"They're going to shut me down for the rest of the year. Body feels fine, arm feels fine, it's just a front-office decision. I wasn't happy about it, but it is what it is."
-- Tyler Skaggs
Nick Piecoro wondered about it, we wondered about it, and so it has come to pass.Tyler Skaggs will not throw again for the Diamondbacks this year, likely the concern about his decreased velocity of late outweighing any potential gain from additional experience in his remaining two starts. Josh Collmenter will instead take the mound this evening in San Francisco.
As we documented last week, Skaggs's average fastball velocity in his last start was almost four mph down on what it was at the start of the season, and that seems likely connected to the poor results of late. Over his last three outings, he had allowed 17 hits and five walks in 12 innings. After his last start, manager Kirk Gibson cited a failure by Skaggs to command his fastball as the reason for his struggles, and pitching coach Charles Nagy said the decreased velocity was not unusual. But it's certainly the case that you'll get away with mistakes more often at 95 mph, as Skaggs touched in the pre-season warm-up, rather than the 88 averaged his last outing.
There hasn't been much comment from the organization on the specific reasons behind this apparent change of heart, Kirk Gibson saying, "We did that as an organization. We made a decision. He won't start... We can go into the reasons Tuesday." So we'll probably hear a bit more about that when Gibson talks to the media before tonight's game against the Giants. But one has to think that last night's defeat, putting the Diamondbacks 5 1/2 games behind the Cardinals with nine to play, was likely the final nail in the team's already slim post-season chances.
The comment above suggests Skaggs wasn't too pleased, but subsequent comments were more conciliatory. "It's a good thing. Everything feels fine and it's their decision so I'm going to stick with it and trust the organization and trust the coaches and it is what it is." It is indeed. It's been a memorable year for our young prospect, and we look forward to seeing him as a key component of the team's rotation in 2013 and beyond.