D-backs’ comeback victory looks like old times
DENVER — Hitting can destroy your mind, Kirk Gibson was saying early Thursday. It can also be a lot of fun.
Whether it is enough to prevent a few roster changes has yet to be determined.
The D-backs destroyed the Rockies with some late hitting and then held on for a 9-7 victory at Coors Field, and it was just like the old days.
The D-backs overcame a three-run deficit in the eighth inning with a rally that was built with two walks and a single and completed with three straight two-out singles. After the Rockies came back to tie it, the D-backs won it on Justin Upton’s two-out, two-run, opposite-field home run with a bat he thought he’d lost the inning before.
It was four hours of a 2011 flashback, and it was good, conjuring up memories of the D-backs’ MLB-high 48 comeback victories a year ago.
Team-building through team-wide contributions. Players picking each other up.
“That’s the way we play,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said afterward.
“The games when you are ahead the whole time are a lot more fun,” said Upton, drawing chuckles.
Meaningfully is a better way to win, anyway.
“For us to battle back, we need these type of games where we have to grind and put together some singles, get the big hit. That’s how you build confidence,” Upton said.
“The blowouts don’t build as much confidence as the close games do. It’s good to have a few of these.”
The D-backs (17-22) have not had many blowouts this season, and precious few comebacks either. They have exactly the same record as they did as this point last season, when they rolled to the NL West title by eight games. The run started at the same time, too, as they won 15 of 17 games to get back into contention.
But general manager Kevin Towers, who flew in to confer with Gibson on a trip that was not originally part of his pre-June draft schedule, put it in perspective. As Gibson said last week, Towers is not sure the comparison to last season applies.
“Last year is last year,” Towers said. “A lot of the same guys, but I personally believe we were playing better last year at this time than this year. We haven’t played that well this year.
“Last year we were losing a lot of close, one-run games. This year we have been pretty sporadic. We haven’t been nearly as consistent.”
With inconsistency comes examination.
“It was a great win. It was nice to come back. These guys battled like they did last year. But last night (a 5-1 loss) wasn’t so fun to watch, not taking anything away from Jamie Moyer. We had a nice night in L.A. Every other day we are looking fairly decent,” Towers said.
Obviously a one-good, one-bad pattern is not good enough.
Towers would not rule out roster moves, although he did not get into specifics. He has talked with his scouts, evaluating both the D-backs and other players that might be on the market. Gibson has talked to Class AAA Reno manager Brett Butler and Class AA manager Turner Ward to get a current read on the minor league talent.
While a trade seems unlikely, Towers has been asked about his perceived excess bullpen depth. More telling, he has even initiated a few calls, although he said no progress has been made and nothing is imminent.
There are questions to answer, and Towers never has shy about making a move when he feels one is necessary.
“How do we get better? Are we comfortable with where we are at and give a little big longer leash to some of these guys?” Towers said.
“Tonight will probably be a late night. We’ll sit up in the suite (after arriving in Kansas City) and talk about where we are at the quarter point. Can’t tell you if there is going to be a move. May be none. We just want to reevaluate where we are at and if there are any other options that might make us better and kind of spark the club a little bit.”
The corner infield positions appear to be the ones under the most scrutiny. Paul Goldschimdt had two hits and an RBI on Thursday and was a big part of two rallies, but he is hitting only .231 with two home runs this season. Ryan Roberts had three hits and two RBIs and has shown signs of coming out of an early slump, but he remains at .232. And his sixth error of the season helped the Rockies tie the score with two unearned runs in the eighth.
Mobile third baseman Matt Davidson and Reno first baseman Randy Ruiz are having strong minor league seasons, but would shuffling really help?
“Do we stay status quo, or do we tweak it a little bit?” Towers said.
The answer will come soon.