Young arms get opportunity in final month

Godley and Schugel struggle, while other relievers shut down Cubs

Young arms get opportunity in final month

CHICAGO -- The D-backs are giving some young pitchers a look this year, and while that can lead to breakthrough performances, it can also lead to a day like Friday, when the Cubs scored early and often against Zack Godley to beat the D-backs, 14-5, at Wrigley Field.

Godley had pitched well in three previous starts earlier this season allowing a total of three runs over 18 innings in those games. He also pitched twice in relief.

On Friday, he was facing the organization that dealt him away this past winter, and though manager Chip Hale and catcher Welington Castillo thought Godley was maybe a little over-amped for this start as a result, the pitcher said that was not the case.

Godley walked six over 3 2/3 innings, four of which came in the first inning with two forcing in runs.

"Not any more than any other game," Godley said of his level of intensity facing the Cubs. "Like I said, I just couldn't locate. My arm feels great, my body feels great. For some reason I couldn't find it today. You've just got to let it go and come back and do better the next time."

That's what reliever A.J. Schugel will need to do as well after he gave up seven unearned runs in the fifth inning.

"We're seeing the depth of our pitching," Hale said. "Some of the guys we're bringing in, we're giving them a shot, giving them a chance to make a name for themselves and they're having a hard time."

It is a learning process and Godley and Schugel can take solace in how Keith Hessler and Matt Stites both rebounded from tough outings in Denver this past week to put up scoreless innings Friday. Silvino Bracho course-corrected as well, allowing the eighth run of the fifth inning but striking out the side in the sixth.

"If you're a young pitcher, at some point you're going to have to put first impressions out there," pitching coach Mike Harkey said. "Some guys have struggled, some guys have done OK. It's all part of the growing process."

There can be frustration, no doubt, like when things didn't go Godley's way Friday, but showing you can bounce back from a rough outing goes a long way as well.

"This is the time of year where your September callups and/or your young pitchers with little or no experience have an opportunity to put themselves into position to go into Spring Training and have a chance to win a job," Harkey said. "Guys [who] are struggling need to figure out a way to make better pitches when they need to make better pitches."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.