As unpredictable as his daily line-up, Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson’s decision on the future of right-hander Josh Collmenter is equally uncertain.
Starting the season in the rotation, Collmenter went 0-2 and two no-decisions before shifted to the bullpen in early May. From that point and used as an occasional spot starter until he returned in late September to the rotation, Gibson and his staff is not essentially set on where Collmenter might have the most value.
Coming into the off-season, Gibson and the D-backs brain trust will make the Collmenter evaluation within the best interest of the team. Then again, the Diamondbacks may also move the right-hander and Collmenter could be out of sight and out of mind by the time this team assembles at Salt River for spring training 2013.
In the meantime, Collmenter turned in a creditable season that ended with a no-decision Sunday afternoon against the Cubs. For the record, the D-backs experienced a lack-luster performance in dropping a 7-2 decision to the lowly Cubs before 35,535 in Chase Field.
Collmenter did not hurt his chances to a return among the starters when he turned in five solid innings and endeared himself to manager Kirk Gibson.
“(Collmenter) gave us his typical outing,” said Gibson. “He went the five, and we didn’t want to push him. He did his job and overall, gave us a great season. He responded whether out of the bullpen or as a starter.”
Gibson said it will not be until spring training when the pitching staff is assembled at Salt River and a breakdown of roles is decided. At that point, Gibson told reporters after the Cubs game, “we’ll see what we have and roles for certain players.”
At the end of the current season, Gibson said, “it’s unfair to see where (Collmenter) ends up.”
For his part, Collmenter said he would like to start and indicated his off-season preparation, whether as a starter or long reliever, will be the same.
“Wherever they want me is fine,” he said. “I’d rather start but also see the value of a reliable long reliever to help the bullpen.”
Collmenter finished with a 5-3 record, making 11 starts and appearing in 28 games. His ERA was 3.69 and about the same as a year ago when he posted a 10-10 season with 24 starts and a 3.38 ERA. In 2012, he missed 21 games on the disabled list, from Aug. 10 to Aug. 25, due to ulcers.
With Collmenter’s preference to start, that could make Gibson’s decision, and the judgment of Kevin Towers, the team’s general manager, more interesting.
Collmenter would entered a crowded field of Ian Kennedy, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Daniel Hudson, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Trevor Bauer, Charles Brewer and whom ever Towers may acquire in the off-season to compete for five spots in the 2013 starting rotation.
A FORGETTABLE AFTERNOON
After giving up a first inning run Sunday, Collmenter settled down and kept a 2-1 lead until Gibson pulled the plug in the sixth inning.
Calling upon an usually reliable bullpen, relievers Brian Shaw, Matt Albers and a shaky defense let this one slip away.
In scoring four unearned runs, including a three spot in the sixth inning, the Cubs took advantage and snapped a seven game losing streak. Prior to the win Sunday against the D-backs, Chicago had dropped 11 of its previous 12 games.
“When you allow seven runs and only three earned, it’s pretty tough to win,” Gibson said. “We gave this one away.”
The Diamondbacks came up with two in the first and that was all. Cody Ransom’s slow roller to third with the bases loaded, ruled a single, drove in Aaron Hill and Justin Upton scored right behind when a throw to the plate was dropped by Cubs’ catcher Anthony Recker.
From the second inning until the end of the game, the Diamondbacks had only four base runners, three hits and a walk to Ryan Wheeler leading off the ninth inning. No Arizona runner reached second from the second inning forward.
In its October 1st edition, Sports Illustrated named Diamondbacks’ left-hander Wade Miley as the National League rookie-of-the-year.
Coming in his final start of the season Monday night at home against the Rockies, Miley sports a 16-11, 3.32 ERA in 28 starts. His 16 wins tied Jason Jennings as the most by a rookie since 1986. Jennings won his 16 in 2002 in which he was named the NL Rookie-of-the-Year.
In its designation, Sports Illustrated indicated the Nationals’ Bryce Harper “leads in media coverage and has had a big September.” The reason why SI named Miley, the magazine pointed out, is Miley “earned the honor because he’s been superb all season.”
For his part, Miley thought the label was “cool,” but declined further comment.
“Look, I have another start and want to prepare for that,” he said before Sunday’s game with the Cubs in Chase Field. “Really, I’m not thinking about it and just hope to finish strong.”
Yet, the designation did not escape manager Kirk Gibson.
“I won’t disagree with that,” Gibson said. “He has been consistent all season, and came out of no where to help this team. He’s been durable and has given us an opportunity to win.”
The “official” rookie-of-the-year award will be announced later this autumn by the Baseball Writers of America. One award for each the American League and the National League rookies-of-the-year will be named.
LOOKING AT THE LOCKOUT
As a player, Gibson was a victim of two lockouts, one in 1981 in which 81 games were lost, and 1994 with a lockout wiped out the World Series.
With the NFL game officials returning after locked out of the first three games this fall, and the NHL currently locking out their players, Gibson said there’s a certain commonality.
“The lockout is part of the collective bargaining process,” he said prior to Sunday’s game with the Cubs. “As a player, you learn to stick together.”
When the celebrated 1994 lockout wiped post-season play from America’s The Fields of Dreams, Gibson indicated that “really destroyed the game.”
Yet, the fact that players, umpires and game referees can be barred because lack of a contract is a process which gets to the core of labor relations.
“We all recognize this is part of the process,” Gibson said. “In the end, both sides have to respect the other side and that’s how an agreement is usually reached.”
THE FINAL SERIES
This week, the D-backs host the Colorado Rockies in the final three games of the season.
On Monday night (6:40), Wade Miley (16-11, 3.32 ERA) takes to the hill against lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-9, 5.30 ERA).
On Tuesday night (6:40), Patrick Corbin (6-8, 4.77) opposes righty Jhoulys Chacin (3-5, 4.78). Diamondback hitters have had a rough time with Chacin in the past. Catcher Miguel Montero is 2-for-11 (.182). Justin Upton is 1-for-15 (.067) and Gerardo Parra is 2-for-12 (.167).
The curtain falls on the 2012 season Wednesday afternoon (4:10) when Ian Kennedy (15-11, 4.16) takes on lefty Jeff Francis (5-6, 5.54 ERA). Against Francis, Upton is lifetime 6-for-18 (.316) while centerfielder Chris Young is 8-for-26 (.308) against the Rox‘s lefty.