Jules Tompkins of ArizonaSports.com reports, not counting pitchers, Kirk Gibson has had 392 different lineups in 486 games. The Arizona Diamondbacks manager takes a lot of heat for this but I don’t think it’s warranted.
First off, good managers of good teams juggle lineups just as much, if not more. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, for example, has filled in 557 different lineup cards over the last four seasons (648 games). The Rays made the playoffs out of the AL East in three of those four seasons.
Secondly, the D-backs have had a lot of injuries to their everyday players, especially last year. Although I’m willing to admit this has little to do with the lineup machinations of Kirk Gibson, it must be mentioned.
But I believe the real reason for Gibby’s juggling is found in the dearth of offensive firepower the D-backs have had. During the Gibby era, even when Justin Upton was here, they have never had a lineup that was deemed prolific or even dangerous.
And it’s not like the Diamondbacks offense stunk last summer. They were No. 5 in hitting, No. 5 in runs and No. 3 in hits in the National League. Not prolific, not prodigious, not dangerous, but not awful either.
If the D-backs had great talent and were No. 5 in hitting and runs or they had the lineup of last year and were 13th or 14th in those categories in the NL, I could see where you might question the lineups Gibby has been running out there.
But that isn’t the case and that’s why people need to untie the knot in their nighty.