The 2014 season might still be in its infancy, but the first rumblings of a manager on the hot seat are now underway. Kirk Gibson might well be very close to at least being in the uncomfortable category in Arizona.
The Diamondbacks are easily the biggest flop out of the ’14 starting gate. Nothing has gone right for the Diamondbacks from the get go, as they took a major hit in spring training when Patrick Corbin, their likely number one starting pitcher, was lost for the season. It’s simply been getting worse ever since.
The Snakes can’t pitch at all. The starters have been subpar, the bullpen has been shaky and I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that Gibson has not been making the right moves at the right time on this count. This is not a new observation from this observer, as I’ve commented several times that I’m not a great fan of his in-game decisions, particularly on the pitching front.
Worse than the pitching has been what I consider to be a general malaise surrounding this team. I’m not in Phoenix, and I don’t see every Diamondbacks game. But off what I have been able to witness, it just seems to me like this is a flat baseball team. If that’s indeed the case, blame has to fall to some extent on Gibson. True enough, it’s incumbent on the players to make sure they’re mentally sharp. But you can’t fire all the players, and if this team is dragging from the neck up, it’s not unfair to pin at least some of the blame on the skipper.
Gibson has never been regarded as a great strategist, at least not by me. Great player, absolutely. Inspirational guy, you bet. But like many star players who have tried their hand at managing, they don’t always get that same over the top commitment from their players, and I’m starting to think that’s in play here.
The season is barely started, and it’s tough to envision anything happening at least this early. But the Diamondbacks are heading to LA this weekend for a divisional set with the Dodgers and another bad result could have the Snakes almost buried in the NL West race. This team needs to start putting something together soon, or the chatter on Gibson is only going to get louder.
I’m on a pretty good tear in baseball right now. Four straight solid days, including three consecutive sweeps. So it’s clearly a very good time to be riding my stuff. That April Baseball Special is still there for the taking, and includes a decent guarantee. The “buy now” menu on this page is the best way to get on, and if you’ve got questions or want more info, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tuesday free play was a winner as the Athletics ended up on the right side of a wild 10-9 decision against the Angels. I’ll stay on the west coast tonight with a look at the rivalry battle between the Giants and Dodgers.
04/16 07:15 PM MLB (913) LOS ANGELES DODGERS (914) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Take: (914) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS -110
It really doesn’t get much better than Dodgers/Giants when it means something to each team, and the Giants got a leg up on this series with a dramatic extra inning win on Tuesday night. The two teams managed to squander numerous scoring opportunities throughout the game. I think it’s fair to suggest we could be seeing offense tonight as it’s not exactly a marquee pitching matchup, but the oddsmakers have already adjusted for that with a high total for a game in San Francisco.
I’m a bit more interested in the side tonight as Paul Maholm takes on Ryan Vogelsong. This is a pretty rare matchup, as even this early in the campaign, one does not see many games where both starting pitchers have ERA’s of 8.00 or higher, as is the case tonight.
Maholm’s bloated ERA is pretty legit. The veteran lefty is simply not fooling anyone for the most part. The swing and miss is basically not even in the mix for Maholm and if everyone is making contact, it’s generally going to produce some jams and some runs. The Giants have shown some sock against southpaws thus far and they should be able to do some damage here against Maholm.
Ryan Vogelsong has not been good by any means, but some of his statistical issues are a product of some bad luck. Vogelsong has been stung by an inflated .414 BABIP and that number figures to correct. The K rate, even in an admittedly minuscule sample, is nevertheless encouraging. I’m not suggesting Vogelsong is going to be regaining the form he displayed a couple of years ago when he became a deserving All-Star. But there are at least a few indicators that offer hope that he can be an acceptable back of the rotation contributor for the Giants.
The Giants are clearly treating these early battles with the Dodgers with a legitimate sense of urgency. That was evident in true series played at Chavez Ravine and I thought it showed last night as well. With Vogelsong owning an advantage over Maholm, home field and some positive momentum, along with a price that’s easily acceptable, I’ll make the case for the Giants to garner another victory tonight.