PHOENIX — What the Diamondbacks’ management wants to see during this tough early stretch is that the players remain accountable and united behind manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers. That accountability was evident Friday.
"The kind of start we got off to, I don’t know if you can explain it other than we have just played horribly," veteran third baseman Eric Chavez said. "It’s completely on the players. We take full responsibility for our lack of production on the field. We have to get it done in here, in this clubhouse."
The D-backs were a league-worst 7-18 entering a six-game homestand that started Friday against the Phillies. They had a league-low four quality starts, and they were tied for 24th in the majors defensively with 20 errors.
"I think sometimes there is too much blame that goes in other directions. You have to look at the players, because they are the ones who are playing," Chavez said. "The numbers don’t lie. Whatever categories we are falling into has nothing to do with ‘Gibby’ or anybody. If somebody wants to pass that on and blame someone else, there is going to be some issues with that, because you have to look at yourself as a player."
Catcher Miguel Montero said about the same thing, echoing the comments he made after the D-backs’ 5-2 victory over the Cubs on Thursday.
"I feel really uncomfortable seeing all the comments about their job," Montero said of stories that questioned the security of Towers and Gibson after the D-backs lost in Chicago on Tuesday.
"They’ve been doing their job. It’s up to us to go out and do our jobs. They don’t play the game for us. In this case, ‘KT’ has been awesome to all of us. Stays confident. Keeps supporting us. We need to go out there and do the job he knows we can do.
"The blame is for us. We all think the same way. So we go out and win 10 games in a row. Now what? So they’re doing better? No, we are playing better."
Chavez said the Diamondbacks appreciate the support shown by management in the offseason through the acquisitions of Mark Trumbo, Addison Reed and Bronson Arroyo, moves that increased the payroll to a franchise-high $110 million this season.
"If everybody doesn’t look at what ownership did and the money they spent and bringing in players to try to better this team and put us in position …" Chavez said. "Granted, we lose our No. 1 starter and a good bullpen arm — that’s going to hurt anybody. Good teams overcome injuries."
Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez suffered elbow injuries and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery a week apart in spring training, and Trumbo was told Friday that he will miss the next six weeks with a stress fracture in his foot.
"We lost a couple of guys and we put a lot more pressure on ourselves to go out there and do a little bit more," Montero said. "When you do that, it creates bad habits and too much negative thoughts.
"When you do that, it’s pretty hard to perform. We have to keep it loose. Keep believing in our talent and keep believing in ourselves. Just go out and have a good time and enjoy the game and do what we know how to do."
Pressing is "human nature," Aaron Hill agreed.
"There is always pressing," Hill said. "We have guys who recognize that you play better when you are just playing ball and they are not worried about trying to hit a double or trying to get a guy in from first or trying to get something going.
"It’s being OK with a walk or a single. That’s how we won the last two games (in Chicago), just doing the little things. We have to keep doing those things and not press."