Being a rookie pitcher in the at the big league level is not an easy job. Unlike in the minors, you can’t get away with the little things when you are pitching to big league hitters.
Josh Collmenter learned that just last month. After essentially being unhittable in his first six starts, the young right-hander hit a road block during the later stages of June and early July. In four starts to close out June and begin July, the man with the funky delivery surrendered 19 earned runs in only 22.2 innings. He allowed only seven runs in his six starts before that.
Collmenter has recovered nicely from his struggles in his first start before the All-Star break and his two outings since that point, however.
The 25-year-old had two great back-to-back outings against the Brewers, one in Milwaukee and one in Phoenix. In 14 innings, the Homer, Michigan native didn’t allow a single run in either start. If it weren’t for the late inning bullpen collapse in Milwaukee, Collmenter would have had another W tacked on to his win total.
The Diamondbacks starter was good once again in last night’s start against Colorado. Collmenter really made only two mistakes on the night; a solo homer from Troy Tulowitzki in the second and then a two-out, two-run single from Ty Wigginton in the fourth. He wouldn’t allow a single run the rest of the way after that to grab his sixth win of the season in the D’Backs 12-3 rout over the Rox.
Collmenter’s turnaround in his last three starts can easily be attested to his ability to get back to throwing strikes. In those start bad outings in June and early July, he allowed eight walks. How many has he had since that stretch? Try just one in his start in Milwaukee.
He has also put less of a burden on his defense via of the strikeout. Collmenter will never be mistaken for Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson, but he has seen a spike in strikeouts in his last three starts with 14 over that stretch. Less balls in play means less of a chance for the opposing offense to get runners on base.
Through his first 13 starts of his rookie campaign, Collmenter has proven that he can pitch at the big league level. He won’t be a team ace, but he is a very solid guy to have at the back end of your rotation. He won’t blow you away with his stuff, but he gets the job by throwing strikes and minimizing damage.
That is all you ask for out of your fourth and fifth starters.