Friday, May 20, 2011

Putz stabilizing force in the 'pen

By Anthony Fenech / | 05/20/11

PHOENIX -- With Wednesday night's save against the Braves, D-backs closer J.J. Putz earned his 10th save of the season.

The save tied him with Byung-Hyun Kim for the longest consecutive streak to start a season in franchise history.

"He's been durable so far," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

Putz signed with the D-backs in the offseason after back-to-back seasons with the Mets and White Sox, respectively. Before that, he pitched six seasons in Seattle, where he saved 35-plus games in two consecutive seasons.

In 2007, Putz saved 40 games with a 1.38 ERA for the Mariners, and earned his only All-Star selection.

The emergence of Putz at the back end of the bullpen has stabilized the D-backs late inning roles.

"It helps you play out the game a little differently," said Gibson. "And helps to shorten it up because you know who's going to be in there."

In front of Putz, fellow offseason acquisition David Hernandez has a 1.74 ERA with five holds and Esmerling Vazquez has held his opposition scoreless in seven of his last eight games.

"They start to shorten up the game for you, and that's what you really want to do," Gibson said.

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