In a game when Matt Cain had his good stuff going, mixing it up in the zone and getting ahead of batters, it's crucial that the Diamondbacks capitalized on their opportunities and limit their mistakes.
You might not have to play perfect ball to win a game like this but the Diamondbacks can do better.
"We had a very good game thrown against us. You've got to execute all your situations to win a game like that," Gibby said about his young team. "We had a chance to beat him, we just weren't able to get the job done."
There were three key mistakes the Diamondbacks made in this game that ended up a 3-0 loss.
Giants 1st Inning - Not Holding The Runner On
Rodrigo Lopez, who pitched a solid 7 inning, 5-hit game, got the first two batters out. He then walks Aubrey Huff and promptly ignores him. Huff only has 4 stolen bases on the season which might (partially) explain what happened next.
"I always have problems being slow to home plate," Lopez said about allowing Huff to steal second. "Tonight, I really didn't expect that he's going to run and I didn't give Miggie (Montero) a chance to throw him out."
Gibson said cited a known issue with Loppie when it comes to holding runners on, "They picked something up on him. We've addressed that and we're trying to get him to stop it."
Lopez said he doesn't want to take too much time paying attention to the runner and make the game boring and get the infielders on flat feet. In his effort to work fast, his slow delivery to the plate was the problem.
With Huff now on second, the Giants get a hit from the red-hot Buster Posey. The San Francisco catcher is now hitting .438 with a career-high 16-game hitting streak. Not the guy you want up with a runner in scoring position. Posey gets the single and Huff scores what turns out to be the go-ahead run.
Diamondbacks 1st Inning - Failing To Produce
In the Diamondbacks 1st it was almost a mirror image of the Giants.
Chris Young, who is now batting .310 in the leadoff spot over 14 games, hits his way on to first and then steals second. While the Giants were able to get a 2-out hit and score the run, the Diamondbacks trio of Johnson, Montero and Reynolds can't deliver. Reynolds, shockingly, struck out. Mark had two of the teams ten total punchouts.
Diamondbacks 3rd Inning - Inches Away
This isn't so much a mistake as an unlucky break.
With one out in the inning, Young smokes a ball to left that gets caught right at the top of the wall by Andres Torres. Tough one.
Diamondbacks 4th Inning - Upton Caught Stealing
You hate to say anything bad about the kid when he's 16-for-36 (.444) in his 9-game hitting streak. But at 22-years-old he's got to learn these lessons and you can be sure Gibby pointed this point out.
Upton get a leadoff, ground-rule double to right (a near replica of one he hit to the same spot last night) and takes second. With Miguel Montero batting from the left side, Upton attempts to steal third base.
"Justin made a mistake out there and he knows it," Gibby said. "The mistake that Justin made was a learning experience for him. In general, you're down two runs and there's a left-handed hitter up and there's no outs we wouldn't try and steal that base. I always tell you guys, you take what's given to you. That's a bit of a force."
Justin did know it, "It was a stupid mistake. My thought process was, Miggie (Montero) has been scuffling a little bit. I wanted to get to third base (so) a fly ball gets us a run. Obviously, that thought process has to be thought out a little bit better with no outs."
Not only did Upton fail to execute the steal which shouldn't have been attempted in the first place, he showed a lack of trust in his teammate. He's learning.
Gibby said he wasn't all that unhappy with the decision since it showed Justin was trying to make something happen. He wants his players to have that aggressive mind-set but they need to learn to make better decisions.
Chad Qualls - 2 Innings, No runs
The numbers don't show it yet, but the D-backs think Qualls is making progress, "The thing about Chad, even when he gets guys on base like what happened in the very beginning, he's always got that good sinker and has a chance for a double-play. And he can strike people out. That's why he's a good, talented pitcher. We know it and he's certainly on his way back."
He's moved over on the rubber some and is trying to simplify things which may or may not help.
Your instinct might be to just bench the guy and give up on him, but with the Diamondbaks so far down in the standings they can afford to try and find a way to salvage his season. It's a risk, for sure, and at times it will be painful, but there's great upside if they can get Chad back to where he should be.
If nothing else, he's got the public support of his manager. Now, let's see him put a couple more good innings together to show he deserves it.
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