D-backs expect rotation to turn corner

Butcher wants pitchers to stay focused despite hitter-friendly home

D-backs expect rotation to turn corner

PHOENIX -- After investing heavily in Zack Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller, the D-backs certainly didn't expect to see their starting rotation finish April with the second-worst ERA in baseball at 5.62.

"I know our pitching staff is way better than that," pitching coach Mike Butcher said. "I know they understand that, I know they're trying. I feel like moving into May, hopefully it's a fresh start for our rotation and our team, and we can move in the right direction."

The rotation's struggles have been particularly apparent at home, where the D-backs won five of their first 11 games, compared to a 7-3 mark on the road, which included games in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

D-backs manager Chip Hale and visiting players have pointed out how the ball seemed to be flying out at Chase Field this year. It could be that it's gotten in the heads of the pitchers, who might feel the need to make a perfect pitch rather than just trusting their stuff and being aggressive.

"As much as I wanted to deny it at first, I think that could have been part of it," Butcher said of Chase Field. "But you have to make every park your own. No matter if we play in other places that are hitter-friendly ballparks, you've got to make that park your own. Make your pitches. The other team has to play there as well."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.