Perhaps Diamondbacks’ right-hander Trevor Cahill saved his best for last.
After deposing the Chicago Cubs 8-2 before 29,084 Saturday night in Chase Field, Cahill ran his season record to 13-12, and for all practical purposes, pitched his final game of the 2012 season.
With marginal success throughout the summer, Cahill put together his best month in September and finished by winning four of his final five decisions. He also reached the 200 inning mark and put together a season of 32 starts and pitched 200 innings even.
The Diamondbacks could have used some quality pitching from Cahill during the critical month of August in which he went winless in six starts. Though he picked himself off the mat in the closing weeks of the season, a maddening inconsistency throughout his initial season in the desert could be viewed as one factor why the D-backs slipped in the National League West standings.
Telling reporters after the game that “I can’t wait for next season,” Cahill admitted, from a personal standpoint, he reached some goals and others were eluded.
“My goal was 33 starts and 200 innings,” he said afterward. “On the starts, I fell one short but wanted the 200 innings. Even deep in the (Cubs) game, I felt good and wanted to finished the game.”
In the end, Cahill threw a season-high 125 pitches against Chicago, and that surpassed the previous best of 109 during a 6-0, complete game win over the Padres on June 3. Manager Kirk Gibson knew the 200 innings was on Cahill’s radar screen, and did not have any reliever up the entire game.
The complete game was Cahill’s second of the season, and the third of his major league career. Only a two-run homer off the bat of Cubs’ left-fielder Alfonso Soriano, with one out in the ninth, ruined his shutout bid.
“In the sixth inning, I came to (Cahill) and asked him how much further he wanted to go,” Gibson said. “He said another three, and I felt he could go the distance. (Against the Cubs), he was dominate for his teammates.”
Overall, Cahill closed strong, and managed to lose once since Aug. 26. If the Diamondbacks had that kind of production earlier in the season, they might still might have a chance for post-season play. For now, Cahill and the organization will have to settle for a marginal year, and certainly less than the franchise had hoped.
“Overall, he gave us a very good season,” Gibson said poitically. “There is definitely good stuff in his future.”
Coming over from Oakland last winter in a five player deal, Cahill is signed through 2015 with option years of 2016 and 2017. He made $3.5 million this season, is slated to make $5.5 million next year, $7.7 million in 2014 and $12 million in 2015.
The Diamondbacks hope Cahill’s September production carries over and this season was both a growing and educational learning process for the 24 year old out of Oceanside, Calif.
Two poor stretches characterized Cahill’s first season in Sedona Red.
From May 6 to June 3, Cahill went 0-3 and two no-decisions. Later, from Aug. 5 to Sept. 5, he was 0-2 with four no-decisions. To his credit, Cahill’s ERA remained somewhat stable, and he ventured over four runs per game only two after starts.
The first was when he reached a 4.01 ERA on May 17 after a non-decision against the Rockies and then 4.02 on Aug. 31 following another no-decision against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He finished the season with 3.78 ERA and that’s compared to the 4.16 ERA last season with Oakland.
In the process against the Cubs, he contributed with a two RBI effort. That included walking with the bases loaded in the fifth and singling in a run in the seventh. Cahill said he could not recall if he ever drove in two runs in one major league game.
Here, he had plenty of offensive help.
In banging out 15 hits, four short of their season-best on Sept. 21 against the Rockies, Arizona picked up three runs in the first and three more in the fifth to power the attack.
Second baseman Aaron Hill contributed with a 3-for-4 night, including his 43rd double of the season and Justin Upton blasted his 17th home run of the season, a two-run shot, into the upper deck just inside the left field foul pole in the fifth inning. Upton’s 2-for-4 night lifted his season average .279.
Also gaining a multi-hit game was Adam Eaton, Gerardo Parra, Ryan Wheeler and Mike Jacobs.
Eaton sustained a broken right wrist when he was hit by Cubs’ reliever Jeff Beliveau in the seventh inning. His recovery time is 6-to-8 weeks and should be ready for spring training next February at Salt River.