clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diamondbacks Not Dead Yet; Don't Blame Gibson

Between the time I am writing this early Monday morning and the time the Diamondbacks and Brewers start Game 3 on Tuesday evening we will hear and read a lot about what went wrong for Arizona in Milwaukee. We will also break down the Josh Collmenter vs. Shaun Marcum pitching duel and get into some home and away numbers.

We will also probably see some stats about how few teams have come back from an 0-2 deficit in a five game series. I don't have those stats handy but it's fair to say they will be unkind to the hopes of Diamondbacks fans.

At this point, however, after watching this team all summer we can only say one thing -- don't even count out this team.

48 times they came from behind in games and countless times they've come through in big game situations. Tuesday and Wednesday are very winnable games at home with the D-backs having the pitching advantage at the back of the rotation in addition to the home field edge.

In other words, don't make plans for Friday evening because we very well could be seeing Ian Kennedy get a second chance to pitch in Milwaukee.

What went wrong?

Since we're here, some thoughts about what went wrong in Games 1 and 2. 

It's always easy to second guess managerial decisions from the sidelines. It's something I'm not willing to do.

What we know about Kirk Gibson is that he's incredibly thoughtful and prepared. Every decision he makes in a game has been well considered in advance and done for a reason and that's really all you can ask. Sometimes, things don't work out. Period.

Letting Kennedy pitch to Fielder. Not walking Lucroy to get to Gallardo. Not letting Hudson finish the sixth inning. Letting Brad Ziegler pitch to lefty Nyjer Morgan. Not playing Paul Goldschimdt in Game 1 -- these are all decisions that are easy to critique when they go wrong under the spotlight of the postseason but that's not why the D-backs lost.

What was predictable was two young aces each giving up four runs in their postseason debuts. Pitching in the playoffs is hard -- just ask Cliff Lee -- and both Kennedy and Hudson struggled against a tough Brewers line up anchored by two MVP candidates.

The decision in the sixth inning with Ziegler was as much about the lack of middle innings relief depth as anything else. Outside of David Hernandez and J.J. Putz, there's not a ton of confidence in the rest of that bullpen. In a tie game situation, Gibson simply didn't have many options.

It burned him in Game 1 when he decided to trust in his starter and it burned him in Game 2 when he took the ball and went to the pen. The problem isn't the decisions. The problem is the lack of options in the bullpen for middle innings relief.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made questionable decisions that we are not talking about because his players bailed him out. If Josh Collmenter and a few of the D-backs hitters can step up on Tuesday then we won't be talking about Gibson's decisions.