|Mookie Betts - RF||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Freddie Freeman - 1B||Kyle Lewis - DH|
|J.D. Martinez - DH||Lourdes Gurriel - LF|
|Max Muncy - 3B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Miguel Vargas - 2B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Trayce Thompson - CF||Corbin Carroll - RF|
|James Outman - LF||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Chris Taylor - SS||Gabriel Moreno - C|
|Austin Barnes - C||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Clayton Kershaw - LHP||M. Bumgarner - LHP|
Well, it was a good week while it lasted, but we have the first casualty of the 2023 season. Reliever Cole Sulser has a strained muscle - specifically, the teres major in his shoulder, according to manager Torey Lovullo. No apparent details on the severity of the injury, and nor is there currently a timetable for his return. Sulser had pitched three times on the road trip, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts, over 4.1 innings. He didn’t appear when the Diamondbacks were tied or ahead, so he would appear to be one of the lower leverage men in the bullpen, and the same will likely apply to his replacement. Speaking of which...
The #Dbacks recalled RHP Luis Frías from Triple-A Reno and placed RHP Cole Sulser on the 15-day injured list (strained right shoulder), retroactive April 6.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 7, 2023
Luis Frias will have to do a better job throwing strikes than he did in spring training, where he walked five in 7.1 innings. On the other hand, he struck out eleven over the same time: he’s definitely one of those power arms on which the D-backs stocked up this spring. It seems to have had an impact. Small sample size, but over the 26 innings thrown by the bullpen so far in 2023, they have struck out 32 batters. That K rate of 11.08 is 44% on our relief strikeout rate last season, 7.71. The bad news? The walks are up the same, so their K:BB ratio is basically unchanged (down from 2.14 to 2.13) and the bullpen ERA is little different either (down from 4.58 to 4.50).
The big problem has been the home-runs. Arizona’s relievers have given up nine already, in those 26 innings of work. It’s more than they did in all of April 2022, covering 22 games and 92.2 innings. Scott McGough (as you probably remember), Drey Jameson and Sulser have each allowed two homers, but everyone except Andrew Chafin and Miguel Castro have already been tagged. So far, only one of the team’s four losses has been assigned to the bullpen - the one for McGough in San Diego. But if balls keep flying out off the park at the current rate, it’s likely that losses will follow in their wake.