On Saturday afternoon before the Arizona Diamondbacks took the field in their throwback purple uniforms worn to honor the 2011 World Series Championship team, manager Kirk Gibson was asked about the greatest one-two pitching duo he's ever seen in baseball. He didn't hesitate to name Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling. But then, unprompted, he went on to indulge in a rare moment of bragging.
"You guys usually ask me everyday about the Cy Young Award and I was thinking last night, Hudson and Kennedy have 35 wins...Our one-two guys are pretty damn good," Gibson said.
The Philadelphia Phillies aces Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay have 33 wins.
Judging pitchers based on wins has fallen out of favor with many stat-driven, fantasy baseball playing fans. It certainly has flaws, especially when you get a really good pitcher on a team that can't generate any runs.
But in this case when you are looking at the Phillies with the best record in baseball and the upstart Diamondbacks, it's hard to make excuses for the Philadelphia aces. Besides, Gibby argued, winning is all that matters.
"I don't think there's any more important stat, period, than wins. That's what we're here for. If you win, you've accomplished your task."
I don't think Gibson's point was to suggest that his aces are better than well known, more accomplished guys in Lee and Halladay. At the same time, he's understandably proud of his two young pitchers and when he talks about them it almost always comes back to how hard they compete and how hard they work on their off days to keep their bodies ready.
If people around the country aren't paying attention to the pitching in Arizona, that's just fine by Gibson, "Don't tell anybody. Seriously, it's great. It's great. Just keep talking about those other guys. Just let our guys just relax and pitch."
This is one cat that's on the verge of escaping from the bag. The pressure and attention on Gibby's team is about the ratchet up come October and come next spring, big things are going to be expected from the Diamondbacks. You can only fly under the radar so long. Once you start dropping bombs, people tend to notice.