The Arizona Diamondbacks are garnering some national criticism for the retaliation tactics, particularly after Randall Delgado plunked Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen in the back Saturday at Chase Field.
Manager Kirk Gibson said the team, despite its losing record, has vowed to continue to compete and not let other clubs run all over them.
“We’ve kind of affirmed together that we’re going to stick together and that we’re going to play hard the whole rest of this year, regardless of how bad of a start we had,” Gibson told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Tuesday. “We’re not going to cash in and say our season’s over. There are elements that happen within any given game (that) you can look all around the big leagues that happen. People get hurt many different ways. Nobody wants anybody to get hurt; there’s never any intention for that. And I know there’s a lot of conversation around. I understand that, and that’s great for people who have interest and want to defend whatever party they decide to defend.”
The situation started when Arizona lost its best hitter, Paul Goldschmidt, last Friday on an inside pitch from Pittsburgh’s Ernesto Frieri. Gibson, who last week became the winningest manager in club history, said throwing inside is a legitimate strategy, but there’s a proper way to do it.
“They set up up and in,” said Gibson. “Overall, we believe in throwing in. We don’t want anybody to throw up and in, because if it gets way up and in, then things can happen — more things bad can happen. But that’s a decision they make. They set up up and in, and it got him. I think Goldy handled it right. I think our team handled it right. And we went on, and we’re going to go on without Goldy. We immediately figured, ‘How are we going to replace him?’ Well, obviously, he’s irreplaceable.”
Delgado’s plunking of McCutchen came one in the ninth inning of the following game. Gibson said that throwing inside to sluggers — like Goldschmidt and McCutchen — gives pitchers a better chance to get them out, but sometimes pitches unfortunately get away and injure the batter.
“Sometimes, you have to throw inside to people to have an effect and maybe open the outside part of the plate up,” the skipper said. “You can look at guys who hit the ball very well out over the plate; you have to throw them in. If they don’t, they’re going to wear you out. So that’s just all part of the game. Nobody ever wants to see anybody get hurt; that’s never anybody’s intent to do so.”
Goldschmidt could be lost for the season because of the HBP, and the D-backs manager tried to sum up what that means for the team going forward.
“Absolutely it was (devastating),” he said. “And we all felt it. But you’ve got to regroup. And, like I said, we’ll move (Mark) Trumbo over there to first. It also is an opportunity for others to step up and prove themselves. We’ll have some decisions to make here at the end of the season. And it’s an opportunity for guys to go out and compete and try to make it hard for guys to get to their goals — our opponents — and make an impression for next year. We’re looking for people who are championship players, and they have a great opportunity to show that.”