Found March 31, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
As much as the Diamondbacks have expressed this offseason a desire to manufacture more runs, so too exists just as much of a need for it, and the D-backs know it. With Justin Upton and Chris Young gone, the D-backs have drastically reduced the pure power in their lineup. Accordingly, pitching has become paramount. The D-backs have the pitching to be contenders in the NL West this season but need the performance, as a staff on paper means nothing without results. "We have to pitch good," manger Kirk Gibson said. "I think we'll be able to score our share of runs, we'll be able to manufacture more runs than we have in the past (and) we probably wont hit as many home runs. If we don't pitch, we're going to be just like everybody else that doesn't pitch -- we're not going to have a shot at all." There seems to be very little disagreement, if any, that the D-backs have assembled a pretty formidable starting rotation. Opening Day starter Ian Kennedy has more wins (36) over the past two seasons combined than any other National League pitcher. Left-hander Wade Miley is coming off a 16-win season that saw him finish second in NL Rookie of the Year voting, and young lefty Patrick Corbin will be looking to build on a strong spring in which he convincingly won the final rotation spot. The D-backs also believe Trevor Cahill, who shed 12-15 pounds this offseason and starts Tuesday, is poised for a big season, perhaps his best as a professional. "Hopefully he will be up around 20 wins and 200-plus innings," Gibson said. The most intriguing piece of the starting rotation, though, might be newcomer Brandon McCarthy. The D-backs signed the 29-year-old right-hander to a two-year deal this winter despite McCarthy's recurring shoulder problems and a head injury suffered last season when he was hit by a line drive. McCarthy has shown no ill effects of the head injury this spring, and the consensus among baseball prognosticators is McCarthy could have a breakout season with the D-backs. The Diamondbacks also have a loaded bullpen highlighted by a back-end trio of Heath Bell, David Hernandez and J.J. Putz -- the ex-closer, closer-in-waiting and closer, respectively. This aspect in particular gives the D-backs confidence they can overcome any offensive shortcomings to contend and return to the playoffs after a disappointing 2012 season. "The Giants had a nice offense last year, but they won with their pitching and their pen," general manager Kevin Towers said. "If their pen wouldnt have performed like it did with their back to the wall late in postseason last year, they might not have ended up with a World Series trophy." That first part of Towers' quote is particularly applicable to the D-backs. The Giants won with their pitching and their bullpen. But it is one thing to have the pitching; it's another to get the results. With a lighter-hitting offense behind them, the starting pitchers have less room for error. Kennedy cannot be as inconsistent as he admittedly was at times last year, though he'll be a significant asset should he win another 15 games. Cahill cannot spot teams leads early in games, as he did so often in 2012. And Corbin must provide a serviceable fifth starter lest he be sent out and replaced by Tyler Skaggs or Randall Delgado, talented prospects waiting for a chance. The relievers, too, must perform to expectations, as they'll likely have thinner leads to hold or deficits to maintain. Bell must return to the form that placed him among baseball's elite relievers before a disastrous season in Miami. Ziegler must at least come close to the quiet dominance he provided in the middle of games last season, and Putz must stay healthy. That's certainly a lot of musts, and it's of course impossible to guarantee any particular performance will determine the outcome of a 162-game season. But with the team of so-called "grinders" and "gamers" the D-backs are fielding, there is a greater onus on pitchers to produce. The NL West has for a while been a division that's come down to pitching. The Giants return their strong starting rotation from 2012 along with what was regarded then as the best bullpen in the league. The Dodgers fortified their rotation behind Clayton Kershaw with former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke and Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu. The D-backs have the ability to keep pace with those teams, but ability means very little if it doesn't lead to wins.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Gibson picks D-backs' Opening Day lineup

PHOENIX -- Before the Diamondbacks played their final exhibition game of the spring Saturday, manager Kirk Gibson announced his Opening Day lineup. Barring additional injury, the D-backs' lineup card will look like this against the Cardinals on Monday night: 1. Gerardo Parra, RF 2. Martin Prado, 3B 3. Aaron Hill, 2B 4. Miguel Montero, C 5. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B 6. Jason Kubel...

Odd man out? Pollock an Opening Day star

PHOENIX -- A.J. Pollock may be a rookie, but told Monday he had tied a franchise record for hits by a rookie on Opening Day the Diamondbacks outfielder came back with the quip of a seasoned veteran. "That's really cool," Pollock said. "I'm sure my mom will be all over it." A month ago prepared to open the season with Triple-A Reno, stuck behind a glut...

D-backs bet big on 'model guy' Goldschmidt

PHOENIX -- Since the end of the 2012 season, the Diamondbacks have endured a lion's share of criticism for a few bold moves. First there was the trade of franchise staple Chris Young before a World Series champion had been crowned. Then came the controversial trade of top pitching (and polarizing) prospect Trevor Bauer for not-as-highly-touted shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius...

Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 2

Ian Kennedy struck out eight in seven strong innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks used 15 hits to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 in their season opener Monday night. Kennedy (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits with one walk. St. Louis' Adam Wainwright (0-1) went six innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on 11 hits. He struck out six with no walks. Arizona's Gerardo...

Diamondbacks beat Wainwright, Cardinals 6-2

PHOENIX (AP) Ian Kennedy struck out eight in seven strong innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks used 15 hits to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 in their season opener Monday night. Kennedy (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits with one walk. St. Louis' Adam Wainwright (0-1) went six innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on 11 hits. He struck out six with no walks. Arizona...

2013 Philliedelphia Predictions: Kevin Durso

Justin Upton and the Braves could be the team to beat in the National League. It's time for another season of Major League Baseball. For the Phillies' fan who bring you coverage of every game, it's been a long offseason. But we're ready just like you for some great memories....
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.