with his mind firmly wrapped around what he needs to do to succeed, he should stand a decent chance against a team he has already had success against.
The Diamondbacks were a long shot to win this series from the beginning, but down 0-2, they may be able to save themselves from the sweep at home, where they won 51 games this season, a .629 winning percentage. Collmenter lost 6 of his 7 decisions on the road this season, so the D-Backs were wise to save him for game 3. They did so not knowing it would be do or die. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how the 25 year old rookie handles the pressure of the big stage.