SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. After suffering through a death-by-inches existence for the first seven weeks of 2012, Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz turned lethal. Closers Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman were among the top eight finishers for the NL Cy Young award, and had Putz found his mechanics earlier, he might have joined them.
When Putz got back to his normal delivery in late May, he was as effective as any closer in the league: 1.14 ERA, 23 saves in 25 opportunities (including 19 in a row) and a .181 opponents batting average in his final 41 appearances. It is another of the reasons the D-backs signed him to a one-year extension to anchor their bullpen through 2014. They believe his presence gives them one of the strongest bullpens in franchise history.
General manager Kevin Towers one-word evaluation of the bullpen: "Attack."
As well as Putz attacked the final four months of 2012, his start uncharacteristically skewed the other way, which was especially unexpected after he finished ...