There was one game in particular that introduced me to the capabilities that reliever Josh Collmenter has for the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was an extra innings game in August and Collmenter threw three great and perfect innings of long relief. He gave the team everything they could have hoped for and showed me that he definitely has more to give in his upcoming second full season as a full-time relief pitcher.
I don’t pretend that he should be the closer or even the official setup man but I do believe it would be a good thing for Collmenter to have a solid and steady job out there. The use of him was all over the place in 2013 and he still came out of it pretty well. Basically he struggled most when there were runners in scoring position but the same could be said of many pitchers. He definitely needs improvement in that area but could hold that in his own hands if he knows he is the sixth or seventh inning guy.
No one wants to sit there and wonder what they will have to do that night and yet Collmenter performed well in spite of that challenge. He only gave up 8 home runs in 92 innings which is good enough for an average of 0.8 homers allowed every nine innings. That is a good number for a relief pitcher. Don’t believe me? The same stat was claimed by Mariano Rivera this season and his career mark is 0.5. Craig Kimbrel had a 0.5 mark for 2013. I think you get the point.
For Kirk Gibson to look at him and say, “You’re the seventh inning guy this year! Don’t mess it up!” or however Gibson talks to his players, would be a very positive thing. I believe Collmenter will be more comfortable in relief this season anyway and a reliable job each game to count on would help him find a consistent mindset.