Kirk Gibson unveils Diamondbacks starting rotation

With Opening Day at the end of next week, least seasons Manager of the Year Kirk Gibson announced his starting rotation to begin the 2012 season.

The rotation is: Ian kennedy (2011: 21-4, 2.88 era), Daniel Hudson (2011: 16-12, 3.49 era), Josh Collmenter (2011: 10-10, 3.38 era), Trevor Cahill (2011 with OAK: 12-14, 4.16 era) and Joe Saunders (2011: 12-13, 3.69 era).

No you did not read that wrong! Josh Collmenter is listed ahead of Cahill for the third spot in the rotation. There were some talks that Collmenter could be on the outside looking in before the start of Spring Training and more so since he has been roughed up during Spring Training giving up 13 runs and 17 hits in a total of 12 innings pitched.

Collmenter also skipped a start because of tightness in his forearm. 

But Gibson and his staff thought long about it and made their decision.

“Everybody is going to get their starts, everybody’s going to get their 33 starts at least and get an opportunity,” said Gibson. “This is the way we’re going to start the season.”

Despite Collmenter’s struggles, Cahill has not blown anyone away just yet either. He, like Collmenter, is 0-3 in the spring giving up a team high five home runs, nine total runs and 16 hits in 12 and 2/3 innings pitched.

In looking at some of these numbers, it is safe to say that the Diamondbacks have struggled this spring. They have the third worst record in the Cactus League at 8-14.

Now that I got all of those negative out of the way, I am not taking any of those numbers too seriously.

Last season, the Diamondbacks were a dismal 12-25 in the 2011 Spring Training schedule, which was good for the second worst record in the Cactus League. The Diamondbacks also got off to a slow start in April last season dropping 15 of the 26 games in the month and were well out of first.  

The rest is history.

The defending National League West Champs have the deepest and most talented team they have head since the 2001 and 2002 seasons. 

With winning teams in the major leagues, what lasts over time is the ability to have a pitching staff that can give you at least six strong innings night in and night out. All five guys in the Diamondbacks rotation have that ability and then some. 

Do I expect Ian Kennedy to win 21 games again and be a Cy Young candidate? No. But I am willing to still take four less wins from him and still see it as a success from the ace. I think Hudson can be better if he can manage to get himself out of the first inning. If Collmenter can keep his WHIP around 1.07, where it was last season, he will be successful. 

Cahill was brought in to be a ground ball pitcher which is ideal for the ballpark he plays in. Newsflash, the home run ball will hurt him this season. It did in his first two seasons in Oakland and it has already this spring. But if he can fight past the deep ball and still turn in a quality start, I have a lot of trouble believing there is a better number four starter in the National League.

Moral of the story, I do not take any struggles from the spring with a grain of salt. All you fans who have showed up in masses, whether it be for FanFest or Spring Training games, need to continue to be present because this team is going to be special.

For more on the Diamondbacks, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2preps.

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