The D'Backs Inside Pitch

"I just had a bad day," Juan Cruz said after getting shelled for nine runs in just 2/3 of an inning. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, outside of Brandon Webb the entire starting rotation has had some 'bad days' lately. With Russ Ortiz already banished to the DL, and Orlando Hernandez potentially on the way, Bob Melvin is looking for some consistency.


INSIDE PITCH
"We can't keep doing this."
Those were manager Bob Melvin's words regarding the Diamondbacks' inconsistent starting rotation.
And after repeatedly having to go to his bullpen early in games, Melvin said Thursday's off day "couldn't come at a better time."
A day after Orlando Hernandez could work just two innings before leaving with back and knee pain, Juan Cruz couldn't even last a full inning in falling behind 9-0 against the Padres on Wednesday. Arizona rallied with an eight-run sixth inning to make it a game before falling 14-10.
"I just had a bad day," said Cruz, who made history as Arizona set a team record for most runs allowed in the first inning of a game. The Giants scored eight runs against the Diamondbacks on April 23, 2000.
But the early exits from the starting rotation -- by everyone, it seems, other than ace Brandon Webb -- have become a growing concern for Melvin and management. There is speculation Arizona may have no choice but to trade one of its highly regarded prospects for some type of quality starting pitching help, although shortstop Stephen Drew and converted center fielder Justin Upton will be off limits to anyone.
As for Hernandez, there was no word on if he will be headed to the disabled list for the eighth time in his career or if he will be available for his next scheduled start Monday. Melvin said he would wait until Hernandez throws a side session Friday before the club makes a decision.
REPLAY: One thing about the Diamondbacks, they don't seem to give up. After falling behind by nine runs in the first inning, Arizona rallied to within 11-10 Wednesday, thanks to a club record-tying eight-run sixth inning that featured home runs from Tony Clark and Eric Byrnes. But they still fell 14-10 to the Padres.
The Diamondbacks rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Dodgers on May 2, and they also have erased six- and seven-run deficits in what turned out to be losses to the Giants in April.
"Every time we get in that position, we battle back," manager Bob Melvin said.

NOTES, QUOTES
--RF Shawn Green is batting .443 (35-for-79) since April 24, the best mark in the majors among all hitters with at least 60 at-bats, according to Elias Sports Bureau. "I'm not going to say it's my best," Green said of his streak, "but as far as getting hits, this one is up there."
--LHP Terry Mulholland was sharp in his second simulated game Wednesday, in which he threw two-plus innings and more than 60 pitches in his battle to return from inflammation in his left elbow.
"I think he feels like his stuff right now is better than it was at any time during the season or in spring training," manager Bob Melvin said.
Mulholland will throw a bullpen session Friday and likely will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tucson this weekend.
--RHP Russ Ortiz will make his second rehab start with Tucson on Sunday at Round Rock. He allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings Tuesday.
--Wednesday's game against the Padres was played before the smallest crowd in Arizona history -- just 18,012. Three off the club's smallest crowd have come this season.
--Umpire Mark Hirschbeck, who had to leave Tuesday's game with back spasms, couldn't work Wednesday's game and was replaced by Rob Drake, who worked third base.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Double plays Chad Tracy had helped turn, the most among National League third baseman as of May 12.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He had a couple bad starts, but he's worked some things out and ever since we've gotten him, he's been very good for us. Every now and then, everybody's going to hit a little bump in the road. But he's been quite a pickup for us, especially considering how we got him." -- Manager Bob Melvin on RHP Claudio Vargas, who is 13-7 for the Diamondbacks dating to last season, when they claimed him off waivers from the Nationals.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:
LHP Terry Mulholland went on the 15-day disabled list April 12 with inflammation in his left elbow. He is close to starting an injury-rehab assignment with Triple-A Tucson.
RHP Russ Ortiz went on the 15-day disabled list May 2 with a right calf strain. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tucson on May 16.
RHP Orlando Hernandez left his start May 16 with a mid-back strain and knee pain. The extent of the damage wasn't immediately known.
 

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