The Wheel O’ Godley has come to a halt, for now, and it has stopped on the slot marked “Reliever.” After a series of mostly ugly starts in 2019, where Godley’s troublesome mechanics seemed as problematic as ever, manager Torey Lovullo announced the decision this afternoon, speaking on 98.7 Arizona Sports. “Obviously strike-throwing ability is a huge thing. To me he became very one-dimensional. He has an exceptional curveball with spin rate and it was a pitch that was really, really good for a long time, but I thought major league hitters were holding onto it.”
Zack has always has problems with consistency, but in 2019, the balance has tilted significantly towards the bad. Godley’s season has been a forgettable one, with a 7.58 ERA over his six starts, and 18 walks in 29.2 innings. He’s had two good starts, one okay, and three which were more or less completely wretched, and that’s just not a sustainable ratio. Overall in his, Godley has always been much better facing batters the first time, rather than subsequently, so this move perhaps makes sense - it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while. Opposing hitters have a .611 OPS against Zack on that first occasion, but it spikes over two hundred points to .844 the second time they see him.
There’s no immediate word who will take Godley’s spot, or how room will be made for Zack in the bullpen. With off-days and the flipping of Zack Greinke and Merrill Kelly, the team do not need a fifth starter until Tuesday May 7th, against the Rays at Chase, so one imagines the current set-up will remain until that point. Said Lovullo, “We love the options we have. We feel like we have some real good internal options in terms of internal development.” Jon Duplantier, optioned on Sunday, would not be eligible to be recalled for 10 days, so another Reno starter seems likely. Taylor Widener and Taylor Clarke have both been getting lit-up there; maybe it will be veteran lefty Anthony Vasquez, with a 3.38 ERA over four starts.
With Godley having no minor-league options left, someone will presumably need to be bumped out of the bullpen to make way for him there. The return of T.J. McFarland from the disabled list complicates matters further there, since he and Godley likely will be competing for the long-relief outings. While most members of the bullpen do have one or more options remaining, I would guess Yoan Lopez is probably the most likely recipient of a ticket to Reno when necessary, though Matt Andriese could end up being squeezed out, if the team feels they have a surfeit of long-relievers. Or maybe they bump a bench bat?
Whether Godley will ever make it out of the bullpen, we’ll just have to wait and see. The mechanics have been an apparently unfixable problem for Godley and pitching coach Mike Butcher for a couple of seasons now, Unless a solution is found, relatively quickly, this may end up being a one-way trip for Zack. I hope Mrs. Godley stays off the Internet tonight.