D-backs have rotation decisions to make after tough loss

Keuchel's struggles paired with Davies' injury leave question marks for Lovullo

July 3rd, 2022

DENVER -- The D-backs have some pitching decisions to make following their 11-7 loss to the Rockies on Saturday night at Coors Field.

Veteran lefty Dallas Keuchel made his second start in place of the injured Humberto Castellanos and allowed seven runs (six earned) over five innings. In his first start for the D-backs last weekend, Keuchel allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The D-backs have to decide whether they feel that he's shown enough to give him another start in five days or if it's time to try someone different.

Not surprisingly, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was noncommittal following the game, as he prefers to get away from the emotion of the moment and talk things over with his staff and the front office.

One thing for certain is that they won't make the decision based on Keuchel's final line from the game because that could have looked a lot different if a pair of plays had been made behind him.

One of those came in the first when, with Kris Bryant on first and one out, Keuchel got Charlie Blackmon to ground to Christian Walker at first. Walker fielded the grounder cleanly, but his throw to second to start the double play hit Bryant and they did not get an out on the play.

The Rockies went on to score four runs in the inning and Walker apologized to Keuchel later.

"First and foremost he did his job right there," Walker said of Keuchel. "He got a really good hitter in Blackmon to roll over. I just felt as an infielder I pride myself on being there for my teammates, especially my pitchers, when they do their job. What they're doing isn't easy. So for him to execute his job and me not to, I felt like I had to be accountable right there and let him know that I was taking it seriously."

The second came in the fourth inning when Randal Grichuk's fly to right-center fell between a pair of Arizona outfielders. It was not an easy play, but one Lovullo thought should have been made.

"I feel like with the quality of the outfielders that we have and with that ball being in the air as long as it was, I feel like we should have made a little bit better play on it."

Add it all up and it would seem to point to another start for Keuchel, but time will tell.

Another complicating factor is that the D-backs still have yet to say what they're going to do to fill a second spot in the rotation following the injury to right-hander Zach Davies. That spot rolls around likely Tuesday against the Giants, depending on how the D-backs want to play it.

Lovullo has said that there are a lot of options on the table for Davies' spot including the possibility of using an opener.

Here's a look at some of what the D-backs' options might be for Davies' spot:

Tommy Henry

The left-hander out of Michigan has been on a roll for Triple-A Reno, which is not a pitcher-friendly ballpark, nor are most of the Pacific Coast League parks.

Henry, whom the D-backs selected with the 74th overall pick in the 2019 Draft and is the organization's 13th-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, started Wednesday and worked seven shutout innings. Henry did not walk a batter and struck out eight.

Henry would be pitching on an extra day of rest if he got the nod Tuesday.

Tyler Gilbert

Gilbert, who threw a no-hitter in his first Major League start last year, got the first crack at filling the rotation spot that eventually went to Keuchel.

Gilbert started June 7 against the Reds in Cincinnati and allowed seven runs (six earned) in 1 2/3 innings. His last start for Reno came Thursday, when he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. He would be pitching on regular rest Tuesday.

Luke Weaver/Caleb Smith

If the D-backs decide to go with a bullpen game or an opener, they could get the bulk of the innings from Weaver or Smith, both of whom are in the bullpen now, but were at one point this season in the rotation.